YORK, THE ORIGINAL, NOT NEW
A city founded by Romans yet maintains that quintessential British charm
A walled city founded by ancient Romans, invaded by Vikings, and then dominated by the British monarchs, York is a facinating city to say the least. An exciting day trip to take with friends or by yourself, York has plenty to offer in terms of sightseeing and culture.
Located in the Northeastern part of England, York is a bit aways from London, but a train direct should take you around 2 1/2 hours. Book early to save money on train fare if you don't have a travel card, you can do this on or at Kings Cross station.
The most imposing and majestic building in York has to be York Minster. This stunning Cathedral always has a line in order to get in. The wait is worth it I promise! Like most churches in the UK, there is a price for admission, so be prepared to pay around 15 pounds. When you enter this beautiful building, you are amazed with how stunning the architecture and the decor are. It is inspiring to say the least. Above are photos from within the Cathedral, you can see for yourself how amazing the building is, both inside and out. While there, try and casually latch on to a tourguide group (because we did and learned a lot about the Cathedral). Be sure visit the small rooms in the back!
Revealing York Minster- Located downstairs within the Cathedral, this great museum really showcases the treasures within the Cathedral. There are priceless artifacts saved from centuries of worship at York, including bejeweled chalices and ancient Bibles. A must see to round out your tour.
Yes you read that correctly, VIKING FESTIVAL. I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon York while this festival was going on. During this festival, they have people that dress up like Vikings and come from all over Europe (you can see some of the whimsical costumes in the pictures above). So get your cameras out, and be ready to partake in, or watch, the many Viking themed events spread thoughout the festival. On the day we were, there they had a few events for children, a Viking village, and a large event by the mound by the museum. Unfortunately we missed the large event but it looked rather crowded and exciting so its on the calendar for the next time we go. Learn more about this festival here.
Culture: York Minster Cathedral, Roman Wall
Museums: Revealing York Minster
Cuisine: Yorkshire Pudding, Yorkshire Tea
Shopping: The Shambles & More
Walking down some of the streets of York and you would swear that you were in a scene from Harry Potter, this is especially true of Shambles street. The shops in York are all charming, and the selections of teas are unparalleled, however it is important that you do try some Yorkshire tea. They sell large quantities of it (like the size of a fertilizer bag), and with a scone or cupcake it's divine.
DINING AND CUISINE:
While only in York for a day, I had the opportunity to have some pub food and drinks in addition to Yorkshire tea and a cupcake. York puddings are quite famous and featured in almost any pub or establishment. Although I wasn't too keen on them (I thought they were a bit sour) it's always nice to try local things. Additionally, I had the opportunity to go to the Golden Fleece, tightly packed with characters (and I mean CHARACTERS), this unique pub holds claim to be the most haunted inn. With stories on the menu about its history, this spot is entertaining to say the least, if you can get a spot in the back room it's worth an hour.
Okay so this part I didn't get to truly experience, however they had haunted tours, many a mention of ghosts throughout advertisements, and features on pubs (Golden Fleece). Had I had stayed overnight I would have embraced these tours, so if anyone has taken one, please send me info with the contact form (also I'm jealous).
York is definitely a walkable city. In order to get a feel for the city, we walked around the old walls of the city, so grab a map from the station and it will show you the access points on the wall. However be aware that it's narrow so when you pass other groups you have to either crush yourself to the wall or stay and wait in one of the lovely break points. After walking around the wall and getting a taste for the city, feel free to amble down any of the beautiful streets, as mentioned earlier there is plenty to discover while wandering around these charming alleys.
OVERALL, I loved my daytrip in York, there was so much to see and do our day was packed with exploration! My only regret, was that I didn't stay a little longer to enjoy the Ghost tours... and that I didn't get to dress up like a Viking. Could have definitely done two days!