Travelling without a partner is actually harder than it sounds. For some reason holidays seem primarily geared to couples, so I am determined to show you how you can see some of the best cities in the world either alone or with friends. Last month I popped over to York for a few nights with my lovely friend Anoushka. Here are the highlights:
Where To Stay
We stayed at the Travelodge, York Central which is just outside of the centre but a quick 10 minute walk and next to a reasonably priced car park that you can top up via an app on your phone. Hello not having to leg it out in your pyjamas at the crack of dawn!
The curse of the single girl’s struck as we had been booked into a double room and the only other room available that could be changed to a twin was a disabled one. Not a major issue for us though. It is basic, budget friendly and very no frills. But ultimately all we needed was a bed for the evening.
Glasses for water would have been better than the plastic we were left but the tea and coffee making facilities were adequate. On arrival there were some cleanliness issues in the bathroom with hairs in the sink and gunk around the taps, this was sorted immediately on request.
If you are in a rush yet peckish in the morning you can grab a handy breakfast box. They’re not the healthiest but they have a fairly good selection inside and you can always pop some in your bag for later when you are exploring.
A little further out and more expensive is Hedley House Hotel. They have a small car park on site, an award winning restaurant and refurbished rooms, worth a look if you have more money to spend on your accommodation.
What To See
When in York a visit to the Minster is a must. I’ve wandered around the building alone many times. Being a place of worship it is quiet and serene meaning you can just take it all in with your own thoughts. You can take in a trail to learn more about the history of this incredible building or explore the new attraction, the undercroft. Delve under the Minster into a 2000 year old chamber and learn about the lives of the Roman garrison as well as the staff, clergy and volunteers in the 21st century.
Take some time out and, if the sun is shining, sit under one of the beautiful monuments next to the Minster for some rest and relaxation. A picnic, a good book and an iPod. Just perfect.
Just up the road from the Minster is the Imaginarium, a beautifully quirky store complete with a beautiful golden carousel horse in the window. I bought a beautiful tea light holder with little birds on that spin when the heat of the tealight hits them. If you need a unique gift for a friend or loved one,I defy you to walk out of here empty handed.
Probably not something you will want to do alone, unless you don’t scare easily, is the York Dungeon. It’s a quick 75 minute attraction into over 2000 years of horrible history in York. Theatrical actors, special effects, sets and scenes bring the history to life. It’s frighteningly funny and they have a special Jack the Ripper show on until 6th September. Make sure you watch your back!
Where To Eat And Drink
For self guided wine tasting give Veeno a try. Their Sicilian family owned wines are just beautiful and there is no rush, no awkwardness trying to get to know new people, no fuss. Sit down with your paired foods and when you are ready to try each wine, your server will pop over and tell you about the wines in turn. You could easily do this alone or with a friend. You can take as long as you need whilst gossiping and, no doubt, ordering more wine.
For a quick yet tasty lunch we visited Piccolino on the river Ouse. The 2 course lunch is a bargain at £15 and there are some healthy options to be had too. The vine tomato soup with cherry tomatoes and basil was piping hot with a lovely tang from the cherry tomatoes and a gentle kick of pepper. For mains I had the chargrilled chicken escalope with peperonata. The perfect dish for the clean eater – a lightly marinated chicken escalope with a colourful mix of roasted vegetables.
Whilst wandering the windy cobbled streets of York we found a lovely little bistro called Thirteen Thirty One. There’s an impressive collection of wines and cask ales with the chef specials covering the walls. I love that, yes there is a menu, but the amount of specials on offer you can easily find something seasonal and fresh to try.
We indulged in a jug of Pimms, well it was Wimbledon, and I ate this massive pie! Golden shortcrust pastry filled with juicy chunks of beef, vegetables and an extra jug of gravy. The chips were the best I’ve had in a while, and I’ve eaten a fair few chips! They were just like my Gran used to make in the deep fat fryer meaning the inside was soft and fluffy whilst they had the best crunch on the outside. Whilst this is a fairly intimate and romantic place to dine, the staff were amazing and really friendly. Our server was funny and had a great sense of humor, I would feel completely at ease eating here alone.
So there you have it. A day in York either on your own or with a friend. Now where shall I go next?