Rambling in The Shambles, York

After a fabulous visit to the mighty New York I was curious to see where it all started, in York (or Old York, if you will). And Old it certainly was, as well as pretty and quaint. This can be best appreciated during a leisurely stroll along the city wall.

View from the City Wall, YorkThe city wall was built by the Romans and is apparently the longest such wall still remaining today in England (although like the Great Wall of China I suspect it has been maintained a tad since then!). Regardless, it has great views of York and in particular the Cathedral, York Minster.

York Minster is apparently the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. This just makes me want to know which is the largest in Southern Europe! To me it looks similar to many other English Cathedrals so I guess I’ve been spoilt, having been dragged round Cathedrals as a place of interest on every rainy weekend of my childhood.

York MinsterOne of York’s other main attractions is a tiny quaint shopping alley (too small to call it a street!) called The Shambles.  This was apparently the place where the butchers would have been, in the olden days, so the term “Shambles” refers to this. Which is a relief to me, as obv. “shambles” means a mess / disorganised, so I was wondering why they’d called a street that!

The Shambles, YorkIt was fun to look around the shops – all the usual high street shops were present in the town centre, but there were also several independent shops which added to the atmosphere of the town. You can also find “Betty’s Cafe and Tea Rooms” here, which seems to be famous among everyone in the North East of England. There is also one in Harrogate and people rave about it. They seem to be a cute place to get a proper cup of tea and dainty cakes. It looked quite posh to me and it’s VERY popular with both tourists and locals.

We opted not to try Betty’s as it looked too distinguished. A park bench is much more “us” so we enjoyed an ice cream sitting in a pleasant park in town among the ruins of an old church.

YorkAn enjoyable afternoon then followed, sitting by the river and catching up with old friends. A good time was had by all! 🙂

Next blog: Brighton, UK

Previous blog: Liverpool, UK


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