A few weekends ago, my girlfriend and me spent 24 hours in the beautiful city of York. It’s a lovely place with some incredibly scenic streets, classic British architecture and wonderful northern hospitality. Whether you are a resident of the UK or from foreign lands, I think it needs to be on your list of cities to visit.
My girlfriend and I have started a travel Instagram @Orangeandbleu – follow us on our adventures. Travel being a big interest of both of ours, we decided on a whim to create it so that we can document our adventures both big and small. There’s also hope to create a bit more out of Orangeandbleu as a sort of travel company but I’ll save that for another post. Anyway, we both decided that we should do a little series called “24 hours in…” and use it as an excuse to go to interesting places that are relatively near to where we live for small 24 hour excursions.
Here’s a little overview and itinerary of our York trip incase you decide to do the same:
Due to work commitments we set off late on a Friday evening. York being a 2 and half hour drive, it made more sense to drive up there on the Friday evening so that we’d get the most out of our Saturday in the city and surrounding area. It was an easy drive from the Cambridgeshire area and we eased the time away by eating whole tubs of “healthy” ice cream each!
We’d booked a Air B’n’B not far from the city in a place called Wistow. The Air B’n’B had one of the best beds I’ve ever slept in, to the extent where we asked the host where she got the duvet from in the hope to purchase one for ourselves. It was a quaint little annex built onto of the garage of a lovely Yorkshire cottage. Although we were not there for long, it was a lovely place for a re-energising sleep to send us on our way into the city the next morning. Not before an early morning swim that is, as we decided to get our workout in as usual in the nearby Selby leisure centre which had a very nice pool. 25m length with unusually wide lanes which made for a good quality workout.
We got into York at about 9am and parked in the Barbican car park as it was by far one of the cheaper places for a day which came to £12.00. The other options all seemed to seep into the £20+ region. It wasn’t much of a walk until we found ourselves within the historic city walls and we decided to check out a local spot called Brew & Brownie for breakfast. I highly recommend Brew & Brownie, its almost worth a visit to York just to go there to be honest. They have an incredible breakfast menu full of savoury delights as well as some treats and sweets, also the coffee is very, very good.
Refuelled from our workout with a take away coffee and hot chocolate in hand we set out and explored the city walls first. Walking around about half of the route, there are some incredible views and brilliant spots to peer into other people’s living spaces (to take influence from homeware obviously…). It was about 11am when we walked the walls and I must say they were not to busy, it certainly looked as though they got busier as the afternoon came around.
After our excursion along the roman walls, we headed to the infamous Shambles to check out the little Diagon Alley style shops. Complete with the Harry Potter fandom shop, fudge makers and quaint little tea rooms, its an amazing place just to look around. This is obviously a tourist hot spot so it was quite busy but it’s a good place to take it slow and breath in your surroundings. My recommendation is to look up whilst you walk down the narrow passages, it looks just a shot from Harry Potter and you most definitely will need your camera out.
For a later lunch we went to a local coffee spot which I honestly can’t remember the name of now but we got ourselves some good old fashion cafe style food. The menu had the ever fitting clotted cream and jam scones, a British classic and if you have never tried it then you’re in for a treat.
We decided to head to the museum to take in a bit of culture. I guess the main issue with museum’s is they’re all very similar and although its nice to read about the history to get some understanding of what makes the city so unique, after a while walking slowly through white washed rooms can be a bit boring. The art gallery did have an exhibition by the Kaiser Chiefs which intrigued me but at that point we were a bit bored of walking up and down exhibits. All I would say is, if you’re fortunate enough to look under 25 but you’re not, tell them you are when buying your admission ticket to the museum or art gallery as its £4.00 cheaper!
We then took off for a bit of retail therapy and explored some of the high street shopping that York had to offer. Both my girlfriend and I particularly enjoy Urban Outfitters, so we were happy to find that York has a branch of the store. We added to our ever growing miniature cactus collection that all have appropriate names. Our York purchase has been christened “Ceaser” due to the heritage of the City.
Our dinner excursion ended up being a bit of a hilarious flop. We are both from England, we know what a traditional Yorkshire pudding taste like, even the ones that are the size of a human head weren’t appealing. Our plan was to head back towards the car and go to a nice looking Italian that we’d scoped on our way in. Unfortunately, having walked back in the rain (classic England), we were greeted to a closed restaurant. Also, the barbican area isn’t that well equipped for eating out, with very limited choice nearby. This meant we had to turn back around and walk the 10 minutes back into the centre. After entering a few places which were full or had a wait, we ended up in Wagamamas. Not exactly traditional but delicious all the same.
We headed back home around 8pm and made it back for a late (for us) bed time of 11pm. I kid you not, that is a late bedtime for both of us!
It’s easy to let 24 hours slip by and not do very much. It doesn’t take much effort to plan a quick trip somewhere and when you’re fortunate enough to live within a short drive of these lovely places it makes sense to use that time wisely. You don’t even have to spend much to get a lot out of the experience. Sometimes its as simple as being in different surroundings to your usual comfort zones that can inspire ideas or invigorate you. “24 hours in…” adventure number 1 complete, where next?
Today’s athletic update: 9 miles along the river, hip still a bit cranky. My Glute Medius is playing up I expect, so back to the gym later for some mobility and strength exercises this afternoon. I know a lot of people demonise running for its nature to injure the body, but what I actually think it does is flag up imbalances that would otherwise go unnoticed. In times where I’ve developed injuries or had dings/dents, I’ve learned more about my body than any other time and for those lessons, I just love running even more.