gunpowder, pirates & a blood-red bordello {30 hours in york}…

at last, here’s part two of our recent trip to york! {you can revisit part one here}

ghost hunt of york

no visit to a medieval city would be complete without a ghost tour: would it?

i’m a sucker for a bit of history, some storytelling & goosebump-inducing tales of the dead, so when in york we decided to squeeze in a quick stroll with the spirits before dinner…

the hope was that the tour might at least lead us down some alleyways we were yet to explore or give us a little history of some of the sites…

no such luck! {& it was completely our fault for not doing our research in advance}

& so it was we spent the next hour & ten minutes being paraded around the city by a long-haired, middle-aged pirate: as you do!

{note, we did not take the ghost tour pictured above}

the eeriest aspect of our entire tour was the fact that our host, resplendent in a feathered cap, more than faintly resembled the painted portrait of guy fawkes hanging outside our first floor bedroom back at the inn…

& the most entertaining part of our walk? that would be reading the hilarious trip advisor reviews of our tour guide the next morning which seemed very much in keeping with our own experience…

live & learn…

hoping to end the night on a rather more upbeat note, we headed to the blue bicycle restaurant where we had dinner reservations…

blue bicycle restaurant

once there we were escorted down a spiral staircase to our table in the blood-red dining room below…

a former brothel, this room featured a series of low-ceilinged alcoves dotting the perimeter into which private tables were set for two: intimate dining indeed!

at the turn of last century these same alcoves had housed beds &, whilst i suspect there may have been menus of one sort or another circulating, i wildly doubt the home-made soup, salmon starter & sirloin steaks we enjoyed that night were in keeping with the offerings of back in the day!

a little delving & i discover that the alcoves aren’t the restaurant’s only hint at its less than salubrious past…

indeed, this eatery gets its name from the preferred mode of transport of the former proprietress: legend has it she always rode a blue bicycle about town & its presence parked outside the building signalled to clients that the establishment was open for business…

oh the romance!

guy fawkes inn

after dinner we headed back to our equally-atmospheric lodgings for a swift nightcap before calling it a night…

there’s little more charming than being awoken from one’s dreams by the sounding of sunday morning church bells from the nearby minster {a symphony enjoyed from the comfort of our room’s four-poster bed}

a quick breakfast by candlelight later {odd, but again atmospheric} & we were off to continue our historical tour of york…

jorvik centre

the jorvik viking centre is deservedly one of the more popular tourist attractions in york…

straddling a former archaeological site where 1,000 year old remains of a former viking city were uncovered, it affords unrivalled insight into a world long-since passed: the remains of ancient houses rest literally beneath your feet & excavated artefacts abound…

truth be told, i was a little history-lessoned out by this stage so didn’t make the most of the many informative displays throughout the museum, but i genuinely enjoyed the tour of a reconstructed viking village…

strapped into a pod-like craft, you hover & whirl along the ancient streets of jorvik: strange smells & sites surround you & the sound of a blacksmith hammering away in the distance whilst you eavesdrop on conversations held in old norse really does transport you back in time…

i was so enthralled by this part of the exhibit i’d seriously contemplate revisiting the museum just to do this bit again!

york city walls

back outside & a brisk walk around the city walls snapped us back into the present day…

it was cold & blustery atop the stone walls, but this exhilerating walk afforded lovely views & allowed us to gain some perspective of the city’s layout below…

a full circuit takes approximately two hours, but we could only get half way around before we had to head back into town for our penultimate rendezvous: afternoon tea at betty’s cafe tea rooms

betty's afternoon tea

i’d read good things about bettys & it didn’t disappoint: moist sandwiches, fresh scones & cakes made on the premises…

bettys itself was built by frederick belmont following his trip on the maiden voyage of the queen mary in 1936: he was so taken aback with what he witnessed therein that he commissioned the ship’s designers & craftsmen to create this lovely inner-city cafe…

we took tea amongst the refined art deco surrounds of the upstairs belmont room & were serenaded by the tinkling of ivory in the distance {a nice touch}

the sugar hit, washed down with lashings of freshly-brewed tea, was just what we needed before making our final stop in york…

railway museum york

the national railway museum in york is a trainspotter’s paradise, but for those less-enamoured by locomotives it still makes for an interesting visit…

the museum is expansive & features everything from replica rockets to streamlined bullet trains {& pretty much everything in between}, but the exhibit that captured my imagination most was the royal carriages housed in the magnificent station hall…

here we could see the spoils of privilege laid out before us with all its pomp & passementerie…

but, despite being privy to the royal coffers, it was comforting to witness that when it comes to train journeys there’s a limit to how much comfort money can actually buy…

& so it was with this new-found knowledge that we happily boarded our own, slightly less glamourous, train back to london, bringing to an end our 30 hours in york…

exhausted? we were!

image of the blue bicycle restaurant via: the blue bicycle restaurant

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2 thoughts on “gunpowder, pirates & a blood-red bordello {30 hours in york}…

  1. You ate at a brothel!! I love that 🙂 I find that place totally charming, despite its questionable (colorful!) past. It looks oddly cozy, even! Love the legend of her blue bike. York is just absolutely adorable. That really dark bar is the perfect spot for a night cap. We have a giant train in a museum here, and you can even “ride it” all of 5 feet, but it’s pretty spectacular how overpowering and large it is. I can only imagine what that train museum was like!

    Also, I’m glad THAT wasn’t the ghost tour you took, because that guy is cuh-reeeeepy! xo

    • you wanna know the sad thing erin, i completely forgot it was a brothel until after we’d left! i did all my research beforehand & then clean forgot! otherwise i would have been investigating those alcoves more intently! haha… i love the stories behind all of the places we visited in york… such history it was a packed weekend!

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