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Budget Travel: 2 Days in York

Budget Travel: 2 Days in York Itinerary.



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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  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).

  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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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.




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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How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.



How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

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Four Jandals Visits an Amsterdam Peep Show

Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here



Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

An Amsterdam peep show is a must, just like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay slightly different. But you have got to go!

And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam then more than likely you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be worthwhile checking out this Amsterdam’s Red Light District – The ultimate guide.

Amsterdam Moulin Rouge Red Light District

There is something about the red light district that draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe it is the bright red neon lights that illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.

Or maybe it is just the fact that sex really does sell.

When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends we actually spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough.

Not like that of course!

We just couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room were staggering.

However, we were not enticed ourselves to fork over $50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I just want to clarify here that it was actually Adela that was the most keen. I just didn’t want to let her down so went along with it…

Amsterdam Red Light District

Visiting the Amsterdam peep show

Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!

The very originally named “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entrance way your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds and disturbingly smell.

All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A white board lists the movies that you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:

The circular structure sitting slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along it’s walls. 

Each of those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.

The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out $2 euro coins for ease of watching.

Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. With her flexibility she could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics!

Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can actually just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.

The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night the booths were doing a roaring trade. Obviously nearly everyone else, from the hens parties to the couples, were there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.

The shifty eyed single men on the other hand skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.

If you ever get the chance then we actually do highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the shows and the ones on the streets!

Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or Sex show? Tell us about your experience below.

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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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