Just Passing By: York & Cambridge

York is a quaint little town, about 3 hours away from London (read all about our London adventures here), by car. Most people would forgo visiting such a small place that doesn’t seem to have much to offer. But not my aunt – she adamantly insisted that York should be included because even the smallest towns have their own story to tell. And she was right.

But first, before we arrive in York, we stopped over at Cambridge as it’s along the way. I love Cambridge, it is essentially ‘university town’ but it still possesses its own charms. I love its brick buildings and cobblestone walkways, and the University of Cambridge itself looks very majestic in an old-century way. As there was a graduation going on that exact day, the Cambridge University was out-of-bounds to visitors. So, we decided to explore the quaint little stores in town, that sells various souvenirs, collegiate merchandise, a sweet shop and even a specialty fudge shop where a fudge maker was showing us how he makes their delicious store fudge. It was interesting, but I found the fudge too sweet for my liking. There we pretty markets all over town as well selling flowers and colourful pottery which I really adore.

 

The quaint little markets in Cambridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Cambridge University, there’s a river where you can find students and visitors trying their hand at punting. College students are everywhere, giving us rates and prices for the rent of a punting boat that could easily seat 8, we declined because the skies looked very dark. True enough, after a little while, the skies decided to open up and rained on us. We took refuge in a little bookstore, and once the pour started to slow, we made a run for the car.

When we finally arrived in York, it was about 3pm. We checked into Friar’s Guest House for a night, and it is a very lovely B&B, along a whole row of similar B&Bs. They have a beautifully manicured mini garden with lovely flowers, and the guest house itself was very sweet, covered in floral wallpaper and very cosy. Our rooms are very cosy as well, and the bathroom is very clean and nicely decorated. The one thing the owner told us about, was that York is a haunted town. They have a mysterious mystery of many deaths, and this is why ‘ghost tours’ are very popular in York. (I would have gone for a tour myself, but the rest of my family’s too chicken).

 

 

 

 

After settling in, we decided to explore the town of York on foot.

Our first place to walk to was Shambles, a popular street full of shops set in old cobblestone styles. We were a little late getting there, and so most of the stores were already starting to close by 5pm. Only a few bars and diners remained open. We wandered around for a bit and then proceeded to look for dinner. During our search, we found the popular Betty’s – which is popular for their scones and afternoon tea sets. You will find this place is always fully occupied, with loads of couples frolicking around. We stopped to drool at their selections in the window display (and because it was already packed, you need to reserve in advance), my aunt promptly went in to take-away a few scones and cookies to try. We finished our treats in the nearby park and I can see why Betty’s is so famous, her scones are buttery and oh-so-good, so were her other pastries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also chanced upon this place The York Roast Co. which serves pork crackling in a cup, which we were meant to eat as a snack. It was pretty good (don’t think about the calories) and after a while, we decided to just go back and have dinner there. Unfortunately for us, their pulled pork sandwiches were not really good. We also tried the turkey and cranberry. The meat was fine, but I found the bun to be really dry, and they added stuffing into the mix, which was fine except that the thyme flavour was overpowering. So much that we had to dig out the rest of the stuffing from the bun to eat it properly. Not the best first meal in York, but we didn’t have much choices to choose from.

 

 

 

Around 7pm, the sky is still bright and sunny, but it was really windy and cold. We walked around and visited the York Minster Abbey. It’s huge and very impressive, but we only hung around outside as it was already closed by then. We also stopped by to admire Clifford’s Tower, located on the top of a hill. It used to be a fortress of some sort back in the day for York Castle. Because the older folks were not too keen on climbing all the way uphill, we decided to forgo entering the tower and just view it from afar.

Clifford’s Tower.

 

York Minster Abbey. Some parts of the building is under restoration.

By 9pm, we made our way back to the hotel (it was still bright, as though it was only 6pm) and settled into our rooms. My mother slept a little uneasily because of what the lady said about the place being haunted, haha! I slept pretty well and had no weird occurrences whatsoever.

In the morning, we ambled down to the dining area where a hearty English breakfast was served to all of us, together with stacks of toast and a huge variety of Twinings tea. It was good and all of us enjoyed it really much. With filled bellies, we made to pack, check out and hit the road again.

On our way out of York, we spotted the National Railway Museum, which had the most impressive collection of trains (actual size) and their histories. I love the Western trains from seeing them in movies and actually traveling on one before when I was a child, so it really fascinated me. Admission is FREE, but you can opt to donate to the museum if you like. The visit was so worth it, I find no qualms in dropping in a £10 donation, and spending an additional £6 at their gift shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ever drop by York, this museum is not to be missed! That is the end of our little trip down to York. Edinburgh, here we come! Until the next post! For now, utilise the post which contains all the travel tips to the UK & Europe.

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