I recently had a week off work, staying with my family in Nottinghamshire and planned a busy week for myself seeing family and friends (and enjoying not being at work!). As my parents live in a well-connected town, I took the chance to have a day trip up to York.
The last time I visited the city was several years ago, and the time before that I was 5 for my dad’s 40th birthday! My mum and I took an early train to make the most of the day – I clocked in over 20,000 steps, though my phone isn’t as reliable as my mums FitBit so it could have been fewer! In hindsight, I should have had a few solid plans in place, so I wasn’t ‘umming and ahhing’ all day, but it was still lovely, especially when the sun came out in the afternoon!
Upon arrival, we made a dash for the loos before walking a section of the city walls. It was surprisingly quiet and was great to get away from the early crowds of the day. We had some excellent views of the back of the Minster from the walls, before heading to Monkgate.
After ending our saunter on the city walls, we wandered through town, stopping to see some lady Morris dancers (with some excellent bell work). After that interlude, we made our way to the castle attractions and walked up the steps to Clifford’s Tower (£6 for adults) an English Heritage site on a mound that served as the tower of a motte and bailey castle built by William the Conqueror. The panoramic views of York from the top of the tower were fantastic, and signs detailing the skyline meant you could pick out what buildings were what.
York has loads of great places to eat, from chains to independent cafes. My mum and I stopped off at Spurriergate Café; a church converted to a café and shop in one of the city’s oldest buildings. The food was basic (my mum had the soup of the day, and I had brie, bacon and cranberry toastie) but tasty none-the-less and the family-friendly atmosphere and young staff made it a relaxing place to eat. They also had a good selection of fruit teas, so I had to indulge in a pomegranate and raspberry!
Though a walking tour would have been a great idea, I wanted to rest my feet, so my mum suggested a cruise along the River Ouse – perfect as the sun was just coming out! The cruise gave us a chance to relax and enjoy York from a different view, and we were given interesting facts about the city as we went past. The cruise lasted around 45 minutes, and several private boats were passing by us full of people in fancy dress. It seemed like we had missed the memo about the dress code, but it was fun to see people dressed up in Navy uniforms, pirates, and Disney characters!
Sunbathing in Museum Gardens
As the morning had started grey and cloudy, we had to make the most of it when the sun came out and chilled out in the Museum Gardens, and we weren’t the only ones! I love a city that has green spaces for people to sit down and relax and for kids to play, especially if they are away from crowds in the city centre.
Now that the sun was beating down on us, my mum and I thought that warranted an ice cream. We had spotted a fancy ice cream parlour earlier in the day so made our way back to LICC – the Luxury Ice Cream Company. I had just had a week of eating ice lollies every day at work, so opted for a milkshake instead – orange meringue if I recall! The bright interior, cheerful decoration and friendly staff have definitely made LICC a popular place for ice cream in York!
Being that I was in York, that has a fair few historical highlights, it seemed right to have a look at some. We had a nosy in York Minster (didn’t have enough time to look around, and I have seen plenty of cathedrals and fancy churches in my time. If I go again I will take more time to visit it) and walked down the Shambles. The Shambles is an old street in York with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating to the 14th century. It is crazy, so many of the buildings are still in use today. At one end of the street, I found three Harry Potter shops (only forced my mum to go into one), which seemed fitting, as the Shambles has a very Diagon Alley feel to it.
After sunning ourselves a bit more in a grassy area near the Minster, we made our way to the train station among what seemed like several people heading to a wedding (actually York Races, but I felt suddenly underdressed!). Then it was just under an hours train journey back to my parents and an early night!
Have a look below at some other pictures from my day trip:
Have you been to York – for a day trip or longer? What were your highlights? Let me know in the comments or via social media!