Lucie Loves... Travel // Our York Adventure
Looking for UK city break ideas? Here’s how to spend three days in York. Seeking a weekend full of culture, history, music, vintage fashion, and incredible food? We’ve got just the thing.
For this post, I’ve handed over to my mama, Jo. She’s done a write up to accompany the photos I took on the trip, reviewing our weekend in York, so take note! There’s plenty of things to do – from afternoon tea at Betty’s to gigs at The York Barbican. There’s something for everyone. And the best thing about it… York is so cheap!!
It’s a long post with lots of pics, so grab a cup of tea and read all about it…
My Daughter, Lucie was offered a city break, as a guest of Visit York. Our trip coincided with the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, which took place on3-6 November 2016. It consists of 18 Venues, in the centre of York, and is a celebration of independent film from all around the World - showing 400 short films over 4 days.
I had always wanted to revisit York, since a school trip over 40 years ago. I’d also booked a weekend away to Yorkshire for my 50th birthday last January (which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the hotel being flooded), so Lucie immediately knew who to ask, to join her as a guest.
Who knew that a simple museum trip would foster a lifelong love of history in me! I’ve been in love with York since the aforementioned school trip, where we visited York Castle Museum and York Minster.
I’d been back a couple of times since, but never for a full weekend. Lucie herself, had only been on a school trip to the Jorvik Centre - (York’s famous viking museum), and both of us were looking forward to it, immensely!
The journey to York by rail is very straightforward, I got my train from Warrington Central station direct. I soon got chatting to a Mum and Daughter who were travelling from Leeds, Gill and Emily. Emily was going for an interview at York Opera House. In the course of the conversation, it turned out that Emily had been in the ‘In the Night Garden’ production in Manchester where she had played both ‘Iggle Piggle’ and 'Upsy Daisy’. I couldn’t wait to tell Lucie that I’d shared my journey with Iggle Piggle. These lovely Ladies kept me company until I got to York. (Hope you got the job, Emily!)
I got off at York Station, found the Information desk, and a lovely blonde young lady who was really helpful, and told me how to find the Visit York Tourist Information Centre in Museum Street, and also our hotel, Marmadukes Town House Hotel.
It was a beautifully sunny day, so I decided to walk to pick up our Visit York passes. The York Passis a must have if you are planning on seeing the sights. They give access to over 30 attractions (York Minster, Art Galleries and Museums, York Dungeon, York’s Chocolate Story, York Brewery and much more) and are well worth the money.
I decided to drop my luggage off at my hotel first, and they were more than happy to accommodate this, as check in wasn’t until 3pm. Lucie was on her way from London, travelling from Kings Cross St Pancras to join me, so I decided to go into the city and explore.
My first stop had to be York Minster. It looked particularly beautiful in the sunshine. I joined an hour long guided tour, which was really fascinating for a history buff like myself. The Minster itself is absolutely stunning. I loved hearing about the history behind it. It is a definite must see if you are planning on visiting York. The stained glass windows are spectacular.
Afterwards, I decided to wander around the streets and found The Shambles - a very famous York Street, which has overhanging timber framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. It is like something out of a Charles Dickens novel. There are some lovely unique shops to be found. From high-end boutiques, to independent and everyday shops, all sitting perfectly together on this tiny street. It’s the perfect place for Christmas shopping.
I decided to go back and check in at Marmadukes Town House Hotel. It is conveniently situated about an 8 minute walk from the centre, and the staff are lovely and very friendly. Thankfully, my luggage had already been taken up to our room, decorated beautifully and adorned with dark, mahogany antique furniture. It was warm and cosy and a good sized room.
I then sat and read all of the information leaflets, whilst I waited for Lucie to arrive. I soon realised that we were going to be spoilt for choice. There is far too much on offer to be able to do all that we wanted to do in one weekend!
We booked a table at Michael’s in advance and both enjoyed steak and guinness pie in short crust pastry with veg, chips and potatoes. It was delicious. The rest of the menu looked really good too. We shared a bottle of wine and the bill was very reasonable for such tasty food.
The Stone Roses Bar beckoned next. It was recommended by a friend, who said that we’d love the music. After stopping to ask a couple of local students for directions, we finally found it! It was indeed a treasure trove of late 1980’s/90’s memorabilia and the music was bloody brilliant!
The man playing guitar had everyone singing! We danced all night, fuelled by 2 for £6 Fools Gold cocktails (Lucie was amazed at the prices compared with what they would cost in London). It was such a fantastic night, we eventually got back to our hotel at 3am!!!!
The next morning, hungover as hell, we got ready and went for breakfast. Tucking into fruit, yoghurt, Danishes, cereal, and a Full English Breakfast with orange and apple juice, tea, coffee and toast. It was a really nice breakfast and it set us up for our busy day ahead.
We walked the short distance into the city and decided to start at York Minster. This time, we didn’t join a guided tour, as I gave Lucie details of what I had been told the day before. We both found it very impressive and stunning both inside and out. It really is a very photogenic piece of architecture!
From there we got on the Hop on Hop off York Tour bus, which was also included in our YorkPass.
We listened to the history tour information and then got off at The Castle Museum, where we used our passes for the 3rd time. I loved this place as a child and hoped that the reality would match up to my memories of it.
We explored the different parts, stepping down the world-famous Kirkgate (the Victorian Street) in which each shop is now based on a real York business, all of which operated in York between 1870 and 1901. It’s fascinating. Next came an exhibition of 'Body Shaping" which shows the lengths that people went to shaping their bodies over the years, with corsets etc. Lucie had a go at dressing up in the antique dresses/clothes.
From here, we went to a very poignant First World War exhibition. There were original war propaganda posters, urging young men to enlist, and many original documents and artefacts on show.
Feeling very reflective, we then entered a very groovy 1960’s exhibition. From very cool Mod scooter to the selection of 60’s Fashion - (dresses, make up and accessories) toys, sweets, posters, foods and decor etc. It was amazing!
Next stop was the Debtors Prison, a place where people went when they were in debt or owed money, which was commonplace as the people were so poor. In one small room 9 prisoners had suffocated to death. The conditions were appalling!
After a short lunch in the museum cafe of homemade soup and cake, we felt refreshed and ready to check out the vintage shops, passing by Clifford’s Tower on our way. It was originally built by William the Conqueror, burned down twice and rebuilt by Henry III. It’s a proud symbol of the power of the Medieval Kings.
We walked back into York and wandered around the quaint little shopping streets. Lucie managed to find the vintage shops that she was looking for:
Best vintage shops in York
Dog and Bone, 28 Castlegate YO1 9RP (see photos above)
We were really impressed by the carefully curated selection of vintage fashion on offer in Dog and Bone (they wash every item before putting them up for sale! Our kind of vintage!!)
Chinese Laundry, 51 Goodramgate YO1 7LS (see photos above)
Chinese Laundry was another vintage haven tucked inside one of of York’s historical buildings. They also sell their own range upcycled, sustainable fashion brand too.
Bowler Vintage, 52 Fossgate YO1 9TF
Unfortunately, we ran our of time and didn’t get to visit Bowler, but the typography alone was enough to make us want to go back!
We loved the wonderful individual shops and stopped to watch a lady making fudge in the window of Roly’s Fudge shop. The aroma was so enticing that we had to go in and buy some. It tasted delicious.
We went back to our hotel and got ready and went to The Barbican where we went to see KT Tunstall in concert supported by The Braids. We had a great evening, KT and the venue were both really good.
By this time, it was 11.30pm and we hadn’t eaten for hours, when we came across The York Roast Co, which had joints of meat displayed deliciously in the window.
We both had pork, stuffing and apple sauce sandwiches with crackling. They were delicious. Tired, after a long and fulfilling day, we went back to the hotel to sleep.
The next morning, we once again had breakfast and Lucie took photographs of the beautiful lounges in the hotel. We packed and Lucy, the General Manager, kindly kept hold of our luggage, so we didn’t have to carry it around with us.
We went to York Art Gallery’s ‘Flesh’exhibition, which included paintings and art by Rubens, Degas, Chardin, Circle of Rembrandt and Francis Bacon, as well as many other contemporary works.
Finally, we then went to York Theatre Royal to see the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.
We saw 4 short films by film makers from all over the world. I would have loved to watch more but we didn’t have the time. We both agreed that coming for the film festival and spending the whole weekend watching films of all genres would be something that we would like to do.
Before we had to leave to catch our trains home, we went for a quick drink in the Lamb and Lion Hotel(which also offers great centrally located accommodation) to have a little break.
We then picked our cases up from Marmadukes Hotel, said goodbye to our lovely room, and thanked the staff for a memorable stay. They had been so friendly and gave us a lot of information and directions, which really helped us to get the most out of our York trip.
York is a beautiful city, with very friendly people. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here. However, there is too much to do in just one weekend – it definitely is a place that deserves repeat visits – although we did try and cram as much as we possibly could into it.
We felt that there was something for all ages to enjoy in York - culture, restaurants, shopping, lovely hotels and we would both definitely come back. In fact, I’ve booked for my anniversary in February, and I look forward to enjoying York all over again!
Words ~ Joanne Lloyd (Lucie’s mum)
Photography ~ © Lucie Kerley