How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

Last month, after five days holidaying at home, G and I got up too early for my liking for a pootle up the ol’ A1. The only thing to report from the journey is that when we stopped off at a service station, I had a minor tantrum because my cinnamon bun had raisins in it and I don’t understand why any sane mammal would want this.

As I mentioned before, we had a weekend planned in Northumberland and decided to stop off in York on the way so we could say hello to my cousin’s new baby. Because we were trying to keep things on the cheap side, I booked us a cheerful little cabin (through Airbnb) on a campsite just outside York for £40 for the night. It was adorable.

We didn’t linger much once we arrived late morning as we wanted to make the most of our day in York (it was a short bus ride into town) but I really liked staying outside the city and enjoying a bit of the country air and camping vibe. It was a cosy night’s sleep and we had jam and toast in the sunshine whilst overlooking the lake the next morning.

So here’s what we got up to!

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York


Shopping and Shambles 


Once we’d arrived in York, we spent an hour and a half having a good wander. I love all those higgldy piggldy streets complete with cobbles and over-hanging buildings. The Shambles is a famous medieval shopping street and has a Diagon Alley vibe (hence the many Harry Potter themed shops), and we meandered through it; pressing our noses against the shop windows. My fave was the fudge shop because you could actually watch them make the fudge through the window. The smell was unreal! The only downside of the Shambles is that it is absolutely rammed during the day so we went back in the evening, just before it started to get dark, to look round the street when it was more peaceful. I even managed to get a photo without anyone in it which must be some kind of miracle! York has such a wide variety of cute independent shops that are all really fun to meander round – although it’s a challenge to not spend all your pennies (I cracked when we were in the Yorkshire Soap Company and bought a little box of bath truffles).

Lunch at Betty’s 


I had booked us in for afternoon tea at Betty’s at 1:30pm. This deserved a post of its own (which you can read here) but it was so dreamy and definitely a must when visiting York.

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

York Minster


It’s impossible to miss the minster when in York; I don’t remember there ever being a place where I couldn’t see it. We wandered over there after lunch (not far at all – York is very walkable) and it was truly striking when we got up close and could see it in all its glory from the outside. It’s £15 for entry to the minster and the tower trip or £10 for entry to the minster only. I enjoyed looking round the minster but the tower trip was the true highlight and well worth the extra fiver. I mean, okay, I did nearly have an asthma attack climbing the 275 stairs because I insisted on marching up as fast as possible because there were people behind me and I didn’t want to hold them up and I GOT FLUSTERED.

Lol, so British.

But it was 100% worth the faff. About half way up, you emerge onto a railed pathway running along the side of the South Transept roof and you get a glorious view of the cathedral architecture up close. You really feel like you’re in the heart of the building; very Hunchback of Notre Dame. You then keep climbing right to the top of the cathedral where you emerge to spectacular panoramic views of York.

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York


York’s Chocolate Story 


An interactive tour of York’s chocolate history. Okay, so we were the only people on the tour without children (when I booked it, I read more than one review that said the group was an even mix of children and childless people but, well, that wasn’t the case for us) but I’m secretly still a child anyway so hey ho.

I was actually really impressed with York’s chocolate story. I booked it for a bit of a laugh but was surprised at how much I learnt; the tour guide struck a really good balance of appealing to both children and adults and managed not to make it all a bit silly. We learned loads of history about York being the home of chocolate, how to properly taste chocolate (fun fact: you should hold chocolate on the back of your hand as it’s the coolest place and stops it melting quickly), watched how truffles are made and got the opportunity to make our own chocolate lollies (okay, that bit was a tad silly but also immensely fun… told you I was a child).

City Walls 


Dating back to roman times, walking York’s city walls is a must-do when visiting; I think it takes approximately two hours to walk all the way round (which I definitely want to do next time) but you can easily just pop up to walk a section of them. We decided to walk along the city walls in between finishing our tour at the chocolate story and our dinner reservations and it felt like the perfect time of day. I don’t know if we’d just struck lucky but we practically had them to ourselves and everything was bathed in the soft glow of the setting sun; the minster looked particularly stunning.

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York


Dinner at Guy Fawkes Inn 


York is just the place for sitting in a cosy, low-beam pub (which we all know is one of my favourite pass times). After our walk along the city walls, we popped into the Punch Bowl for a cosy drink before heading over to the Guy Fawkes Inn where I’d booked us a table for 8pm (based on a good blog review). Supposedly the birth place of Guy Fawkes and right in the shadow of the cathedral, this inn is atmospheric, cosy and does great food. The real showstopper is their famous steak pie; it was so good. It is full to the absolute brim with steak, baby onions and mushrooms and served with mashed potato and smoked bacon gravy and honestly, it really was incredible. G and I were both in firm agreement that it was the best pie we’d ever had. We’d made the mistake of having starters but even if we hadn’t, I still doubt we’d have been able to finish it.

With tired feet and (extremely) full bellies, we ended our day in York by finding a taxi and heading back to our cabin in the countryside.

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York

How to spend a day in York


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