The Shambles

What to do in York – 2014

Go to the start of this trip by clicking – here.

Our guide focused on historical buildings and Roman ruins. They have lots of heavy stone carved Roman coffins lying about. She pointed out cats on the buildings. Not real ones. Cat statues. They put concrete or metal cats on the walls in York. She took us through The Shambles, an area that used to trade in meat and produce. One can only imagine how it could have been a helluva mess. 

She took us around

Cat on building

the  outside of the Minster which is York’s key attraction. I’m still not sure what the difference is between a minster and a cathedral. However I now know that York Minster has the biggest stained glass window in the world.

Inside York Minster

We were in York during Easter. York Minster had a special Easter service. Access during a service is free. I really wanted to go. I’m not particularly religious but I love the drama of a full mass. I raced out the hotel only to forget my glasses. I couldn’t read the song sheet. Felt a bit stupid mumbling as I had no idea what the words were. My other half meanwhile went to the railway expo. I met him there after mass.

We wanted to try as many vegan/meat-free eateries as we could. Good old Happy Cow on-line guide had a few. (How did we ever live without Happy Cow?) We ate at El Piano, a Spanish eatery that just happens to have an outlet in York. And we ate at Goji Cafe and Deli. 

For bargain food in the UK, you cannot beat Wetherspoons. A local pub and grub chain that is unbeatable for good prices. Food is OK. You get what you pay for. My favourite there is a Jacket Potato with beans or veg chili.

Of course a trip to York without a ghost tour is unthinkable. And there are plenty to choose from. The guides dress up in dark clothes with a top hat and tails. Our guide was a history boffin so his slant was very much about actual events as opposed to scary stories. He talked about grim happenings to Margaret Clitherow and Guy Fawkes who were locals. We were in York early in May. The sun goes down late, but it was bitterly cold. My teeth were chattering and my feet

River Ouse

were numb as we walked through winding alleys. Much as I enjoyed the Terror Trail, I couldn’t wait for that tour to be over and head somewhere warm.

There are so many museums in York. Too many. We always go for the cheapies and freebies first. Some of the museums, like the Viking museum were really tempting. But the entrance fees are steep and it can all add up to a LOT of money. We also skipped a boat trip up and down the River Ouse and walked along the river for free. Lots of lovely pubs line the river. Be sure to try a local craft beer.

Greenie walking the wall in York

You can walk on the sections of the old wall that used to surround York. Also free. The wall is not complete anymore but it’s a lovely walk as you can see the city from higher up. Even local pubs have mini excursions in their dungeons. We found a pub in town that had Roman Baths underneath. Except they were closed the day we were there.

Apparently the first Easter egg was invented in 1798 by a Yorkshire woman called Esther Burnay. She painted an ostrich egg and threw it at the Archbishop of York. Turns out the world

York skyline with the minster looming large

liked the idea of painted eggs but did not adopt the concept of throwing them at clergymen. Chocolate comes from Yorkshire. The Rowntree, Cadbury and Fry families were Quakers who were in the Yorkshire area. We were told at one of the specialist chocolate shops that more Kit Kats are sold than any other chocolate snack.

York is apparently one of the top 10 cities to visit in England. Our guide seemed to think it had more going for it than Bath. So there you go. If you heading north, why not take a detour and visit York.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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