At the beginning of October, I was lucky enough to be able to visit York for the first time with my dad. I’d been wanting to go for a while and my dad decided that we both needed a break from all the chaos of everyday life so he booked a hotel and off we went to visit a city I’d never been to before.
I love old fashioned cities that hold so much history and have a story to tell so upon arriving at York and seeing the city’s castle walls, I knew I was going to love this place. (I did end up loving this place so much that it has become one of the cities at the top of my list behind Edinburgh.)
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to start so my dad decided that the Cathedral would be a good starting point. The intricate detailing and patterns and the size of it was astounding and for a long while, I stood and admired the art work that covered this wonderful building. We would have gone inside but at the time, a service was beginning and I felt rude to interrupt. Others were going in but I was happy enough to stay outside and admire this architectural masterpiece.
Eventually, we moved on from the cathedral to the cities endless streets. From cobble stone roads to black beamed houses, I was taken by the beauty of this city. One of the main places both my dad and I wanted to visit was the street called Shambles. Not only did it hold some of the most beautiful architecture but it was the home to the Christmas and Harry Potter shops, places my dad had been telling me about the entire journey.
I’m a huge Potterhead and I’m obsessed with Christmas so my dad knew just how much I’d love these shops. There was one Christmas shop in particular that had a tree so tall, it went up through the centre of the house, sparkling, shimmering and filling me with Christmas cheer. I spent a good while looking over all the decorations for sale, Christmas music playing and thinking how it was the perfect place for me to have my dream Christmas job. I felt like I’d arrived in Christmas heaven.
Upon entering each of the Harry Potter shops, it was like I’d walked into Diagon Alley. There were robes, wands and treats everywhere and nearly every shelf held a book or stuffed magical creature. I felt like I was preparing myself for my school year at Hogwarts. I managed to minimise how much money was actually spent and decided two chocolate frogs, a Niffler soft toy and a candle were the only things I’d be purchasing. I would have happily spent all my money in there but the thoughts of Christmas and real life needs were in the way.
Throughout the day, we stopped off at some gorgeous, quaint little cafes, drinking hot chocolate and tea and having some of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted (I talk about the food I ate in York here). Cake has to be one of my favourite memories of York but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a girl like me who has a big sweet tooth especially for cakes! Even the little things we did throughout this trip like cake added to the memories and made it all the more special
After doing a little shopping, we decided to see York from a different perspective and took a walk along the castle walls. I’ll be the first one to say that we did a lot of walking that day but walking along the wall and imagining York as what it could have been like years before fed that historical love I have whenever I visit certain places.
Our day in York ended all to quickly and after a walk along the river, it was time to make our way to our hotel just half an hour outside of York. It was a place my dad had stayed at before and it sounded wonderful but after a long day of walking, I was happy to be going to a bed I could spend the next twelve hours sleeping in.
We ended up in a little town called Gilling East and our hotel was beautiful. The staff were wonderful, the food was delicious and our rooms were clean, comfy and cosy. I spent a well earned rest there with a happy, full tummy and the thoughts of tomorrow’s adventures buzzing in my head.
Our second day started with a visit to another town nearby called Helmsley. My dad has stated they had a castle and I have to say it’s one of the few castles I’ve been to where a lot of stonework is still standing. The gates stood proudly, protecting what once stood inside and the tower was still tall although access to the remainder of the higher floors wasn’t granted. The main building where the most important Lords and Ladies once slept was in practically perfect condition and the last of the walls for the chapel and other outer buildings poked out from the grass. It was a place that held so many stories and so much history. I could only imagine what it must have looked like when it had been at its full glory hundreds of years before.
A good three to four hours were spent wandering the grounds, taking in every bit of information we could and taking advantage of having the entire place to ourselves (It was a rainy/overcast day so very few people visited for as long as we did) to take a sneaky picture or two, enjoy the peacefulness of being alone and to hear me laugh and swear when I fell over the wall. It was definitely a memorable moment and I wish I’d gotten it on camera just to laugh at how silly I’d been. Clumsiness still exists in my bones it would seem.
Feeding our appetites was next on the list so we stopped at another cafe and had yet more cake (I know what you’re probably thinking but I can’t help my sweet tooth craving). I’m pretty sure I had more cake over those two days than I have any other time in my life. But what can I say?! I’m not going to miss out on eating something I love!
Now considering we both had to be home for a reasonable time as it was back to work the next day, we took a drive up through part of the Moors where we got to enjoy the gorgeous views surrounding us. It was wonderful to see so much nature and take in the mixture of of reds, yellows and oranges as Autumn settled in and the world changed. It was beautiful!
Eventually, we took a steady drive back home, leaving early enough to miss any rush hour traffic and meaning that when I got home, I was able to have a lovely dinner and be settled in my own bed earlier than expected. But I couldn’t complain because although the trip had certainly been worth it, I was really looking forward to a long rest.
I do wish we’d had longer to do more exploring of York and fully immerse ourselves in the wonders of Yorkshire but I’m really happy I was able to visit somewhere new and be able to see another part of the country I live in. York is definitely somewhere to visit and there is plenty to do especially if you like walking and exploring.
For anyone whose thinking of going, I would say that it is somewhere you should 100% go. It’s certainly worth seeing how wonderful York truly is.