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Review: York


North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Ten Thousand Steps a Day

  • By SilverTraveller SilverTravelUser_2804

    2 reviews

  • Apr 2012
  • Partner

62 people found this review helpful

We had just been given a couple of pedometers and told we should aim to walk at least 10,000 steps each day, to improve our fitness levels & take care of our hearts. We set off (by train) for a midweek break in York, intending to make the most of our car-less-ness and walk everywhere instead.

Monday dawned fine and bright, we arrived around 10am and started our sightseeing with a guided tour around Fairfax House – a beautiful Georgian Town House full of fabulous furniture and clocks. That was a real treat and a wonderful story of the saving of a much loved house after its degeneration to a near derelict shell. It was still sunny when we finished the tour, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to follow some of the Snickleways described so beautifully in Mark Jones’ book. The maps were easy to read & the commentary fascinating. We soon lost track of time and distance, we were enjoying ourselves so much!

We were able to check into our Travelodge room (good, clean basic accommodation, cheap if booked well in advance & very central, on Micklegate), dump all our luggage, have a quick wash & set forth again with lots of daylight at our disposal. In the lobby we picked up a leaflet about the Cat Trail – & having enjoyed the Snickleways so much we thought a variation on the theme would be fun – & it was! There are 18 cat statues on assorted buildings around the city & we took pictures of every one to prove we’d completed our mission! After all that exercise we were ready for dinner – at Michael’s Brasserie in Low Petergate, scrumptious food (we had steak & kidney pudding) & friendly service.

We woke on Tuesday to more sunshine, despite the forecast, so off we trekked again (there are Snickleways inside, outside & around the walls of the city &, for light relief, took a boat trip down the river. The Captain regaled us with tales of the places we were passing & pointed out the flood markers on the buildings from previous years – he said the water was only 1-2 feet above its normal level that day, the maximum recorded flood being 17 feet above normal, with the Kings Head riverside pub underwater to first floor level! After that we toured the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, a 14th century guild hall still in the ownership and use of the people who first built it!

We managed to top the10,000 paces on our pedometers again, so we treated ourselves to dinner at Wetherspoons – roast pork this time! Definitely to be recommended!

As we had anticipated, the rain could not hold off another day, so we spent a whole and absolutely fascinating day in the Castle Museum. There are displays of costume and furnishings and a wonderful Dickensian street scene, complete with some open shops selling wares from tin baths to cup-and-ball toys! There were special exhibitions on varying periods of history – including the Sixties – lots of visitors reminiscing about their teenage years! Where else can you sit and watch an episode of Thunderbirds are Go! ? The whole museum is inside the old prison by Clifford’s Tower & no visit would have been complete without a tour of the underground cells, in which projections showed the unhappy inhabitants & told gruesome stories of Dick Turpin’s imprisonment as well as the last woman to be executed there.

Although we hadn’t been striding out as on previous days, walking all round those exhibition halls and dungeons had clocked up on the pedometers, so we felt justified in visiting a haunted pub for dinner – the Golden Fleece on Pavement. Well, we weren’t the only people who couldn’t manage to eat the huge helpings we were served with – & we couldn’t understand how someone had apparently starved to death in the sight of such plenty – there’s a skeleton sitting casually at the bar, complete with a half empty glass of beer!

Thursday looked a bit damp but lacked the torrential downpour of the previous day, so we set off to explore the Barley Hall, another mediaeval building saved from demolition after years of neglect & now restored to its former glory, currently housing an exhibition of costumes from some very glamorous films. Then we were treated to a personal tour of the Mansion House – the residence of the Mayor of York – by a former resident! That was wonderful – from the state rooms to a glimpse of the back stairs!

Afternoon tea was taken at the Stonegate Teddy Shop – a tiny little tea room up narrow twisting stairs in an ancient low-beamed building – before going to the Treasurer’s House – a fantastic house with rooms completely remodelled by one man – Frank Green – into his vision of different time periods. A Jacobean room, for example, with all heavy dark wood panelling, a baronial-style mediaeval hall, a clock with a pendulum so long the clock itself was upstairs, while the swing of the pendulum hung down in the room below! A Roman road runs through the cellars and it is said that a whole cohort of legionnaires can sometimes been seen passing through!

It was our last night in York, so we went round to Michael’s Brasserie again – we can’t recommend that too highly! On the way we stopped to look over the parapet of the bridge at the effect of the two days’ rain – already our riverside path was under water and the Kings Head pub had its flood defences up in anticipation of worse to come.

The following morning we set off for time travel – back to the Viking settlement of Jorvik. The artefacts they discovered there are amazing, preserved in the damp bog earth for centuries, and the state of the art presentation was absolutely marvellous. We could have spent hours there but on summer Fridays this year the Minster offers lunchtime organ recitals, so off we went to listen to a pair of very talented organists in the magnificent surroundings of the Cathedral of York. We were delighted to be able to join a guided tour of the building after the concert – but all too soon it was time to make our way across town to the station & the journey home.

A wonderful holiday – York is a fascinating city, with so much to do, so many places to see. We had achieved our goal – at least ten thousand steps a day – and had walked everywhere, other than the boat trip – even we couldn’t walk on the water!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 1 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    over 7 years ago
    I though I know York well, but I've learnt about some new places from your review which we must go and seek out next visit.