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Yes, northern England has quite a bit to offer — a fact that I realized again and again during my three weeks in the UK. And if you’re looking for a small, beautiful city with sights to see and a fascinating history, then head to York!
York is a perfectly pleasant place to visit for two days, but like most destinations, it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for pounding nightlife, go to Manchester or Liverpool. If you’re looking for balmy breezes and sunshine, just leave the country!
But if you love quintessential Britishness, and quirky pubs, this is a great place! (I referred to this pub as the Hanging Sheep.)
York is also a great place for shopping, particularly in the Shambles — a super-narrow street chock full of little shops and boutiques!
The York Minster is the largest cathedral in northern Europe. One of the highlights of our time in York was the Evensong service, hearing the fantastic choir.
(Want to know the best York travel tip? Go to the Evensong service for free and you won’t have to pay the exorbitant entry fees.) Stay tuned for more on that!
Despite how far Yorkshire is from Cornwall, I sampled my first Cornish pasty in York! Pasties (pronounced pah-stees, not pay-stees) are pastries with layers of dough wrapped around a filling. I do approve.
Most fascinating is York’s Viking history. Vikings captured York in the year 867 and reigned until 954, when Viking York — then called Jorvik — was absorbed into England. The Viking Age continued for the next century, albeit without political independence, but the civilization began dwindling after William the Conqueror arrived in 1066..
At the JORVIC Centre, you can learn all about this history, see remains in mid-excavation, and take a ride through a recreated Viking village, complete with creepy animatronic Vikings.
We also met some Vikings, many of whom were quick to inform us that Vikings did NOT, in fact, wear hats with horns on them. That’s just a myth that caught on.
So many people skip northern England, and it’s a shame because the region has so much to see! York is just another lovely getaway in this fantastic part of the United Kingdom.
10 thoughts on “Discovering Lovely York, England”
Great post – York’s just a short train ride from my hometown, Harrogate, so it’s nice to see the city getting some love! A lot of people who visit the UK just go to London, which is almost another country – it’s so much bigger, much more of a melting pot, and 10 times the size of any other city in the country!
Glad to see you showing some love for Cornish pasties – another 5 months until I’m able to have one! Droooooooool. Great tip about Evensong at York Cathedral, too. I may well use it when I go back to the UK with boyfy in December 🙂
Indeed, York is one of the most beautiful villages I have been to. I loved the little Betty’s café, the old ladies who called me love, the rich history, the amazingly old pubs. I have even been on a ghost tour, and it was a lot of fun!
Did you know the Shambles were actually a butcher street before? If you look carefully at the buildings, you’ll see a hook over the door – that’s where they hung the corpses.
Looks like a quiet but interesting place. Just my kind of spot. Thanks for the quality but concise post.
I’ve always liked the English architecture and churches!
I really don’t have the strong desire to see that part of the world, but I love “visiting” through your posts 🙂
I love that you went to York! My parents used to take me there when I was a teenager; there’s a town just outside it called Beverley; obviously had to get my picture taken under the Beverley sign!
Anyway, I love that you loved Northern England. Everyone bangs on about London and Cambridge and, while they’re both great cities to visit, I’ve always much prefered going to Newcastle, York, Leeds, Chester etc. Did you find that the people were different “up north” too?
Why, yes. They can’t stand the south and the south can’t stand the north! I felt like I was in antebellum America… 😉 I really do love it in northern England, though!
I so jealous of your viking fun… I was dying to go the amazingly named Vikingar! in Largs, Scotland, but my local friends basically crushed my dreams. Next time vikings, next time.
Did you go to the York Dungeon? It never fails to make me laugh. I know it’s quite a touristy kind of place but it certainly gives you an insight in the history of York whether it’s bloody or hilarious!
Haha, nope — just the Vikings, no dungeons this time!