Autumn term of my second year at York (Oct 2020) was very different. We were out of complete lockdown and starting to navigate the tier system. Luckily, York was in tier two and we found plenty to do, from restaurants to mini-golf to coffee shops. Although York is smaller than other nearby University cities like Leeds and Newcastle, it has so much to offer, even under Covid-restrictions. Its size actually means it’s easy to find different places and travel around!
Once we got the news, my housemates and I wanted to do something creative to ease our stress. We went to Bish Bash Pot to paint pottery, which gets extra points for having a punny name. There’s a variety of ceramic bisque to select, from your typical plates, mugs and cups to animal figurines and a trinket dish like I chose! The staff explained the process well and you can order drinks and snacks to keep you going! We went back a week later to retrieve our pottery from the kiln, and we were so pleased with how they turned out!
Trying something new
Puttstars, York’s first mini-golf place opened in August and was great fun! As per guidelines you could visit with members of your household and they were very careful in sanitizing everything. There are three courses to choose from: Zig Zag, Slingshot and Pinball- we chose the Zig-Zag course. You really don’t need to have any golfing experience to play, as we proved. We are already planning to go again whenever we are able to.
Enjoying some fresh air
On sunny days I met up with friends outside my household at York Museum Gardens. Entry is completely free and there is more than enough space to distance!
The grounds are picturesque and in close proximity to Costa and Pret. The highlight for me was how friendly the squirrels were. Be prepared to have them come and sit right in front of you!
Finally, the most crucial aspect- food.
The University has great student bar/restaurants. Being from Langwith College, Glasshouse is a firm favourite of mine and nothing beats the Glasshouse platter! Courtyard and its classic cheesy chips are also very popular. The University has also helped facilitate meeting people outside your household safely by opening the Forest on Campus West and the Tipi on Campus East.
Within the city centre, there is no shortage of restaurants. Block Pizza is great for, you guessed it, pizza! And Cosy Club is decorated really nicely and often gives student discounts! Gatehouse Coffee has hot drinks and cake and is set right in the city walls for an unparalleled view of the city. Brew and Brownie is also great for baked goods, and my favourite is banana pancakes!
In some ways, it has been difficult to adapt to this new way of living. However, the people I have met during my time in York and the activities I’ve enjoyed with them have greatly helped and made an uncertain time very worthwhile.