To the North ...
Don’t be fooled into thinking that London is the only city you need to see whilst visiting the UK. Whilst London is absolutely incredible, there are even more phenomenal things to discover across the country! York is a beautiful English town located in the Northern region of England. Think iconic architecture mixed with stunning scenery and rich history. It’s a day out, you most certainly won’t forget.
I am constantly impressed by the extent and efficiency of the UK public transport system. It is something that Australia could learn a thing or two from!
The London-York route is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast, Grand Central and East Midlands Trains. The service runs frequently with journey times varying between 1 hour, 50 minutes and 2 hours, 40 minutes. Ticket prices can also vary, and tend to increase closer to the date of your journey. Try to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance, I would not advise purchasing tickets on the day of departure.
Pre-purchase tickets online with each service or search with trainline, to determine the best route.
On average tickets cost £30-£60
An alternate option to train travel is coach travel. Expect a much longer journey time of around 6 hours. Although it may be slightly cheaper, this option doesn’t leave much time to explore the city. I would definitely, rather recommend the train journey.
Driving to York is another alternative that offers more freedom to your York adventure. The drive should take roughly 4 hours which makes it a possibility when visiting York for the day.
What to See & Do
Right, so you’ve got a day of exploring ahead, what are the must see and dos in York?
The Medieval walls of York enclose the historic city and although they are not completely intact, the remaining sections are well preserved. Built in the 13th century, these walls are renowned for being the longest town walls within England. Take a stroll along one section or all four (takes roughly two hours) if you’ve got the time and view the city from a different perspective.
And best of all … its completely free!
The minster would have to be the biggest selling point for most visitors to the region. The York minster is the second largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe, with the largest stained-glass window in England.
Entrance £10 valid for 1 year; Additional £5 to climb the tower
York Roast Co.
You may or may not have seen the viral video circulating about a roast dinner wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding? Well this is the very place! If you’ve ever fancied a roast dinner on the go, head on down to the York Roast Co. where you can order the YorkyPud. Choose from pork, ham, turkey or beef, then select roast vegetables or cabbage, and don’t forget the stuffing and sauce. It’ll all be wrapped up in a jumbo Yorkshire pudding. If you’re feeling extra peckish you can choose from a number of sides too.
YorkyPuds range between £6-8 depending on your meat
One of Britain’s most famous streets with a rich history. The Shambles are known as the most well preserved Medieval street in Europe as well as being the oldest street within the city of York. The leaning angle of the buildings are as such, that the roof of the opposing building near, well touch.
Almost all that remains of York Castle is Clifford’s Tower. This tower has been used as both a prison and royal mint over history and now is a great vantage point to view the city. The tower offers visitors panoramic vistas across the county, spanning as far as the North York Moors on a clear day.
£5 entry fee or free when you hold an English Heritage Membership
York is also famous for its chocolate past, and remains to be the home of UK chocolate. Enjoy tastings along the tour as you learn about everything chocolate, before getting hands on and creating your very own chocolate bar.
The cost of the chocolate experience will set you back £12.50
Rather a strange icon, but when the shortest street in York has one of the strangest names it is worth a mention. Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate is so short in fact, that it is really just a short stretch of raised pavement in the city centre. The original name of the street was Whitnourwhatnourgate, meaning 'what a street'.
National Railway Museum
The award-winning railway museum is a fantastic free activity for all ages. Be blown away by the incredible trains in the vast collection of iconic locomotives. If you’re a train fan (like my dad), this definitely is a place not to be missed.
With York being such an easy commute from London, it would be foolish to not explore this historic city. If you’ve got some more time up your sleeve, why not explore further to the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. York really is a beautiful and iconic English town that should not be overlooked. Start planning your day trip now!