York is one of those places that everyone’s visited (it’s the most visited British city after London and Manchester apparently!), and you’d be hard pushed to find anyone with anything bad to say about it it seems.
It’s definitely one of those special places – although turning up on a Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon was eye-popping to say the least – there were some incredible outfits amongst the groups out to squeeze every drop out of a bank holiday weekend (and most of the contents of the bars by the looks of things). The Small Boy expressed a concerned “but it isn’t even dark yet” which made me laugh. I would have to agree with the happy crowds that York is definitely a good place for a pub crawl, it’s said to have a pub for every day of the year! There was a definite jovial vibe amongst the throng though, and made me quite miss our pre-children bank holiday revelling in what seems like a really really long time ago now (not that I owned any similar outfits!)…
This wasn’t my first visit to York, as a Yorkshire child (who thought all Southerners sounded odd until we moved down at the age of ten), York Minster was firmly on our school trip rosta, as was Morecambe Bay, some dark depressing house that had something to do with the Bronte Sisters. Oh and Flamingo Land I think, where the only thing I really remember is who was sick on the back of the bus on the way home. It was a long time ago, and I think there’s a bit more to it than flamingos nowadays!…
York has been on my “places we must show the kids in their own country” list for a very long time. I thought they would enjoy the Viking connection too, given their Danish “history” and all that… But where to stay?
As I had kind of left this trip to the last-minute (thanks to the upcoming move!), all of the reasonable hotel options for a family of five were definitely out of the window (we didn’t even pay that much in Japan for any hotel!) and the only places with availability that looked any good were edging further and further out of the city. There was nothing for it, I was going to have to overcome my slight Airbnb phobia…
Don’t get me wrong, I have friends who have stayed in the most incredible Airbnbs – a vast place crammed full of art and books owned by a very trusting Roman, beautiful Scandinavian homes that you would be tempted to squat rather than leave, and lovely London pads aplenty. But then there are the stories that also put me off, places being cancelled at the last-minute, or those that didn’t turn out exactly as described, strange smells, uninvited guests, in insect form as well as human… Plus, the idea of staying in someone else’s house, surrounded by stacks of their personal belongings has always felt a bit weird to me (especially if they are there!!)…
I needn’t have worried about any of that. We definitely lucked in when we booked Queen Street. The owner Daisy got in touch straight away to introduce herself, and tell me a little more about her lovely town house once we had booked. We stayed in contact throughout our stay, and it was so nice to feel looked after from a distance. The house is obviously really cherished, but didn’t feel full of private belongings, so that was great too!
There were lovely touches throughout, such as the little items that were found during the renovation of the property, books to pick up and flick through, and games to play when the weather isn’t up to much. All the bedrooms are comfortable with stylish touches, but ask the children which room they liked the best and they would definitely vote for the cellar cinema room, a great place to relax after a full day of exploring!
Mr R and I also loved the gorgeous kitchen with its cosy feel and the very welcome welcome basket (and a bottle of prosecco in the fridge, how nice is that?!)! You couldn’t really fault the location either, a stones throw from the Micklegate, close to the station and The Railway Museum (there’s also a parking permit that comes with the property so you don’t need to worry what you will do with your car!)… It really suited us as a family with all the extra space, and the kids loved having a room each too. Plus, The Toddler was very happy with the wine rack in the kitchen that served as a multi level parking garage for his cars…
Queen’s Street, was the perfect introduction to Airbnb and I would definitely consider using them again in the future, but would stick with booking properties with Super Hosts (like Daisy), and look closely at the reviews left by others beforehand, then I don’t think you can really go wrong…
York itself was everything I remembered (plus a whole lot more. Like I said, it’s been a long time!) about visiting first time around (and much quieter on the Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday!) with its pretty streets packed full of history.
The Shambles is said to be the oldest shopping street in Europe – it’s even given a mention in the Doomsday Book. The wooden shamels from where it takes its name (kind of shelves where wares would be displayed) are still visible in parts. You can see why this part of the city is thought to be inspiration for Diagon Alley (and the reason for the few Harry Potter shops!)…
The whole of York is just oozing with history. You can’t venture far without stumbling over buildings like the Merchant Adventurers Hall, The Barley Hall, Jacob’s Well, or the Treasurer’s House tucked behind the impressive Minster itself, wander up any street in fact and you will spot something interesting…
As well as being the city with the most festivals, and having a rich Chocolate history (thanks to local companies like Rowntrees and Terry’s) it also prides itself on being Britain’s most haunted city (if not Europe’s!), and as well a boasting things like haunted pubs (the Golden Fleece is a good one!) of course there are ghost tours by the dozen to choose from.
I ventured out with my older two on the Original Ghost Walk of York one evening for an eerie stroll around the city, where we learned about its infamous restless souls and other gruesome and ghoulish happenings (I think any younger than 8 and they might find it a bit much, but it’s absolutely fine otherwise!). It was really well done, and quite funny too. Some of his stories did make you think though and take a quick glance behind us on the way home a few times…
That particular tour, the medieval buildings, the city walls (and the fact that there’s actually a Käthe Wohlfahrt year round Christmas Shop!) reminded me so much of Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber (and one of its famous residents!) on more than one occasion… Rothenburg doesn’t have a Betty’s Tea Room though, so York wins that point!
We spent the few days we had in York visiting the Railway Museum, the Minster, The Yorkshire Museum and the Castle where we climbed Clifford’s Tower and learned about its morbid history. We attempted to visit the Jorvik Viking Centre, but the queue was at least 50 minutes long which is nothing according to some (make sure to book a fast track ticket beforehand)!
We also popped into Spark:York, a brilliant space full of great local independent street food stalls, bars, cafes and shops, and a great community nurturing centre (which having done a stint at FoodCycle fairly recently, I LOVE the idea of!). If you are in York with kids for any extended amount of time, you should definitely pop along and investigate…
Overall, this stay was a great introduction to Airbnb for all of us, and three days in York was a great introduction for the rest of the family (who all claim my accent had come back by the end of it!)… More soon.
Your airbnb looks amazing, so stylish and comfy. I too get a bit put off by the thought of being in someone’s home and surrounded by their personal belongings. It’s all a bit weird! I’ve never been to York, but know a few Yorkshire men! My cousin went to Uni there and I have heard from her that it’s a city with such character and rich history.
It’s definitely got a lot of character AND a rich history! :) Thanks Rachael! :)
Becky, Cuddle Fairy says
I’ve never been to York but now I want to go! What an interesting city – so much character and life to it! We haven’t used Air BnB yet – it’s great to hear you had a positive experience! We have been talking about trying it for our next trip. x
You should definitely consider it! Thanks Becky! :) x
We loved our Air BnB stay in York too. Sometimes they just work so well. Our favourite tour was a York bike tour, fantastic way to see the city. #citytripping
That’s a great idea! I bet that was fun! :) x
Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays says
We’ve had dismal AirBnB experiences too on the positive side I too have Yorkshire roots and spent many childhood hours in York. We rented a house when we visited w8th the boys as well. York is just fabulous …. PS amazed that Manchester is so high on the list #CityTripping
Thanks Catherine! :) x
I love places which are so rich in history, Emma! York sounds like a great travel destination and it has lots to offer. That architecture is outstanding! :)
Thanks so much Lydia! :) x
Su (Ethan And Evelyn) says
York looks so beautiful I have never been! You certainly lucked out on that house too – gorgeous!
Thank you Su! :) x
Laura - Dear Bear and Beany says
I’ve never been to York before and feel like I’m missing out. It looks a beautiful place to visit!
Oh you should go! Thanks Laura! (:
michelle twin mum says
We tried Air BnB last year for the first time and really enjoyed it too. I’d certainly stay at Queen Street and I haven’t really visited York, so it would be great to explore there. Mich x
Thanks Mich x
Mudpie Fridays says
I’ve never used Airbnb as I am always worried about getting that nightmare property. But this one sounds lovely and the host amazing. We’ve not stayed in York before but looks like there is lots to do x
I felt like that too, but look for superhosts and you can’t go wrong! Thank you! :) x
It’s good to know I’m not the only one with Airbnb phobia although I have yet to use them. This was a great read. York is one of the few cities in the UK I haven’t visited yet and I really want to go, so I’ll definitely be referring to your post.
Thanks Pina, I think it’s worth risking! This place definitely was worth the risk! I think you would both enjoy York too, it’s lovely! :)
We only had a day on York last week and fell in love, hubby and I are determined to go back soon (hopefully without the small people) as we want to explore more. Must look into air bnb
Saw you were walking in Yorkshire, it looked lovely! :)
Laura Dove says
Oh we love York! We live around 1.5 hours away so have had some amazing days out there and even week long stays. There is so much to do isn’t there? The ghost tours are so much fun!
How lovely to live so close! :D Thanks Laura! (:
I’m always a bit nervous of Airbnb too, but with a big family, maybe it’s something I should look into for summer as hotels get very expensive!
I went to York on a school trip once, and would love to go back.
I think it’s definitely worth looking in to! Thanks Emma (: x
Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says
Haha, I bet your accent came back by the end! I haven’t seen enough of York at all so this has inspired me to go again. I’ve been to York races, wandered The Shambles and drank in some of the pubs you mentioned but would like to see more of the history and the Minister- and show the kids around. I have heard good things about the York Museum too! Glad you found a good Airbnb too! Thanks for linking #citytripping
Thanks Elizabeth! (: x
Angela Ricardo Bethea says
Clifford’s Tower York is on my bucket list! I wonder when can I get there?
Soon hopefully! Thanks Angela! (:
Yeah Lifestyle says
York is beautiful and there is so much to do there as well! I have not been to York but heard so much about it. It was like a blog tour on York when I read your post, totally loved it.
Thanks so much! (: x
Jumble Tree says
Sounds like one of those family trips that just fell perfectly into place! Don’t know York at all, but would like to go – you always make me want to go to the cities you visit. Lovely photos, like the sound of Spark:York and the Ghost Walk. Must have been a welcome break from the move too! xx
A good break from moving stuff indeed, thanks so much T. Hope all is well with you! x
Kristina Maggiora says
I’ve never been to York but a few people said it’s worth visiting :) I love that there’s little details like the devils to spot around!
It’s definitely worth visiting! Thanks Kristina! (:
Alex Gladwin says
This has made me want to visit York so much! I love how full of history it looks, that would be me happy for a day just wandering around taking it all in!
Oh good! Thanks Alex, hope you get to visit soon! :) x
I’ve not been to York since I was a kid and think i’m long overdue a visit. I’m glad your Airbnb turned out okay – I’ve been using them when travelling for the past few years and I’ve had nothing but amazing trips.
Thanks Charli! That’s good to hear on the Airbnb front too! :) x
California Globetrotter says
You found a lot of interesting little treasures throughout the town! I’ll be publishing mine in a few weeks and we were quite rushed to see it in only an afternoon! Will definitely need to go back! #CityTripping
Thanks so much! Yes, an afternoon must have been a rushed visit! :) x
Ah York is so pretty, one of our favourite places to visit. I love the sound of the town house I will have to remember this place for our next visit!
I really recommend it! Thanks Natalie! (:
Yorks is such a lovely part of the country. I loved it when we visited a few years ago.
Thanks Jemma (:
Rhian Westbury says
I am so keen to go to York as I’ve not been before and I feel like I am seriously missing out x
I think you would love it Rhian! Thank you! :) x
I haven’t been to York since I was a child but this really makes me want to go back with mt own kids. The ghost tour would definitely go down well and I so miss a proper tea shop now we live in Germany.
I hear you on the tea thing having lived in Bavaria for several years! :D Thank you John!
Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels says
York is on my to visit list too:) I’ve never tried Airbnb #citytripping
Thanks Tanja! (:
Oh I adore York, we visited there as a family on holiday when I was a child and I declared to my family that I would live there when I was an adult. I ended up living just down the road in Leeds. I know what you mean about hotels being expensive in York if left to the last minute. That Airbnb looks gorgeous though, it’s enough to get me over my fear of them too!
Thanks Emma! Funny what big impressions places can make on children isn’t it? x
Jade Bremner says
I love York and I had to chuckle as when you said all southerners sounded funny until you moved was so relatable, at 10 I was a southerner but then moved up North where I thought people sounded funny.
It never occurred to me that they were probably thinking the same about me! :D Thanks Jade!
Nicola Lawson says
I haven’t been to York in years, but I really want to go again now, especially Jorvik. Although based on your description or it, a pub crawl might be in order too. It sounds like you had an amazing time, and I’m glad Airbnb worked out for you, not sure I’m brave enough to risk it though.
Definitely worth a risk at some point! :D Thanks Nicola! (:
Nichola - Globalmouse says
It’s been so long since I was last in York but I would love to return, it looks even more beautiful than I remember. That devil is so sweet!!
It really is special. Thanks Nichola! (:
Emily Leary says
I love York but we’ve never visited as a family and after reading your post I’m definitely thinking about going again! I think my kids would love the Ghost Walk! Your Airbnb accommodation looks great – much nicer than staying in a hotel!
It just suited us as a family far more than a hotel could at the moment! Thanks Emily! (:
I’d love to visit York one day, so much charm and history. And those ghost tours sound wonderful. :)
Definitely a lot of charm and history! Thanks Lorelle! (: x