Well, I think it's fair to say that York is one of the prettiest places I've ever been, and that I didn't have nearly enough time there.
It's so full of beautiful old buildings, narrow cobbled streets, and enough cute little cafes & shops to keep you busy for days, amongst many other things.
Bee and I travelled up by Cross Country trains on Thursday afternoon, watching the world go by, catching up, and wondering what our time in York would be like. We hopped in a taxi when we got there, greeted by the friendliest Yorkshire man of all time. This was a very good start.
Over the next few days there was lots of wandering around, eating, and soaking in some knowledge & inspiration at York Literature Festival. I was absolutely not ready to leave on Saturday afternoon, as there was still so much I wanted to do there.
Here is what we did manage to cram in..
WHERE WE STAYED.
We stayed in the Monkbar Hotel, which funnily enough is right by Monk Bar - one of the entrances into the walled part of the city. It's a newly refurbished Best Western hotel, so you know what you're getting.
Our twin room was the perfect size for us, and we had sweeties waiting for us on the bed when we arrived! Little touches like that are special. It was a really good base for us to come back to & rest when needed, as it was only a very short walk into the walled city centre.
FOOD & DRINK.
We were recommended so many places to eat that we didn't manage to get to all of them, but did snap a couple of photos of them as we made our way around the winding cobbled streets.
Places of note:
This was about 3 minutes from our hotel & had been recommended by so many people that we had to go on our first night. The food was amazing - so tasty! I tried swordfish while we were there, and I would definitely have it again.
• Cafe Concerto for a cup of tea near the minster.
• Shambles Kitchen for one of their famous pulled pork sandwiches.
• Any of the countless delicatessens, patisseries and fancy cafes..
• The Donut Kitchen
• Brew & Brownie - we couldn't get a seat in here as it's small & v popular, but it looked & smelled yummy!
• Bill's for easy cocktails and tasty dishes.
Although we didn't buy anything, York is an amazing place to wander around and shop. There are so many independent stores as well as the big names.
• The Shambles - these narrow cobbled streets are full of amazing old wonky buildings & little stores with tiny doors.
• Pandora's Box - a curiosity shop full of taxidermy, skulls, and weird stuff.
• Bowler Vintage - a perfectly laid out vintage shop. All the reasonably priced garments are arranged by colour!
• Priestley's Vintage - not so reasonably priced, but some incredibly beautiful pieces.
This huge cathedral took over 400 years to build, and you can see why when you look closely at all the stunning detail. It's the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe. I'm not one for religion, but I do like architecture. You can't go to York and not see the minster!
We didn't do much tourist stuff - although I wish we'd got one of those tourist buses.. One place we made sure we went was the Chocolate Story. York is the birthplace of loads of famous chocolates, and this place tells you all about the history of them. It's way more interesting than I'm making it sound, plus you get to sample things and make your own chocolate lollipop at the end.
You don't get to sample any Terry's chocolate orange however, which I found heartbreaking.
If you go to Visit York, you can buy a York Pass with 20% off, which will get you into loads of attractions like this one.
The main purpose of our trip was to attend a few events at the York Literature Festival. This is on until the 23rd March, so you still have time to go if you're interested!
Here's what we went to:
There was open mic poetry, special guest poets, and a spoken word show by Sophia Walker, and the theme of the night was feminism. There was also a labrador that Bee was completely obsessed with.
I've seen many poets perform before, but nothing has given me goosebumps like this. It really inspired me, and made me want to write more.
I'm looking to go to similar things in Bristol, so if you know of anything, do let me know!
"A day of comics, video and board games, graphic novels and other sequential art."
I am a big fan of zines, short comics and artist books, so this was right up my alley. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to attend any of the workshops or talks, but we spent a good while looking through all the gorgeous books in the foyer, and getting lost in the amazing university.
I've not written a book, but I do like the idea of getting my work published one day. This talk was a pretty useful insight into the world of publishing by 3 literary agents - one of which has the same name as my mum, which was a little confusing and off-putting.
It felt really good to be learning again.
We were also booked in to see Wendy Cope, however we had to catch our train home.
There are loads more amazing events on until the 23rd March, so make sure you check out what's on!
All in all, York is such a nice place for a short city break. It's incredibly beautiful, and I hope to be back soon to meander through the ancient streets.
• Travel, accommodation & tickets to York Literature Festival all provided for me, but I mean every word I said •
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