York: Full English, our first cathedral and living my best Harry Potter life.
September 1, 2018
I had one demand before getting on the train at Kings Cross to go to York. By golly, I was gonna see Platform 9 ¾. (Where are my Harry Potter fans at?) I would say definitely go see it if you’re at or near King’s Cross. Not fans of standing in line, we just got my wee picture of the trolley going through the barrier. We remembered there was a Virgin Train lounge at Kings Cross, so we hoofed it over there for complimentary snacks, coffee and WIFI.
I would highly recommend always checking out the prices for the First Class seats on the trains — sometimes it’s not much more than the regular seats and it’s super worth it. On Virgin, this means access to a lounge (if applicable), the seats are cushier and you usually get a small meal and unlimited beverages (water, coffee, tea).
Be sure to locate the underground walkway at the York train station or else you’ll be dragging your luggage up 2 and down 2 flights of stairs, which will concern the attendants.
York was enchanting and the epitome of what the England in my head looked like. You can just feel how old the buildings are and how much history is there. Fun fact: they have tiny walkways between buildings that they call Snickelways and this is about the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.
The Shambles are one of the places that inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books (only one more Harry Potter reference ahead, I promise) and you can feel that when you walk along the cobblestone streets. I made sure to duck into The Shop That Must Not Be Named to see what Harry Potter stuff I couldn’t live without.
Yorkminster was the first real cathedral we saw on our trip and it did not disappoint.
We also walked along the York City Walls to get around quite a bit. They’re still around from Roman times. It’s pretty surreal to walk along them and know that they were used to protect the city more than 1800 years ago.
In London, we were genuinely those idiotic Americans who couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t get service at restaurants in London (I’m looking at you Nando’s — if you want to know about our horrifying first Nando’s experience, ask me in the comments.)
It was in York that we finally figured out that you order and pay at the counter at a vast majority of the restaurants/pubs, a practice which we desperately miss back in the states. You pay, you get your food, you leave. It’s genius.
We did our best to get our fill of classic English dishes, which are almost always accompanied by some form of peas.
I knew that I wanted to have a Yorkshire pudding in York and also a Full English before we left England. We found the Full English and I tried the first food I was a bit nervous about: black pudding. It was really tasty! If you’re familiar with boudin, it’s kind of a similar flavor.
The first day we were there we walked by the The York Roast Co. and I knew I had to have one of these creations!
I would recommend the wrap if you’re not going to take it home to eat with a proper fork and knife. It’s a lot more portable! I went with the plate and we took it to a park to eat and that was a big mistake on my part. The flavors were so delicious though!
The National Railway Museum is such a robust museum and a good way to spend several hours. There’s so much to see, from old trains to new trains to curio rooms of random odds and ends.
Walking around the Holgate and Acomb neighbourhoods of York (after we felt like we couldn’t walk around the Shambles another day) gave us a much more robust picture of an English town. They just don’t feel like this in the States and I was ready to just move into one of these houses and never leave.
However, Edinburgh is up next so we had to say goodbye to York.