A recent weekend trip to York, England made me realize how silly I’ve been. With cheap plane and rail tickets making London a virtual gateway to continental Europe and beyond, I had forgotten how much there is to do and see in England itself. Since I moved to London six months ago, I’ve spent an innumerable amount of weekends jetting off to places like Berlin, Paris, and Malta. But my trip to York made me realize how foolish I’ve been to neglect the richness and history that is practically in my own backyard.
Visit England, England’s national tourism board, helped me to recognize my folly when they extended an invitation for Liebling and I to come to York, the city said to be the most beautiful in England. York also holds the unique distinction as the most haunted city in England, with over 500 ghosts being reported at one time or another! I always love a good ghost story, so I jumped at the chance to go. Thrilled to discover a new place (and even more tickled that we wouldn’t require our passports to do so), we jumped on a train one Friday evening in April and settled in for the swift two-hour journey to our home for the next 2 days.
I’ll tell you right now: York is the perfect weekend destination. The train station is but a short walk away from the hustle bustle of town and the city is compact enough to be comfortably explored in two days. The attractions are interesting enough to excite even the most lackadaisical of tourists, and the abundance of pubs provide a most welcoming atmosphere in which to let one’s hair down. Our first night there, after dropping off our personal effects in our luxurious hotel, the Cedar Court Grand (the full extent of its fabulosity will be detailed in a future post), we took to the streets in pursuit of nightlife and good brew. We descended on the Golden Fleece, one of the towns oldest and most haunted pubs. Unfortunately, there were no ghost sightings, but we enjoyed our brief stay in one of the town’s most famous watering holes just the same.
The next day we deepened our cultural and historic knowledge of York, once again embarking on a self-designed walking tour that took us to its most popular sights. After a stroll along the Shambles, York’s oldest and most touristed street, we were stunned into silence by the ornate architecture of the York Minster Cathedral, which sits imposingly in the centre of York’s old town. The most impressive gothic architecture I have ever seen, the outside of the Minster reminded me of the buildings lining the Grand-Place when I went to Brussels this past January. Isn’t the interior just jaw-dropping?
Our next stop was the York Dungeon, the hilarious attraction where the 2000 years of York’s intricate folklore comes alive. Wickedly entertaining, the Dungeon is part haunted house, part history lesson. Patrons are lead from dark, spooky room to dark, spooky room and treated to tales and reenactments of York’s gruesome past… A past that featured notably tragic figures such as York native Guy Fawkes, best known for his failed plot to blow up English Parliament way back in 1605 (and subsequently incarnated in effigy form every November 5 and thrown into a blazing bonfire).
Stay tuned for the next installments in my York series, where I describe my brushes with Viking roller coasters, ghost walks, opulent accommodation, chocolate museums, Roman walls, and more!
Have you travelled a fair bit within your country of residence? Or do you often tend to leave your country when you want to go on holiday? Why or why not?
Many thanks to Visit England and Visit York for organizing my stay in England’s most haunted city. Opinions, long-windedness, and gushing, as always, are my own.