Not all travel goes to plan. Sometimes the flight is delayed, luggage lost in transit, the car breaks down or you spill coffee on your new white t-shirt.
Sometimes it’s a bit more of a road bump. In my case, I had a flight booked to New York City and on the day of departure it turned out the trip could not go ahead.
Reality hit the following morning when I came to terms that I had not woken up in New York but was at home in my sunlit bedroom in North London. The sun rose at 4:45am to remind me.
So I booked a train to York.
York, England had been on my list to visit for some time now. I had visited a few years ago with my family and had hoped to visit again.
I boarded the 11:05am train from London Kings Cross with a coffee in hand and backpack on my back. It was a beautiful sunny spring day in London and I was ready for adventure.
Arriving in York
Disembarking the train after the 2 hour journey I realised I had no plan, no itinerary and no worries. I followed groups of people heading towards the town on foot. I was surrounded by lush greenery and medieval architecture.
I wandered into the York Gardens and spotted families having picnics, kids playing tag, guided tours taking place and tempting ice cream carts.
I then explored the beautiful York Minster. The medieval architecture is breathtaking and a must-see when visiting York. York Minster opened in the 7th Century and is one of the world’s largest and most magnificent cathedrals in Europe.
Food and Drink
By now it was well and truly time for lunch. One of the biggest dilemmas I face when travelling solo is deciding where to eat. Do I walk into a familiar Pizza Express? Spend 10 minutes on Google Maps? Walk into the closest cafe? Wander a bit and hope for the best? As usual, I took the latter option.
I enjoyed a delicious roast at a quirky restaurant called Mr P’s Curious Tavern. The tavern was decorated in artwork and trinkets were everywhere in sight. A mysterious but relaxing atmosphere was created by the deep wooden tones and low lit lanterns. It was a busy place and great for people watching. I enjoyed a pink flavoured gin and had to hide my shock at the size of the glass! I stayed for an hour, mainly because the roast portion was so large but also to enjoy a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist world.
Most importantly, one cannot visit visit York without walking through The Shambles. I unintentionally saved this until last but I’m glad it worked out that way. The Shambles is the best preserved medieval street in the world.
It is made up of narrow lanes that twist and turn and buildings with wooden frames that overhang. The buildings along the street date back to the 14th and 15th Century.
The Shambles is also said to be the inspiration for JK Rowling’s design of the famous wizarding shopping street, Diagon Alley. As I am quite the Harry Potter fan a walk down through The Shambles ticked all the boxes.
Speaking of Harry Potter, an exciting movie magic fact is that York Rail Station doubles as Kings Cross Station in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The moment where Hagrid stops on the pedestrian bridge to give Harry his ticket and then vanishes was filmed in York. The scene quickly switches back to the real Kings Cross Station without most people even noticing!
I boarded my return train and headed back to Kings Cross after the most enjoyable day. York was a wonderful choice for a day trip out of London. The city is full of beauty and there is so much to learn wherever you go.
My visit goes to show that any situation can be turned into an adventure if we let it.