With Easter and Summer drawing closer and closer, I figured that doing a travel series on places I’ve been would be useful for anyone planning any getaways soon!
The first of my travel series is a place that is close to my heart, as this is the place that myself and my boyfriend went on our first mini break together during Easter, 2 years ago. This place is full of old, traditional English culture and is definitely a place that you should add to your list of places to visit in the UK.
This place is York in the county of North Yorkshire.
You’re probably thinking of Yorkshire Tea and Yorkshire Puddings as the first things that pops into your mind, but Yorkshire is full of hidden gems and York is definitely one of its beautiful gems.
York is a historic English city situated in Yorkshire and the Humber, so it gets its name from being in this region. It is a city founded by the Romans, which makes this city full of heritage and it is famed for its medieval city walls.
When I went to York with Tom we only took a short 3-day break, but it was more than enough time to explore York thoroughly! We stayed at Hotel 53, which is a short 10-minute walk from the main city centre and approximately 15-minutes walk from York Train Station. We booked through Expedia, as I tend to book most of my hotel stays through them (I’d definitely recommend because I’ve never had any issues with my bookings through them!).
On our first day of exploring it was the most beautiful Summer’s day, so we took the opportunity to go into the city centre and headed straight to the York Minster, which is the second largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe and you definitely can’t head to York without visiting this beautiful building! There is apparently a law in York to say that no buildings should be built taller than the York Minster, and this is why you only see low-rise buildings and you can see the York Minster from many points around the city, which I absolutely love that the main centrepiece in the town is really shown off!
We then decided to walk around the city centre and stumbled across ‘The Shambles‘, which unfortunately it was too busy to stop and take any pictures, as it was the start of the Summer holidays when we went. The Shambles are the narrow lanes that have buildings that are so close you could stretch your arms out and touch both sides of the street. They are full of charming little tourist shops, bakeries and cafés and this little area of York is compacted with history about what the architecture used to look like back in the medieval times.
After walking through the city centre we wanted to take a breather from the massive crowds of people, so we headed for the city walls walk, which was the most lovely walk because you get to see views of York in different perspectives, you just feel like you’re walking through a different time because of the history all around you!
York City Walls
The city walls took us all the way back to the city centre, so we decided to stop off for a pub lunch and then went to the York Dungeons! This was actually my first experience going to one of the Dungeons in the UK and it was lovely to learn more about the history of York in a more comical sense. Just a tip if you do go to the Dungeons in the UK, you can book online for cheaper tickets, find 2 for 1 tickets on the sides of Kelloggs cereal boxes and you can use Clubcard points from Tesco’s to get tickets as well!
They told us to act scared but we look too happy to see a corpse…
The following day, the weather was unfortunately not as nice as the day before, but it didn’t stop us from exploring! We went to the York Museum Gardens, which is a botanical garden surrounded by medieval ruins of the St. Mary’s Abbey. It was such a peaceful and romantic walk and I would definitely recommend visiting here to escape the busy and fast-paced city centre!
Then to escape the rain we decided to go to our first Picturehouse! It’s basically a cinema, but they have an interesting architecture and the one we went to was the City Screen Picturehouse York. So, if you find that the weather is bad (hopefully when you go it won’t be!) this place is the perfect place to escape for a few hours!
When we got out of the cinema, the weather had luckily cleared up, so we decided to jump onto a City Sightseeing Bus, which I’d definitely recommend if you’re on a short break like we were, because you get to see York in an hour with the tour guide pointing out certain attractions and history about certain places. The best thing is that the tickets are valid for 24 hours and you can hop on and off the bus, so you can take advantage of this service instead of paying for a taxi to get to places that are slightly further out! Student tickets are £9 and adult tickets are £13!
To finish off our long day, we stopped off at a lovely restaurant called Russells of Coppergate! If you love a relaxing atmosphere and a good carvery, I would highly recommend this place! The staff were lovely and attentive and the restaurant will always hold a fond place in our heart, as it was one of our first proper date nights.
Russells of Coppergate
When we woke up the next morning we decided to go for a nice walk along the famous River Ouse as the sun was shining and I think sometimes you just have to take some time out of a busy day to just reflect and enjoy the moment, so it was lovely just to watch people rowing down the river and watching the world pass by.
After that, we walked to the bus station and hopped onto a bus to go to Flamingo Land in Kirby Misperton, which took just over an hour to get there. We loved Flamingo Land purely because it has a zoo and a theme park, so it means you can spend the entire day there without getting bored! We spent the longest time in the zoo area just because of our fascination with animals and then spent a little time in the theme park. If you get the chance to go here, I’d definitely take the time to plan the day out well, so you can get to the theme park early and get your money’s worth (tickets are £38 on the door or £32 if you book online in advance)!
When we got back from Flamingo Land, we headed to the Golden Fleece in York, which is famed for being one of the most haunted pubs, as it is one of the oldest inns in England. Me and Tom love our horror and paranormal movies so this place couldn’t be missed off our list! It certainly had a very eerie atmosphere when we had dinner there, but the food was amazing and the staff were friendly and educated us on the history of the pub.
Following dinner, we decided as it was our final night in York, we wanted to go on a romantic evening river cruise run by the company YorkBoat. It was a 70-minute cruise down the River Ouse with the onboard commentary of all the landmarks we passed and it was just such a relaxing way to end a very jam-packed holiday as we glided along the river with lovely atmospheric music as we watched the sunset.
I hope today’s blog post has inspired you to look into booking a trip, whether it’s a long or short break! If you like history and architecture, you’ll fall in love with York! I know we’ll definitely be back here in the future!
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(DISCLAIMER: This blog post was not sponsored by Expedia or any other places mentioned in this post and all opinions are my own!)