York has been top of my UK city break hit list for a good while now, so when we finally found a weekend to head away, it was a pretty obvious choice where to travel to. With a Travelodge night booked, dinner reservations made and plenty of activities planned, we set off to explore this pretty city…
I started writing this post with intentions to make it one long post covering both days, but once I’d put everything together, I realised it’d probably take FOREVER to read, so I’m splitting it into two tantalising parts, like I did with my Hamburg break earlier this year.
To help pack as much into our York city break weekend as possible, we had a pair of YorkPasses, which covered entry into a variety of attractions. The individual attractions, I’ll be going into in more detail, as I’ve got quite a lot to say on them. In the meantime, here are some highlights…
One thing that impressed me is how easy it is to get to York. Less than two hours after leaving London, we pulled into York Rail Station, excited by the adventures ahead. It’s also at this point, once we left the station, we almost got hit by a man pushing a taxi. Thankfully, we avoided the taxi and the crowds headed to the races, and headed straight into town to check out the city.
My first impressions? This place…well, it’s freakin’ beautiful. As we crossed the bridge over the Ouse, I managed to draw my eyes away from the super cute pair of beagles trotting past me and looked out over the gorgeous water, as a pleasure cruise boat made its way under the bridge. Autumn-tinged leaves lined the water in the distance.
One we’d immersed ourselves in a little bit of history at the JORVIK Viking Centre, we took on the steps of Clifford’s Tower. Thankfully, there weren’t THAT many, and half way up we discovered a little gift shop with some toy swords outside. Rest feet, playfight with toys, climb some more. My kinda exploring. The views from the top of the tower give a great perspective over the city of York.
After all that climbing, we were basically starving, so headed to The Perky Peacock to grab some lunch. It’s basically THE cutest little cafe, tucked into the bridge we’d walked across earlier. Inside, there are cosy sofas and tables under wooden beams, giving it a real cosy, farmhouse vibe. Because it was £2 more to eat our sandwiches in though, we decided to tuck in beside the river instead.
I had a Brie and Bacon toasted sandwich, and it was SO. DAMN. GOOD. The onion chutney inside worked amazingly with the plentiful brie and bacon, and the bread was just crispy and dreamy and wonderful. This one easily makes the top five sarnies I’ve had, ever.
We had to make a pretty swift escape though, as the noisy and quite terrifying duck posse made an appearance…yep, I made FULL use of my camera’s zoom for the shot you see above…
If there’s one place in York that truly bowled me over in awe, it has to be York Minster. I’ve seen my fair share of cathedrals, and the Minster is truly breathtaking in terms of size and beauty.
For a start, its HUGE. So huge. The walls are covered in intricate carvings, statues and shrines, and the gigantic stained glass windows are overwhemingly stunning. If the main floor wasn’t enough to look around, the undercroft contained displays showcasing the cathedral’s history, along with tales of pilgrimage and faith.
At the centre of a beautiful city, this simply breathtaking building is a jewel in York’s crown. Photos and words simply just don’t do it justice.
One of my favourite attractions we visited on the trip was York’s Chocolate Story. Because, duh, chocolate. Our guide Serena was amazing – so enthusiastic and fun, taking us through the history and process of chocolate making, with a particular focus on York’s role in the confectionery industry.
There were CHOCOLATE SAMPLES all the way round, which was awesome enough as it was…but oh no, we weren’t finished yet. After the tour, we made our own chocolate lollies, followed by a chocolatier demonstration. Which we got to scoff the (delicious) results of. It’s an innovative, engaging experience and basically, if you like chocolate, you HAVE to do this tour.
We checked into our hotel before dinner, the Travelodge Central Micklegate. It’s so well located for everything you’d want to do in York, and the room provided the clean and comfortable standards Travelodge are known for.
Thanks to some excessive spending on other travel bits and a pricey birthday night out or two, we were pretty skint when the trip rolled around. Luckily, for dinner, I’d stumbled upon a Groupon deal for two courses at Hook & Line, a fish and chip restaurant. I have a full review coming – but it’s safe to say, this little spot didn’t disappoint.
After filling our bellies, we topped them up with a beer each in York’s oldest licensed premesis, Ye Olde Starre Inn. First licensed in 1644, it still has lots of the old features including wood panelling, beams and small snug-style rooms off the main bar.
For our evening activity, we embraced the almost-Halloween spirit and joined the Bloody History of York tour, which I’d thoroughly recommend at any time of year. I love a good ol’ spooky story, and Mad Alice has plenty of those to share.
Despite the fact she had a broken leg, she was incredibly engaging, and also excellent at getting rid of early-peaking drunks that occasionally appeared on the periphery of the group. From hauntings to Viking violence, I found myself completely immersed in York’s darker side.
Because we’re old and had had a long, busy day, we decided to head back to the hotel, where I edited some photos and Conor watched Match of the Day before our heads hit the pillow pre-midnight. There’s just so much to do in a York city break; we’d crammed so much into an afternoon and evening, and definitely needed to catch some sleep. Because we had a whole new day of exploring ahead of us…
*We were guests of Travelodge and were given complimentary passes by Visit York – all other expenses and all itinerary choices our own.
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