Last year we decided to take a trip to York for a few days. Well, actually, it was a birthday present from my boyfriend and it turned out to be some of my favourite few days of the year. I’m always harping on about wanting to explore more of the UK and York was the perfect way to dip our toes in the water for a city break a little closer to home.
How to get there…
York is pretty well connected to most of the UK and trains from London take around 2 hours. We actually decided to drive, in fact it was our very first road trip after getting our car and the journey was surprisingly uneventful- despite the torrential rain we had to contend with on the motorway! It’s around a 2 hour drive from Liverpool and it was a nice perk to not have to worry about packing light and just being able to chuck everything in the boot.
Where to stay…
We opted for an Air B&B for the two nights we were there and I couldn’t rate it highly enough. It was this one and it made the perfect home away from home. A classic northern terraced house it was well decked out and even had a little courtyard out the back which would be ideal if you were visiting in the warmer months. I have to admit, I’m still a little apprehensive when it comes to Air B&B but we couldn’t fault this one. It was just on the outskirts of town (about a 15 minute walk to the city centre) and one night we even opted to stay in with a takeaway and a film because it was just so god damn cosy.
If you do want to stay in a hotel though then I’ve got my eyes firmly set on The Grand which is an opulent hotel and spa. I’m tempted to book us in for a couple of nights of luxury and what better thing to combine with sight seeing than some spa treatments after a busy day?!
Where to eat…
I’m not ashamed to admit that my favourite part of any trip is the food. I love finding new places to try and normally arrive at my destination armed with enough recommendations to feed a small army. As we stayed in an Air B&B and had the perk of having our own kitchen we actually stocked up and opted to have breakfast at ‘home’ before heading out.
For dinner we opted for Ambiente, a tapas restaurant that came with glowing reviews. There’s actually two venues in the city and I won’t lie, we class ourselves as tapas connoisseurs; if there’s a tapas restaurant around you can bet we’ll try it. We opted for all the tapas classics: patatas bravas, calamari, croquettes… the list was endless. The food was great but it was the atmosphere that made this place stand out. Quite darkly lit, it felt warm and cosy despite having pretty modern and grungy decor.
Somewhere we didn’t try but I’m still wishing we did was The York Roast Co who do the best looking Yorkshire Pudding Wraps I’ve ever seen. Grab one of these for lunch to fuel your sightseeing, I think I’ll plan a trip back just to nab one.
An essential stop off point when in York is Betty’s Tea Rooms. My Grandma insisted we go for afternoon tea whilst we were there and her recommendation didn’t disappoint. Again there’s 2 venues in the city but we opted for the smaller one which I think is the original. A traditional tea room and bakery, the afternoon tea was UNREAL, think picture perfect scones and sandwiches. It’s worth noting that you can’t book in advance and no matter when you go you’ll be faced with a queue but trust me, those scones are well worth the wait.
What to do…
You won’t be stuck for things to do in York. A must do is a trip down the Shambles, a cobbled road that inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. It’s full of quirky shops including a couple dedicated to the boy wizard himself as well as a year round Christmas shop...HEAVEN. Also worth a visit is York Minster. Whilst we opted not to go in, it’s a beauty even from the outside and on a warm day a walk around the grounds offers some peace from the busy streets.
You can’t go to York without going to the York Dungeons. They’re famous worldwide and they were top of my list of what I wanted to do whilst we were there. A journey through York’s history whilst being deep underground, it’s an immersive experience so be prepared to get picked on, the actors are great and whilst I’m not sure how much factual history we learnt, it’s great fun.
There’s a few fab museums as well, the National Railway Museum is surprisingly interesting and my inner nerd was well and truly on display here whilst York Castle Museum is potentially the best museum I’ve ever visited with replica houses, streets and even jail cells to explore.
The city centre is also surrounded by the City Walls, we took a walk along them and it was a great way to get around the city whilst enjoying some of its history. There’s also some great independent shops including the best fudge I’ve ever tasted in York Fudge Kitchen.
We loved York, just like everyone said we would. It was the perfect city break only a couple of hours down the road and now we’ve well and truly got the bug for more UK city breaks!