The next day in York was perhaps the fastest I’ve ever gotten ready (or at least pretty close).
For starters, the breakfast at the Gray’s Court hotel is something worth arriving early and leaving enough time to enjoy (didn’t take any photos today but promise to take my camera with me tomorrow so I can show you what I mean).
Then there was the fact that we were gonna get to drive a boat through York… on our own! 😀
Our Microgap in England was also about trying new experiences (as well as getting to grips with England’s amazing history) and so it seemed as good a time as any to try our hands on something totally new!
I know it’s different strokes for different folks and not everyone is into boats but getting the controls to one – sans guide or chaperone – totally kicks things up a notch (several notches, in fact 😁).
After a brilliant breakfast (slowly eaten and thoroughly enjoyed), we headed out to the river to pick up our boat from Red Cruise boats.
The introduction to using the boats is fairly easy and within minutes we were out on the water!
I’d never really thought of York as a ‘water city’ (not like Venice or the Amsterdam) so didn’t really think to hire a boat here until it was recommended to us and I’m so glad we did.
We both took turns ‘Captain’ing the boat and relaxing at the back.
An hour flew by quickly as we explored the waterway here and before long, it was time to hand the boat back to its rightful owners.
I’d gotten to steer a boat once in Amsterdam but I think this is the very first time I’ve been given free rein on a boat and who knows, I think I may be starting to become the kind of guy who actually wants to own a boat!
Leaving the boat, Lloyd suggested we walk a different way into town, as he’d noticed what looked like an old part of the city wall and wanted to check it out. Turns out, what he’d spotted (which looked like a wall from the angle we initially saw it), was actually Clifford’s Tower – part of York Castle.
As it’s a castle keep, it’s got to have one of the best views over the city (or at least the city as it looked back then) so there are a couple of steps (nothing hard at all) to get up to the entrance of the tower, and then a few more in the tower to get to the very top of the actual tower.
The view over the tower is actually pretty cool and definitely worth checking out when you’re in the city.
Up at Clifford Tower, we spotted the castle museum and figured that should probably be our next stop – it was all of 30 seconds away after all.
Truth be told, I had no idea what to expect at the museum and was initially a tad bemused (in a very good way) and intrigued when I came across the first couple of exhibits showing what homes would have looked like a wee while back in York.
The next bit was the toys bit, and with the exception of gleeful nostalgia when I recognised some toys I’d had growing up and games I remember playing as a kid, I was eager to make our museum visit a bit of a fleeting one.
Then we happened upon, what I consider to be the absolute best part of the museum and the bit that ended up making us almost an hour late for a lunch reservation that we were almost 30 minutes early for – the old streets of York (not the official name – in fact, I don’t know if this part of the museum has an official name, it just looks like York would have looked back in the day).
At this point, I swiftly proceeded to lose Lloyd amid the array of tiny streets, old cars, little homes and shops that actually sold items you can use in present day… and by ‘use’, I mean ‘eat’. (Fine, there’s some stuff you can use in some shops here but the sweet shop stood out to me a mile away).
The whole area is meant to take you back in time in York and it certainly delivers on that front! It just feels like going through a time machine and is so delightfully distracting (they even have sounds playing that caught me off guard as I wondered at one point why a child was laughing (and a dog barking) in an alleyway that didn’t seem to have anyone in it.
Eventually though, we tore ourselves away from the old streets of York in the museum and headed over to the other part of it very briefly, before hot-footing it to lunch.
Lunch was a spot that had come highly recommended by a lot of people – both in person and on Instagram and said spot was Mr P’s Curious Tavern!
We wasted no time in getting stuck into lunch here – starting with a couple of glasses of wine, before deciding to ‘be good’ and only share a starter – Whitby Crab with a grapefruit sorbet.
Those were not two flavours I would have naturally paired together but they worked brilliantly and got us more than ready for our mains!
For my main meal, I decided to go for the Halibut and Risotto with squid ink and crispy squid. Absolutely delicious! My plate was clean as a bone with not even a single grain of rice left on it.
Lloyd went for the Chicken breast which was wrapped in bacon and stuffed with bacon which again was absolutely delicious! (I maaaaay have asked for a taste – you know, for research 😉 how else would I know if it was good or not).
Still on a roll, we decided to throw our good intentions out of the window and get dessert.
We both went for the same thing – the ‘Two Chefs’ Ale Cake, which is essentially a delicious cake, served with toffee sauce (*licks lips*), ginger caramel ice cream and honeycomb.
In some ways, it kinda reminded me of a sticky toffee pudding and tasted just as good (if not better – I REALLY like sticky toffee pudding).
Done with lunch, and totally refuelled, we set out to take in one of the best views in the city!
More on that in the next post! 😀