Bookish Discussions

Wandering in York:

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I took myself on a lil trip to York yesterday.

I visited as a child but I can hardly remember it. I longed to wander the Shambles, to stand in front of the Minister, and to be transported back in time by the many museum collections. I boarded the train at half 9 and set off on my solo journey.

It was a frosty morning. The fields were coated in white. Ice formed on top of the passing rivers. A white cloud formed when I breathed out. I was disturbed by a sharp draught when the train doors opened. Winter is well and truly upon us.

I distracted myself by reading Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder, a historical fiction set in Victorian Ireland. A miracle child has survived without food for months. Lib has been employed to watch the child – to uncover the truth. Is it a hoax or is it real? I was so close to finishing it.

The train pulled into the station at quarter past 11. It was mental. I should have known. York plus Black Friday Weekend equals chaos.

I wandered around, trying to find the nearest Costa. I wanted to nestle down in a corner with my toastie and lemon muffin to carry on reading. I had a peek at the Shambles on the way. Forget about the generic Harry Potter shops – the buildings were my favourite. The structure and architecture of them were divine, jutting out at all angles, with the cobblestones beneath my feet.

After I had my fill, I made my way to the Minister. I couldn’t visit inside. It was a Sunday after all, something must have been on. I came back before my train, but there was a hugggeeeeeee queue waiting. I wanted to be in awe of the interior of the place, but I guess I’ll just have to come back and visit another day.

Disappointed, I made my way to the real reason I was there: the Castle Museum. When I found out there was a reconstructed Victorian street there, I just had to visit. It cost me £11, which was a lil dear, but I handed over the cash and started my tour.

It was brilliant.

Definitely one of the best museums I’ve visited. Tour guide were donned in their Victorian costumes and you could visit individual shops. It was all decked out in Christmas decorations, which made it somehow even better. At the moment, they’re putting on a live show of A Christmas Carol if you visit in the late evenings – I was gutted to miss it. There was also an excellent World War I exhibition and very interesting section on the history of the York prisons.

It was well worth the trip, but I’m not sure if it was worth the price!

IMG_7001I was left with a couple of hours before my train at 17:09. I was just gonna wander the town when I stumbled across a Georgian Townhouse. You know me, I love these kind of things. It was the Fairfax House. The Viscount Fairfax purchased the house to add to his daughter’s dowry; he thought it would make her more attractive.

It was a beautiful and regal house (and it only cost me £6). The ceilings were decorated with artwork, the walls were coated in rich red colours, and the grand staircase was like something out of classical Roman times. There was an interesting exhibition on about Georgian costumes, which were all *soooooo* pretty, as well as their annual Christmas exhibition. Did you know lunch wasn’t invented in the Georgian period?

There were guides in the every room willing to share some titbits about the house and family. I even learnt that most people don’t smile in portraits because their teeth were often black from decay. The wealthy were obsessed with sugar and black teeth indicated to society that you were part of the upper-classes!

After that it was time to make my way back to the station. I stopped off at Waterstones along the way to pick up a few books: I got the Penguin English Library edition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Brian Carter’s A Black Fox Running. I purchased the usual bookmarks and postcards (for my scrapbook!) as well.

It was such a lovely day out and I’ll definitley be visiting York again. I really want to see the Viking museum and *actually* go inside the Minister! I’ll maybe book another trip for February or something! and I managed to finish The Wonder on the way home  – I’ll update you with that in my next reading update.

Have you been to York? Where’s somewhere you visited recently and loved? 

Thanks for reading, Lauren X

6 thoughts on “Wandering in York:

  1. Had a couple or so hours there between trains, en route from Harrogate to Edinburgh, so just time to wander past The Shambles, take some pics around the outside of the Minster, wander down a few streets away from the hustle and bustle before heading back to the station. Like you, I’d like to take a bit longer to visit, as the previous time was quite a few decades ago…

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  2. I love York! I went to uni in the city, and on reflection I was so spoilt as a student – so many cafes to read in, such beautiful historic buildings, great parks when the summer came around, affordable cocktails…
    I love the street at the Castle Museum too, although it does sound like the Christmas aspect made it extra exciting. I haven’t been to Fairfax house though.
    Here are my recommendations for a York daytrip: The York Art Gallery is part of York Museum’s Trust, so I think you can get a discount if you’re going to the gallery, Castle Museum and/or Yorkshire Museum (in the Museum Gardens park) on the same day. If you like transport museums, then the National Railway Museum is a good one – and free. The cafe’s a bit overpriced though, so head somewhere independent, like the Harlequin on King’s Square. If walking the city walls isn’t enough, it’s possible to walk along the riverbank and get into nature a little. For dinner, I like tapas at Ambiente, followed by drinks at The Nook, near Clifford’s Tower.
    Have a(nother) great day next time you’re visiting!

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