York is one of our special places, as it was a convenient place for us both to get to when we were long distance and we actually had our second date there so it's full of very happy memories.
I'm very thankful that we decided on 19 May 2012 to become a couple because it meant that in 2014 we got to celebrate over the hottest day of the year so far. We really couldn't have timed it better. We'd already had a fantastic weekend of adventures in the sun and a Monday full of sunshine on top of it was amazing luck.
Our train got into York just after 10:15 am so we decided to find some breakfast. A few people had recommended The Star Inn The City for food and as it's perfectly located just a short walk from the train station, it was the ideal first stop of the day. The restaurant only opened late last year (which will explain why we'd never spotted it before) and is nestled at the edge of the Museum Gardens overlooking the river.
We had a quick look at the interior as we first entered and I particularly loved the look of the Garden Room which is full of comfy furniture and has huge windows overlooking the park, we will definitely grab a table in there next time. It looks the perfect location for afternoon tea. This time however there was only one place we could possibly sit, and that was outside on the decking overlooking the river.
It is a beautiful outside area with really pretty views and plenty of tables (although I should imagine on a hot weekend it gets full very quickly). The lights strung up above our heads made me wish we had booked a later train home just to be able to sit out there in the evening, I bet it's perfect.
The breakfast menu is fantastic, everything a breakfast menu should be. It's really varied and you can pick anything from a full fry up to pancakes with fruit. It took me a while to decide but in the end I opted for eggs benedict with fresh orange juice. The service was a little slow. Quite a few people who had come in a while after us got their food first, but as soon as our breakfast did appear that was all forgotten as it was so delicious. We will definitely be back!
With full bellies we went for a lazy walk around the Museum Gardens which was already filling up with sun worshipers. There were some beautiful flowers out in full bloom, plenty of sunshine and it was nice to just walk around with bare arms and legs. The grass was still slightly damp but it felt rather refreshing on my toes.
Seeing the amount of people walking past us with ice-cream it wasn't long before we had a cone in our hands having stumbled across a little café that had fun flavours. Simon opted for mint choc chip (which he proceeded to get all over himself, he is THE messiest ice-cream eater!) and I had the rhubarb crumble which was amazing. We decided to justify the naughty treat with a walk of the City Walls.
The City Wall Walk is one of my favourite things to do in York. It's free and offers some great views of the City.
The whole walk is 2.75 miles long and it's always so peaceful, considering the amount of tourists that can pack into York. The Walls are surprisingly calm and quiet and it's a great place to escape.
There are 5 bars (gateways) along the wall which means you can climb down the steps and back to reality along the way giving you the option to either break up your walk for some food or a drink or head back up and continue along the route. There's also a few tiny museums if you're a history buff. If you've never done the walk before I highly recommend it.
All that walking was thirsty work and by this point in the day the sun was blazing hot. We knew that we'd earned ourselves a nice Summery drink. York has a number of pubs and bars with outside seating but we decided to head back to one that we discovered during our first Summer together, The Secret Garden Courtyard at Thirteen Thirty One.
I haven't actually explored the whole bar properly as every time we've been it's been a boiling hot day but I do know that they have a cocktail lounge, restaurant and even a little cinema. The Secret Garden Courtyard is the place to go though, it's in the centre of York but always feels really tranquil and it's a lovely little suntrap. Simon enjoyed a huge glass of fruity cider.
and I went for my second Pimms of the year.
Of course it wouldn't be our anniversary without cake so deciding to give our fair skin a bit of a break from the sun we went on a cake hunt. We really weren't impressed with our last visit to Betty's and it feels a bit like everyone goes there, it's a little predictable and the queues to get in are rather off putting so we wanted to try somewhere new.
We decided on Chloe's of York, a family run tea room close to the Shambles. We got there just as they were about to close for the afternoon but being really lovely folk they took pity on our hot little faces nosing through the window and kindly let us in. I honestly can't even begin to tell you how much we loved Chloe's - they have a smartly dressed doorman greeting customers, the staff are really chatty and friendly, the tea room is so cute and the selection of cakes is immense. The huge list on the blackboard was rather overwhelming and it took us a good while to read through it all and make a decision. In the end Simon went for a slice of chocolate orange cake and I had some lemon cake. It was fruity, fluffy and sweet with a melt in the mouth creamy topping ...absolute perfection. We will definitely be going back for a return visit.
By the end of the day we were absolutely exhausted, our legs ached every time we attempted to climb down steps and our feet were sore. After three days of adventuring our bodies felt about 20 years older than they were, but it was worth it to spend such a lovely day in one of our favourite cities.
Thanks for making our anniversary so special York! We can't wait to return.
Apologies for the sudden change in photo styles, we were having so much fun we didn't realise we'd accidentally changed the camera settings ... doh!