We recently went on a long weekend to York, England. The 12th and 13th July are public holidays in Northern Ireland so we thought we’d use the time to do some travelling. I lived in York for 3 years while I was at university so I was really looking forward to going back, revisiting old haunts and discovering some new ones as well.
A Quick Stop in Manchester
We flew from Belfast International Airport to Manchester on Thursday afternoon. It was really handy as there’s a train station within Manchester airport to take you to wherever you need to go next. We stopped off in Central Manchester to meet our lovely friend James for dinner. He took us to an amazing restaurant called Solita. You’ll see from the pictures of the food below – it was stunning.
After probably the biggest meal of my entire life, we walked back through Manchester so we could get another train to York.
And on to York…
The train from Manchester to York takes around an hour and a half. It can be quite pricey if you don’t book in advance. If you’re able to book ahead, definitely try and do it because it can save you a LOT of money.
When we got to York we headed to our Air BnB which was owned by a lovely lady named Rimirose. She was so welcoming and friendly and she made us feel really comfortable in her home. We’ll be heading back to York next year for a wedding so we will definitely stay with Rimirose again if we can. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in York, I would highly recommend checking out Rimirose’s house.
Her house is located just off the Bishopthorpe Road, which actually won the High Street of the Year competition in 2015. There are a lot of cute restaurants and shops on “Bishy Road” which makes it an ideal place to stay. Plus, it’s only a few minutes walk into the city and 15 minutes from the train station.
By the time we got to York on Thursday evening it was around 10:30pm. We were too tired to do anything else so it was an early night for us.
We started our first full day by walking around the city walls. This is by far the best way to see the city – the views are amazing. I would recommend doing this at the beginning of your trip because you can see everything York has to offer and then decide which attractions etc that you want to prioritise. We hopped off the walls at one stage to get a picture outside my old student house which brought back some great memories.
After our walk around the walls, we explored some of the vintage shops. One of the things I really love about York is the amount of vintage/independent retailers. I’ve found that a lot of UK cities are very same-y when it comes to shopping. They all have the same high-street chains so it’s hard to find something a bit different or unique. My favourite thing I bought on the trip was this amazing cropped shirt from Chinese Laundry. It’s a good thing that this shop wasn’t around while I was at university because I would’ve blown all of my student loan in there!
Then we met up with my friend Eppie who took us to a tapas restaurant on Fossgate called Ambiente (there’s one on Goodramgate as well) This was another excellent feed. We spent so much time chatting that we didn’t manage to get a photo together – gutted!
We then went to The Shambles which is one of the most famous streets in York due to its uneven building structure. The Shambles was JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books and there are even a few Harry Potter themed shops there now. We visited them all but the best one is without a doubt. The Shop That Must Not Be Named. Their merchandise is really unique and the staff are very friendly and more than happy to chat Harry Potter with you!
As we had already lined our stomachs, we went on a bar crawl around York visiting places I used to go to during my time at university and some new places too.
We started in the Evil Eye Lounge for cocktails. Believe me when I say that the cocktails from Evil Eye are the strongest I’ve ever tasted – so definitely pace yourself in there! The cocktail I got was called the “Alan Shearer”. I’m not sure why it was named after the footballer but I didn’t question it too hard as it was delicious.
We then went to the House of Trembling Madness which has relocated since I was last there and then onto The Lowther. The Lowther was a staple for cheap drinks during my university years (anyone remember Trebles for Singles?!) and it didn’t disappoint this time either.
After that, it was time for some more food (can you see a recurring theme of this trip?!). The restaurant of choice this time was Revolution so we could sit and eat by the river which was lovely. We got a sharing crate which had mini burgers, chicken goujons, chips and a mini pepperoni pizza. We also tried the halloumi bites because we just don’t know when to stop ourselves.
Our final stop for the night was in a lovely traditional pub on High Petergate called the Lamb and Lion. The perfect end to a great day.
On Saturday morning we got up and did a bit more shopping. Saturday was an absolute SCORCHER – I’ve never felt heat like it in York. We had a lovely lunch in a cafe in the Shambles called The Flax and Twine.
Unfortunately Amy ended up getting ill and so she was out of action for most of the day.
I ended up doing some solo exploring of the city (and a sneaky trip back to Chinese Laundry – oops!). Some of the places I visited were Clifford’s Tower (Fun fact: We used to roll down the hill after nights out) and York Minster. They’ve actually re-created Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre beside Clifford’s Tower and they’re putting on 4 Shakespearian plays over the course of the summer, so if you’re in York and have a bit of time – that would be worth a visit!
Beside York Minster (which is a stunning cathedral in itself), in the Minster Gardens – a super cute teepee had been set up where you could buy drinks, chill out and take in the views.
I also stumbled upon York’s Anti-Trump protest – which I wasn’t expecting to see but I’m glad I did. I always knew the people of York were on the right side of sense!
On Saturday night we went out for dinner at my FAVOURITE place to eat in York, Stonegate Yard. It was every bit as good as I remembered. Then I met up with two of my great friends (and former housemates) Martyn and Katie for a few drinks. It was so good to see them – I hadn’t seen them in 5 years but it was as if no time had passed at all.
Unfortunately we left York pretty early on Sunday morning to head back to Belfast so that was the end of our adventure!
I would highly recommend visiting York to ANYONE who’s thinking about it. It’s my favourite city in the world and I already can’t wait to go back.