York, 2006

Well, we did the “between our birthdays” trip to Winchester so it was only right that we did something near the real thing too. Plan “A” was to be Bath but for reasons that I now forget we ended up heading up the East Coast Main Line to York. It’s only an hour or so from my parents place and it’s a city that I’d been to a number of times previously but not in the last ten years.

York MinsterOutside York MinsterThe Shambles, YorkYork City Walls

Although I don’t know the geography of York very well, it’s easy to find your way to the biggest site. The Minster is visible from almost anywhere in the city and, arriving at the time we did, looked amazing bathed in late afternoon light.

York is not a large city. Most of the main areas of interest are inside the city walls and are, therefore, near the Minster. Also near the Minster are a large number of cafes, one of which we dove into to get something to eat. It’s late and we’ve not had anything since breakfast!

Next stop after a refreshing cappuccino is The Shambles, a narrow, old street that used to be where all the butchers hung out. There’s not much evidence of that now and most shops sell various forms of tourist tat.

From here we wander back over the Ouse to the hotel. Realising that there are few remaining hours of daylight left we go back into town almost straight away. Rather than take the exact same route we hit the cities Roman walls.

We head pretty much all the way around, stopping to look at the Minster from all angles and well as finding some strange audio/visual exhibit in one of the bars (gates).

Whip Ma Whop Ma GateAnother feature of the city are the street names. Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate is perhaps the longest name you’re likely to find on such a short street. In fact they had to lengthen the street just to accommodate the sign. Actually I made that bit up. We also found Mad Alice Lane (subsequently renamed Lund’s Court, which isn’t nearly as interesting).

There are also a lot of bars. I was disappointed when I eventually found out that these are just gates to the city and do not serve alcohol. All the “gates” in the town are just streets, after the Viking word. Very confusing.

St Mary's, YorkThe plan for Sunday was to meet my family in the afternoon, which left the morning for us to fill. After breakfast we headed into town and stopped off in the Yorkshire Museum Gardens. We found St Mary’s there, looking amazing in the early morning light. It’ll be really nice when they finish it. (Sorry, the old ones are the best, no?)

Overall, a great weekend. Looking forward to heading back to Yorkshire again soon.