Monday 27 April 2015

Visiting York

It's been quite a while since Simon and I have had a weekend away without being tied up with commitments.  So when the Travelodge invited us to spend a weekend with them we were really happy and thankful for the excuse to spend a relaxing weekend together.

We had a few cities to choose from and opted for York. Only an hour away from Newcastle, it's where we had our second date, where we spent our first ever weekend away together and, let's face it, it's a beautiful city.

Our home for the weekend was the Travelodge Central. Around a 20 minute walk from York Station, yet we insisted on hopping into a taxi on arrival as we were desperate to get to our room in time for Gogglebox.

We often stay in Travelodge hotels, they tend to be the cheapest of the budget hotels, are always in convenient locations and, although pretty basic, are comfortable and clean.   Our trip to York was as much about chilling out as it was exploring and we spent a lot of our Friday and Saturday evening relaxing in our lovely cosy room watching TV.

Our room in the York Central hotel overlooked Clifford Tower and the river, quite a view to wake up to in the morning.   Simon actually walked out of the bathroom one morning to find me climbing over the furniture just to get a better look.

We slept well although, as is often the case with city centre hotels at weekends, we were woken in the early hours of Saturday morning by returning party animals but the bed was so comfortable we drifted back to sleep in no time. 

Without an on site restaurant we had a Travelodge Breakfast Box each in the morning. The boxes are available to collect on Reception and cost £4.95. 

This is a brilliant little box for a city break.  You get a choice of two and they are stuffed full of goodies like muffins, cereal bars, yoghurt, cereal and orange juice.  When you just want something light before setting off on your adventure this ticks the box.  If we had wanted something more substantial there is a Wetherspoons attached to the hotel which is always a great place to head if you want something super greasy and cheap. 

Now that Spring has arrived I took the opportunity to wear something season appropriate with my floral trousers from Tesco that I got for my birthday. I also finally wore my white jacket that I got from Warehouse last year. It's been sitting in my wardrobe all that time because I was too scared about it getting dirty! 

Wanting to beat the crowds we began our day with a quick look round the shops.  Whilst York has a good amount of shops, I'd never want to spend too much time in them as the city offers so much more. 

Fenwick was our main port of call with an enjoyable look round the designers playing the game of "one day when we have spare money".  It wasn't all window shopping though and I did make one rather large splurge when I bought my first ever high end lipstick, Chanel Rouge Coco in Adrienne, a beautiful nude colour.

It was a warm and sunny Spring day in York so we didn't have too much on our agenda and happily mooched about on the Shambles, York's most famous cobbled street.

I love the cute shops that line both sides of the street and it's the perfect place to browse for books, sweets and treasures. 

At 11.00 am we were booked for a tour at York's Chocolate Story, an attraction I've walked past a fair few times but never visited.  The admission price is £10.50 and not knowing much about the tour I have always wondered if it's worth the ticket price.

Now I'm going to tease you a bit because all I'm going to say is that we had a really great time! You'll have to pop back to the blog on Friday for a full review. 

After our tour, the only thing on our minds was chocolate and we weren't going to be happy until we'd had some!  Luckily the Chocolate Story have a Chocolate Cafe attached offering delicious cakes, milkshakes and chocolate fondu.  We decided to order hot chocolates and they were the best we've had in a long time! The good news is you can walk into the cafe from the street even if you haven't been to the Chocolate Story.

With our tummies full of chocolate we were happy to see the sun shining and didn't wander far before we found ourselves stopping to watch a man up a ladder escaping from chains! York has some fantastic street performers and, they are handily positioned right near ice cream and crepe carts so a good place to stop and relax for a little while.
Of course you can't go to York without admiring York Minster and the perfect blue skies made it look extra special.

We didn't venture in this time as we've done it before but if you are ever visiting make sure you climb to the roof for great views.

As the sun was still shining we had to visit our favourite spot in York, the Museum Gardens. With a few great sandwich and cake shops close by and its own ice cream cart the gardens are a great place to chill out in the sunshine.

With the Travelodge being positioned right next to the Clifford Tower and me loving a good view we decided to take the opportunity to climb it. 

The Clifford Tower is an English Heritage site and admission costs £4.40 for adults .  There are some interesting facts about the Castle on the ground floor that you can read before beginning your climb. 

The stairs were a little tricky to navigate as they were spiral so possibly not an adventure to partake in if heights make you nervous.

Luckily, Simon and I have climbed so many towers recently we're like mountain goats!

The 360 degree view from the top was beautiful, the highlight obviously being York Minster which we could just see peaking out over the roofs.

After all that climbing it was time to head back to the Travelodge to get changed for dinner. 

Woah there! You mean I had a whole day out with no cake?! Yep you read that right! We wanted to save ourselves for dinner.  I do, however, have a York tea room recommendation so be sure to read about our previous trip to Chloe's of York

After managing to wear my white jacket all day without getting it covered in newly bought lipstick, chocolate or dirty old castle, I decided to be extra brave and also wear it out for dinner. This time with my Primark skinnies, white lace top from Oasis and my bright floral shoes from George.

I hope I'm not the only person who can't resist taking a selfie in hotel room mirrors!

We headed to Missoula for drinks followed by Jamie's Italian. I'm yet to try the Jamie's in Newcastle and several friends had told me to try the restaurant in York as it's the best Jamie's in the North. They weren't wrong! 

Thank you to Travelodge for giving us the opportunity to return to one of our favourite cities. If you haven't explored York yet make sure you book yourself a trip and I can definitely recommend the York Central Travelodge hotel for a cheap and comfortable city break.

Want more?  Read my previous blog posts about Afternoon Tea at the Cedar Court Grand, York and Our Anniversary in York (featuring the City Wall Walk, Star in the City and cake at Chloe's of York)

Travelodge gave us 2 nights free accommodation at their York Central Hotel and we climbed the Clifford Tower with our English Heritage Press Pass.   All other expenses on our trip we paid for ourselves.
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