YORK’S a marvellous place to visit at any time of the year ... but at Christmas it’s truly magical!
I’m a fan of York - it has a lot going for it in my book: plenty of places of historical interest to visit; some lovely walks around the walls and by the river; quirky little shops; a wide variety of eating establishments (leading to a TripAdvisor ranking of the fifth best food and wine destination in Europe), not to mention one of the best B&Bs going.
Just a 90-minute journey by car from home in Pendle, a couple of days away in York each year has become something of a ‘must do’ for the Dahmke household. We go back year after year and still haven’t managed to see it all and explore every nook, cranny and attraction going.
High on the list of places to visit on our 2012 trip was the new Chocolate - York’s Sweet Story attraction (situated near The Shambles). Like any chocoholic worth their cocoa, I was keen to discover the city’s long links with chocolate manufacture and came away a veritable expert on picking up the finer tastes in your average chocolate bar. It’s a true Willie Wonker experience for grown-ups and, if you’re after a Christmas pressie for the chocolate lover in your life - look no further than the fab little gift shop.
The National Rail Museum (free entry!) never fails to impress my husband with the Japanese Bullet Train standing out as the must-see exhibit for me before we headed for the nearby York Wheel where we got a bird’s eye view of the city centre and the outskirts to find our bearings and plan the afternoon’s activities.
If you’re a museum fan, then you’re in heaven in York ... in previous years we’ve visited Jorvik (the Viking museum) and the castle museum but this year managed to take in the Yorkshire Museum in the heart of the city, yet surrounded by fantastic grounds. We also paid a visit to York Minister (where we were treated to an impromptu performance by a choir visiting from Australia) with its crypt and gift shop before a sortie to York’s Haunted House, in Stonegate for a spooky tour in the footsteps of ITV’s “Most Haunted”.
Two days in the city simply isn’t enough to truly appreciate all that’s on offer ... but to make life easier you need two essentials: The York Pass and a great place to lay your sleepy head after a day in the fresh air. The York pass offers free entry into more than 30 of York’s attractions and tours, as well as money off shopping and dining out. You can buy one, two or three-day passes and it’ll save you a whole host of money and bother whipping out the credit card at every location.
There’s one place we can thoroughly recommend if you’re staying in York ... that’s Bishop’s Guest House, a licensed Victorian villa in Holgate Road, a 10-minute walk to the city walls and all the action! Run by ex-footballer Marco Gabbiadini and his wife, Deborah, it well deserves its five stars: free wi-fi, flat screen TVs, BeeKind toiletries are just some of the treats in store. The breakfasts will set you up for a hectic day of sightseeing, with fresh local produce on the menu and a relaxed atmosphere we ease you gently into the day.