Seeing as how the beautiful and historical town of York is only a 45 mins bus ride away, my fellow Austrailian friends and I decided to take a last minute trip up to see what York had to offer.
I’ll give you a little historical overview of the town York:
York is home to a very rich and historical heritage, as well as significant and beautiful buildings, churches, and the wall. Surrounding York is a large medieval wall that was used to protect the city, government and inhabitants from destruction and many wars. Depending on the season, areas within York will have large floods, and although it looks really interesting to see roads and buildings engrossed by water, the floods lead to transportation issues and closing of shops and pubs. Overall, York was a very beautiful city with lots to offer in terms of history, culture and beautiful sights.
After a comfortable and quick bus ride to York, my aussie friends and I decided to walk around the city and begin our tour to see all the main attractions of York: The Shambles, York Minster, The City Walls, Clifford’s Tower, York Brewery, and The Golden Fleece.
Our journey began with a visit to The Shambles, which I must saw, looks like a scene from the Harry Potter films; it honestly looks like Diagon Alley. My favourite part was called “Little Shambles” and was filled with little interesting shops selling children’s toys to traditional English sweets.
There were old cobble stone roads that surrounded The Shambles and run-down, crooked, wooden buildings that leaned over the alley. I was extremely tempted to pullout a wand and tap the bricks and waiting for the bricks to move, creating an entrance into the magical world of Harry Potter; I was so tempted… if only I hadn’t forgotten my wand at home. This place is a must see for those who visit York; especially fans of Harry Potter.
After a lovely walk through The Shambles and marketplace surrounding it, we ventured over to the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, which stands at the city’s centre: York Minster. The pictures below do not give the cathedral justice. York Minister was so big, that I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my camera to capture the beauty and entirety of the famous historical building. To go inside, it costed 16 pounds or so, and was highly recommended to go inside, as it is just as beautiful. However, I’m on a student budget for travelling expenses, so I didn’t go in; maybe another time. For now, I was just as amazed to see the exterior, as I probably would the interior.
Afterwards, we began our journey through the windy streets of York and explored the city by taking a look into the vast amounts of little shops and activities going on. We eventually came to the entrance to the City Walls; which was the coolest thing I’ve seen thus far in England. I find it fascinating that there are medieval walls still surrounding the city of York; not to mention the fact that you are able to walk on the city walls and literally circle around the city.
Every time I think of the walls, or see them, all I can think about is THE WALL from Game of Thrones. Back in the day, I’m sure the inhabitants would not want to leave the protection and safety within the wall or venture “North of the Wall”. The no dogs allowed on the city walls sign is also humourous to me, just as a result from references to Game of Thrones.
The walk around the City Walls was amazing, and the views of York were just gorgeous.
The Aussies and I decided to grab some food for lunch/dinner (or “tea” here) and ventured around the city some more for a good place to eat. We came across a pub called The Golden Fleece which was named the #1 Pub of the year, as well as a huge tourist attraction for it’s history and haunted stories. Apparently there are ghosts that inhabit the pub, and steal the menus and silverware (said the pub worker). The pub was really nice, and very dim lite. It definitely gave off the feel that it was haunted, but at the same time was a really cozy and interesting place to eat. The meals were somewhat pricey, but compared to other places, were extremely reasonable. The meals offered were humungous and extremely delicious. Therefore, the price was well worth it!
Once we finished our meals and relaxed for a good period of time, we ventured our way to Clifford’s Tower. This Tower is part of the York Castle, in which it was used as a prison and has an interesting history. The structure itself was so interesting to view as it sat on the top of a small hill.
Afterwards, we realized it was too late in the day to go anywhere else (there were a few more places I wanted to see in York, such as Castle Howard, but will have to wait for another day), so we decided to do what every British person does; have a pint at the local pub.
As we continued our journey through York to the bus station, I continued to admire the buildings, businesses, and interesting sights within the city walls. The city of York is one of my recommended places to visit while you are in England; it’s quite beautiful.