26 Hours in York –
York is such an exciting city for young and old alike and very much worth an overnight trip from London. The old, medieval, walled city is just on square mile and filled with ancient architecture, museums, shops, restaurants and loads of fun and interesting activities for the family. The beautiful city is small; it is navigated on narrow, Gothic streets which are lined with curiously leaning, listed buildings. The shopping is good, lots of independents shops and restaurants right alongside top-end chains.
York is just 2 hours from Kings Cross and there are loads of very comfortable and charming hotels and B and B’s. As grandma was in town (and treating) we opted for the elegant Grand York Hotel with pool. This hotel was just perfect – the staff was lovely, the room was enormous, the kids had their own robes and slippers, pool, dining, afternoon tea … lots of amenities we did not use as we were too busy exploring the town.
First we took the boat tour on the River Ouse and learned a little bit about the town from the guide. We went to the cathedral and had a little look before walking around the town. We then let the kids enjoy bowls of pasta at Jamie’s Italian while my mom and I shared a bottle of Montepulciano. We all had a nice long swim, in the lovely warm pool; a soak in the hot tub and a steam before drying off in the sauna before putting the kids to bed.
In the morning we rose so unnecessarily early, as my kids always so, and had breakfast in the Perky Peacock – a coffee shop located in the turret shaped room on the Lendel Bridge former bridge house. The timber-beamed room was the most charming place to start the day in York – great coffee, sausage rolls and bacon sandwiches.
After the rest of the world woke up, we had a 9 am look around the cathedral (my 6 year old was too young to go up into the tower) but the kids a great time with the stained glass window interactive exhibit. Both children learned a good deal about the design and restoration of stained glass and the church.
My mother stayed for the tour (very worthwhile) while the children and I went to the Jorvik Centre. This is a museum and “experience” where you learn about the ancient Viking site unearthed there in the 1970s. The children enjoyed a ride in a pod through different ages of the Viking village that was inhabited over the years in York. Developments in housing and trade are explained, the important trade shops like the blacksmith, butcher, fishmonger are explained in context to the village.
After the Yorvik house we went to The Guy Fawkes Inn for lunch. What a treat eating in an 16th century Inn where Guy Fawkes may have been born. The food was DELICIOUS – the children shared the most amazing burger (complete with bacon on a brioche sesame roll with pickles, cheese and salad) while my mom and I shared whiskey cured smoked salmon (closer to gravlax) with earthy, traditional rye bread.
From here we all went on the Yorkshire Museum which is almost more interesting for children than for grown-ups as they had so many hands-on exhibits and activities. After spending the morning learning about stained glass, the kids threw themselves into making their own stained glass copy using coloured film and contact paper.
We lucked out and there was an owl and falcon exhibit in the gardens of the Yorkshire Museum. My children were thrilled being able to see owls up close and even got to have a go holding them.
We did not make the National Railway Museum, Yorvik dig Centre, York Castle Museum or any of the other smaller museums. This is such a special trip away from London, York is a very special town filled with lovely people who love Yorkshire.Tweet