Guides, Travel

Visiting York, England (UK)

Life has been all kinds of crazy recently but I’m feeling motivated to finally get my Europe trip blogged about! Otherwise it might be time for my next one before I finish this one – ha! So without further ado…

We left off with my arrival into Manchester/Harrogate where I was staying with my friends Danny & Brittany. You can read about my driving experience in this post.
There was only one full day that I got to spend with them and we spent the day visiting York and then hanging out at their place. The day started out with them making a full English breakfast (minus the black pudding) and it was absolutely delicious. Kudos to them for being such great cooks! And it was a perfectly English way to start off a day of sightseeing in the English countryside.
And once again, for some reason in my jet lagged state I completely failed at taking pictures that day. I snapped out of it the following day and went a little overboard with pictures then so be prepared for that in my next post. But for now, we’ll make do with the few pictures I did take.

One of my favorite things about visiting Europe is using trains as a mode of transportation. Since Danny and Brittany live in town (Harrogate) we were able to walk to the train station. The idea of living within walking distance to a train station that can take you to various cities all over England is rather romantic, isn’t it? At least as an American.

York is a short train ride from Harrogate and I think it took us a little over 30 minutes to get there? Maybe it was 40. Either way, Danny slept and Brittany and I enjoyed watching the scenic countryside. It’s one of the main reasons I love taking trains – the views out the window.

If you ever arrive in York via train one of the first things you’ll see is the National Railway Museum. It’s on the opposite side of the train station from the rest of town and a quick 2 minute walk from the platform. It’s a free museum (donations accepted) and I was surprised by how large it was (although in hindsight I shouldn’t have been given how large trains are after all). They had a lot of different trains and there were quite a few that you could actually get into and try out. It’s definitely a fun place to stop into if you have kids with you.
National Railway Musuem - York
I was sad to find out that they no longer had the Hogwarts Express train. I always take any opportunity to check out Harry Potter related things when I’m in England but I guess seeing the Hogwarts Express will have to remain on my list.
National Railway Musuem - York
York was a walled city and much of the walls are still intact and you can walk around them. Obviously the city has grown far beyond the old city walls but I think that makes the view from the walls more interesting. I was surprised to see that the majority of the walkway along the wall was completely open in the back – ie no railing to keep people from falling off.

We didn’t make it all the way around the walls as that would have been quite a trek. Instead we explored inside York a bit – including a Christmas market. This was also the day that I had my “Thanksgiving” sandwhich (turkey, stuffing & cranberry sauce). Of course, I failed to take a picture.

One of the things that we definitely wanted to do that day was visit York Minster. Brittany is very talented musically and wanted to see the York Minster choir and I’m so glad that she did. It’s probably not something I would have done otherwise and I greatly enjoyed it. It was the Sunday before advent and I forget what all that means in regards to what was done that day – but the performance was amazing.

And right before hearing the choir perform we went to the top of York Minster. As in, the very top. There’s only one staircase up to where people can go so they have a set times that they let people up and then everyone has to come back down again before the next group goes up because you can’t have people going both ways on the stairs. And it’s definitely a workout getting up there, but the views are oh so worth it!
York Minster
York Minster
York Minster

 After taking the train back to Harrogate we spent the evening playing games (Ticket To Ride – one of my favorites!) and eating sticky toffee pudding (which is amazing and a must have in England). I also got to watch a British reality TV show similar to American Idle. I always find it interesting to see what basic “everyday” things are like in other countries.

It was a blessing to be able to stay with friends while visiting a country in Europe and I’m so thankful that I got to spend some time with them. It’s a great way to see a country in a different light than you’re able to as just a tourist staying at a hotel or other accommodation.

And then the next day involved me getting back into my cute little red rental car and driving on the opposite side of the road all the way to another country. I’m still a little surprised that I decided to attempt that much driving while on this trip but I’m so, so glad that I did! The next day of my trip ended up being one of my favorite days I’ve ever spent in Europe.
England Rental Car
Stay tuned for the post about that!


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