York: wizzards, scones and castles

When was the last time you cleared your schedule and jumped on a train for a day out in a city near where you live? For me it was a long time ago, whilst my boyfriend was over in the U.K. from Germany I took the opportunity to both show him how varied England can be and also went somewhere which felt like a little holiday for me too.

York, an hour and 20 minutes on the train from Sheffield, was the perfect location. Steeped with history, quintessentially British tea shops, a sprinkling of Harry Potter and the best fudge possible: York is the place for a day-holliday.

We got to York at 10am and the first stop was the tourist information, having only been to York about twice before we were going to need a map and some ideas of things to do. Luckily we were met by the most enthusiastic and helpful guide who gave us a map, handed us lots of leaflets and essentially planned our day for us by drawing on our maps and circling lots of places to stop by. We were set and our first stop were the city walls.

After a walk along the walls overlooking the minster we went to explore the inner city itself. York is so beautifully historic and this was one of the reasons that I was most looking forward to showing it to someone who had never been before.

The shambles: probably one of the mosy iconic trademarks of York. I’m really no Harry Potter fan but even I could see how this spot could have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley. We spent quite a bit of time dipping in and out of different potion shops, merchandise stoes and taking pictures of broomsticks. Despite my ignorance, we had a great time.

I’m very lucky that one of my closest friends is from York. She gave me a few heads up of where to go ahead of our visit and so we then head off to ‘Spark’ based off’ve her recommendation. We found a really cool area made of shipping containers consisting of lots of streat food vendors. It didn’t have exactly what we were looking for in terms of the lunch we were looking for but if I were to head to York again soon, I would definitely head there for evening drinks!

By that time we were both hungry and ready for some lunch. We stumbled upon a tiny little café called No.4 Church Lane. Cheap, traditional and cosy, we filled our boots and had a very much needed sit down after all of the walking and exploring so far.

From there it was time to find a castle, or at least something resembling one. We headed to Clifford’s Tower. Lucky with the weather the sunshine shone over York from this point and we had a great view over the city. You had to pay to enter the tower (a bit cheeky for basically a circle made of stone) but hey ho…we had a read of it’s history and got a glimpse of a lovely view.

After another lovely walk discovering some more back streets of the city we ended up needing another sit down. Where better to go than Betty’s for afternoon tea. We didn’t shell out for the propper traditional afternoon tea but we did enjoy tea and scones in the cutest, tea house in York.

After topping up with tea and treats we went off for one final walk around the city before heading back to the train. We did some window shopping, visited a chocolate factory and simply enjoyed getting lost in the small, winding city centre streets.

And just like that our day-holiday was over. York’s a beautiful city and well worth a day out. Getting out of my normal routine, leaving the laptop at home and exploring somewhere new was really exciting and different. I’ll definitely be making the effort to explore some more cities in the U.K. more often. Where to go next? That’s the question!

-Aimée

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