Last Updated on 11/04/2023 by secretmoona
A few years back, I challenged myself: to visit as many cities in the U.K. as possible before returning to France. This month I was lucky enough to visit 2 lovely yet different cities: Liverpool and York. A few days ago, I spent a weekend in the beautiful city of York.
York is one of England’s most beautiful quaint cities, with lots to see and do, from the lovely cobbled streets to the historic buildings, cute tea shops and so on. Hopefully, this guide will give you all the tips on what to see, do and eat in one of England’s best-kept medieval cities. The fascinating city is still showcasing remains of the culture that once ruled it, from the Romans to the Vikings, who gave its name (Jorvik) and, finally, the Normans.
How to enjoy the weekend in York?
How to get there
York is 2.5 hours away from London Kings Cross on the Virgin Trains East Coast line. My aim was to travel on a budget, and I have to say I did pretty well with the hotel booking however, I was less clever in regard to the transport. Sadly my visit to York coincided with York Races, which meant that train fares were quite expensive! Virgin Trains often have deals, so check them out before travelling.
Weekend in York? Things to Do
Stroll Down The Shambles
One of the most popular attractions is The Shambles, a small street in the city’s centre full of shops and tea rooms. The architecture is what attracts people the most, the medieval buildings (some being timber-framed), along with the raised and uneven pavement, make the area very charming. The Shambles used to be housed by butcher shops but is now home to souvenir shops, cute boutiques, tea shops, cafes and restaurants if you fancy a nice brunch or lunch. It is simply impossible to leave the streets without being tempted to buy something. You are bound to find a souvenir to bring back to your family or friends. It was very busy when we visited, I think it was due to the bank holiday weekend.
The Jorvik Viking Centre
The Jorvik Viking Centre is the newest attraction in York and takes visitors into what used to be York during the Viking-era… Jorvik. While waiting in the queue, we were welcomed by a funny smell. We were later told that the smell was recreated to mirror the smell of the town during the Viking occupation. Once inside, you hop into a type of car and are guided inside the 10th-century Viking town. The visit allows you to see the scene of daily life. After the ride, we were ushered into a room exhibiting the objects excavated at the sites. This attraction is extremely popular with the kids, it was funny seeing the excitement in their eyes.
The stone tower is the last remaining tower of what once used to be York Castle. The castle was the site of a gruesome event: the mass massacre and suicide of York’s Jewish community in 1190. There is not much to see inside, but it offers a good view of the city.
Admire York Minster
A Visit to York cannot be complete without admiring the magnificent cathedral (Britain’s largest Gothic building) with its medieval stained glass. I have not visited inside. However, I will make sure to do it next time I visit York. If you have time, you can see the best views in York after climbing the 275 steps up the Central Tower.
If you are into history, you will be pleased with the many museums in York. The National Railway Museum offers over 300 years of railway history. The Yorkshire Museum and the Museum Gardens take you back in time with the architectural treasures and display of animals. The museum is interesting, but it is the beautiful garden surrounded by the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey that are, in my view, the highlight. Since the day was nice, there were lots of people enjoying the sun or having picnics. There was even a wedding happening in one of the adjacent buildings.
Where to eat
The city centre has so many places to eat that it makes deciding difficult. Of all the many coffee shops and tea rooms, Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms is undeniably the most popular as queues stretched outside of the shop. I love food and wouldn’t mind queuing for it, but with the many other choices around, I didn’t see the point in waiting 30 minutes for a cake.
We had dinner at Khao San Rd, a Thai restaurant. Well, that was not typical, but we were looking for a gluten-free restaurant close to the hotel, so we went there. The pad Thai I ordered wasn’t the best, but it was worth the price at