Steeped in history, York is often overlooked when travelers plan a trip to England. It’s not surprising that people want to explore London, the sprawling metropolis that is home to quite literally anything and everything you might imagine from a city, but that’s not to say that other areas in England are not wonderful destinations in and of themselves. York is located in Yorkshire in the northern part of the country. The city has Roman origins, which might be surprising to many. We’re convinced that if you do the smallest bit of research on York, you’ll be convinced that it’s an enticing destination that will give you a completely different experience than London and will give you and understanding of a totally different part of the country. Here is what York has to offer.
Journey Through Time
One of the most interesting experiences you can have in York is simply walking through the city, experiencing it as an open air museum that will take your through thousands of years of history. The cobbled streets will also lead you to York Minster, which is a towering English Gothic Cathedral which is a living testament to medieval artistry, especially seen in the intricate stained glass windows that adorn each of the towering walls. York Minster stands tall above most other buildings in the city, so you can see it erected formidably from many different area of the city you’ll be standing in.
Lovers of sweets will be delighted to learn that two of England’s best known confectionary companies originated in York. Both Rowntree’s and Terry’s hail from York, as well as Cravens, and visitors can learn all about how these companies first started off and how these family owned businesses grew and helped shape York into a chocolate city. It’s a delightful activity that’s perfect for kids and sweet-loving adults alike.
Quaint Streets and Markets
Another can’t-miss spot while visiting York is a street called The Shambles, which is known for its preserved medieval buildings that can be traced back to the 14th century. Its name likely derives from the Anglo-Saxon work Fleshammels, which referred to the shelves that butchers displayed their goods on. The once bustling meat market no longer has any butchers, but today is home to many specialty shops, a lot of which have a magical slant, thanks to the fact that many believe the area was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter book series and film franchise. While this is debated, there’s no question that The Shambles certainly has the same feel that many the Potterverse has created for many fans, and shop keepers are happy to partake in the magical fun.
In November 866 AD, York was invaded by the Vikings, led by Ivar the Boneless and King Halfden, who would go on to rename the city to Jorvik. You can visit the JORVIK Viking Centre while here, where you can learn all about this time of Viking settlement. There are animations, mannequins, and life size dioramas that show what life was like at the time.
York’s long history means that it has a cuisine that’s all its own, a result from centuries of invasions and evolution of culinary practices that cab still be experienced today. A major classic is Yorkshire Puddings, a baked pudding that’s a class side that’s often served with gravy. Another massive culinary tradition is enjoying tea from Yorkshire here, as locals take pride in their “proper brews,” with Yorkshire Tea from Taylor’s of Harrogate being the most popular tea brand in the country. To get the full experience, you can visit tea rooms like Betty’s of Harrogate and The Old York Tea Room.
Once you’ve wandered all around the city, you can begin exploring the natural beauty surrounding York. The nearby countryside is close by and is perfect for a lovely day trip to reconnect with the great outdoors. Visit the North York Moors National Park to take in stunning sights. You can also find several noteworthy bakeries here, so following your nature walk you cant tuck into some tea and scones to continue your relaxing afternoon.