Today I wanted to share with you the special time we had in York. We spent 3 wonderful days here and I instantly fell in love with this city. It was probably my favorite place in our trip, but that’s hard to say because every place was so beautiful. But York…. you stole my heart in a way I was not expecting.
Our first day there we spent exploring the city. (We were going to visit York Minster, but it was closing early for a wedding). One of the reasons I loved this town so much was because it is very walkable and all the streets are charming. We started off at Minster Gardens and enjoyed people watching and strolling the beautiful grounds in the shadow of the Minster.
I had wanted to see the famed Shambles Street and we spent some time walking up and down this old medieval street. It is famous for its narrow passage way and the buildings somewhat slant together at the upper levels. It turns out that there are several Harry Potter themed stores on this street, which allegedly inspired Diagon Alley.
One of the side alleys leads into a Shambles Market – with food, vendors, and antiques in an outdoor courtyard. It was so crowded there and on the street, but it was great fun to stroll by the stores and think about all these streets had witnessed.
We escaped a late morning shower by visiting the York Castle Museum, and when we had finished there we were hungry for lunch and a spot of tea.
One of the things on our to-do list while in England was share a formal tea. And we found the perfect place in York – Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms. This beautiful place had 6 tea rooms and we were able to sit upstairs next to a large bay window overlooking the street below. They were celebrating their 100th Anniversary at the shop, which was quite special too. The tea was lovely – they had vegetarian sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of delicate sweets.
While I’m still not a big tea drinker (I’m trying, I really am), I am enamored with all the accoutrements associated with tea – silver tea service, straining spoons, ceramic tea cups, sugar cubes, and these amazing tiered trays – I love them!! Having tea here was a delightful experience.
Later that afternoon we decided we would walk the York city wall. This wall was built in Roman times and expanded during the Medieval period. Most of the wall is still standing and walkable, there are just a few gaps where you have to find the next segment of the wall. The weather had cleared up and was sunny and it was a perfect time. We entered at Bootham Bar (Bar means a gate-house in York).
From there we commenced to walk around the Minster and beautiful homes and gardens in the area. This section is called the Lord Mayor’s Walk and is arguably one of the finest walks in a English city.
The gardens were absolutely breathtaking, as were the views of the Minster. Yes, I was thoroughly in love at this point.
We stopped to enjoy the sunshine and views for a bit and to do some knitting. Here is my project making itself right at home on the wall.
An enchanting aspect of the walk was that at many of the bar (or tower gates along the wall) were cafes and tea shops. We stopped at one called Dyl’s at the Skeldergate Bridge on the banks of River Ouse. We had a lovely view of the river while enjoying some refreshments.
We continued walking along in the bright afternoon sunshine, which bathed all the buildings in golden light.
And we watched the start of a magnificent sunset on the River Ouse.
After we finished walking the wall, we continued to walk the streets of York, admiring the architecture. We had a brief light rain and then when we turned the corner to return to the main street, we were greeted with this incredible view.
It was a miraculous moment and one that encapsulated how I felt the entire day. Walking the wall of York was one of my most favorite times of our whole holiday in England. I loved getting to see the city, walk its streets, admire its buildings, and appreciate its gardens and green spaces. By the end of the day, I had found a new home in York and can’t wait to see it again.
Blessings to you,