York Day Trip – City Walls and Shambles

York Day Trip – City Walls and Shambles

Ancient Walls⇒Topsy Turvy buildings⇒Lunch with the Grand ol’ Duke of York!

I’m the luckiest girl alive! For the second year in a row I got to celebrate my birthday in a beautiful city that I had not visited before, and share it all with the love of my life, Jori.

We vlogged the day too so check it out below!

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Visiting York was a treat. We left the train station and wandered up towards the bridge on Station Road that crosses the River Ouse and leads to York Minster. We were, first of all, in search of an atmospheric spot for brunch. At the far end of the bridge we found it. In one of the old buildings on the side of the bridge is Circles Café (it transforms into a gin bar later in the afternoon!). Circles Café is in a Grade II listed building that looks like it may have been a watchtower back in the day. We chose to sit outside in the garden that overlooks the River Ouse and has a brilliant view of part of the York Walls! If the weather’s not too jolly you could have an equally nice time in their quaint indoor areas.

Photo of the train station in York, United Kingdom

Arriving at York Station.

The view of the River Ouse from Circles Cafe.

BYD Tip

Make sure you go to the loo whilst there (even if you don’t need to). The staircase is the tiniest I’ve ever seen!

We enjoyed a cuppa Yorkshire Tea (we drink it everyday anyhow, because it’s the best, but we had to have it whilst in York haha!), and a light bite to eat in the sunshine. After watching the boats float by and the hoards of people coming down from the walls, we decided to move on. We headed off towards the Museum Gardens.

Circles Cafe on Lendal Bridge in York.

The Museum Gargens

Conveniently located across the road are the Museum Gardens. We were so lucky to be visiting in spring, as the tulips were bountiful! Everywhere we looked there were gorgeous richly coloured tulips covering the garden beds. We love springtime in England and we love English flowers so this was particularly spectacular to see.

Vibrant tulips in the York Museum Gardens.

The Museum Gardens stand on the site of the former St Mary’s Abbey estate. All that remains is the ruins of the medieval abbey. The 11th century former monastery was created by William the Conqueror to strengthen his hold of Northern England, but was dissolved by King Henry VIII when he broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and made himself head of the new Church of England. It’s a fascinating period in history; and it was amazing to walk around such an old building that was at the centre of two famous periods in time. It’s free to enter the gardens, so I highly recommend a visit.

The ruin of St Mary’s Abbey in the York Museum Gardens.

Enjoying taking a closer look at the old St Mary’s Abbey.

Loving these amazing crimson tulips and the ruin.

York City Walls

It was so cool to be exploring a walled city, and particular one with walls that are still very well intact! We spent about four hours walking the entirety of the walls and taking in the beautiful sights along the way. If you don’t want to spend that long walking the walls, you can easily just walk a portion of them.

Jori and I enjoying the sunshine on our Wall Walk.

Jori and I think the best section, with the most beautiful views of the Minster are between Bootham Bar and Monk Bar. It’s about a 10 minute walk if you are continuously walking. I’d allow 20 to 30 minutes if you plan on admiring the sights and taking some photos. Exiting the walls at Monk Bar puts you in the perfect location to head straight to the famous Shambles!

Jori taking a break on the Wall Walk to enjoy the surroundings.

Views of York Minster from the City Walls.

Photo of Jori walking the York City Walls.

Jori wandering ahead along the York walls.

If you do decide to do the whole walk, there are some great things to see along the way. The scenery changes depending on the time of the year but as we were there in spring we saw yellow daffodils lining the hills on either side of the walls; and as far as the eye could see. It was breathtaking to say the least. There are also cafes in some of the gate towers, and museums in others.

We couldn’t resist going to sit amongst the daffodils!

Photo of daffodils and the City Walls in York.

Lying amongst the daffodils!

Yellow as far as the eye can see!

Clifford’s Tower

We had a quick visit to Clifford’s Tower on our way to the Shambles. Clifford’s Tower was once part of the York Castle and almost all that exists of it today. From the top it has great 360 degree views of the city, including York Minster. Interestingly, it has been used as both a prison and a royal mint in its lifetime! It was amazing to walk around in the old tower and imagine everything that has occurred there over all its years of use.

Looking at York Minster from the top of Clifford’s Tower.

About to head into Clifford’s Tower – those stairs were painful!

The Shambles

If you’ve ever dreamt of visiting Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, then look no further. This is it. We’ve visited streets in London and Edinburgh that have been named as J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for the street. They’re pretty close but nothing screams Diagon Alley like the York Shambles. You’ll see why if you visit; and you definitely should!

Jori and I rounded the corner into the Shambles and what a shambles it was! The second and third stories of the buildings topple over the first floor shops in such a higgledy-piggledy jumble of amazingness! The original buildings were built like this for a very practical reason. The façade of the shops fronts below were once made from a substance called ‘wattle and daub’ that needed protecting from the elements. The overhanging buildings above acted as a shield against the sun. As the street was original home to butchers and slaughterhouses, the building design also helped to protect the meat from being spoiled by the sun.

How cool is the Shambles!

Nowadays, the street is lined quaint shop fronts selling, souvenirs, gifts, jewellery, tea, and loads of Harry Potter merchandise. We wandered down the historical street, admiring the architecture and discussing its definite (we decided) link to J.K. Rowling and Diagon Alley. It’s not a long street so once we got to the end; we turned around and wandered back up the street again. We hadn’t had enough the first time, so we had to walk back through it to admire everything for a second time.

Lunch with the Grand ‘ol Duke of York

Next stop was a late lunch and a few cheeky G&Ts at the Duke of York pub. We had a lovely time here, relaxing in the older part of the pub and resting our feet. By the time we had finished we didn’t have much time left in York.

The cosy interior of the Duke of York pub.

York Minster

We decided to slowly make our way back towards the train station. On the way we visited York Minster for a wander around the outside of it. It is incredibly impressive. We didn’t go inside but enjoyed the views from the outside. The gardens beside the cathedral are lovely too; they would be perfect for a summer picnic!

York Minster

We decided to slowly make our way back towards the train station. On the way we visited York Minster for a wander around the outside of it. It is incredibly impressive. We didn’t go inside but enjoyed the views from the outside. The gardens beside the cathedral are lovely too; they would be perfect for a summer picnic!

The view of York Minster from the cathedral grounds.

Wandering around York Minster.

After visiting York Minster, we ended up heading down to sit on the rivers edge to watch the sunset. It was such a perfect way to finish up our little York adventure; and the funniest thing happened whilst we were filming the end of our vlog for the day.

Scroll up to check it out or head to our YouTube Channel to watch it!

Ending our day watching the sunset cast a golden glow over the Lendal Bridge.

Ancient Walls ⇒ Topsy Turvy buildings ⇒ Lunch with the Grand ol’ Duke of York!

I’m the luckiest girl alive! For the second year in a row I got to celebrate my birthday in a beautiful city that I had not visited before, and share it all with the love of my life, Jori.

We vlogged the day too so check it out below!

Visiting York was a treat. We left the train station and wandered up towards the bridge on Station Road that crosses the River Ouse and leads to York Minster. We were, first of all, in search of an atmospheric spot for brunch. At the far end of the bridge we found it. In one of the old buildings on the side of the bridge is Circles Café (it transforms into a gin bar later in the afternoon!). Circles Café is in a Grade II listed building that looks like it may have been a watchtower back in the day. We chose to sit outside in the garden that overlooks the River Ouse and has a brilliant view of part of the York Walls! If the weather’s not too jolly you could have an equally nice time in their quaint indoor areas.

Photo of the train station in York, United Kingdom

Arriving at York Station.
(Tap the image for more photos)

The view of the River Ouse from Circles Cafe.

BYD Tip

Make sure you go to the loo whilst there (even if you don’t need to). The staircase is the tiniest I’ve ever seen!

We enjoyed a cuppa Yorkshire Tea (we drink it everyday anyhow, because it’s the best, but we had to have it whilst in York haha!), and a light bite to eat in the sunshine. After watching the boats float by and the hoards of people coming down from the walls, we decided to move on. We headed off towards the Museum Gardens.

Circles Cafe on Lendal Bridge in York.

The Museum Gargens

Conveniently located across the road are the Museum Gardens. We were so lucky to be visiting in spring, as the tulips were bountiful! Everywhere we looked there were gorgeous richly coloured tulips covering the garden beds. We love springtime in England and we love English flowers so this was particularly spectacular to see.

Vibrant tulips in the York Museum Gardens.

The Museum Gardens stand on the site of the former St Mary’s Abbey estate. All that remains is the ruins of the medieval abbey. The 11th century former monastery was created by William the Conqueror to strengthen his hold of Northern England, but was dissolved by King Henry VIII when he broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and made himself head of the new Church of England. It’s a fascinating period in history; and it was amazing to walk around such an old building that was at the centre of two famous periods in time. It’s free to enter the gardens, so I highly recommend a visit.

Loving these amazing crimson tulips and the ruin.
(Tap the image for more photos)

The ruin of St Mary’s Abbey in the York Museum Gardens.

Enjoying taking a closer look at the old St Mary’s Abbey.

York City Walls

It was so cool to be exploring a walled city, and particular one with walls that are still very well intact! We spent about four hours walking the entirety of the walls and taking in the beautiful sights along the way. If you don’t want to spend that long walking the walls, you can easily just walk a portion of them.

Jori and I enjoying the sunshine on our Wall Walk.

Jori and I think the best section, with the most beautiful views of the Minster are between Bootham Bar and Monk Bar. It’s about a 10 minute walk if you are continuously walking. I’d allow 20 to 30 minutes if you plan on admiring the sights and taking some photos. Exiting the walls at Monk Bar puts you in the perfect location to head straight to the famous Shambles!

Jori taking a break on the Wall Walk to enjoy the surroundings.
(Tap the image for more photos)

Views of York Minster from the City Walls.

Photo of Jori walking the York City Walls.

Jori wandering ahead along the York walls.

If you do decide to do the whole walk, there are some great things to see along the way. The scenery changes depending on the time of the year but as we were there in spring we saw yellow daffodils lining the hills on either side of the walls; and as far as the eye could see. It was breathtaking to say the least. There are also cafes in some of the gate towers, and museums in others.

We couldn’t resist going to sit amongst the daffodils!
(Tap the image for more photos)

Photo of daffodils and the City Walls in York.

Lying amongst the daffodils!

Yellow as far as the eye can see!

Clifford’s Tower

We had a quick visit to Clifford’s Tower on our way to the Shambles. Clifford’s Tower was once part of the York Castle and almost all that exists of it today. From the top it has great 360 degree views of the city, including York Minster. Interestingly, it has been used as both a prison and a royal mint in its lifetime! It was amazing to walk around in the old tower and imagine everything that has occurred there over all its years of use.

About to head into Clifford’s Tower – those stairs were painful!
(Tap the image for more photos)

Looking at York Minster from the top of Clifford’s Tower.

The Shambles

If you’ve ever dreamt of visiting Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, then look no further. This is it. We’ve visited streets in London and Edinburgh that have been named as J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for the street. They’re pretty close but nothing screams Diagon Alley like the York Shambles. You’ll see why if you visit; and you definitely should!

Jori and I rounded the corner into the Shambles and what a shambles it was! The second and third stories of the buildings topple over the first floor shops in such a higgledy-piggledy jumble of amazingness! The original buildings were built like this for a very practical reason. The façade of the shops fronts below were once made from a substance called ‘wattle and daub’ that needed protecting from the elements. The overhanging buildings above acted as a shield against the sun. As the street was original home to butchers and slaughterhouses, the building design also helped to protect the meat from being spoiled by the sun.

How cool is the Shambles!

Nowadays, the street is lined quaint shop fronts selling, souvenirs, gifts, jewellery, tea, and loads of Harry Potter merchandise. We wandered down the historical street, admiring the architecture and discussing its definite (we decided) link to J.K. Rowling and Diagon Alley. It’s not a long street so once we got to the end; we turned around and wandered back up the street again. We hadn’t had enough the first time, so we had to walk back through it to admire everything for a second time.

Lunch with the Grand ‘ol Duke of York

Next stop was a late lunch and a few cheeky G&Ts at the Duke of York pub. We had a lovely time here, relaxing in the older part of the pub and resting our feet. By the time we had finished we didn’t have much time left in York.

The cosy interior of the Duke of York pub.

York Minster

We decided to slowly make our way back towards the train station. On the way we visited York Minster for a wander around the outside of it. It is incredibly impressive. We didn’t go inside but enjoyed the views from the outside. The gardens beside the cathedral are lovely too; they would be perfect for a summer picnic!

Wandering around York Minster.
(Tap the image for more photos)

The view of York Minster from the cathedral grounds.

After visiting York Minster, we ended up heading down to sit on the rivers edge to watch the sunset. It was such a perfect way to finish up our little York adventure; and the funniest thing happened whilst we were filming the end of our vlog for the day.

Scroll up to check it out or head to our YouTube Channel to watch it!

Ending our day watching the sunset cast a golden glow over the Lendal Bridge.

By | 2018-08-18T21:41:13+00:00 April 21st, 2018|England, Malika, Travel, United Kingdom|0 Comments

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