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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Itinerary for York and Yorkshire

Hello! A few weeks ago, I planned a week of sightseeing for my mom and I in York and northern Yorkshire. Yorkshire, as a whole, is huge and is split into three counties: the North Riding, the East Riding, and the West Riding. York is separate from the three but provides a central location for travel in all of Yorkshire.



Helpful websites:
Visit York Tourist Information
North York Moors website
Welcome to Yorkshire
English Heritage
National Trust

September 13
Hexham and Housesteads Roman Fort (Hadrian's Wall)

  • Train to Hexham from York (via Newcastle)-- tickets are available at the York rail station or online at National Rail or Trans Pennine Express and for one adult return, booked in advance, are roughly £20.
  • Bus from Hexham to Housesteads Roman Fort-- The AD122 bus timetable is available here.  There are day passes available for stops for English Heritage sites along Hadrian's Wall from Newcastle to Carlisle
There are restaurants and stores in Hexham if train times and bus times don't align.

Vercelli Italian Restaurant is locally-owned and has really good food. It is reasonably priced but booking a table in advance is a good idea. They open for dinner at 5:30 pm.

September 14
York Castle Museum
  • The York Castle Museum is near the city center and is open 9:30 to 5 everyday except 25 and 26 December and 1 January. Adult tickets are £9.50 but there are various other offers available on their website and on the Visit York page. There are two wings and depending on what you exhibitions you see and how long you spend, budget at least half a day. The Kirkgate exhibition is a recreated Victorian street in York. The newest exhibition is 1914: When the World Changed Forever, focusing on the First World War and will be on until 1918. Both exhibitions have activities for children.
September 15
Whitby
  • Bus to Whitby from York. There is also the option of taking the train to Scarborough and then the bus to Whitby. The Coastliner 840 bus runs from the York rail station to Whitby, adult return tickets are £14.
  • Whitby Abbey is the English Heritage site and the main tourist destination in the city. It is located on the top of the hill. There are two ways for pedestrians to get there: follow the signs and then either climb the 199 steps or take the slope. But beware, the slope gets pretty steep. Whitby often has sea mist and the view of the Abbey can be obscured from the city. If it is misty, do not forgo the visit to the Abbey because it is still worth visiting.
  • There are many shops on either side of the harbor, including jewelry shops with hand-crafted Whitby jet.
Other attractions include things relating to Dracula, the setting of which were based on the Abbey. Also along the harbor are various fish and chip shops, either restaurants or take-aways. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has a station in Whitby and is one of the only steam railways in the country.

September 16
Shopping in York
  • The Spurriergate Centre is an old church remade into a community center with a small cafe. Everything is reasonably priced and made on location.
  • Shopping in York tends toward boutiques but there are a lot of shops. Walking around the city center is the best way to shop.
  • York City FC game at Bootham Crescent in the evening. The York City games are fairly cheap and easy to find. There are a few seating/standing options and you can buy tickets at the gate.
This is a good activity for early in your trip. The best way to figure out where things are in York is to get lost wandering around. 

Other activities in York include: the York Minster, there is a fee for entrance but Evensong is also an option in the evening; Clifford's Tower, an English Heritage property across from the York Castle Museum; the National Rail Museum at the rail station is free and great for almost everybody; the York Dungeon; Jorvik Viking Centre and other York Archeological Trust properties, Jorvik is possibly the most discussed tourist attraction but is well worth a visit.

September 17
Scarborough
  • Train to Scarborough from York. Trains run often on Trans Pennine Express and return, pre-booked tickets for one adult are available the same as above and are roughly £14 (the Coastliner bus also runs to Scarborough for the same prices as to Whitby).
  • Scarborough Castle is atop a cliff and is an English Heritage site. Although sea mist is also a possibility here, don't let it deter you from the Castle. 
  • The seaside and seaside attractions are the other activities. On nice days, the sea is nice. Otherwise there is shopping and restaurants.
Scarborough is a good place to simply explore and walk around.

If you like outdoor activities, there are various walks on the North York Moors that provide stunning vistas. If you have a car, Rievaulx Abbey, another English Heritage site, is not too far from York and is beautiful as well.

I've listed quite a few English Heritage sites and if you are an overseas visitor to England, the Overseas Visitor Pass is a good idea. The passes are either 9 or 16 days and, if you visit roughly four sites, the price works out. Also on the website is a list of properties that accept the passes, 17 of which are in Yorkshire.

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