York is an easy day trip from Manchester. We've taken the train and also driven the distance, both take about an hour to an hour and a half. Most things are within walking distance of the York station and a day return ticket isn't very costly. This is a travelogue about one of the three day trips (so far) that we've made from Manchester, zipping over the Pennines on the M62 on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday in May.
We have some friends in the city of York who had urged us to come over and visit for a meal and a drink if we had the time and since we had nothing special planned for today, we decided that would be a nice day trip. It's a Bank Holiday Monday but the traffic didn't seem too bad at all, surprisingly and once out of Manchester, even the weather cleared up! Good thing, too because it was miserable when we left.
We got on the road to York fairly early and arrived by 10:30. The breeze was cool but that's good for walking around. We found a car park and walked into the city center, browsing in the market behind the Shambles and checking out some of the more unusual shops. York is wonderful. It's one of our favourite cities. Even though it's usually very crowded with tourists in the daytime, there is just so much to see and do. There are some great museums, both large and small, none of which i have had the time to see yet. Most unfortunate and something i plan to rectify at some point. There is the towering Minster. There are walls around most of the city that you can walk along. There are hidden gems and we located one of them. We found a lovely old church, Trinity church which is located down a little lane off Colliergate, one street over from The Shambles which is the street that you always see pictured for York, with it's crooked, medieval houses. These are actually all over the city center, though and though crowded, the other streets aren't nearly so packed out as the Shambles.
Some parts of Holy Trinity Church date as far back as the 14th century with stained glass from the 15th C. but most of the exterior and interior dates from the 17th century now. The peaceful church yard is small and green with a few tombstones. The church itself was bright inside with some pretty stained glass windows and boxed pews. Apparently the church is supposed to be haunted but we did not see any ghosts today. Someone was taking a group around and talking about the church but we didn't stay overly long.
Met the first of our friends at the Last Drop Inn on Colliergate for a quick drink and then proceeded to meet more friends for lunch. We ended up at an Italian restaurant called Caesar's on Goodramgate, not far from the Minster, because our original choice was full and had long queues waiting. The restaurant had a reasonable lunch special and the food was quite tasty. We had an enjoyable meal with our friends in nice surroundings (well, just about anywhere in York is nice!). Another drink at the Three Legged Mare (refers to the gallows, a replica of which is erected in a little garden area out back) on High Petergate and we all parted company.
On the way in to York, across the fields, I spotted one of those observation wheels. We found out that it was on the grounds of the National Railway Museum near the trains station so we headed over there. The Yorkshire Wheel is newly built and while it isn't as high as the London Eye, at 54 metres high, it still affords views for miles over the city and the Yorkshire countryside. It has 54 pods that are climate controlled including a VIP pod for private hire. You go around several times in pods that can hold a maximum of 4 or 6 adults and 2 kids but that would be a bit crowded for me! We had a pod with 2 aside and that was plenty! The views were indeed very good, you could really see the height of York Minster in relation to the rest of the city center. As I mentioned, it was a breezy day. Windier than I realized, though, and when we started to rise up we could hear a fierce whistling sound! The wind was really blowing against the pods though it wasn't really swinging them much. The noise was a bit disconcerting, however. The National Railway Museum is free but it was 6 pounds per person (less for children and seniors) for the wheel.
We were quite footsore by now and not sure how far away the car park was so we took a cab from the nearby train station back to where the car was. Again we were lucky with very little traffic back to Manchester on the M62, normally quite a busy motorway. The Pennines were sweeping away from the road and I think the scenery was nicer coming back than going over. Not sure how that worked! The sun was bright but then the clouds got thicker and darker closer to Manchester, similar to when we returned from sunny North Wales the other day. We joked that we were returning to Mordor! (dark city of doom in Lord of the Rings!) In fact, it had rained most of the day there and by the time we arrived back, the sun was only just starting to break through and we saw first one rainbow and then a double rainbow as we entered the city.