City Break In York – part 1

The City Adventurers were keen to explore York with it’s encircling walls and gothic Minster, so we arranged a mini break in January. Letting the trains take the strain, we arrived in York from various locations late morning and headed to our first stop – lunch . We had booked the Rustique Restaurant. Established in 2004, this restaurant offered delicious French cooking and was a good place to start our trip.

The Shambles

After lunch we headed through the city towards The Shambles. On our way we noticed numerous ice sculptures and discovered we had arrived during the York Ice Trail 2023. (Read our review of the Ice Trail.)

The Shambles is a medieval street with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some of which date back to the thirteenth century. At the weekend it was crowded with visitors, but on Monday is was much quieter.

According to an online guide, the street was once known as the Great Flesh Shambles, as it contained numerous butchers, each specialising in a different meat. The guide went on to say the old meat hooks are still visible outside some of the shops. So obviously the City Adventurers started a treasure hunt to find them.

The street is also home to a number of weird and wonderful shops, such as The Potions Cauldron, which offers a Cauldron Experience a Secret Potion Room and The Shop That Must Not Be Named, which specialises in officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise. However, the longest queue was to get into The York Ghost Merchants. They sell York Ghosts, which are handmade keepsakes of “ghosts”. (No, we couldn’t work out why either.)

York Minster

After the shops, we headed towards York Minster. Since the 7th century, this has been the centre of Christianity in Northern England and it remains a thriving church today. The ancient building is magnificent, with beautiful stained glass and handcrafted stone. A new addition to the stone is the figure of Queen Elizabeth II.

Treasurer’s House

After circling York Minster, we arrived at The Treasurer’s House. This is a decorated town house owned by the National Trust. Unfortunately access to the house is between April and November, so we were only able to see the outside of it from the road. This was the childhood home of Elizabeth Montagu, and a blue plaque is erected to her on the wall.


After all that walking it was time for a cuppa. And where else could we head but Betty’s. While the Belmont Room in York was closed for refurbishment, we were still able to enjoy a nice cup of tea and a good chat.

Tea at Betty's
Tea at Betty’s

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