Yomping in York – a weekend away

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure to travel down to York for a few days’ break from Durham. Having never visited before, I was keen to explore what the city had to offer and to fill my time with plenty of pies, pints, and roast dinners.


Only fifty minutes away on the train and with plenty of reasonably priced accommodation available through Airbnb or local hotels, York is a great option for a mid-term break from Durham life.


Here are some of my recommendations and observations.


The City Walls


Surrounding the historic centre of the city, the city walls offer stunning views of the cathedral and the perfect first look around the city.


Though the walls have been significantly altered and built upon since, they were first constructed in 71 AD by Romans setting up camp in the region. With various alterations by the Danes, the Normans, Parliamentarians during the Civil War and the Victorians, there is much to interest any history nerd. 


No. 1 By Guesthouse


I didn’t have the pleasure to stay in this luxury hotel near the city centre, but I was able to pop into its cocktail bar for a drink.


I chose their Mulled Ginger And Pear Rum Punch – perfect for warming up in the early evening. See their full cocktail menu here.


If you have a bit more cash to splash, the hotel comes with a spa, including a £95 ‘Lessen Your Stress’ ritual, and various sized guest rooms.


Valhalla – A Viking Themed Bar


An edgy pub in the centre of York, Valhalla fully embraces its Viking theme, with Viking shields hanging from the wall and a general medieval feel to the place.


The pub is a great place to chill out with a couple of pints (or mead!) after some afternoon shopping and with some heavy metal music playing in the background.


Ye Old Starre Inn


Ye Old Starre Inn is the oldest pub in York. Built in 1644 and used as a hospital and mortuary for soldiers during the English Civil War, the Inn is the perfect place to feel immersed in York’s rich history while sinking back a couple more pints.  


The inn is also allegedly home to the ghosts of soldiers and a pair of black cats who lived there 300 years ago – I didn’t catch any during my visit, but you might be more lucky!


The Royal Oak


Another traditional pub within the city walls, The Royal Oak stood out to me for its incredible Sunday roast.


Resplendent with beef, potatoes, gravy, and, vitally, Yorkshire pudding, the pub fulfilled all my expectations for a York Sunday dinner. Check out their menus here if you are interested!


The pub is also reported to be home to several ghosts, including an old prostitute and playing children – keep an eye out for them while chewing on your potatoes.


The York Roast Co.


The York Roast Co. offers their roast dinners in a different format – enjoy a roast while on the go in a sandwich or wrap, or even inside a giant Yorkshire pudding.


The company has two sites within York city, so just keep your eyes peeled and you’re bound to come across one at some point.


The Minster Gate Bookshop


If you have had your fill of pints and roasts, then pop into The Minster Gate Bookshop for a browse!


The shop is spread out across five floors, with stacks of books lining the staircases – awkwardly apologize to other shoppers as you shuffle past them up the stairs and take your time to explore.


With sections ranging from horticulture, to military history, to modern novels, to the classics, you are bound to find something to your taste!


I am very aware of how much I have left off this list (including the cathedral!), and to any York locals reading this, I must apologise – hopefully this will be enough to give some initial inspiration to anyone considering a trip to York for the first time.


Featured image – Jeremy Oakley on Flickr

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