York is a beautiful city, brimming full of history. A different and fun way of experiencing the impact of all the history and blood shed, from the Vikings, through the Romans to Dick Turpin and the the more domestic murders in the pubs and riversides, is to go on one of the many guided ghost walks. You get to hear facts, and more imaginative telling of all the gory history, with all the thrills and jumps from the aspiring actors and story tellers. Great for all ages, but not the over imaginative or feint hearted.
Through out the city you can see meeting points and tour start times.
If you like customising everything under the sun with quirky buttons, buckles, ribbons and trim, then this is the place for you. The first shop opened in Harrogate in 1956, and there is another in Ilkley, and a third in a wonderful medieval building in York. Drusilla White, the daughter of Duttons founder, travels the world in search of fabulous buttons, and offers the largest selection in the UK - over 12,000 to be precise. They range from sparkly diamante to vintage glass, shell, wood and ceramic. Unusual designs include buttons in the shape of hats, lighthouses, owls and fish. They sell a great hessian bag for you to customise, and every other haberdashery item you could ever need. Buttons from Duttons can even be spotted in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Evita!
The front of York Minster is always busy with tourists and groups alike but behind this is the Minster Gardens and it’s hard to believe that these gardens are in the centre of a busy town. It’s quiet and peaceful and a perfect place to look at the cherry blossoms in spring, have a picnic (no ball games, or cycling allowed) or to just sit and admire the grandeur of the Minster. On Tuesday evenings the bell ringers practice in the Minster and sitting in the gardens listening to this is magic.
Castle Howard is set in thousands of acres of beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, and the gardens have just won the Historic House Association/Christie’s Garden of the Year Award.
As you explore, surprise vistas keep unfolding - a wonderful example of architecture and nature in perfect harmony.
Close to the house you’ll find the enchanting 18th century walled rose garden, and a stroll along the grass terraces will bring you to Ray Wood, which is particularly impressive at this time of year with a plethora of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias in bloom. There are lakes and fountains, statues, temples and architectural follies galore, as well as the impressive mausoleum which is still used as the Howard family resting place.
There is even an ornamental vegetable garden, and an adventure trail for families. If you - or your offspring - get inspired, then you can call at the garden centre on your way out.
Uneven floors, narrow creaking stairs and walls covered in bookshelves groaning with antiquitarian tomes, second hand paperbacks and discount bookends.
The Minster Gates Bookshop is on a narrow medieval street overshadowed by the bulk of gothic York Minster. Tourists hurry by, and miss this five-storey gem. Every inch of space is taken up with stock, there are even books outside in summer. It is easy to lose an hour or two in here.
And once you have dragged yourself away, purse lighter, bag heavier, in summer you can head to Deans Park, York's cathedral green. Or in winter hurry down the street to Little Betty's tearoom to read in front of an open fire enjoying a Yorkshire tea and Fat Rascal teacake.
Two fantastic traditional pubs only 100 yards apart on the edge of the city centre.
Both serve a great range of real ales, have unspoilt interiors, friendly staff and packed with locals and visitors.
Tetleys in the Swan is magnificent and the Fred Trueman in the Slip a fantastic bitter.
Just beer (and wine) - no food
York is reputed to be Britain's most haunted city with over 140 ghosts and lots going on this weekend. It's a lovely city to start with but it also has some great ghost stories. I met a man (honest) who was working in the cellar of the Mansion House and saw a troupe of Roman soldiers coming towards him through the wall - they went straight past him and out the other side! A great way to do it is to join one of the many ghost walks.
York also celebrates one of its famous sons, Guy Fawkes this week, but there's never a bonfire where he went to school at St Peter's - they don't burn old boys!
The House of Avalon is a vintage clothing store full of quirky little surprises in York. After picking through a stunning array of vintage gear - from gorgeous tea dresses to sparkling handbags and headgear - you can enjoy a cup of tea and a cupcake or large slice of victoria sponge in the Avalon's cafe. While you browse or eat, enjoy the classic films which are projected onto a screen in the cafe. To add to Avalon's many charms, you can also get your hair styled into a retro do by a talented stylist before you leave. The shop is a project of the Avalon Group aimed at providing work opportunities to people with different abilities. A delightful shop with a social conscience. You will leave smiling.
I've been using this shop for years now, the standard of food and service has never faltered. Always great portions, always fresh and always crisp. I highly recommended
Heworth Road York North Yorkshire YO31 0AA
Tel: 01904 424459
Google map: tinyurl.com/36h84cc
Lovely bed and breakfast run by friendly people. Top bacon and eggs Ricky! Situated right near the city centre so v handy. We also had a lovely day walking around the city walls.
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