Soak up Britain's history on short breaks in York
Date Posted: 30/05/12
York is one of Britain's most historical cathedral cities, dating back to before the Roman times. It features some of the best examples of age-old architecture in the whole of Europe and as a result remains one of the most popular locations for tourists in the UK outside London.
Although it's a small city, it offers endless entertainment for visitors, with something for everyone's taste, and plenty of fantastic York hotels where you can rest your head after a long day. So use this York guide to make the most out of your trip.
Explore the city's confectionery legacy at Chocolate York's Sweet Story
One of the city's newest attractions, Chocolate York's Sweet Story, tells the story of the Yorkshire town's confectionery history.
You can find out the secrets of chocolate, how it's turned from the beans in Central America to the bars on shop shelves and even taste the delicious stuff itself.
York's Sweet Story tells many personal stories from individuals that grew up in the city's chocolate industry; how they made, packed, labelled and shipped the confectionery around the world.
Some of the most iconic brands of chocolate began in York, including Kit Kat, Smarties and Terry's Chocolate Orange, and you can hear all about how they rose to prominence.
Professional confectioners are on hand at Chocolate York's Sweet Story to provide expert advice on how to become a leading chocolate connoisseur, to get the most out of every bite by knowing exactly how to taste it. They put on shows to display the art of making truffles or preparing chocolate, and you may even be lucky enough to try some of their wares yourself.
Enter the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe
A weekend in York wouldn't be complete without the all-important trip to the city's biggest landmark, York Minster. It dominates the skyline with its intricate edifice, which oozes history that dates back to at least the eighth century.
There's a lot on at York Minster, from special religious events to an exciting music programme, but if you want to simply bask in its historical splendour, then you can just spend a few hours wandering around.
Through its vast spaces and beautiful human imagination on glass, stone and fabric, there is undeniable beauty within the walls of the York Minster, whether you are of a religious inclination or not.
Make the most of your visit to the cathedral by coinciding your trip when a service is taking place in order to hear the pitch perfect reverberations of choral music from the congregation. You should also make sure to have a guided tour to hear all about the history of the building from an expert volunteer.
Do not forget to climb the Central Tower to gaze out on the intricate pinnacles and gargoyles of the Minster, the city of York and the countryside in the distance.
Rambles in the Shambles
After spending a few hours at York Minster, take a wander down one of Britain's most famous and oldest streets, the Shambles.
Dating back to the 14th century, the Shambles is a narrow pedestrian street with old buildings that precariously hang out over the passersby below.
There are all manner of boutique and souvenir shops in the Shambles, as well as a variety of quaint eateries to while away a couple of hours.
Stay at the Queens Hotel on the banks of the River Ouse
A wonderful hotel to rest your head after a long day is the Queens Hotel York, located on the banks of the River Ouse and within the heart of the city.
It is just a stone's throw from all of York's top attractions, such as the Jorvik Viking Centre, the Castle Museum and Clifford's Tower, and the main shopping area and railway station are just a short walk away.
You can sample some acclaimed food at the hotel's trendy Royal Brasserie before getting your 40 winks in one of the 78 rooms.
If you don't mind staying a bit further out of the city, try the Best Western York Pavilion Hotel. Located in a stunning Georgian country house only a mile from the City Walls, it keeps with the historical charm of York.
Langton's Brasserie offers exquisite food and a wide selection of fine wines and, if the sun is shining, you can even spend a relaxing afternoon out on the peaceful garden terrace.
Posted by Louise Millard
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