The wizarding world of York

I always love visiting the UK. The food is amazing (You can wake me up any time for an English breakfast!), the people are so nice and overall, it just really has a lovely atmosphere. For our last summer vacation, we decided to visit a couple of cities in England, namely York, Leeds and Newcastle. Let’s start at the beginning: our first day in York!

As you might know, York doesn’t have an airport so our flight went from Amsterdam to Leeds. When we arrived, we decided to have lunch before jumping on a train to the city we were planning to go to. It was warm and Leeds was bustling with shoppers. We had lunch at Distinto where I decided on a clubsandwich and the most amazing Oreo Milkshake I ever tasted.

Leeds seemed like a lovely city, but we would be coming back later so we decided to catch a train to York and find our hotel to dump our luggage.

We stayed in the Staycity Aparthotel Paragon Street in York where we had a lovely little apartment. It was a 20 minute walk from the city station. We rested for a bit, I changed into some shorts because it was kinda warm and then we set out for some sightseeing!

A lovely way to view (part of) the city, is by walking along the city walls. A large part of the walls that were build in the year 71 still remain, and you can walk on them to see a great deal of the city.

First stop on our sightseeing walk was Clifford’s Tower, also known as York Castle. The castle was built in 1068 and Clifford’s tower is the only piece that remains. It was used as a prison until 1929. Now it’s open to visitors.

We didn’t go in, but we walked the steps towards the castle. It gave us a lovely overview of the castle museum and the Eye of York.

I found York to be a lovely, quiet city. There aren’t that many tourists and it feels authentic, with beautiful old buildings and parks where you can read and relax for a bit.

We hadn’t planned that much. I had a list of things I wanted to see and some options of things we could do, but we ended up just wandering the city a bit, taking in the scenery.

We walked along the Ouse, ice cream in hand, making our way to city center, the more crowded part of York.

In city center we found The Shambles, one of the things that was on my list of things to do. When J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books, she found a great deal of inspiration in English cities, like York. The shambles is the street where she based Diagon Alley on.

I’m not only a bookgeek, but a huge potterhead as well. I loved walking here. You can really see how Diagon Alley is based on this street. It’s narrow and bustling with shoppers and tourists. Most of the stores that are located in this street are, of course, shops that sell Harry Potter items, like books, scarves and food and beverages. I also bought a bottle of Butterbeer, because where else would you be able to try it? I can say, it really is delicious!

We walked around the city center a bit, visited the Disney store and then we took another route back to the hotel. We came across the shortest street in York with the cutest name: ‘Whip-Ma-Whop-ma-Gate’.

York really is a wonderful little city and we came across so many beautiful buildings and small streets that just had to be photographed. It was clear that most of the tourists were concentrated in the Shambles and the city center, but when we walked a little further, it became quieter, which was nice.

For dinner, we went to Corner Grill House, a restaurant that was close to our hotel. The food was really good. I had pork with cheese and bacon, in mushroom sauce, with potatoes on the side and boyfriend had honey mustard chicken, sweet potato fries and rocket with parmezan cheese (about which Boyfriend was extremely excited). It was a great meal in a lovely little restaurant. For dessert we shared a vanilla crème brûlée.

And thus concludes our first day in York. We had some great meals, did a bit of sightseeing and saw the street Diagon Alley was based on. It was a lovely day!


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