Nestled between major cities all over the world are a collection of quaint, beautiful towns awaiting discovery. These enticing, secluded hubs carry an array of activities to spark the attention and engagement of all travellers, with exclusive wonderments never before experienced.
This was fortunately my experience on my most recent journey to the charming town of York.
I had previously spent 7 action pack days in London, and was on my way to Edinburgh. The journey across the lively, flourishing countryside was about 7 hours, so ideally, I had to break up the commute. Rather than stopping just for the sake of stopping, I desired to get as much out of the journey as possible. I wanted to stop at some smaller towns between London and Edinburgh, and decided to dedicate some time to explore what was on offer. After chatting to a few of the locals, York was recommended as a prominent spot to venture through. So with the overwhelming praise received for York, I decided to set a course.
After departing Liverpool on a cold Saturday evening, I made my way to my hotel, approximately 2 hours outside of York. Particularly unsure of what to do, I spent the night researching the town, along with a handful of activities. My interest was immediately spiked. This town held a fascinating history coupled with remarkable architecture to appreciate. The streets appeared to have an attractive medieval vibe, which I later noticed have been excellently preserved.
Whilst driving into town in the earlier part of Sunday morning, I immediately appreciated the diverse assortment of old-fashioned buildings neatly bordering the streets. As first light arose between the narrow roads and bounced off the River Ouse, a sense of excitement to explore this captivating town overtook me.
I filled the first hour happily walking amongst pleasant shops and appetising cafes scattered through the side streets. After breakfast, I ventured towards the towering gothic-like structure overlooking the town, which I would later discover was York Minster. I walked the perimeter of this gigantic cathedral, marvelling its detail. I learnt the structure was in fact built in the 13th century and took 250 years to complete. Standing over Yorkshire at a staggering 72m, the York Minster is a must see, that’s conveniently hard to miss.
I wandered aimlessly through the narrow yet bustling streets and paths, and suddenly managed to find myself within a fairy-tale-like setting. A narrow, rutted brick path winded into the distance whilst a diverse range of inviting shops bordered. The second floors of these timber, medieval fashioned stores hung over the trail, keeping the track very well shaded. Dark, iron signs perched along the exterior of the shops. Known as “The Shambles”, this winding, slender street is home to elegantly preserved buildings, dating back to the 14th century. This street proved to be a very popular street of York, providing a unique display of old-fashioned architecture, along with a fairy tale vibe travellers can appreciate.
Once I successfully navigated through the labyrinth of small streets, I found myself surrounded by an assembly of markets, extending across a courtyard and throughout the main streets. The markets were decorated quite festively, offering an array of handcrafted goods and edibles. The friendly locals were easy to strike up a conservation with, and provided a unique insight into the haven that is York. As morning was swaying into afternoon, I bought 3 pieces of delicious fudge for the road and began the trek up to Edinburgh.
This short venture truly exposed me to the charm and captivation of small cities. These destinations hide an array of unique attractions and unforgettable experiences served on a platter, and with a bit of local knowledge and a dash of luck, they can be uncovered. York was an enchanting experience that was undoubtedly a highlight of my journey and I will surely explore it in greater depth next time I visit.
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