Study Abroad Travel Diary – York

March 9, 2018

If you’re in Yorkshire, it’s basically a no-brainer that a trip to York is a must, as it’s the name-sake of the county (Yorkshire)! Known for the walls that enclose the city & the winding streets, York is apparently the tourist destination of the north, and for good reason. I was lucky enough to make a day trip out there a couple of weeks ago, and let me just say, it is beautiful.

Getting There

If you’re traveling from Sheffield, the train to York is anywhere from 1 – 1.5 hours long. Personally, I am always a huge fan of trains – you get to see so much of the area, and it can be super relaxing. Of course, that day our train was less than relaxing due to a couple of singing babies, but you get my point.

Once we arrived, I somehow found myself at another Costa. These coffee places are everywhere, guys. This time, I had a chocolate pastry to go with my latte, and it was delicious!

York Minster

After coffee, we crossed the cutest bridge and made our way towards York’s massive cathedral, the York Minster. It’s absolutely beautiful from the outside, and we paused to take a couple of pictures before walking to the front entrance.

Unfortunately, admission for the Minster is £9.50 unless you have a special pass to go to mass, so we didn’t get to go in to see the stained glass. If I had the chance to go back though, I think I would definitely cough up the money to go inside, simply because I love cathedrals.

We ended up taking a walk in the park that surrounded the cathedral, and it was amazing to see the detail that went into every facet of the building. I’m no architect, but you have to appreciate the time it took to design and construct a building that large & beautiful.

Wandering the Streets of York

After leaving the cathedral, we turned down a corner and found ourselves surrounded by shops on a cute little street. Apparently this is a hallmark of the area, because most of the places we walked boasted older homes and cobblestone streets. The one thing I like most about York is that you can tell the city takes pride in its history, and does its best to preserve that authenticity. Aside from the bigger department stores, none of the shops had modern storefronts – everything looked as if it was constructed in the 1800s, even if that store was The Body Shop!

We stopped for a quick little lunch at The Three Tuns, where I had a pretty decent burger. Side note: I haven’t been able to find a real, quality burger since I’ve been here, so if anybody has any recommendations please throw them my way!

The Shambles

Following lunch, we then stumbled upon The Shambles, a long & winding road with pubs, chocolate shops, and tea rooms. I was surprised to find that a lot of the stores were Harry Potter themed, and even more surprised to learn that The Shambles is considered to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley! Even though The Shambles wasn’t used as a shoot location for any of the movies, it was still pretty cool to learn that fun fact.

We walked up and down the street, going into different specialty shops and looking at what they were selling. This might sound weird, but I love window shopping, so this was probably my favorite part of the trip! We ended up at a cute little bookstore, and I purchased some postcards to send back home.

By this time, it was a little past 4pm and all of the attractions were closing, so we decided to take an early train back to Sheffield.

Final Thoughts

Even though our day trip to York was short, it was fun & relaxing to kind of wander with no real agenda. If you ever find yourself in another country, make sure to take at least one day to stroll around and get lost (a little bit). It can be really rewarding, and it takes a lot of the stress out of planning a jam-packed itinerary.

However, if you do end up going to York, it’s important to note that all of the attractions have an admission fee. If you want to “see the sights”, York might not be the best if you’re on a budget, but I still think it’s worth a visit. I’ve never seen anything like it, and would highly recommend going, regardless of whether you go into all of the museums or you just walk around like I did!

Have you ever been to York? What would you recommend seeing?

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