Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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48 Hours in York. #OnlyInYork

York, UK

York is a fantastic city which offers everything one needs during a short break. It's no surprise then that earlier this year it was named as Britains 'best place to live'. It's one of England's finest and most beautiful historic cities in the northeast. York combines its heritage and superb historic architecture with great shopping, restaurants, bars and cafes which attract tourists from all over the world every year. 

We headed to York for a weekend and I have fallen in love with the place. I couldn't wait to see how many things we could do in a 24 hour period. Thanks to the York Pass we could do exactly that during our trip. For a small fee, the York Pass offers you free access to some of the best attractions available in the city, enabling you to get everything out of a city break. The pass can also provide you with discounts in some of the restaurants in the city too. It's the must purchase if you are someone who wants to see the most of somewhere during a city break (I'd encourage more cities in the UK to do this too!). You can purchase the York Pass by buying them online in advance or just pop into the Visit York Information Centre on Museum Street who will be happy to help.  

Before figuring out what to do first on our adventure we had to head down from Museum Street to see the infamous York Minister. The York Minister dominates the streets of York and always a must-see on a trip to the city. It's renowned around the world as the largest medieval gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.  It's packed with so much history and has some of the country's oldest and finest stained glass. The newly-restored Great East Window is the largest single expanse of medieval stained glass in the country. Whilst you absorb in all of the history from as far back as the Roman age and extraordinary structure you can head up to the Tower to see views of the city and beyond like no other. 

It would be quite the spectacle to see whilst the sun is going down. 

York covers quite a large area so to get the best out of reaching where we'd like to we decided to use our York Pass and jump on the City Sightseeing York Hop On Hop Off bus. The route covers 20 of the finest attractions that the city has to offer. Your ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you could complete a full loop of the bus tour first and then hop off at the attractions you want to explore more of. We loved hearing the tour operator give us a short insight into the city's history and it saved our legs from walking around and missing some of these things. We decided to hop off near to our first attraction of the day and it was so easy to access thanks to the bus tour. 

The JORVIK Viking Centre is up there as one of York's most popular attractions and a must-see when exploring the city. The centre is a dynamic vision of York in the 10th century. You are transported back in time to experience the sounds, smells and images of the Viking city of Jorvik in AD975. The JORVIK Viking Centre has state-of-the-art capsules that take you around a sensory adventure through a Viking settlement as it was over a thousand years ago. It's a really interesting attraction that only allows you a sensory experience but there's a small museum with so much more for you to see. We were amazed by the skeletons and artefacts which have been picked up along the way. It got me incredibly interested in finding more about the Vikings and I thought their sensory adventure made it accessible for everyone to enjoy. If you enjoyed the visit to the Viking Centre then there is also DIG not too far away which is a simulated archaeological investigation including site huts, a science laboratory and research library. 

DIG is a great experience for young people to get their hands stuck into excavating parts of a Roman fortress, Viking City, Medieval burial site and Victorian workers' cottages. 

After leaving our time at the JORVIK Viking Centre we headed around to The Shambles, a popular tourist spot in the city centre of York. The Shambles is incredibly popular with Harry Potters from around the world as it's said to be an inspiration for the fictional Diagon Alley. It really feels magical and with three Harry Potter-themed shops at one end of The Shambles it's no surprise that these attract thousands of visitors. It was quite difficult to check them out as there were huge volumes of queues outside wanting to get a glimpse of what's inside. The Shambles was awarded Britains most picturesque street in 2010 and you can see plenty of people snapping away whilst walking down the cobbled streets. 

The streets are full of shops - big and small, bars, cafes and some fantastic restaurants. We decided to have a spot of lunch at Bari Ristorante. It's a fantastic small Italian restaurant and allowed us to take a break to enjoy great food and watch the world pass us by on the cobbled streets.

After enjoying some grub we headed to our second attraction of the day and booked our spot at the York's Chocolate Story. If you're a fan of the good stuff then I'd highly recommend a visit to York's Chocolate Story when visiting York. You can unwrap the story of famous chocolates and sweets that started their lives in York. You can hear all about the history of the Kit Kat and a firm favourite of mine, Terry's Chocolate Orange. The tour is really interactive based and the tour leaders are really engaged in the lives of the men and women who concocted all of these chocolate creations from the 19th to the 21st century. 

The tour gives you a few samples on the way (as it would be tough to go through all of the chat about chocolate and have none to munch on!). The York Chocolate Story has recently won a 2018 Gold: Guided Tour of the Year with Visit England so it's well worth a visit. The tour took around 90 minutes and I'd definitely revisit this place again! 

Before heading back to our hotel for a well-earned rest we explored a few of the streets of York and stumbled upon a Games Cafe just 10 minutes away from our hotel. 

On York's Gillygate is a place called Random Encounter. Random Encounter is not only a cafe that serves up great sandwiches and drinks. Here you can enjoy computer games like Mario Kart, board games and even enjoy watching a movie. Me and Jordan really enjoy this type of thing and for £3 for 3 hours we kicked back and spent 3 hours just enjoying some games and drinks after a long day of walking. The staff were incredibly friendly too!

In the evening we decided to go off and explore some of York's pubs. There is plenty of history within the walls of the pubs as there is in within York itself. Ye Olde Starre Inne is a Grade II listed pub and is the oldest in York. It claims to be one of the most haunted pubs in York as the cellar is believed to have been used as both a hospital and a mortuary in the 10th century. We particularly loved The Three Legged Mare which had live folk music playing on Friday evening when we first arrived in York. The pub often has live events happening and the atmosphere in there is really fantastic, we loved being amongst York's locals and some tourists. 

Our trip in York was incredibly quick, full of attractions to grasp our attention and we loved the amount of history contained in the city to enjoy. We'd definitely recommend it for a city break.  

Their tourism board Visit York has a great website to tell you all the latest news and events happening in the city. You can check out their website here.

If you enjoyed reading this post then you may also enjoy reading about our stay at The Grange Hotel whilst in York and a previous visit to the York Dungeons, another great attraction in the city centre.

*Collaborative post with Visit York and Zeal PR. All thoughts and photos are my own. 


  1. Sounds like you managed to see lots! York is such a great city

  2. Great post, Emmie! Thanks for joining us and we hope you come back again soon :)


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