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2. Culture, witchcraft and barbarism (York, Yorkshire)

York is a fascinating city, oscillating between Viking barbarities, Roman occupation, medieval witches and modern-day troubadours. The city offers an incredible mix of culture, entertainment, shopping and gastronomy. Bored in York? It's simply impossible.

Info : from Folkestone, entry onto the M20 motorway is easy, however be careful to drive on the left! The journey is quite long to York, there is a lot of traffic, sometimes on four lanes and it is tiring. The journey is completed in 6 to 7 hours.


Just because we're on a road trip doesn't mean we shouldn't stay at the hotel. For our two nights in York, we chose the Grand York Hotel, one of the best five-star hotels in the United Kingdom. What was the surprise of the concierges when they saw our bus parked in front of the entrance and one of them had to take the wheel to take it to the parking lot.

Built in 1906 by the North Eastern Railway Company as the head office of one of the richest companies in Great Britain, it was transformed into a hotel in 2010. Its architecture remains typical of this era and some remains of the old armored doors used to protect funds are still visible in the lobby and spa.

The impressive lobby and bar from 1906 are worth a visit. As for the welcome, it is incredible. The staff is smiling, helpful and full of humor. For the meal, we opted for the Legacy tasting menu (3 AA rosettes) and its food and wine pairing. We discovered high-end gastronomy, inspired by Britain and Yorkshire, as well as exceptional wines from international sources. The only downside is that the spa is very small, with a noisy swimming pool.


Start your visit to York with a walk along the city walls. The first dates from the time of the Romans, then these destroyed, from the time of the Vikings. The current ramparts are later, between the 12th and 14th centuries. One of the Roman towers is still standing.

Then cross the Ouse (watercourse) to reach the heart of the city and let yourself be surprised by the colorful shop fronts. Apart from the big brands, all are carefully decorated. You will even find a permanent Christmas shop there.

The magical heart of York is of course the Shambles , the medieval street. Several guided walks are offered to you with the theme of ghosts, sorcerers or even torture rites through the ages. Go in search of Harry Potter's wizard's shop or taste the magic potion, a semblance of a fermented drink topped with whipped cream and caramel. It's infamous, but it's local!

When in York, take care of your safety. The city is very popular with tourists and their presence arouses desire. Don't leave your valuables unattended! During our visit, we witnessed several thefts, including one in a shoe store which ended in a chase, with the young saleswoman trying to catch up with the thief. The town also attracts revelers, who from mid-afternoon stagger from one pub to another.

Info : To visit the various attractions, monuments and historic sites, get the York City pass which allows you access to the main cultural sites. It costs £59 per person for one day, which is well worth it if you're visiting multiple attractions.


This jewel of Gothic art was built on the foundations of a Norman cathedral and enlarged and improved over more than 200 years, with the aim of making it one of the largest in the kingdom. Despite the damage perpetrated by the Reformation in the 16th century, it is in excellent condition and the splendid medieval stained glass windows are still original and have been restored. This is an attractive and popular cultural property, it is best to book in advance or show up early in the morning. Allow a good hour to go around it. The cathedral is very imposing and there are many annexes to visit, each as beautiful as the last. Entrance is included in the York Ciry Pass.


This attraction, very popular in the United Kingdom, is essential for understanding the history of the Vikings, the Danish conquerors who occupied the city after the Romans. Located on the remains of an ancient village (10th century) discovered in the 1980s, the museum is educational and can be visited as an attraction, in a suspended cart.

This takes the visitor to the heart of the ancient village, whose inhabitants are life-size and animated figurines. The fauna, the flora, the dyes of the time, the very smells have been reconstructed to allow the visitor to immerse themselves in the past. Nice surprise, the comments are not only in English (10 languages to choose from). Entrance is included in the York City Pass.


Built on the site of the former St Mary's Abbey in York, the remains of which you will see outside, the museum dates from 1830. It is an archaeological and natural history museum, which houses a permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions. Entrance is included in the York City Pass.

We really liked the museum itself, as it preserves elements from its early days, such as the impressive library and other interesting elements, such as dinosaur skeletons and various fossils found in the region or even remains of the Roman or Middle Ages occupation.


To end your visit to York in style, stop by the York Dungeon (reservations required, also included in the York City Pass). We spent an incredible hour and a half there, between laughter and fears, even if it would be worth being bilingual to understand all the subtleties. Through a life-size set of actors, you will pass through 11 scenes on the most sordid characters in York's history, from vikings to witches, including ghosts and torture chambers. The visitor is taken to task by the actors and quickly gets caught up in the game. Unmissable, really!


To end your day, stop for a beer and a platter of tapas at the Valhalla café, a timeless place that pays homage to York's Viking heritage. You will mainly find locals there, fans of heavy metal and tattooed from head to toe, but make no mistake, the atmosphere is good-natured and the staff friendly. The security service screens entries, there is not always room and the café does not take reservations.

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