My Yorkshire: Charlotte Kindesjo

Born in Lancashire, Charlotte Kindesjo came to study in York and never left. She is now head of fundraising and communications at York Museums Trust which is behind A Victorian Christmas at Castle Museum.

Charlotte Kindesjo.
Charlotte Kindesjo.

What’s your first Yorkshire memory? It has to be my first visit to York as an eight-year-old in the early 1980s. I was on a school trip from Lancashire and I remember going home that night so excited to tell my parents that I had walked down a Victorian cobbled street with shops. I never imagined that one day I would be working at this magical place.

What is your favourite part of the county and why?

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The little town of Helmsley and its neighbour Harome. I particularly love to visit at Christmas when the market square and streets are decorated in festive style. Helmsley is particularly special to me as it was a place that I visited a lot with my mother and late father and it means even more because I married my husband at the Church of All Saints which is on the edge of the market square.

What is your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend in Yorkshire?

As a family, we love visiting Beningbrough Hall as it’s a great place and caters for both adults and children. Within the grounds, there is a great farm shop which sells delicious ice cream.

Do you have a favourite walk – or view? Living in this county you are totally spoilt for scenic walks with amazing views, but one of my favourites is around Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, near Ripon.

Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take to lunch? From previously owning horses and having fond memories of watching the Horse of the Year Show as a child, it would have to be the international showjumper John Whitaker. However, I think I would prefer to go out on a hack with him, rather than have lunch.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take for dinner?

As a complete pushover for period dramas – especially Downton Abbey – it would have to be Harrogate-born Jim Carter. Jim is a true Yorkshire gentleman and who wouldn’t want to dine with Mr Carson?

If you had to name your Yorkshire “hidden gem”, what would it be?

Thixendale, a small village located in the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds. It is tucked away in a valley and is home to that incredible wildlife artist Robert Fuller – his studio is well worth a visit.

If you could choose somewhere, or some object from or in Yorkshire to own for a day, what would it be?

I think I would like to own Harewood House, particularly at this time of year. The wonderful rooms with lit fires and fantastic views would provide the perfect cosy setting for my fantasy Christmas Day.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

The people, and their passion. Everyone is so friendly in Yorkshire and they take a lot of pride from living in God’s Own Country.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub?

At the moment, my favourite place to eat has to be Skosh in York. As soon as you walk through the door, the staff are welcoming and the food is totally amazing – even Jay Rayner has raved about it.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

Haxby Bakehouse, near York. Owned and run by Phil and Tina Clayton, it is an artisan bakery and the home to real bread. They also have a delicious deli counter, serving cold meats and cheese, including Spanish ferju chorizo which is fantastic to cook with.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed, for better or for worse, in the time you’ve known it?

Largely for the better – it’s become more cosmopolitan and cultured. Particularly in York – it’s great to see so many residents and visitors being able to sit outside and have a meal and enjoy the surroundings of the beautiful city.

If you had to change one thing in, or about Yorkshire, what would it be?

The roads, particularly the A64. On a summer’s day, it cannot accommodate the visitors wanting to come into York or go to the coast.

Who is the Yorkshire person that you most admire? It has to be the remarkable and visionary Dr John Kirk, the founder of York Castle Museum. As he went about his daily house calls in the late 19th century, he saw a way of life disappearing and realised the importance of preserving everyday objects used by ordinary people.

Has Yorkshire influenced your work?

Most definitely, it is such a fantastic county to work in and I can’t imagine a nicer location. I came to the city to study and decided to stay. It’s my home – and my life.

Who is your favourite Yorkshire book, author, artist/CD/performer? David Hockney, especially as his recent work has put Yorkshire and the Wolds on the world map. In 2011, I had the privilege of meeting and spending a day with David in Bridlington whilst he was working on his exhibits for the RA exhibition David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. The word “idiosyncratic” was coined for this man!

If a stranger to Yorkshire only had time to visit one place, it would be?

York, no question. With more than 2,000 years of history, the city is one of England’s most historic and preserved communities and is renowned not only for the iconic Minster but for its exquisite architecture and quaint cobbled streets often populated with street entertainers. It’s a city which, although compact, has so much to offer – boutique shops, a wealth of attractions, fabulous hotels and a whole host of great restaurants, cafes, pubs and (of course) museums!

A Victorian Christmas at York Castle Museum runs until December 24. As well as transporting visitors back 150 years there will be gingerbread-making sessions and performances of A Christmas Carol. For full details go to