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!

 

 

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Just moved to London? These are the apps you’ll need!

London

Whether you’ll be travelling or moving to London this year (2017),  this post will give you some tips on what are the most useful apps you’ll need during your stay.

Those days when we used to travel “light” with a map and a guide book only are long by now, today our daily lives are made easier by technology and the use of the phone for each little thing we might need is ingrained in our daily habits: from checking the news, emails, weather, transports and bank,  you’ll definitely need your phone, even more, when on a City Trip.

 

The Big Ben at night. Photo By Roman In London

 

  • Uber

A great app to have, it lets you find a taxi wherever you’re at, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of paying the driver in cash as it’s all taken from your registered credit card. On the plus side, it’s about 30-50% cheaper than a traditional black cab.

  • City Mapper

Simple, sleek, and super helpful, City Mapper provides up-to-date transports times and line updates, the route planner is particularly useful, allowing you to optimise for a shorter journey or fewer changes.

  • Time Out London

You may be able to pick up a free copy of Time Out on the tube or around hotels and cafes. If you don’t find one, make sure you use the Time Out London app for suggestions of things to see. They list the latest events, culture and nightlife and have lots of suggestions for first-time visitors too.

  •  Bus London

Never wait in the cold again thanks to UK Bus Checker. The app will give you live bus times at any London stop so you know exactly when to show up at your stop to catch your ride.

  •   Meetup

If travelling solo or just looking to meet people I find this a very useful app as it gather a wide range of interests and opportunity to meet like minded people to have interesting and fun times

  •   Just Eat

This is internationally known and widely used almost everywhere. If you get too tired after a day touring the City this is a good app to use to get your dinner (or breakfast delivered).

  • Opentable

Eating out in London is quite an expensive business, but there are bargains around if you know where to look. Opentable, which handles reservations for up to 80% of London’sMichelin-starred eateries, can provide restaurant discounts on everything from quick bites to fine dining in over 4,000 UK restaurants, as well as nearby restaurant searches and the ability to book online.

  •  Currency Converter App

If coming from abroad you may not be used to the Pound and might experience the constant challenge of doing currency conversions in your head. Any currency converter app is, therefore, a must companion.

phone

 

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Moving to London… which is the best area?

Moving to London? If you are trying to figure out which area could possibly be the best to live in… well… I might have some info for you based on my personal experience.

Having relocated few times already, I had the feel of the various vibes that certain areas of London could give you.

Although, at the time being, many areas of London are undergoing into the process of gentrification and are in constant change – read change as “getting way more expensive”-  this is how I’ve seen London within the last 3 years:

House n.1 –  Belsize Park – North London

When I first moved to London I had the pleasure to live in the lovely area of Belsize Park, where I shared the flat with Eliza (also a blogger ) and Hanna.

Most of the North London area is very elegant and classy. You can find there some of the most popular residencies (and some celebrities too), but the whole package can come up with a pretty high price.

 

 

specialreports_2edb.Belsize-Park-Gardens-London-Boom

 

In fact, Belsize Park is quite central, suburban and the average price of a double room can come to up to £1000. Mainly, the reason why I moved somewhere else.

Best areas to live in north london are:

– Camden (North-West).

Very busy, but with the perfect combination of transport links

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– Stoke Newington (North East)

Very close to Islington but the rents are cheaper. Less pleased with the transport links.

– Islington 

Upper – middle class live here. Pretty area.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, you’ve got:

– Kentish Town 
– West Hampstead
– Finsbury Park 

 

House n.2 – Wimbledon – South London

 

I absolutely loved living in Wimbledon! Leafy, pretty (Postcard Pretty) and with that “small, happy villagey” vibe.

The village is my favourite part, especially during the summer months. These pictures were taken at the Cannizaro House, a picturesque hotel/ park/ restaurant close by to the Wimbledon common park,  which I’ve discovered randomly when I got lost in one of my walks.

 

cannizzaro house mod

 

South London is definitely not only confined to Wimbledon though, but is a very mixed bag of places. Running from the multi milion pound mansions to the poorest and roughest areas.

Streatham and Balham have now improved a lot over the last decade and are getting more pleasant, whilst areas like Nunhead and Peckam are still notorious for being… ehm not the “safest”.

And, if you don’t mind living a bit further out from Central London you can try Croydon. You can get the overground train and in 28 mins ca you are already into Central London, you might just need to remember to catch the last train home or you could be in for a very, very long bus ride!

 

House n.3 – Greenwich – South East London

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Been living nearby Greenwich for almost 6 months now, definitely not one of my longest tenancy.

Very good in terms of safety, less in terms of transportation links (especially if you work nearby east london). In this instance as well, if you miss the last train home there is only one night bus that runs only almost EVERY HOUR, therefore you’d better not.

Accommodation wise is still reasonably priced, and in the future a good amount of businesses will be moving in too.

Greenwich  hosts few antique and food markets and is the set of many London films such as “The Italian Job”.

Neighbourhoods to live in this area would be:

Greenwich
Canary Wharf 

 

Soon to be… House n.4 – Dalston – East London

 

Young, creative? Then Dalston is definitely the place for you. In 2009 Vogue Italia declared Dalston as the trendiest and coolest neighbourhood in London. Will need to update you on this bit once I move in!

Those, in my opinion, are some of the best places to look at.

 

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A first taste of London

Having just recently celebrated my third year in London I thought it’d have been nice to share some of my favourite shots I’ve taken that I believe most represent my relationship with the City…. Here you go!

 

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Emirates O2 arena. Photo by Roman In London

 

An astonishing view of the skyline at sunset whilst riding on top of the Emirates Air Line. Even though that was my first – and only – time I’ve ever used this “unconventional” method of transportation I’d definitely recommend it for the chance to admire the landscape. Perhaps not as terrifying as I thought it would be… (A little scared of height).

 

snow over London

 

This picture features a London covered by an icy and glossy white. You can landscape view is visible from the top of the Hampstead Heath park in north London, and it is one of the highest natural spot that you can possibly find in the City. The hike to the top of Parliament Hill is a must do, especially if you live nearby the area.

Parliament hill

 

And yes, once you are there, why not dusting off your sledges to fly down Parliament Hill?

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