5 things to do in York, UK

Picture the scene: cobbled streets, quirky buildings, 2000 years of history, a huge cathedral, a river, lots of pubs, restaurants, shops…. My husband and I chose York for a romantic four day mini-break because I have always wanted to go there (and he likes to keep me happy) – a decision we did not regret.

Here’s 5 things we got up to: (keep scrolling for two foodie recommendations too)

York Minster

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I’m not religious at all, but there’s something special about a huge Cathedral. York Minster is impressive inside and out, the size alone made my jaw drop. The stain glass windows and ornate stone carvings are something to behold. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s tonnes of history; below ground they found Roman ruins and there’s lots of interesting stuff to see, as well as the main cathedral.

Jorvik Viking Centre

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Really interesting museum, you’re taken through on a carriage like a low-key rollercoaster… There are wax-work (or maybe not wax, but ya get the idea) models that move about and show you what like was like for the Vikings of York – very interesting and well worth a visit.

Clifford’s Tower

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Clifford’s Tower dates back to William the Conqueror, so yet more history to behold here. Well worth climbing to the top and having a look inside – the views over York are wonderful.

The city walls

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York’s city walls are impressive, mostly because of how in-tact they are. Really enjoyed walking along them, taking in the city from all angles and imaging life back in the days that the walls were used to defend the people within. A must-do.

Cruise on the river Ouse

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We opted for a floodlight cruise; leaving at 9:15pm. As well as a glass of Prosecco and some soothing jazz and swing music, it was simply just a lovely, gentle thing to do, taking in York from the river with the sun setting. Really recommend it.

Food…

Highly recommend The Star Inn the City, where we had our anniversary dinner (and returned for a drink on the terrace another day, too). Delicious food (good veggie options) and impeccable service.

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Also: Betty’s Tea Rooms, as it was a special occasion we opted for a veggie afternoon tea in the Belmont Room (booking required) which was just divine. I don’t want to show off but I’ve had a LOT of afternoon teas… and this was one of the best. EVER.

Lastly, the yorkie wraps from the York Roast Co. – veg, potatoes, stuffing, gravy wrapped in a yorkshire pudding. Amazing lunch.

York is lovely…yorkshire-pudding-wrap

Highly recommend it for a mini-break. In between doing all of the above, we had time to wander around the shops, sit in the park and watch the world go buy, get drinks outside (weather was lush) and just relax. Stayed in a nice B&B, too, Bowen House >

Great trip. Highly recommended.

Hampton Court Palace

 

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I’ve always wanted to visit Hampton Court Palace. It was the home of Henry VIII and his six wives – surely one of the most interesting times in British royal history. I’ve read a lot about the Tudors so I was keen to go and walk through the rooms that they’d lived in. And, of course, the many other Kings and Queen’s since then… and I was not disappointed…

We arrived at about 9am – the palace opens at 10, but the gardens are open early. It was a cool but sunny February day and the daffodils, snowdrops and other flowering bulbs were starting to break through making for a pretty walk through the grounds.

IMG_6038Once the palace opened, we began our visit… The architecture is simply stunning, with lots to admire including several archways, stain glass windows, beautiful ceilings and impressive staircases. There are three courtyards; all magnificent… and several exhibition rooms including one about the young Henry VIII, Henry VIII’s apartments, kitchen, and his wine cellar. There are also Georgian apartments to wander through and the Royal Chapel. All are spectacular with fascinating history to read about, plus impressive art and other artefacts to look at, and so on.

The gardens are some of the best I’ve seen; beautiful even in Winter (we will have to return in Spring/Summer to see the flowers).

IMG_6015We had lunch in the Privy Kitchen (Queen Elizabeth I’s private kitchen) – of vegetarian tudor pies. Very yummy indeed (note: there’s not a huge choice of food here, I would go to the Tilyard Cafe if you’re a fussy eater – we had tea and cake there before heading home, also very nice).

Got kids? Plenty for them to do and see, too including a Magic Garden which looked fun from the outside. All in all, a beautiful and very interesting day out.

Time spent: 4 hours (including a break for lunch)
Money spent: We had a gift voucher, but adult entry fee is £15.90 (Feb 2018)
Visit Hampton Court Palace’s website >

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Mini break in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Last weekend, my husband took me away for a mini-break in the Lincolnshire Wolds. It’s one of the few places in the UK that we’ve never really visited, yet it’s only two hours away from our home in Milton Keynes + it’s such a lovely place, we will surely go back.

The Wolds don’t have quite the same dramatic landscapes as Cornwall, or the Lake District – but there are plenty of lovely rolling green hills, sandy beaches and quaint little villages to visit. Plus: Lincoln is an interesting historic city, well worth visiting.

IMG_5384One of the beach walks we did was Skegness. For some reason (and I’m sorry, Skegness), I had always imagined it was a bit of a tacky, overly-built-up seaside town – but in fact it was a lovely, wide, long beach with very little right on the shore to spoil it. Dogs are allowed off-lead in the winter months and my two loved running up and down the sand and splashing in the waves (I’m sure the sea must have been freezing!) Great walk, really recommend it.

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The cottage we stayed in was beautiful – thatched roof, wooden beams, modern amenities and really friendly owners who left us a basket of goodies including dog treats. Lots of character and extremely cosy – perfect for a romantic winter get-away. Find it on cottages.com, here > 

IMG_2250IMG_5560Lincoln is a lovely city to visit, with lots of history (including the signing of the Magna Carta). We had a look around the outside of the castle (dogs are not allowed inside so that’s saved for a future visit) which looks very interesting, a wander around the shops and down to the river… but the most impressive thing for me was Lincoln Cathedral. It was started in 1088, and for 238 years it was the tallest building in the world! Couldn’t go inside, but beautiful from the outside.

So: a highly recommended place to go for a long weekend or short holiday – we would very much like to return very soon 🙂

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Big thanks to my husband Nathaniel for organising this for a birthday surprise <3

 

 

 

Also in 2018, I will be visiting Rome, Kefalonia-Greece, York + another mystery location to be determined. Watch this space!

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