If you want British history, York is a must see. Founded by the Ancient Romans, around 70A.D. York has lasted the test of time and today, its a bustling mecca as people from all over the world come to marvel at the centuries of history.
After experiencing rush hour on late Friday afternoon trains in Economy class before, we pre-booked 1st class well in advance with Transpennine Express. Booking 2 months in advance, our return tickets from Manchester were just £55. The journey up was crap, crowded with people standing, had older furnishings and a broken tray table on the back of my seat wasn’t what I expected for my money.
We weren’t offered reserve seating on the outward journey so we were lucky to get a couple of seats, otherwise I would have had to stand. But they did serve snacks on the return trip which was cleaner, quieter so it made up for the tragic forward journey.
Our hotel was recommended by my boss at work. Great choice. We stayed at The Grange, a hotel that’s almost as old as [British-settled] Australia. The location, room, food and the atmosphere were 5 star in my opinion and it was located about a 10 min walk to the heart of town. However, be prepared to walk a lot as the attractions are scattered all over the city. Oh and don’t forget to walk the wall!
The Minster is the 2nd largest gothic cathedral in the whole of Europe. It took a staggering 242 years to build.
As you can imagine an attraction like this draws an extremely large crowd so we really didn’t get to see much inside this trip but I did happen to catch one photo and quite a few of the exterior.
The National Railway Museum was one of the highlights of this trip for me. From early steam engines to modern day trains, learning about the evolution of the humble train was a fascinating experience. In normal every day life, you really don’t get an understanding or appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes in railway world.
There were literally dozens of displays including train ambulances, which escorted injured troops during the war. There was a replica of George Stephenson’s “Rocket”, the one steam engine which revolutionised steam power as well as a Japanese Bullet train from the 1960’s, the fastest of its era.
From 1927 to 2003, this tiny electric powered train used to transport over 4 million letters across London every single day, serving sorting houses between east and west London, from Paddington to Whitechapel.
And this beast was one of the trains used to remove the 4.3 million cubic meters of earth to build the channel tunnel. The earth and rock were disposed of at Shakespeare Cliff near Dover, increasing the size of the UK by 90 acres.
Other attractions we did were the Chocolate Story, learning about the origins of chocolate for which York is quite famous. We learnt where chocolate originates and how it is made, all through a very fun, interactive tour.
We also visited Clifford’s Tower, built on the orders of King Henry III (1216-1272). The earth mound on which Clifford’s Tower stands was first constructed by William the Conqueror in 1268.
There is so much to do in York, more than one can squeeze into a single weekend, so we’ll be returning to revisit some of the attractions we missed the first time round.
Next trip we’ll spend time at the Castle Museum, hopefully get a better look inside the Minster attend a couple of other attractions such as the York Dungeons.
Next month we’re off to Birmingham followed by Bath and Bristol over the Easter break.