Yorkshire was the first stop in the UK stage of our trip. It may seem a bit strange to jump across the continent from Poland to the United Kingdom, then back to Slovenia, but we wanted to attend a friend’s wedding in the north of England. We took advantage of this trip to see more of England, visit friends and family, and head up to Scotland (Christine’s first time there!).
The city of York
On our drive from Manchester Airport to Harrogate, where our friend’s wedding was going to take place, we stopped in the city of York. Since we had limited time, we took a free walking tour given by The Association of Voluntary Guides to the City of York. Despite the overly long, overly formal name, the two-hour tour was fantastic.
We didn’t tour the inside of York Minster Cathedral, the biggest tourist attraction in York (both literally and figuratively). It was very impressive from the outside, but after weeks of checking out old churches, we couldn’t convince ourselves to spend £15 each to enter.
York as a city is a great place to explore, with a unique-looking castle, a nice waterfront, several parks, cool medieval streets such as the Shambles area, and lots and lots of pubs and tea shops. And for any budding train spotters reading our blog, there’s also the great National Railway Museum.
We spent a full day in the Yorkshire Dales, where we visited a couple of nice, small towns and did a fantastic 7.5 mile hike, climbing the largest “dale” in the region, Whernside. We started the hike at the beautiful Ribblehead railway viaduct. Brits love their viaducts.
The views from the summit of the hike were incredible. This was considered a popular, busy hike, but we ran into very few people, which was nice especially after our experience in Zakopane. There is apparently a great pub at the end of the hike, unfortunately we arrived 10 minutes too late to order food. Really, who needs to eat at 2:40pm? It’s like much of the United Kingdom – just a little more inconvenient than it needs to be. But then you have tea and a scone, and you forgive it.
We had a morning to kill before the actual wedding. Harrogate itself was surprisingly boring so we looked for places nearby to explore. Knaresborough was the perfect choice. It’s a small town, but built along a deep gorge along the river Nidd, with a railway viaduct and castle ruins overlooking it all. There’s plenty of pubs and tea rooms to wet your whistle and watch the row boats dotting the river. What could be more British?
York is apparently the 2nd most visited city in England after London, but Yorkshire in general is definitely worth a bit more time than we were able to give it.