When I was reading through my itinerary before my travels to England started, it registered in my mind that I would be visiting York; but that was the only emotion I had towards the place- it just registered. I knew absolutely nothing about York, and I promised myself that I purposely wouldn’t Google anything as I hoped to be surprised.
York Minister, York, England
On the bus journey from Liverpool to York, my tour guide explained that it was England’s most haunted town, and that immediately caught my attention. From that point on I listened intently to everything that he was saying about York. I have always had a particular interest in haunted histories. Anything paranormal instantly captures my attention, but also scares the shit out of me. I’ve always loved those TV shows about hauntings and I can remember that when I was a child I was always up for switching all the lights off, sitting with a group of friends, and telling fictional scary stories. Hence, this is why York completely captured my full attention, and I decided that I would immerse myself in everything York.
York Minister, York, England
When we pulled into York, it seemed like every other English town. Old Victorian and Georgian styled buildings, various shops along main streets, and people everywhere. But then we went on a walking tour and all the little differences became evident. I learnt that York was actually a very, very old town; approximately two millions years old. So old that the streets were actually made out of cobblestones, and the roads were very narrow meaning that there are quite a few nooks and crannies and little alleyways in amongst all the cobblestone streets and narrow roads. Most buildings are all originals and hence have so many backstories.
Clifford’s Tower, York, England
I was only in York for one short night, so I made the most out of the time that I had there. The walking tour showed me sights such as Clifford’s Tower, the Shambles, and York Minister. Out of all of these sights, York Minister amazed me. I’m sure by these photos you will be able to see why, but specifically the architecture is incredible. It is extremely intricate and way more beautiful with the human eye rather than through a lens. There are so many individual pieces of architectural art that are in collaboration with each other to make this masterpiece of a building. The cast of the sun creates various arcs, shapes and shadows that accentuate the building against the vivid yellowy, golden brown stone. In conclusion, York Minister is something that everyone needs to see at least once in their lives.
York’s Chocolate Story, York, England
Food is also fantastic in York! Some friends and I visited Café Rouge, which is located along a street named Low Petergate. Here I delved into the Prix Five menu; starting with the Soupe A L’oignon (a French onion soup) and finishing with the Demi Poulet (roast chicken marinated in garlic and herbs, served with fires). This menu is a set menu where you are able to choose a starter, and then a main meal, with the choice of adding a dessert for 3.50 pounds. The staff were friendly as ever and the food was amazing! We also visited the Bullivant of York tea room where I enjoyed a steaming pot of English Breakfast Tea; again, this café is relatively cheap, holds a vintage setting with a large shop to visit afterwards, and had excellent tea. We also stopped into York’s Chocolate Story; a shop that holds a various range of flavored chocolates, and even gives you an opportunity to see the chocolate production process through a paid walking tour. Let’s hope I had no trouble getting this chocolate on the plane! My family needs to try it!
York’s architecture is amazing, York’s food is mouthwatering, and York’s people are kind as ever, but the best thing about my short time in York, and the event that made me fall in love with the city’s history is the nighttime ghost tour that we were lucky enough to be offered. For the cheap price of a couple of pound, I was able to join my Contiki family in a walking ghost tour of York. Our tour guide had a different way of portraying York’s past though. Instead of increasing the theatrics of the ‘ghost’ part of the tour, he did the opposite. He told us the history of York and some of his personal experiences; but the way that he spoke about it, and the tone of his voice added mystery to the historic events he was telling us about. We ventured down dark, cold alleyways, small locations, and near local monuments, all huddled together to keep warm, and intently listened to his amazing recount of York’s history.
One memory that stands out the most is the memory of my whole Contiki group and I- about 50 of us- standing in a dark, cold alleyway with our backs to the walls, listening to our guide tell us a story about a girl that got stalked by a ghostly male figure, when all of a sudden- BANG- went the door! Everyone scremed, but it only turned out to be one of the girls banging her foot against one of the doors on the walls. It was terrifying at the time, but so funny at the end.
I will come back to York one day; it just has that certain charm! If you’re into dark histories and ghost stories, you’ll fall in love with York just like I did!
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