London may be considered the jewel in the crown of England but York is for sure another magnificent jewel resting a top, no less magnificent and with lots of magic to share….
One of my favourite things about York is the winding streets as easy as it is to get lost roaming round taking each path and turn you’re never too far away from where you need to be. Which make York something special. You can take in the sights and soak up the history without worrying about being late or not finding something again, this city of relaxed adventure!
York’s fantastic for catching up with old friends or family or even a trip wandering alone you’re never too far from a smiling face and some banter.
We decided to take the option of renting a house for a couple days seemed a great way to experience York and as it was part family catch up a base was really nice to have, like a home away from home. York’s pub, restaurants and bars are lovely and cosy but there’s something to be said about having a nice cup of tea and a sit down ( or something a bit stronger) with your nearest and dearest without the background babble, but unfortunately with the washing up.
York welcomed us with early Spring sunshine and excitement was bubbling! After dropping our bags and settling in the house the first port of call was a little surprise visit. We wandered the streets of York looking for Ye Olde Shambles Tavern one of York’s many ale shop cum pubs. Fab selection of ales and cute and cosy seating area through the back. They serve hot food but their complementary little plate of triangle sandwiches and a couple crisps sure helps soak that ale up and line your belly so those winding streets don’t seem even more so!
When it comes to drinks and food one thing you don’t have to struggle for is options and I had the pleasure of visiting a good chunk ( all is the name of research obviously) and one thing no one has space to do is allow their standards to slip. Whether it be a tea house, ale shop, cosy British pub (where I guarantee you’ll meet some proper Yorkies) or lovely Bistro. Please bear in mind the little treats that I share with you but don’t forget to tread your own path of history and tasty adventures.
Oscars, Cafe No 8 and The Golden Fleece provided us with 3 very different dining experience. Celebrating my now not so little brothers birthday we had the Oscars experience. Laid back atmosphere with a modern hip undercurrent, the food was your normal bar pub fare but with flair. I attempted to have a meat free meal but upon spying the chorizo, turkey and lamb burger with blue cheese, rocket and a chilli tomato jam (I kid you not I’m drooling as I type this!) that decision went out the window.
Café No 8 was just myself and a friend and we stumbles across this lovely bistro whilst trying to find another restaurant and lucky for us we happened upon it. Lovely chilled yet bubbly atmosphere perfect for a family get together or a catch up with old friends or just somewhere to relax with those you care for. Both courses were of high standard and the duck mains was melt in the mouth delicious but the winner for me was the halloumi waldorf salad I had for my starter. Halloumi has always held a place in my heart so if its on the menu its getting ordered. The flavours were so well balanced it gave me a renewed inspiration. The menu changes but its safe to say…… Great food, wine and service.
Which brings me to The Golden Fleece which was recommended to us by the landlord of a lovely SAMUEL SMITHS pub by the river, Samuel Smiths pubs are always ones to visit but I’ll get to that and other refreshments later. The Golden Fleece is one of Yorks famous haunted pubs. Down to earth relaxed ‘locals’ kind of atmosphere, like ‘Cheers’ but in Yorkshire Now this is the place to go if you are ready for a good feed because the portion are massive, pretty sure there was more on my plate than I eat in a day; giant fishcakes ( like tennis balls) lovely and light and delicate in flavour with big chunky chips however I gave it my best shot but was defeated and in true Kristen style took home what I couldn’t finish (waste not, want not and that). Traditional pub food but again our tastebuds weren’t disappointed. Big on flavour and big on portions. The night we were there, there was also some live music on which definitely added to the atmosphere and they have acoustic music on most nights. This is definitely one to go to if you want a real traditional York experience. The Golden Fleece also has rooms which I have had word of mouth confirmation of very spooky first hand experiences so book and stay if you dare, if not the food is worth the visit.
So after a good meal a night cap is always nice be it a cup of tea or something a touch stronger. The Lamb and Lion was nice just by the city walls traditional pub but with a much more modern renovated feel ( as much as York allows) great selection of spirits if that’s your thing. The House of the trembling madness is another one for the spirits having a whiskey that’s about 80% I stayed well clear of this, didn’t fancy attempting the staircase after a measure of that! Big fires very traditional upstairs pub with again an ale shop downstairs. They have a small but select menu with some very enticing sharing platters. Bare brick walls with various hunting trophies from days of yore adorn the walls.
I earlier mentioned the Samuel Smiths pub by the river now I have a soft spot for Samuel Smiths pubs, they’re always old pubs and tend to have real fires ( two clearly good things) but they also sell good beer and cheap, brewed by themselves. If you want an experience where you meet some proper local and have a good bit of banter then seek out a Samuel Smith pub there’s several in York but it was the stories from the old men making us chuckle that kept us at The Kings Arms.
If it’s a cheeky cocktail you’re after the head to The Evil Eye Lounge extensive cocktail list, took me 10 minutes to decide but I warn you these guys are strong make sure you’ve had lunch before one of these or you’ll find yourself floating round York instead. The Evil Eye Lounge is one of my favourite bars in York really quirky layout funky feel, great outdoor seating area and again the standard ale shop in the front.
If you’re in York one must see is, Jorvik Viking Centre. So much to learn and really makes you think about history and how times have changed, I would recommend it to anyone and as you can use your ticket as many times as you want in a year I will be jumping on a train to York and going back again soon.
All in all very happy I experienced York and im somewhat surprised I haven’t hopped on the train from Leeds before now, however that will change. There’s plenty of good quality hotels to choose from too from boutique to budget, so not matter what your requirements you shouldn’t struggle.
Oh if you have a sweet tooth I recommend The Fudge Factory you can try all of the fudge and I don’t have a sweet tooth and still came home with some. They also do fudge making classes which based on the staffs passion for fudge and good service is why it’s on my next time in York to do list.