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Budget Travel: 2 Days in York

Budget Travel: 2 Days in York Itinerary.

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View from York City Wall to the Minster
York Minster

York Minster

York is a fantastic weekend destination from the North or South of the United Kingdom. Situated in the heart of the railway line between Edinburgh and London means that even if you have less than 48 hours then you can still enjoy all York has to offer.

We recently visited York for a one night trip from Edinburgh, catching the 7.30am train to arrive at 10am before departing the following day at 6pm.

Day 1

10am – After an early start you might want to grab a steaming cup of coffee in one of the old City wall tower Cafes so that you will be refreshed enough to hit the tourist trail. And what a trail it is. With 2.5 miles of 2,000 year old city walls surrounding York it is the best place to start your exploration. With various breaks where the wall has been removed then there are ample opportunities to rest and explore different areas around the City.

The wall is also interspersed with a number of Bars (gatehouses not literal ‘bars’) that allowed access into the City during medieval times or as defensive positions during times of war. The Bars are perfect stops during your walk and provide snapshots in history that will keep old and young busy during the 2 – 3 hour stroll. It is definitely not hard-work and is worth the effort.

Walking around the York City Wall

York City Wall

1pm – For lunch just follow the crowds and your nose to the local market stalls. A gathering of smells from around the world will assault your senses with Noodles from Asia, Pancakes from the Netherlands, Meatballs from Morocco, Sausages from Germany and Paella from Spain to name but a few dishes. The small dishes for £4 will satisfy your hunger. Just try to leave room for the delicious home-made pastry and cake stalls dotted throughout the market.

2pm – Your next stop should be the building that you would have seen towering above the City skyline; York Minster. It is one of the most well-known Cathedrals in Europe and provides some fantastic photo opportunities from the City walls. Take note that it only opens at 12pm on Sundays due to services in the morning. Every other day it opens from 9am. £9 for adults gets you a free guided tour (optional) and entry to the Undercroft, Treasury and Croft. An extra £5.50 is required if you want to tackle the 275 steps to the top of the Tower. Excellent for checking out the entire City and surrounding countryside.

5pm – By now your parched throat might be reaching a peak and you are in need of a pint. You are in luck. They say that York has one pub for every day of the year so you are going to find a few good ones. However we went to a couple of different pubs during our stay but unfortunately I wouldn’t rave about them. I am not going to do them injustice by mentioning their names on here and will let you try and find the better ones.

7pm – What I will do is recommend heading to Ask Italian restaurant for a cheap and delicious meal. The restaurant is situated in the old York Assembly Rooms which makes the dining area GIGANTIC. There is nothing flash about it apart from the food. It is also extremely well priced, with the entire meal including drinks for 3 costing £55 all up.

9pm till Late – With over 365 pubs and bars in York its up to you to decide how you want to spend the rest of the night.

View from York City Wall to the Minster

View from York City Wall to the Minster

Day 2

If you want a cheap place to stay for your 1 night then you can’t look past the local YHA. It’s situated a 20 minute walk along the river or a 5 minute taxi ride. Just a quick note; We were told by the staff at the YHA not to walk along the river at night, I expect it can get a bit rough and seedy down there. The YHA does a breakfast buffet that will fuel you until lunchtime for £4.95. Plus you get the added bonus of sneaking pastries into your handbag on your way out for mid-morning snacks.

11am – Jorvik Viking Centre should be your first stop this morning. It is the site of one of the most famous and astounding discoveries of modern archaeology that creates a groundbreaking (sorry no pun intended) visitor experience that enables you to experience the every day life of a Viking in York 1,000 years ago. What is amazing is that the site is laid out below your feet under a pane of glass.

If you travel with kids (or big kids like myself) then they will love it as you can race around the floor with a map in hand finding all the objects exactly as they lay when they were found.

There is also a roller coaster back to the future type ride. I say type as it is not quite as exciting as a full on roller coaster, and actually felt a lot like Jurassic Park. I kept waiting for the T-Rex to jump out and eat the goat tied to the stake. The kids will love it though.

1pm – By now you should have burned off that big brekky so navigate your way back to the markets and get stuck in again. Make sure you do get the pancakes this time if you didn’t before. De – li – cious.

2pm – Meander your way through the cobbled lined streets of the Shambles and marvel at the maze of tightly lined alleyways full of crazy angled boutique stores and shops that look like they are about to topple over. I seriously don’t know whether they originally built them like that out of whatever length of wood they could find or if they have slowly subsided over the last couple of hundred years.

York Museum and Gardens

York Museum and Gardens

3pm – With your shoes worn out and your knees aching its time to rest them in the relaxing grounds of the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. If you picked up a few snacks from the market then this is a perfect place to stretch out for the afternoon and enjoy the ancient ruins around you as well as the fine Museum before you jump back on your train.

Final Tips

With this fantastic guide there is no need to hit the Tourism Information Centre but if you do want to then its just around the corner from the York Minster at: 1 Museum Street, York, YO1 7DT.

Super helpful staff and I do actually recommend popping in first thing.

Our costs per person for our 2 days in York are outlined below. You can definitely do it a lot cheaper than we did as well:

  • Train ticket = £35 return from Edinburgh
  • Hostel = £33 a night for a private room
  • Food = £31 per day
  • Alcohol = £8 per day
  • Attractions = £25 total

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Linda

    November 5, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Excellent post. I can remember doing day trips like this back when I lived in England. York is a fascinating place, that’s for sure, with more than enough history for repeat visits! My auntie moved to York about ten years ago, so now it’s on my list of places to visit when I get back to the UK. I have to agree with you in finding the people everywhere really friendly and helpful, whether in shops, pubs or anywhere. In fact, i can’t think of anywhere like it in that regard……how they stay so cheerful in that weather I can’t imagine! I found a great hostel last time (late October this year) just by Micklegate, so very central for everything.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 5, 2011 at 9:39 PM

      Hey thanks Linda for the input! We love how easy it is to travel around the UK and also just weekend trips to the rest of Europe as well. Have to make the most of it while we are travelling. Haha and totally agree about the weather, it gets us down when it is terrible weather nearly every day but we expected it when we came over. Will try to remember that hostel next time as being a bit more central would have been good.

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    November 5, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Looks like fun!

  3. Jarmo

    November 7, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    York sounds great for weekend getaway in England, need to go check it out once I get back there 🙂

  4. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    November 11, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Ah, York is definitely on our list when we head back to the U.K., and it looks like it’s quite affordable (by U.K. standards, lol).

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 11, 2011 at 7:08 PM

      Hey Christy,
      Yea it was fine in terms of costs. Loved it there and you don’t need more than 2 days there I think. The walls were awesome (if you are into history anyway).
      Cheers
      Cole

  5. Stephen

    November 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    York is a fantastic city to tour–and even better is the countryside of Yorkshire.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      November 30, 2011 at 9:20 AM

      We need to explore more of the south below Scotland that’s for sure. So much to see and so little time. Thanks Stephen.

  6. Stu

    March 14, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    A great read. We have always wanted to visit York but simply have never got round to it.

    • Cole

      March 14, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Thanks Stu. Hopefully you head there sometime soon!

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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