By Jonathan Reed
The ancient City of York dates all the way back to 71AD, going by the name of Eboracum. It was here that Emperor Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in 306AD. The historic coronation is marked with a statue outside of York Minster. To say the City has a long history, would be a massive understatement.
Throughout the years, up until present day, York has developed into a thriving City and cultural hub of all things quintessentially British. Though what is unique about the Yorkshire City is, unlike many others around Britain, York still maintains its ancient charm. Throughout every cobbled street, park and Medieval Pub, York is a stirring pot of modern City life that steps back in time.
With all the latest shops and restaurants, York still offers those unique independent businesses, from Arts and Crafts, Jewellers, Armouries and York’s World Famous, York Roast. One shopping element, unlike anywhere else, is The Shambles.
This iconic Medieval Street, with its idyllic cobbled pavements and narrow, quirky buildings looks as if they have been pulled from the pages of a Harry Potter book. So, it is of no surprise, that three shops have opened, dedicated to the Boy Wizard. They sell everything from the book series themselves, to board games and movie merchandise. As is to be expected with anything Harry Potter, the stores are extremely busy especially on a weekend and throughout the Holiday periods, so expect to queue.
Nearby The Shambles, is York’s Chocolate Museum. With tours available you can see how York have made their famous chocolates over the years and also create your own recipe!
One landmark of York which can be seen from nearly every direction, is the famous York Minster. It is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe and is the Seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England. The Minster dates back to the 4th Century where the first recorded church on the site was a wooden structure built in 627AD. Throughout the years that small wooden church has transformed into the majestic Minster we see today.
We would recommend visiting both the Minster and Tower, it may be more expensive but the view from the Central Tower is exceptional. Furthermore, your ticket grants you admission into the Minster for a whole year for free, and the money that York Minster makes from admission sales goes directly back into the daily running of the iconic building.
Just a short distance from the Minster is the Jorvik Museum. The attraction has recently undergone major renovations after suffering water damage from recent flooding and looks better than ever. An advanced adult ticket costs: £11.00 when booked online, an advanced Child ticket costs: £8.00. Booking ahead is highly advisable due to the popularity of the attraction.
Another place of interest worth visiting in York, is the National Railway Museum. It is free to enter and showcases a collection of the most famous trains and locomotives in the world, including the iconic Flying Scotsman. It is worth noting to look for the dates when the Scotsman will be on display so you don't face dissappointment when visiting, as the train isn't on show all year round.
For all the foodies out there, York has a plethora of restaurants, bars and cafes on offer. From the Star Inn, situated by the River Ouse, Drake’s Fish and Chip Shop and The Golden Fleece Inn, renowned as one of the oldest and most haunted pubs in England. They all offer some quintessential British grub. There is also the famed York Roast which sells the World's Famous ‘Yorky Pud Wrap’, it is delicious!
With Halloween just around the corner, York runs acclaimed Ghost Hunts. They take place each night, throughout the majority of the year and guide those seeking the paranormal experience around the sites of the ancient City. They are thoroughly entertaining, especially ‘The Original Ghost Walk of York’ believed to be the first exclusive Ghost Walk in the World!
York also is a hotspot for film locations, with the most recent series of ITV’s Drama Victoria filming in and around the City. Most Haunted have also filmed at various sites in the City, searching for all types of York's famous spectres.
Whether you are visiting York for a day, or planning on spending a weekend here, there are numerous options for travel. York's train station is situated near the 5-star, The Principal York Hotel, which has recently reopened following extensive refurbishment. A basic room costs: £124 for two adults per night and looks out onto York Minster and Gardens. For cheaper options, there are numerous Travel Lodges dotted around the City.
The ‘Park and Ride’ services are available from Askham Bar, York Designer Outlet, Grimston Bar, Monks Cross, Poppleton and Rawcliffe Bar. It is perfect for those who wish to stay outside of the Main City walls. The bus journey lasts around 10-minutes depending on traffic and costs £3.60 for an adult return ticket. The buses run frequently so don’t worry if you miss one!
York is a breath-taking City that continues to grow and prosper. Technology, architecture and cultures may change through time, but York has a dynamic way of placing a foot in almost every historic century that has gone by. From the Romans, Norman Vikings, Medieval, Georgian, Victorian and present day, each street and building is touched by history. It is hard not to willingly lose yourself in the magic and mystique of York. It is a City that invites you to explore it's history on every street corner, leaving you to discover it's many hidden gems.