Pack Your Bags: York, England

You've probably seen on Instagram 
that I'm on a fast & furious trip
around the UK (and soon-to-be Ireland).

While this is all fresh on my brain, 
I'm going to spend the next few days
spitting out pics & information
on new places that I'm discovering
so that, someday, you'll have some good options
for when you start planning a trip of your own.


What the US feels towards the North vs South
is similar to how the UK feels 
towards their North vs South...
except flipped.

The South of England is, stereotypically,
harsher, busier, ritzier, more educated... and snobbier.

The North of England is, stereotypically,
easy going, slow paced, cheaper, less intelligent.... and nicer.

Obviously, these are stereotypes
and you can meet both types
in either place.


There is something to be said for the 
kind attitudes 
and the cheap meals
and the crazy Billy-Elliot-esque vocabulary
that you start to experience 
once you roll up into the upper area of ole Blighty.

All of that to say,
I love when I find myself up north.

Especially if that means I'm in York.

York is a small town
(compared to the other "big" English cities),
but it has loads for tourists to enjoy.

I love these things:

Obviously, this church is a headliner
for most people's visit to York.

It's massive and it's stunning.

Go at 5:15pm for the daily evensong service
to get in and enjoy the church for free.

(You'll also hear some amazing choir singing in the 45 minute service-
but go 15 minutes early to snag a seat up close to the action.)

*  *  *

Yorkshire Pudding

I love nothing more than eating something
in it's birthplace.

While of Britain enjoys a Yorkshire pudding,
I've never seen them as big as they are in York.

{Editor's Note: A yorkshire pudding is not sweet. 
It's a savory bread-cup that is a perfect bowl shape 
for gravy on top of your roast meat & vegetables. 
Imagine a breadbowl... but less soggy.}

If you can get to a pub for a proper Sunday roast,
York makes it easy with two options 
that are centrally located and open daily:

Don't blow the chance to try this in person...

*  *  *

If you want tea
and you want to be fancy,
go to Betty's.

This gorgeous tea room & shop
give all the service and ambiance
you could ever hope for
in an English tea room.

This opulent surrounding
could hold its own 
around any fine establishment 
from the South.

*  *  *

I found myself eating cake & tea
in a places called, none other than, 

The downstairs is a teddy bear shop
and, up some narrow & windy stairs,
is a small tea shop + cafe.

It's not entirely impressive,
but the very top floor
has a great view overlooking the York Minster...
and you can get any cake + tea for £3.80

The carrot is awesome. 

I'd go back- baby or not.

{Though, admittedly, better with baby.}

*  *  *

sometimes it's fun to fall headfirst into a tourist trap... especially when you said trap lets you hold an owl.

If you go to York,
the other main tourist attractions you need to see are
(as in "Bloody Shambles")
and the Medieval Wall around the city.

Both are free to access, btw.

The Shambles are a tiny street of crooked buildings
and exposed-beam architecture
that draw your mind back hundreds of years.

The walk around the city walls offers gorgeous views
and a fun activity for an afternoon. 

*  *  *

And if you want to shop somewhere really neat?

Stop in the store,  The Imaginarium.

With curious objects, a luxe finish out, 
and friendly young men in dapper clothes attending you,
you'll find it hard to not walk away with something pretty in your hand.


Ah, I can't wait for you to experience York. 

Let me know if there are any favorites you have
from past trips there 
that I can try out 
the next time I find myself there!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy


  1. There's never-ending stuff to do in York! The National Railway Museum holds many of the former royal cars (train cars) which are surprisingly interesting, Mickelgate Bar and walking the Roman wall, St. Leonard's Hospital ruins… if you have an English Heritage membership then Clifford's Tower offers incredible views over the city, but otherwise it's fairly underwhelming other than it's tragic history, which can be read at the plaque at the base. And I've heard mixed reviews on Jorvik- we never went, because the only positive reviews I heard involved having kids along to enjoy it. York's also got some fantastic art galleries… but I know them by walking around, not their names, unfortunately! And if you get the chance to go up in the tower of the Minster it's INCREDIBLE, but I don't think you can do that if you have a baby or small kid with you… sorry!
    As far as around York, there's Castle Howard, Rievaulx Abbey (and the Terrace)… tons to do! And if you make your way over to Harrogate that's actually where Betty's is from and the original tearoom is there, as well as Betty's Cooking School. And then see Bolton Abbey and Skipton Castle… Or go to the coast, to Scarborough and Whitby (and Robin Hood's Bay and Ravenscar for fossil hunting!)…
    I miss Yorkshire so much! Definitely the most beautiful area in the entire world! We can't wait to move back someday!

    1. That is a terrifying amount of exclamation points… but just shows you how excited I am you came to "my" part of the country!

    2. Oh, and the Minster's admission ticket is good for 12 months- not the Tower climb part, but the rest of the church. And the Chapter House is not to be missed- gorgeous ceiling and incredible grotesques.

    3. Wowee Zowee ~ I have taken note of all these places for when my hubby and I go to York. Looking forward to it!! I keep hearing amazing things about York. Thanks!!!! {love all the exclamation points!}

    4. I suspected I'd see Gesci suggestions/notes here. :-)

  2. Obviously I've been stalking your travels across the UK right now :) I'm really excited to hear about Edinburgh - my study abroad program is taking us there for a weekend (Valentine's, I think!) and I'm pretty stoked about it. Also, it looks like you found Hedwig's twin! :)

  3. I can't wait either - you've made me restless for travel and adventure (and tea in a place called The Teddy Bear) x

  4. I'm from London, but I moved to York for university, however I'm currently on a year abroad in Germany! York is such a great city, and this post makes me miss the city, and all my friends back home even more! Some more recommendations… Coffee Culture on Goodram Gate is really quirky & has the best coffee in York (in my opinion…) For fun cocktails or early evening drinks made by people who know what they're doing, Evil Eye on Stonegate cannot be missed and it has great artwork by local artists. You can also go during the day for Thai food! A couple of doors down is Trembling Madness which is the coolest 'traditional' pub you'll ever go to. They offer 'tapas' with drinks instead of nuts or crisps, and is best entered late afternoon/evening on a freezing cold day in order to fully enjoy it. Last but not least…The Fudge Kitchen!! Ailish Goes

  5. I find myself bookmarking basically all of your travel posts - I really hope I get the opportunity to travel and see some of these beautiful places! As always, thank you for sharing your travels, experiences and recommendations!

  6. I want to hold an owl! So fun. Also, that first picture is gorgeous.

  7. I love York! There is a great little yarn store there that I loved!

    1. The wool shop in the Shambles? It's THE BEST! I always stopped in when we were in York, their selection and quality of wool is amazing!

  8. omg! you're holding an owl! that needs to happen in my life. :)


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