It's kind of embarrassing to live in such a small country and to have only been as far north as Nottingham for a Hen Night. After writing about York for the A-Z Challenge, and realising that my rail card runs out soon, I decided to take a trip up north and see exactly what I was missing out on.
York is beautiful, in fact, so much so it rivals my love for Bath.
I have no idea what this is, I just thought it was pretty?
It probably helped that the day I arrived it was beautiful, the sun was shining and the sky was perfectly blue. I had a short list of things to do and see, especially since I was only there for a day, but I got up from my night in the hostel super early to make sure I would get to my first stop bright and early and before it got busy- and man did it get busy!
Out of my hostel, I decided to turn right instead of left, technically I couldn't get lost because I didn't really know where I was going. My aim was to get to York Minster, but it was still a bit before 9am so I was happy to take the scenic route. I was so glad that I did, because as I got to the bottom of the road I saw this:
Part of the city walls. If you look just below the car park sign you'll see that is a stair case. I skipped across the road and walked up the steps- anyone who knows me knows that when I am excited I do tend to skip around and not really control my enthusiasm at all. So, yes, I really did skip. I tried to walk up the steps like a normal 20 something would, but could barely contain myself. The sun was shining, I was somewhere new and pretty, and when I got to the top and looked around I could see the Minster straight away. It wasn't just tourists like me wandering up on the city walls, I passed by morning runners and people who appeared to be on their way to work, all sorts of people. I was fascinated by a walled city- I hadn't realised we even had one in the UK (aside from Hadrian's, which isn't so much a city wall; which shows my ignorance about where I live).
The Minster was beautiful (but there's a longer post on that coming tomorrow). I spent three hours there, tickets are £15 and that includes climbing the main tower- which was incredible and everyone should do it! The above picture was taken around half way up the climb, which is exhausting. There are 275 insanely steep steps all on spiral staircases. My knee's are pretty weak and, though I have no medical condition, I had to stop half way both time to stop them wobbling. You can also take a tour of the Minster included in your ticket, and, again you should. I will tell you all about my fabulous guide for that tomorrow.
The Shambles, a road known for its incredible leaning buildings, was smaller than I expected, but definitely worth the visit. The road itself wouldn't take a car, I don't think. The cobblestones are completely uneven and the street itself is absolutely packed with tourists. The street name comes from the Saxon for "Slaughterhouse", in 1862 there were 26 along this one street! The shops along the street are mostly souvenirs, but if you visit the Slaughterhouse Bar they have a wide variety of ales and offer tea and a scone for just £4. The staff in there, always busy and running around like crazy are tremendous, and will stop for a chat even if they have 30 other things to do- and somehow manage to do all of it with a smile on their faces!
It had been recommended to me to visit Betty's tea room, but the queue was stretching around the entire building, and with only a day there I decided to give it a miss this time. It seemed on my walk to find the tea room's, though, that there were churches everywhere. On every corner there was another church, a small one in the middle of a street otherwise full of shops, another hiding around a corner that I turned around. It was such a beautiful place to visit.
My last stop was St. Mary's Abbey, and with the sun out, people were laid in it's ruins sunbathing. St. Mary's Abbey was once the richest abbey in the North of England. Henry VIII is responsible for it's destruction, during the dissolution of monasteries. All that remains now are the north and west walls. There is also a museum that stands on it's grounds these days, The Yorkshire Museum, built for the York Philosophical Society. The relationship between the Abbey & Museum are that on an intimate one as part of the Chapter House has been incorporated into one of the lecture halls.
It looked like my kind of place, so I took my cue from them. Sat down and pulled my book out with my back leant against one of the remaining walls, blocking the slight breeze and enjoying the rest of sunny day with my book in my new favourite place to visit. I can't wait to go back, again.