Situated in northern England, York is a beautiful city steeped in thousands of years of history. Real civilisation in the city is thought to have started with the Romans, who founded ‘Eboracum’ (now known as York thanks to the Vikings) in 71AD, when 5,000 Roman soldiers marched from Lincoln to York and set up camp.
Due to it’s history and careful preservation, York is one of the most historically beautiful cities in the whole of England, and the UK. As we were driving up to Scotland, we thought we would stop off to break the journey, we knew one night wouldn’t be enough, so we stayed for two.
Getting to York is pretty easy, for us anyway, straight up the A1 and then off, when you are in York itself however, the traffic can be a little troublesome. Upon looking for our B&B we arrived in a pretty, blossom lined street named St Peters Grove, and parked up at the B+B York where we would be staying for the weekend. Parking was simple, and check in was quick and easy, first impressions were that staff were very friendly and eager to help. We were shown to our large double room which had ample space and an en suite bathroom. Each of the rooms are going through refurbishment, ours was modern yet traditional and tasteful in design, I was very pleased with our home for the next two nights.
More on that later.. it was time to head into the city. It was around 4pm by the time we left our accommodation so we didn’t have too much time to explore. We headed into the city walls, just a ten minute walk and you are straight into the heart of the historical city itself. It was Friday night, on a bank holiday weekend, so I was overwhelmed by how busy it was, this city is popular with tourists and locals alike! Heading down Stonegate was where we really hit the human congestion, but once we were out the other side we were free to explore in peace.
We managed to walk around the whole city in under an hour, just to find our bearings so we knew exactly what we wanted to do the next day. We enjoyed a drink each at the Judge’s Lodgings (highly recommended) before grabbing a quick bite to eat and heading back to our B&B for some rest and recuperation.
After a sound night of sleep we headed down to breakfast. Alex enjoyed a delicious serving of Eggs Benedict, and me a full English Breakfast (of course)! We left early morning, I enjoy taking photos of streets and buildings so I was keen to beat the crowd so I could get some shots. It was fairly quiet, surprisingly quiet in fact, for a Saturday morning, I would highly recommend getting up and out early so you can really see the city without the sea of people in the way.
My favourite area of the morning was the Shambles and Jubbergate, as you can probably see from my Instagram, I have a slight persuasion to old and wonky looking buildings, I don’t think they are loved enough!
We then headed over to York Wall, beginning our walk along the Lendal Bridge section. If you are walking away from the Minster, you might not think there is much to see, however turn around along the way and the views over this spectacular place of worship are breathtaking (thank you Alex for pointing that out to me!). The original walls were built by the Romans in 71AD, and many of these remains are still buried deep under the current walls, which fell into disrepair in the 18th Century as they were no longer needed. The City of York today is fighting hard to preserve what is left of these walls.
We headed down Micklegate Bar, the most important of York’s medieval gateways, and followed the Micklegate street up into the centre of the city where we had booked a table at Betty’s Tea Room. Afternoon Tea in York is a must, and Betty’s is the place to go. I would recommend pre booking, you can queue to have afternoon tea in the cafe downstairs however.
Bookings for Betty’s can be made here.
After we had fully indulged ourself at Betty’s we took a slow stroll over to the Museum Gardens, a great back drop to St Mary’s Abbey, the ruins of one of Britain’s most wealthy and influential abbeys, first erected in 1088. If you can get over here around lunchtime, it is a great stop for a picnic!
Combine this with the National Railway Museum and you won’t have to walk far at all! Housing 300 years of history, this museum attracts over one million visitors a year and is thought to be one of the best in the world. You don’t have to be in to trains to find it fascinating, the most I know about trains is how often Great Northern fail to run a prompt service throughout Hertfordshire!
We were pretty tired by this point, and by now we had felt a few drops of rain, but we didn’t give up! We marched up to the minster (you can actually hop on a little train from the railway museum, however the queue was quite long due to the overcast sky so we decided to walk instead), and complained a little about the queue to get inside. We decided it would be worth it and we would join the back of the queue. I can honestly say, don’t be alarmed by the long queues, it went down pretty quickly and we were soon inside. Basic entrance is £10 (it costs £20,000 a day to run this place!), and entrance with a tower view ticket is an extra £5 – well worth it, but please note that no one under eight years old can climb to the top of the tower. We were a little set back when purchasing our tickets as there were no available slots to climb the tower for another hour and a half, but we were in there by now so thought we might as well continue.
As it turns out, it’s easy to kill an hour in this place. this world class cathedral boasts spectacular stain glassed windows around every corner, jaw dropping architecture, and fabulous ceilings! The central tower was what I was really interested in however, 275 steps up (argh!), and you will find the most magnificent views in all of York, the photos speak for themselves…
On that note I think I will leave it there, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Oscar’s but nothing beats the top of the York Minster!
If you are interested in booking the B+B York for your break, please click here.