The city of York is one of the most culturally and historically vibrant cities in the UK that I have ever visited. The city’s cobbled streets are full of cultural remnants from every era. It is famously home to the York Minster (possibly the landmark of the city) and The Shambles, the magically picturesque street that inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter film franchise. York students cam explore the city’s endless array of independent shops, finding new places to love in each visit. It is a great place to explore with friends during the weekend, show-off to visitors from home, or simply unwind after a busy day at the University. Here are my five hidden gems in the city of York:
1. Parlormade Scone House
The Parlormade Scone House is one of York’s hidden gems, nestled between Shambles market and The Shambles itself. The teashop is an ideal place to take your friends and family to on a quiet afternoon. It serves a delicious variety of scones and treats and is away from the busier environments like the Jorvik Viking Centre and York’s Chocolate Factory. If you are looking for a change of scene from the University’s study spaces, it’s a brilliant place to get through some reading or essay assignments. The staff are always happy for you to work away in their cosy establishment.
2. Brew & Brownie
Brew & Brownie is definitely a favourite among locals. It is normally recommended as the place to go if Bettys Café Tea Rooms are too full. Their brownies are absolutely delightful, with flavours ranging from Oreo and Mars Bar to Lotus Biscoff. The café also offers a variety of options throughout the day. This includes pastries and porridge in the morning and its famed pancakes and poached eggs in the afternoon. The café can get full rather quickly though. It’s better to go early, or you might miss out on a table!
3. Minster Gate Bookshop
Just a few steps from the York Minster, the Minster Gate Bookshop almost pales in comparison to the statue of Emperor Constantine around the corner. But, once you step into the shop, you are almost overwhelmed by the number of books inside. Almost all the available space in the five-floor Georgian townhouse is covered in books. From the steps of the rickety wooden staircase to the window sills in each floor; it’s a great place for book lovers.
4. The Norman House
The remnants of the oldest stone house in York stands just behind Stonegate, one of the busiest streets in the city; but you might hardly know it’s there. The Norman House is definitely worth a visit, even though only one part of the original wall is left. You can find fascinating pieces of history in almost every street corner of the city. The red line of bricks running along the stone wall provides a glimpse into the living space of wealthy Englishmen in the 12th century. It’s a lot smaller than you might think!
5. Ghost Tour
During Freshers’ Week, my College offered The Original Ghost Walk of York as one of its activities and I did not regret signing up to go! York is rumoured to be the most haunted city in Europe. When I first arrived at the University, this ghoulish tour was a great introduction to the city. I had not had much chance to explore the city before Freshers’ Week. Going on the ghost tour in the dark of night (unexpectedly) gave me a reference point to all the key places in York during the day.
Discover more hidden gems in York.