Liz King says that York should be on your list of caravanning trips this year.
York is one of England’s finest and most beautiful historic cities. It’s been home to the Romans, the Saxons and the Vikings but the York of today is a fashionable city that successfully combines heritage and history with designer shops and medieval architecture. Its famous gothic Minster graces the city along with Georgian town houses, the Victorian railway station, smart restaurants, bars and cafés.
The historic centre of the city is virtually traffic free and there are Park and Ride services all around York’s ring road which are efficient and economical, and keep the city centre streets quieter, cleaner and altogether more pleasant.
There are streets with quaint and unforgettable names such as Coffee Yard, Swinegate, Grape Lane (formerly Grope Lane as it was the Red Light district), Mad Alice Lane and – most famous of all – the Shambles a famous street of medieval butcher’s shops.
Top things to do in the city are: –
Walk the Walls; circumnavigate the city as you walk around York’s famous medieval walls, the longest in England and enjoy fantastic views. You need to allow about two hours. There are five main bars or gateways, one Victorian gateway, one postern (a small gateway) and 45 towers.
Cruise along the Ouse; Take a cruise along the River Ouse and get a different angle of the city. YorkBoat offers various themed evenings, including ghost cruises, Summer Night parties and floodlit evening cruises.
Visit the Minster; it’s the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe and religious architecture on a grand scale. You can view the largest concentration of medieval stained glass in Britain or tunnel underground to the Roman, Saxon and Norman remains in the undercroft and crypt. Or treat yourself to breathtaking views over York and tackle the steps to the top of the Minster.
Browse around the designer shops of Petergate, Stonegate and the Swinegate Quarter, explore the narrow cobbled streets of the Shambles or York’s antique centres.
Admission is free to the National Railway Museum, the largest railway museum in the world, which features Stephenson’s Rocket, the only Japanese Bullet train outside Japan, a virtual channel tunnel trip, historic royal carriages and special daily events.
Hop on the bus at the railway station; Red Line 7 bus whisks you off to York Designer Outlet. It’s Shopaholics’ Paradise just 10 minutes from the city with over 120 stores with up to 50% off all well-known labels including Armani Collections, Coast, LK Bennett, Hobbs and Jaeger. Or head off in the opposite direction by Silver Line 9 or Brown Line 13 to Monks Cross shopping for a huge TX Maxx, Outfit, Laura Ashley and much more.
After all that sightseeing and shopping you’ll need somewhere for your weary feet and aching arms. There’s no shortage of places to find a Yorkshire pudding and roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, a cappuccino and a muffin, a ‘fat rascal’ (they’re a delicious cross between a scone and a biscuit, studded with almonds and cherries) a biscuit and pot of tea or simply a convivial pint in a traditional pub.
You’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of campsites for your caravan or motorhome in and around York. Or you could even tie in your trip to York with a stay on the North Yorkshire coast with Whitby or Scarborough both just over an hours drive away.
York Visitor Information Centre: 01904 55 00 99