When I lived in New York, I travelled to lots of different places and experienced so many new things. Now, I’m back in the city that I love the most, Manchester, and I have decided to have the same mindset. I want to visit as many cities in the country as possible. The first city I chose to visit was York. I have been to York once before, but only for 3 hours to see a show. I got off the train, walked to the theatre, and then walked back to the station. I don’t count that as visiting the city, so I was excited to spend a sunny day in the old town.
Getting to York is really easy from Manchester. Trains leave Manchester Victoria station regularly, and it takes just over an hour to get there. With my railcard, the cost of an off-peak anytime return ticket was around £20.
My flatmate and I decided to get the train at 9:45am, which meant we arrived in York just after 11am – the perfect time for brunch.
We decided to try The Perky Peacock Coffee Shop, an independent cafe. Located right next to the river, in a quirky watchtower and only 5 minutes away from the station, the Perky Peacock seemed like an excellent place to satisfy our hunger. Serving a mixture of coffees, cakes and hot food (on a limited menu due to Coronavirus), we had a range to choose from. I ordered a hipster bacon sandwich with an orange juice. Jen went for avocado on toast and an OJ. As lovely as the setting was, I was slightly disappointed with the cafe. There definitely wasn’t enough staff working, which is odd for a weekend. Unfortunately, they got my order wrong, and our food came out before our drinks by 15 minutes. The views did make up for the service though, and we didn’t let it affect our day in York.
During the day, we ambled around the streets of York, enjoying the picturesque houses and shops.
The iconic Shambles is said to be where JK Rowling got her inspiration for Diagon Alley, and it’s clear to see why. The crooked houses, wooden signs and cobbled streets make you feel like you’ve stepped into another world.
Even the big, high street stores are put into these unique spaces, all keeping with the theme and history of the city. There is even a Christmas shop that is open every day of the year (you can never have too much Christmas cheer!)
Once you’ve spent your morning wandering through the streets, make sure you have a stroll along the river up to Clifford’s Tower, which is now all that remains of York Castle. Built by William the Conqueror, it served as a prison and a royal mint (coin and medal maker) in its time. You can climb to the top of the tower to get beautiful views over York and of the Minister. However, at the moment you can only visit if you have pre-booked a time slot and tickets. Book here.
Head back towards the city centre, and get an iconic photo with York Minister. The cathedral is considered one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals. Built-in the 7th century, the building exhibits gorgeous carved stone and marvellous stained-glass windows. Book tickets on their website.
There are many independent coffee shops and restaurants to choose from in York. To cure our hunger, we decided to order one of the iconic Yorkshire pudding wraps. A giant Yorkshire pudding is filled with a meat of your choice (I chose roast pork), stuffing, veggies and gravy. I added in apple sauce too to make the best wrap ever – it didn’t disappoint.
We visited on the weekend, and the small streets were jam-packed. We decided to call it a day at 4pm. We jumped on the train and headed back to Manchester.
York is a lovely day trip, and if the theatre was open, I would have definitely planned a theatre trip in the evening too. If you are in the North of England, you need to make a trip to York. The history, the walls and the wonky streets, it’s a treat for everyone.