48 Hours in York, North Yorkshire, England! All eyes were on Yorkshire this weekend as ‘God’s Own County’ played host to the 2014 Tour de France. We took a whirlwind trip to York in the heart of North Yorkshire to bring you all the greatest things to do in one of England’s most historic cities. Here is our 48 Hours in York, North Yorkshire, England travel guide:
Morning of day one: Head to the Shambles for a spot of shopping. The Shambles is an old street lined with timber framed buildings dating back as far as the fourteenth century! As early as 1872 there were twenty-five butchers’ shops in the street but now there are none. Today you’ll find a mixture of fabulous boutique shops, eateries, book shops and tea rooms.Antiques Centre: Whilst exploring the Shambles fellow magpies and vintage lovers will want to head to the York Antiques Centre. With five showrooms spanning across three very packed floors you’ll find oddities, collectables and a vast array of vintage items from over one hundred dealers. Whatever you’re taste you’ll discover a hugely diverse mix from Ancient Rome to Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian, Mid- Century to Art Deco right through to contemporary.
Light lunch: Call it a cliche, tourist trap or whatever but if you’re heading to York somebody is bound to recommend a trip to Betty’s Tea Room! The first Betty’s Tearooms opened in Harrogate over 95years ago. Betty’s prides itself on fine tea, freshly sourced local ingredients and warm hospitality. Expect to queue to get in, minimal portion sizes that come at a premium (afternoon tea for one £18) , that said the food is quality and the setting is a real slice of historic York. A trip to Betty’s is kind of obligatory for any first timer to Yorkshire!
Afternoon at York Minster: York Minster is one of the largest in Northern Europe. Built in a grand gothic style it’s a real must-see for anyone visiting the picturesque city. The Great East Window created in 1408 is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world, while the West Window contains a famous heart-shaped design, colloquially known as ‘The Heart of Yorkshire’. Dinner at Hudson’s Restaurant: Everywhere you turn in York you’ll discover a new tale of the cities rich history. York is particularly proud of it’s significant part in railway history. Despite the small size of the city, York is one of the most important railway stations on the British railway network because of its role as a key railway junction approximately halfway between London and Edinburgh.
Named after Railway King, George Hudson, Hudson’s restaurant is located on the ground floor of the 5 Star Cedar Court Grand Hotel. Hudson’s boasts a no-nonsense menu with an array of simple, classic dishes offering the best slice of fine dining within the city walls. I opted for the Duck Leg served with Sweet potato, Plum, Pearl Barley (£15.95) which was executed to perfection.
Evening walk along the York City Walls: Since Roman times York has been defended by walls of one form or another. To this day, substantial portions of the walls remain intact. The original York walls were built around 71 AD!! Today you can take a walk along the walls surrounding the city, re-enact Game of Thrones (if that’s your thing) walk off your dinner, watch the sunset and enjoy the evening air.
Night cap and restful sleep at The Cedar Grand York Hotel & Spa: As York’s first 5-Star Hotel (the only 5-Start Hotel in Yorkshire) The Grand exudes class, quality and attention to detail. The Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa boasts a Whiskey Lounge complete with roaring fire and taxidermy or an alfresco terrace bar to enjoy a quiet night cap before bed. We enjoyed a thoroughly restful stay at the historic Cedar Court Grand Hotel.
Morning of day two: What better way to sink into a lazy Sunday than with an indulgent spa treatment? The Spa at the Cedar Grand is hidden away in the vaults of what was the North Eastern Railway Company’s H.Q. The spa offers a selection of packages designed specifically to tackle those knots, tensions, aches and pains we all suffer from! I enjoyed the holistic aromatherapy massage which left me feeling completely rejuvenated after a loooong week. The spa also offers guests a heated pool, sauna and jacuzzi providing the perfect little hideaway.
Pick up a gift at the Yorkshire Soap Company: Following your relaxing spa treatment and to celebrate your new found love affair with all things Yorkshire you’re probably going to want to take away a special gift for a loved one. I’d suggest a trip to the Yorkshire Soap Company where you can find the finest handmade soaps that smell and look divine. The Yorkshire Soap Company strives to create an emporium of all things soapy! each product is handcrafted, luxurious, affordable and totally unique.
Sunday Roast at the Guy Fawkes Inn: Standing in the shadows of the majestic York Minster is the ancient Guy Fawkes Inn. Guy Fawkes was born on this very spot back in 1570 and was baptised in the church across the street. Today Guy Fawkes birthplace is hailed as one of the most characterful pubs in England with timber floors, roaring fires, serving real ales, you can dine by gas-light in a finely preserved building.
Stop at a Chocolate shop: York has played a major part in the history of chocolate. The World famous chocolate makers Terry’s and Rowntrees both hailed from York. You can find several chocolate shops nestled amongst the streets serving hot chocolate, artisan treats and traditional confectionary or take the York Chocolate Story walk. Be sure to sample some of the chocolate produced in York, I opted for a hot chocolate to-go, the ideal accompaniment for a walk along the River.
Walk along the River Ouse: The River Ouse runs through the heart of the city.Walk off your Sunday Roast, hot chocolate in hand along the River Ouse. You can watch on with a stuffed warm glow as the more adventurous canoe, row or kayak there way along the river. The perfect way to end a truly fabulous weekend!
It’s weekends like this that make me so incredibly proud to be from Yorkshire!