We spent a few days in the UK; and decided to spend some time ‘up north’. The weather was mostly cloudy making the temperature plunge but as we were driving to York we didn’t particularly mind. In the past, this journey used to take in the region of 3.5 hours but with the number of roadworks and speed limits at 50mph it ended up taking over 5 hours! With the same coming back, it felt as if we had been robbed of two days from our break.
York is one of my favourite UK cities. With it’s ruins and museums, it is perfect for a short break if you want to soak up a rich tapestry of history. And once you enter the old city gates you become a time traveller – Romans, Vikings, English Civil War, the age of Victorian railways, York has it all.
Naturally, we had to peek at York’s magnificent Minster. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe and dates back to the 13th Century. The 200ft tower, impressive stonework, and beautiful rose window dominates the city. Visitors, if they are feeling energetic, can climb the 275 steps to the top of the tower to admire unparalleled views of the surrounding area.
The city also has a huge number of strange street names. Where else would you find Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate, Mucky Peg Lane or even The Pavement? Stonegate is another of my favourites with its overhanging gabled and lopsided buildings and its maze of medieval alleyways. However, York’s most famous street is the Shambles. It used to be where butchers traded and is so narrow in order to keep the sun off the meat – it must have smelt disgusting. Today’s Shambles has none of the gore of the 16th Century; the narrow street is full of tourist shops and cafes.
You may be surprised that I wanted to visit the National Railway Museum. Whilst ordinarily I’m not a railway fan, I have been before and actually got quite steamed up and excited. Not because it’s free but there is so much to see about life at the time. Unfortunately due to the time our journey took to reach York and after we had done other things the museum was about to close. But there is always another time.
If history isn’t your thing, York is also the UK’s most haunted city with ghosts and ghouls galore. It’s hard to miss the many ghost walks that run each evening. There are said to be around 140 ghosts lurking so if you’re of a nervous disposition, you’ve been warned!
This trip might have been blighted by cold and windy weather but I enjoyed wandering around York’s alleyways, medieval streets, ginnels, and snickets and admiring the architecture. There are also a large number of ‘olde worlde’ ale houses with warm snugs that are very inviting on a blustery day.