A Sunny Bank Holiday Weekend In York, England

york, england

The sun was cracking the flags when I visited York for the first time at the weekend – one of England’s most famous historic cities. I’ve been meaning to visit for years and finally got around to it! It was a great weekend and didn’t disappoint in the slightest. In fact, York exceeded my already high expectations.

We had 2 Day York Passes, allowing free entry to the majority of the main sights, along with discounts at certain restaurants, cafes and shops. If you want to cram as many activities in as possible and save some money, this pass is definitely worth considering. Here’s a brief summary of what we did:

  • Wandered around York Minster – enjoying the views from outside and within, including the haunting crypt. 
  • Watched an amazing rendition of Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ by a band performing as part of York’s Buskival Festival.
  • Went back in time 1000 years at the Jorvic Viking Centre. It was interesting to discover that York is essentially built on a compost heap, which is why so many well-preserved ancient remnants have been uncovered. Viking artifacts and human bones were waterlogged and the decay was prevented due to a lack of oxygen in the soil. Everything from skeletal remains to sections of timber houses are displayed and a ride takes you through an impressive reconstruction of what the area would have looked like during Viking times. Aside from this museum being rather smelly, it was very interesting and well worth a visit. 
  • Took a trip through different eras – from the Victorian and Edwardian times to the vibrant 60s – at York Castle Museum. I enjoyed wandering along the Victorian street, looking at vintage clothing collections and visiting the old prison, learning about the inmates (including the notorious highwayman, Dick Turpin).
  • Took in panoramic views of York from Clifford’s Tower – the only remaining part of the original castle built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. 
  • Had Afternoon Tea at the famous Betty’s Cafe & Tearooms. 
  • Walked around York City Walls and charming cobbled streets
  • Visited The Richard III Museum and discovered the for and against case for one of England’s most ill-reputed kings. This is a really small museum, but so much work and expertise had clearly gone into it, making this an unexpected highlight.
  • Went on an amazing ghost walk (the one that begins at 7.30pm each evening next to The Shambles).
  • Embraced my ‘crazy cat lady’ side at The Cat Gallery in Lower Petergate – a gift shop dedicated completely to the feline kind!

As always, I took a ridiculous amount of photographs, but I’ve narrowed it down to these ones…

york minster cathedral

york minster cathedral

inside york minster cathedral

inside york minster cathedral

inside york minster cathedral

inside york minster cathedral

the crypt in york minster cathedral

victorian street at york castle museum

prison at york castle museum

clifford's tower in york

york england

river ouse  in york

river ouse  in york

the shambles in york

Moaning Lisa in York

york whisky shop

york city walls

york eye

afternoon tea at betty's york

afternoon tea at betty's york

york ghost walk

york ghost walk

richard III museum in york

the cat gallery in york

ning malaysian restaurant in york

Where we stayed:   The York Priory, Fulford Road (£158 for 2 people for 2 nights).

Where we ate:   Ning Malaysian Restaurant, Tower Street (£30 each for 3 course meal plus bottle of wine).


Thank you very much to Visit York for providing us with complimentary passes! 



  1. May 30, 2013 / 04:50

    Great pictures. You did everything I did including the ghost walk (which I loved). I did not get to the Richard III museum though so I must take it in the next time I visit.

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:34

      Thanks Darlene, the Richard III Museum is very interesting if you get chance to visit. I loved the ghost walk too, the tour guy was hysterical and picked Andy as the ‘butt-of-all-jokes’ person – probably because he had a bright-coloured shirt on so he could be easily spotted in the crowd!

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:30

      Cheers Fernando, definitely packed in a lot of activities. Non-stop ha ha.

  2. May 31, 2013 / 04:58

    You’re making me miss home :-) I could really go for a Betty’s fondant fancy right about now! So lucky that you had good weather, it looks gorgeous.
    Maddie recently posted..Our visit to elephant heavenMy Profile

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:28

      Ha ha, Betty’s will still be here you just enjoy your amazing travels!

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:27

      I bet it was lovely at Xmas and it will be lovely and sunny in August (hopefully!)

  3. June 4, 2013 / 19:04

    Glad you had a good weekend and enjoyed the Castle Museum, it’s one of my faves, love the random mixture of exhibits. I’ll be stopping off at the cat shop next time for sure, our two new ones are completely taking over the house already!
    Lucy recently posted..Where the West was filmed: Utah’s Little HollywoodMy Profile

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:26

      Happy the cats are settling in okay, sounds about right them taking over the place ;-) Thanks for recommending the Castle Museum!

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:24

      I know, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to get there. You should go, it’s boss ;-)

  4. June 6, 2013 / 22:03

    Pretty cool. I did a bus trip around England and Scotland a few years ago and we stopped in York. I really quite enjoyed it. I did not go to the Viking Museum, but I liked walking around the town. The Shambles are neat and there was a square with a shop selling all flavors of Cornish Pasties, which for an American was pretty cool. I remember being annoyed that there was a charge to see inside the Minster. It was late December so it was cold and dark quiet early, ending sightseeing in a pub for a good round.
    Andrew recently posted..Taking it slow versus Seeing things properlyMy Profile

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:24

      It’s nice city to walk around – especially near The Shambles area. It’s unfortunate that there’s a charge for cathedral, but think it costs so much to maintain these places that they don’t have a choice but to charge.

    • June 29, 2013 / 21:21

      Cool, that’s great :-)