My husband and I decided to go to York for a few days for our first wedding anniversary in March. When we told my family of our plans, they said I would love York, and they were not wrong. In fact, we loved it so much we’ve both imagined moving there.
For those of you who have never visited York, I wanted to write a little piece on our experiences and memories, to share with you the wonderful time we had, and how York is so much different from the everyday town we live in now.
Ashley Guest House
We stayed in a lovely, quaint little B&B down Scott Street named Ashley Guest House – it’s run by a very friendly and knowledgeable man named Phil who greeted us with homemade chocolate brownies and recommendations of places to go for lunch. The B&B is a short ten minute walk from the centre of York and its main attractions; far enough out of the way to not hear the city noise, but close enough to enjoy it whenever we wanted.
We stayed in a room called ‘The Tub’ which had a beautiful free standing Victorian bathtub in the bedroom. The furnishings were lovely and the room was cosy and homely. I’d always wanted to have a bath in a Victorian bathtub! *ticks bucket list*.
I really appreciated the fact that the B&B was a Victorian terrace and they had clearly used Heritage paint for the bedroom we stayed in (interior design geek right here). We also appreciated the complimentary bottle of cava!
After unpacking, we grabbed some lunch in the nearest place we could find. It was a three hour drive from our hometown to York and we were very hungry when we arrived. It wasn’t difficult to find somewhere to eat as York’s streets are filled with a range of restaurants, bars and cafes from quaint little tea shops to meaty, manly bar and grills. We settled on the simple option, a Pizza Hut buffet! (I know, not very adventurous, but when hunger calls…)
Once we’d eaten we decided to explore the city a little. First, we arrived at Clifford’s Tower, a stone structure mounted on a hill, blanketed in daffodils like that Wordsworth poem. Intrigued by the panoramic views from the top, we decided to explore. Clifford’s Tower is almost all that remains of York Castle which was built by William the Conquerer.
The views from the top of Clifford’s Tower were breathtaking. You could see all the buildings amongst fresh, fluffy clouds like freshly washed pillows in the sky. A true dreamscape, the contrast of the bright blue sky and the red buildings below was stunning.
Curious to see what the fuss was about, we searched for The Shambles as our next little adventure; 15th century buildings with their first floors hovering over the cobbles below. It is Britain’s best preserved Medieval street, and used to house butcher’s shops – you can still see the meat hooks on the outside of some of the shops!
Bright and early the next day, we joined a walking tour of York. I know. I walked around a city for a few hours and didn’t die, gold star for me!
We started at the Museum Gardens where the remains of St Mary’s Abbey stand. We then ventured through the gardens to the Multangular Tower, which was used as a defensive in Roman times. It now holds remains of Roman coffins.
We passed The King’s Manor, now a university for Archaeology, Heritage and Medieval studies. The coat of arms above the entrance had recently been re-painted.
After crossing the road we joined the path of the City Walls from Bootham Bar and again saw the stunning views of the city from a height.
After we left the City Walls, our tour guide introduced us to ‘Snickelways’; small streets and footpaths which are passageways through or between buildings.
We had walked past York Minster on several occasions already, particularly on our York Walk, and had learned about the history of the Minster. We took a closer look and decided to go inside. The stained glass windows were incredibly detailed and vibrant. We decided not to go up to the top of the tower as there were over 200 steps and my feet were hurting!
Fairfax House was our next visit; a grand Georgian townhouse furnished and decorated as it would have been in the 1700s. It was interesting to see the authentic furniture which was donated by John Terry (who gave us Terry’s Chocolate Orange!) I particularly liked the details on the ceilings, and the wallpaper in the drawing room was a beautiful green silk. Unfortunately, photographs were not permitted in Fairfax House, but you can take a look at the website here.
Thursday was museum day – we started at Yorkshire Museum which showcased historical artefacts from the Roman and Medieval periods and also some extinct animals and dinosaurs. It was very educational, the most interesting part was reading the medieval recipes!
On Thursday afternoon we visited Castle Museum – several exhibitions which were very interesting, my favourite being the Victorian street which was set up as it would have been at the time. They also had room settings of the Georgian and Victorian periods, a classic toys display, a 1960s exhibition, Castle prison and First World War relics.
Now, here’s a funny story. The first day we got to York and started exploring here and there, we walked past a fudge shop. Hubby is a fudge fiend, and we both said when we walked past it that we would visit again later on that day. After walking around for three days we finally tracked down the fudge shop we were looking for (yes, we managed to lose a fudge shop). Regardless, it was more than worth the searching as we got to sample some delicious delights!
Ye Olde Starre Inn
After our busy day of visiting the museums, we stopped for a few drinks in the oldest licensed inn in York, established in 1644. It was so sunny that we were able to sit outside in the beer garden and listen to the distant chimes of the York Minster bells. This is often a memory I look back on as being one of my happiest moments.
On our last night we went to Byron Hamburgers for dinner – the food was delicious, I just wish I had room for dessert! I loved the decor of the restaurant.
And here, our journey ended. York had been such an inspiration to me, the safe feeling of walking through the streets, entertainers lining the pathways that were actually very talented, the history, the colour, the Yorkshire charm, and of course all the tea!
It was lovely to arrive back to our cosy little home but we had such a fantastic time in York, and are looking forward to going back for our next anniversary. Many happy times ahead, I feel. 🙂