How To Spend 36 Hours In York

How To Spend 36 Hours In York


York has always been on my list of places to visit, but like life itself, I just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Until recently.

It was my mum’s birthday in March, and whilst it’s nice to gift her something sweet, I much prefer the approach of doing things such as experiences, or visiting places. And after a little browse on her Facebook check-ins (she goes a lot of places), I realised that she hadn’t been to York in ages, so it just made sense to take her there. And get to enjoy it myself too of course…

We hopped on a train one Monday morning, and within a few hours were greeted with cobbled streets and quaint corners. I was in actual heaven, and literally couldn’t believe I’d left it this long to visit.

We ambled for a short while, before heading towards Betty’s to experience their afternoon tea that we’d booked in for.


You can’t come to York and NOT try Betty’s, especially as I’d heard such good things about those Fondant Fancies (I can confirm, they’re amazing and I definitely left York with a box for home!). We’d actually booked in, as we weren’t sure how long we’d be waiting for, and whilst it saved the hassle, my mum and I are very sociable folk and found that we wanted to be downstairs in the cafe area rather than the fancier dining room which is where the booked afternoon tea was. Regardless of this, we still had such a lovely time, and each sweet and savoury bite was delicious that we couldn’t fault any of it. It really is one of the things you should do when visiting York.


Once our stomachs were full of cake, we wandered towards Stonegate, which had an array of independent stores. It was nice to not really have any plans, so when we passed The Botanist, we thought it was only right to grab ourselves a drink. It was a relaxed, bar with loads of cocktails and drinks and after eyeing up the plates that passed us, we actually came back here for some food later on in the evening (that was most definitely to soak up all the alcohol that we ended up drinking throughout the day!).


A few people had recommended Evil Eye, and I’m so glad, because this place is well worth a visit! It’s ultimately a gin shop, and full of gin it is. But what is also incredible, is that if you carry on through the store you’ll find the bar stocking all of the gins. AND whilst we didn’t order them, because gin, we’ve been told that the cocktails are some of the best around. It’s such a maze of a place, and I loved the different levels of seating and tables that they offered as you worked your way up the spiral staircase. Basically, make some time to pop in here, and don’t forget to leave with some gin too - we picked up the Hooting Owl!



I knew that York was famous for The Shambles, and a cobbled street certainly appeals to me, but the thought of tourists does not. In all honestly, it is beautiful even with plenty of people. I absolutely loved the architecture, and the wonky buildings, and after walking up and down it a few times on our trip, we couldn’t not take a wander down it later in the evening. The lights from the shops made it feel incredibly warm and inviting, and honestly, I see why it’s such a famous street. It is charming.


I’d booked for us to stay at Hotel Indigo, and it was just what we needed for a night sleep. Roughly a 10 minute walk from the centre, it’s located down a lovely street with many restaurants, coffee shops and Botanic (which certainly appealed to me). I’d actually booked the Superior Room and honestly cannot get over the size of a bed - they advertise it as a king, but you could have fitted five of us in that bed quite comfortably! The service was friendly, the room was clean and had lovely aesthetics, and with a bed that big, it was the ideal place to rest our head after a few too many drinks! Oh and the coffee machine in the morning is a winner.


Located in Micklegate, Partisan has a very Parisian vibe and I think that’s why I loved this area so much, that I wished to have spent more time here. There’s many a coffee shop, cosy pub and independent shops, and is a lovely place to amble. We headed into Partisan for breakfast and it was amazing! Both my mum and I, opted for the vegetarian breakfast and it was that full, we couldn’t even finish it! The atmosphere was laid back and friendly, and you could easily lose many hours spent sitting in here. I know I’m saying this with everything, but I’d certainly recommend here for breakfast or lunch!


My mum loves walking, so was desperate to walk the wall. And with it being a nice day, there was no excuse (to be fair, it helped blow away that cocktail headache). It takes about 2 hours as they advise, but I think we did it in a little shorter time, and you can hop on and hop off at various stages. It was amazing to see it, and think how it used to be - plus the parts of the wall that have no barrier to stop you from falling off the side, are challenging, but provide entertainment! It’s probably the only tourist attraction that we did, and as it’s free and gives you the chance to browse the beautiful houses, it’s a lovely thing to do!


I feel like there’s not much out there about Dyls Cafe, and to be honest, there really should be because this place is incredible. Located in a historic bridge motor house it has plenty of character to amaze you for hours. It’s cosy, charming and each stairwell and nook has such warmth. My favourite area was up in the tower with the booth, but we opted for the window seat looking out at the river which was the perfect coffee spot. We didn’t eat here, but I have since heard that their food is worth a try!


We’d passed Ambiente a few times, and with its inviting look we were 100% swayed to head here for a little afternoon glass of wine and cheeseboard (just a little something something before getting our train home). Whilst it was quiet as we headed there Tuesday afternoon, I could imagine the vibe of it on a busier evening, and it’s really a lovely setting. The wine selection was varied, the cheeseboard did not disappoint, and it’s very easy to get lost in another glass of wine and realise many hours have passed. Well, that happened to us!


Obviously I couldn’t come to York and not scope out a plant shop, and luckily Botanic was just down the road from Hotel Indigo, so it only made absolute sense to browse their wonderful selection. It’s a friendly place, and their varieties of cacti and succulents was amazing. There’s also some beautiful artwork with prints and cards, and pottery pieces, that you can bet you’ll find it hard to leave empty handed.


And finally, if you’re wanting to end York in a similar fashion to us - make the most of happy hour in Turtle Bay whilst you wait for your train home…

It’s fair to say that my first visit to York was incredibly enjoyable. And you can bet that I’ll be returning again soon!

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