27 February 2014

Day Trips from London: London to York

Todays trip is to York. It is one of my absolute favourites. It is one of those places i will always recommend to people wanting a nice weekend escape - or who want good coffee, i mean honestly, Betty's, 'nuff said. Hehe, i digress. You can definitely do York as a day trip and its great over a weekend too.

So, York. Beautiful. Historic. Charming. You want narrow cobblestone laneways - check. You want original city walls you can walk on - check. How about a ruined Abbey? Yep, its got that and a ruined Norman Castle to boot. Authentic tea rooms? Did i mention Betty's? Markets, pfft! As if it wouldn't. Yeah, i kinda like York. And you know its on my wish list to revisit this year.

So come on, let me show you around this place.

We take a left outside the station and head towards the old city. Past the memorial gardens, the ferris wheel and over the River Ouse via the Lendal bridge and (what i assume is) an old toll masters cottage to find St Mary's Abbey and gardens on our left. The gardens are pretty and, the Abbey, despite being in ruins, maintaining its grandeur and possessing a melancholy beauty.

St Mary's Abbey is only a couple of streets from the largest Gothic Cathedral in northern Europe - York Minster. Inside its cool, people whisper and crane their necks to take in the soaring ceilings and stain glass windows. The choir's wood panelling is warm against the cool stone, the detailed carvings hard to appreciate in one glance. Sit down, take a moment, take it in. Don't worry, we'll be back when its a little darker to see it lit up at night.

We can take a stroll along the old city walls from near here that will go around York Minster to the top for Goodramgate before beginning to explore those charming laneways and maybe a bite to eat.

The streets between High and Low Petergate near York Minster down to Pavement and back up through Parliament Street and Davygate to Stonegate at the top. Within and around these streets you'll find the famous Shambles (including Little Shambles) which is full of tiny old shops leaning against each other for support and peering out onto the lane - try the Monk chocolate shop for a hot chocolate or some delicious chocolate truffles.

At the corner of Davygate and Blake St you'll find Betty's Tearooms, great for a meal, afternoon tea, breakfast or coffee (they have another tea room along Stonegate) you'll also find that this area is host to street performers and a general meeting point.


Down Stonegate you will find a host of high street shops interspersed with old pubs and a place specialising in the traditional Yorkshire Pudding. Duck into the Coffee Yard off Stonegate and explore other little hidden side streets to your hearts content.

If you are up for a drink, the Snickleway Inn (don't you just love that name?) is a pub that is full of character, is supposedly the most haunted pub in Britain, and, in the winter months, has open fires going to warm frosted hands. Parliament street and the area between it and the Shambles is where you will find markets galore.

Once you have had your fill of narrow laneways, busy markets and old shops and pubs leave all that behind for a picturesque walk along the river Ouse towards Clifford's Tower. It is all that remains of a Norman Castle that used to be on this site. The tower used to house Royalty and was spread across several floors, but all that is gone and the centre is hallowed out. The cool thing though is the views. At the top of the tower you can see across York and it is beautiful at sunset.

As a last stop before we head back to London, we head back to York Minster to see it lit up and majestic.

You know writing this post has really made me impatiently itchy to go for another visit. I'm sure there is much more to see than what i have already.


Travel Tips for London to York
  • Trip duration by train is approximately 1 hour 50mins to 2 hours 20 mins
  • Make sure you choose York (YRK)
  • Trains depart from London Kings Cross rail station
  • Driving to York can take up to 3 hours and 40 minutes

If you have been to York, what was the highlight for you? Where should i go next time i visit?

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