It seems funny having lived in this beautiful part of North Yorkshire for our entire married life (38 years and counting!) that we are still discovering great places to visit and enjoy within an hour’s drive of our home. We believe that part of our latter-day careers as hosts of our beautiful holiday home in the converted barn next to our house is to check out local attractions that we can recommend to guests. What we also realise now is that we are often pretty busy at weekends with such excitements as cleaning and bed-changing so we try to make time midweek for a little light tourist activity of our own.
Most of these excursions are an absolute joy and we sometimes kick ourselves that we haven’t been before – new discoveries include Nunnington Hall, and Gibside which is rather further afield near Newcastle but was an add-on to a suit delivery to number 3 child who had a wardrobe emergency. Other times we’ve headed back to favourites like the Seven Bridges Valley Walk, Brimham Rocks and Thorp Perrow to remind ourselves just how lovely these places are.
On our longtime bucket list has been walking the York Walls – these being the “most complete example of mediaeval city walls in England”, but it gets busy so we wanted to avoid weekends and school holidays to get the best possible experience. And yesterday we finally managed it and it certainly lived up to expectations.
To put this in context, the jaunt was in large part a result of my gorgeous goddaughter gifting us a night in a boutique hotel in York which we had to postpone from my beloved’s birthday in March where, instead of a conventional gift, I gave him covid. Oh dear but at least it was yet another shared experience, though less pleasant than most.
So on a fair Tuesday morning we parked close to Lendal Bridge and walked through the Museum Gardens (which are worthy of a visit any time) and found our way to the walls at Bootham Bar. The first part of the walls which run around two sides of the Minster at this point are the most spectacular in terms of catching a glimpse of the beauty and history of the City. With the gift of hindsight, we should have gone anti-clockwise and saved this best bit for the end. However, looking down into the gardens and glorious historic buildings inside the walls at this point was truly a treat.
The whole walk took us a couple of hours and there are a lot of steps to be climbed up and down but there are gaps where the Wall no longer exists and this is, of course, the perfect time to step off for an early lunch. A tapas bar in Fossgate proved irresistible, particular for my foodie other half. But we were surprisingly sensible because I had booked a fabulous dinner in celebration of the covid-infested birthday. Back on the Walls and we completed the circuit with only one more big break which is close to the Barbican and Clifford’s Tower which we elected not to clamber up to on this occasion. I’ve done it before with various children who were always less impressed than me (I think views don’t do anything much for small children…?). Finally over Micklegate Bar through the part of York I know best by the railway station and back to Lendel Bridge and another stroll through the Museum Gardens – though this time with a vanilla and tinder toffee ice cream cone!
Despite having walked a proper distance during the day, we actually walked from our hotel to our dinner date at The Star Inn the City which was absolutely fab! We did manage to stop on the way at a bar for a beer – him, and a cosmopolitan – me, but frankly the latter which came with a great river view was the worst cosmo I’ve ever had. Anyway, The Star well and truly lived up to billing and we had a really – dare I say it? – romantic dinner for two to celebrate the birthday of himself.
York has so much to offer and it is a great historic with lots to discover. Walk the Walls and see for yourself.