In Love with York

"Nowhere in England is there another spot so full of charm as York and where in York is there a more charming spot than the Gardens of the Philosophical Society, in which stand the beautiful fragments of that once powerful and noble monastery of St. Mary's. Here we must leave the venerable pile in the evening of its glory."- Edwin Risdale Tate







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 city itself had a different air about it, and not just that fresh not smoggy city air, but the way the people were. People didn't break eye contact if you looked up and saw them looking- in fact most of them said "hello"- which would not happen here, I can promise you. No one seemed bothered that I had a camera swinging from my wrist, or when I stopped in front of them to turn around and take a photo looking down an old street that was crooked and all the buildings leaned the wrong way. Most smiled, a knowing smile, but not looking at all annoyed.



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.




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Comments

  1. Awesome pics Sammi! And no worries....I've seen about 3% of the USA lol....thanks for sharing York with us!

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    1. Thanks Ryan-- though the USA is a lot bigger thank the UK.

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  2. I totally love York too. I too spent a day walking along the walls, exploring the Shambles, and relaxing in the abbey, although the weather wasn't quite as good as on your visit! Beautiful city though :-)

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    1. Where are you from, again, Kiara? I love the city. I think I hit it on a good day. Such a great place, and I still have more I want to see.

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  3. Yay, you finally made it to York! Seems like a really nice city. I start believing that rainy England is just a myth, 'cause all your photos show clear blue skies :)

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  4. York looks beautiful! Looks like you caught it on s good too as the weather looks lovely.

    Floating in Israel's Dead Sea

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  5. York looks like my kind of place too. I would love to spend an afternoon sitting at St. Mary's Abbey as well. And don't worry, I've been told I do this weird excited walk too!

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    1. It was beautiful, I loved it there. I kind of just skip around like a five year old :D

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  6. York looks gorgeous- esp with that damn blue sy!!! Big thanks for linking up with us to #SundayTraveler

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    1. No worries :) the sky was amazing that day. I love the shade of blue it goes in the summer over here when, on the odd occasion the sun greets us with its presence.

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  7. Beautiful! I love England, and I just need to get back soon!

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    1. Yes- for sure! England is awesome.

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  8. York is one of my favourite cities, though I've been to Canterbury and that has city walls too, but much older I think. It's only worth going to Betty's tea rooms if you have lot's of spare money - it's quite expensive! And there are plenty of lovely little tearooms instead.

    Us northerners are always friendly ;)

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    1. I haven't been to Canterbury. Maybe I should add it to my list? Oh really, I didn't even realise (as I said in the beginning of the post) that we had walled cities in the UK- I always think of places like Dubrovnik and Luxembourg City!

      I did manage to get a lovely, cheap, afternoon tea. My friend recommended Betty's to me, and I really wanted to try it. But never mind! Next time.

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  9. I love seeing York! It looks like my kind of place too. I would love to spend some time here just as you did, and I'd really like to climb to the top of that tower! It would also be great to enjoy a tea here, and read a book outside. :)

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    1. For sure, it's kind of the perfect day. And that tower, oh man! It was soooo good once you got to the top, but my knees weren't happy- haha! For sure you should do it though the view was spectacular.

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  10. I wanted to see York when I was in England, but alas, not enough time. Sure looks beautiful. The Shambles is exactly how I imagine 19th century England to look.

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    1. Doesn't it just, though perhaps a lot cleaner. You should definitely visit next time you're in the UK :)

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