York

After the hectic Christmas and New Year I’ve just had at work, a break away was just what I had been needing.

It was wet and cold and the recent devastation from the floods was still pretty obvious but even so it was a fantastic short trip. Yorks so beautiful and there is so much to do in any weather, I challenge you to go and not love it.

I had planned loads of places I wanted to go and see, things I wanted to do and a list as long as my arm that I wanted to eat in. What I ended up doing was wandering round aimlessly taking in all the beautiful sights and stopping to eat in any place that took my fancy.

This does mean I need to go back to York and finish off my list of things to do but I wouldn’t have changed this trip at all.

One afternoon for example was just spent in a coffee shop reading a book.

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Probably the most iconic building in York, the Minster.  Such a beautiful building, you can go in and have a little tour but I was quite content just admiring it from the outside, it is huge!

There are award winning ghost walks all over York including one starting right outside The Minster.

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Venturing down the Shambles its easy to understand why so many tourists come to York every year, it is possibly the most quintessential english looking street I have ever seen. You could easily think you have gone back in time.

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With so many quirky little shops and the Shambles market just round the corner its easy to see why this area is so popular.

Just at the end of the street we came across Shambles Kitchen.

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I had heard about this place and its reputation for having the best pulled pork sandwiches you could find in the North. Lets just say it didn’t disappoint.

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I had one of they’re amazing sandwiches with apple BBQ sauce but they also do street food, soup of the day, smoothies and juices. They also do a juice cleans which if I lived closer I’d be incredibly interested in.

Just at the end of the Shambles is the Golden Fleece pub. They claim to be Yorks most haunted pub, it’s not hard to see why.

The building itself was built on no foundations, this making the floors uneven and adding to the whole atmosphere of this highly unusual pub. With live music most nights and a rather unusual regular who is always sat at the end of the bar this place is most defiantly worth a full night of your stay.

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Another bar that I stumbled across was The Graduate. It is obviously aimed more towards the students of York with fast Wifi and free printing but with some interesting (plus cheap) cocktails, real ales on tap, a decent selection of food and sports constantly on the big screen its well worth popping in. The decor is a little quirky but fun and it does have an outside area that I can imagine would be a bit of a sun trap in the warmer months, if your on a budget its perfect but even if your not go have a cocktail, I recommend Cherry Doctor. Be warned, during the afternoon it does seem to be taken over by some OAP’s who have clocked on to they’re cheap tea and coffee deals!

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The buildings are phenomenal, please take a walk out of the city centre, bring a camera and just wander round some of the surrounding areas.

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Where better to indulge in afternoon tea then the city of York? Within the city theres a large number of pretty little tea rooms, I had decided to go to the famous Bettys Tea rooms.

Bettys was founded by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss baker and confectioner who came to England in search of opportunities to develop his craft skills. He opened his first Café Tea Rooms in Harrogate in 1919 and named it ‘Bettys’. Still family-owned, they believe in doing business “in a way that is fair to people and kind to the planet”.

Next time I go back I’d be more inclined to visit one of the independent tea rooms to see what they had to offer as well.

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In saying that Betty’s was a lovely experience. I love the fact that Betty’s still to this day is shrouded in mystery as to how it got its name, nobody knows who Betty was?

Frederick could have named his Tea Rooms after the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, who was born at the turn of the century. Or perhaps a former manageress of the Harrogate Spa, Betty Lupton, ‘Queen of the Harrogate Wells’.

There’s a sentimental tale of young Betty, a doctor’s daughter, who died of tuberculosis and whose father’s practice on Cambridge Crescent later became the first Bettys Café Tea Rooms.

A favourite tale, however, is the one which tells of a small girl interrupting the very first Board Meeting when the issue of what to call the Tea Rooms was being discussed. The girl’s name, of course, was Betty.

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The shopping in York is amazing with a perfect balance of well known brands such as Mulberry and Whistles right next door to little independent shops such as The Inkwell that we came across after stuffing our faces at a nearby Italian restaurant called Mamamias.

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I loved the few days I spent in York and will most definitely be planning a return trip in the summer to see what else this city has to offer.

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