A day trip to York

This year I have decided to visit the UK more, and York was my first port of call.

I know there’s a lot to uncover aside from my usual spots of choice, so I’m trying to see the most possible this year by applying the rule that it has to be someplace that I have never been before (within a reasonable budget and distance from London and of course holiday permitting, lol). Therefore, last Saturday,  I’ve hopped on a train and headed to my chosen destination for the day.

A train ticket from London to York costs around £50 return (a bit cheaper if pre-booked in advance) and it takes roughly an hour and 50 minutes to get there, so it’s a good place to choose even if you are just looking for day trips.

Once arrived there, and since I had only 6 hours to spend in the city, I made a plan to see at least the most famous tourist attractions.

What to do

At 11 am my train arrived at the station and I started my day visiting the York Minster.

 

York
York. Photo By Roman In Londo

Dominating the City there’s York Minster Cathedral  (Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York), one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. The ticket costs £10 plus £5 more if you are willing to climb the 257 steps to get to the top (which I obviously did). The day was lovely, sunny and the view from the top was grand so I’m glad I’ve made the effort. However, it made me realize how actually unfit am I gave that it took me a while to regain my breath once on top.

View from the top. Photo by Roman In London

A prize for the courageous climbers is a badge of the Cathedral reading *I made it to the top*.

If you’re travelling with a partner you should stop for a kiss by the Heart of Yorkshire stained-glass window, as legend says if you do you’ll stay together forever 🙂

Walk the walls. Definitely, a must if you go to York,  is a walk on the walls. It takes circa 90 minutes and the view is breathtaking, especially around this time of year.

 

Photo by Roman In London

Stroll around the Shambles. The narrow cobbled streets that surround the Minster are hard to resist and full of nice shops and bars, in the late 14th century The Shambles housed a street full of butchers shops, today you will find sweet stores, antique and jewellery shops, tea rooms etc.

GhostTour. One of the quirky traits of this City is its reputation of being one of the most haunted cities in Europe, so if you fancy the idea of a Ghost Tour you’ll have an array of options to choose from.

I have finished my day sipping a tea in a lovely tea/coffee shop called the Vanilla Cafe (pictures below) its old-fashioned interior decor has captured my attention and the tasty almond cake I had has proven it to be a good choice. The Betty’s Café is also another option and has the reputation for being York’s most famous tea spot (with the queues to match),

Vanilla Cafe. Photo By Roman In London
The Vanilla Cafe’. Photo by Roman In London

York has definitely a lot more to offer though: with influences from the Romans, Vikings, Normans, Tudors, and Victorians, you’ve got a whole snapshot of history in one city. All of which has made it one of my favourite UK city break destinations and (perhaps next year) I’ll definitely head back to see more of it!

 

 

Continue Reading

Your guide to planning a road trip in the UK

I truly believe that a road trip is an incredible way to see a country, that feeling you get when ahead of you there’s nothing but miles of empty road, adventure and freedom.

Travelling by car will also allow you to see places your eyes would have only dreamed of if the medium of choice was to travel via plane or train instead.  One of the best things about this wonderful country is the vast amount of diverse sights and landscapes that stretch the length and breadth of the island.

Having said that, a road trip requires many things to take into account in order to avoid unexpected surprises. So, here is my guide to planning a trip in the UK:

1.If renting a car, plan in advance your beginning and ending destination

It is generally cheaper to pick-up and drop-off a rental car from the same destination, so it is worth planning accordingly.

2. Use your Phone GPS rather than renting one   

If you don’t have cellular data, you can preload a route on Google Maps when you have wifi and use the location service to follow the route.

3.Know the rules of the road

If travelling from abroad just a reminder that in the UK they drive on the left side of the road and signs are in miles per hour for speed and miles for distance.

4. If crossing the isles…

Don’t forget about the ferry services when travelling between the mainland UK, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. There are convenient ferry services from a few different ports, including:

  • Holyhead, Wales to Dublin, Ireland
  • Cardiff, Wales to Waterford, Ireland
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland to Liverpool, England

5. If driving your own car get MOT testing

Make sure you are driving safely and that your car had a MOT test prior departure. Repairing fails also can end up costing a fortune, also MOT from professionals ensures that no aspect is overlooked and it also helps in overcoming penalties or fines.

Some good and cheap MOT service providers in London are DAT Tyre, Motnearme.

Or if you prefer going locally, many local councils have their own MOT testing stations for their own vehicles, such as buses or vans.

(This post was written in collaboration with DAT Tyre)
Lake District. Photo Courtesy: Telegraph

 

Lake District
Lake District. Photo Courtesy: Telegraph

 

 

Continue Reading

Weekend trip to Norwich

Country side , Norwich

 

 

For a short getaway weekend my boyfriend and I decided to venture eastwards in Uk to the charming city of Norwich. Norwich It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk and back to the 11th Century was second only to London of importance.

As soon as I arrived it didn’t take me long to notice how different the pace to London was. People seemed to prefer long walks over public transport and cars and also seemed to be more relaxed overall.

 

Sightseeing

 

The top tourist attraction is the Norwich Cathedral . This 900-year old Norman cathedral, originally Catholic, is definitely worth a visit. The church is now a Church of England, and is one of 12 Norwich heritage sites.

The cathedral had also once been voted Norfolk’s favourite building, this is probably due to the unique feeling that the mix of Gothic and Roman architecture give to the viewer. Not everyone knows  that the most eye-catching feature of the cathedral is the shiny copper vat in the nave. This is the Rowntree Font, once used in the company’s chocolate factory.

Another must see landmark, also one of the 12 heritage sites, is the Norwich Castle. The Castle was founded by William the Conqueror between 1066 and 1075, and then rebuilt over the time. Nowadays, you’ll find a museum and a gallery inside of it.

And I could go ahead with a long list of cathedrals as Norwich has more than 32  medieval churches. During the middle ages, though, there were actually 57 churches within the city wall.

Interesting facts about Norwich

 

Apparently the City is launching a bid to be recognised as a Unesco City of literature, which means that if successful it will become the world’s fourth City of Literature (joining Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa). Also, Sixteen Revelations Of Divine Love by Dame Julian of Norwich, written around the 1393, is thought to have been the first book in English written by a woman.

Things to eat in Norwich

 

Being in Norfolk, Norwich is the home of the Cromer Crab: a fresh brown crab which you can find in salads, sandwiches, dressed or in their shells. These crabs are known to slowly grow on the chalk reef just off the coast, this is why they’re very sweet and tender.

 

cromer crab

 

Very tempting. However, we decided to go for a steak instead (can’t lose) and we ended up finding a hidden gem in the middle of the boho side of town: The Bycicle Shop Café.

As odd as it may sounds  I didn’t go in there to buy a bike (which I just have and am super excited about! Just FYI.), but they offered a delicious selection of food and wine instead.

 

 

Norwich-Vintage-7

 

The decor is quirky and vintage and the food is really good and at a decent price. Another win for the Norwich experience!

At the end I must admit that Norwich has definitely passed my getaway weekend test!

 

 

 

Continue Reading