I didn’t know what I was missing.
York. I’d heard about this English town in movies mostly, and in the hit show Downton Abbey, but other than that, I didn’t know much about it.
During the planning stages of out United Kingdom trip, we decided start with the city of York. Little did we know that this would turn out to be our favorite city in the trip and that it had so much history! York is 1,945 years old of and was founded by the Roman Empire back in 71 AD. So just like the city of Rome, we were able to see layers upon layers of different fallen civilizations.
How we got there
We flew into Heathrow airport in London and took the Underground to King’s Cross Station (any Harry Potter fans? Heyoo!). Then we took the train heading north towards York. It took about 3 hours to get from the airport to the York train station and even though it sounds like a long time, sitting on a train is very relaxing and in my case gave me the chance to take a power nap.
Occasionally I would wake up and glance out the window. The English countryside was beautiful, complete with cottages, sheep, cattle, gardens and lots of green.
We Made it to York
For this stay we chose to use AirBnb. It was the best option for what we needed. The place was within walking distance to the city center and to the train station, so no cars or public transportation were required on this trip because York is a small walkable city.
Here’s $40 Airbnb credit you can use when choosing your next place to stay.
During the first day we walked and explored the city. We also visited the Tourist Information center where they gave us free maps and told us about a free 2hr walking tour offered by city volunteers. At night we found a cozy pub with delicious food, beer and awesome music.
Day 2: York was founded 1,945 years ago? What?!
On the second day we took the free walking tour and learned about the city’s history. We had lunch at the Shambles, also had afternoon tea, hit the York Museum and even a Ghost walk tour!
Day 3: One last day to explore
On our last day in York we visited the York Castle Museum, the York Museum Gardens, the York Minster, shops and walked around this amazing city.
Why you should visit York
If you visit the city of London, I suggest you take the (3hr) train ride to York. It’s a walkable city, so you don’t need to rent a car or rely on public transportation. It’s completely immersed in history dating back to the Roman Empire so you’ll get to appreciate the different layers that go back in time everywhere you walk. The food was incredible (I used TripAdvisor for recommendations) and the people were lovely.
Make sure to visit York Minster, The Shambles, the city walls, the Museum Gardens, the Holy Trinity Church, St. Mary’s Abbey, the Yorkshire Museum, Clifford’s Tower and walk the streets.
My Pocket Guides
The Rick Steve’s Pocket Guides never leave my side. I use them before the trip to help plan my days and take them with me wherever I go. They’re light, easy to read and even bring a fold-out map. I recommend them 100%.