One of the first things you realise about York is that it’s one of those cities you need to come back to. As perfectly put by Go Yorkshire Magazine, ‘One visit is never enough.’ The city is brimming with culture, character and a rich sense of history – a history that isn’t too difficult to imagine, thanks to idyllic narrow streets with low-hanging shop signs, that have literally and figuratively hung onto distant moments in time. Take The Shambles, for instance, which was named most picturesque street in Britain by Google Street View.
Walking down the street is a nostalgic trip down memory lane, with its wonky buildings bearing medieval wooden shelves and hooks that once housed meat. The street was previously known as The Great Flesh Shambles, meaning flesh shelves. ‘Shambles’ was a term for a slaughterhouse and meat market. The connotations of mess and disorder that accompany the word today are due to the guts, offal and blood that used to run down the street in the medieval period. Nice.
Surrounding The Shambles are the Five Snickelways, small paths and lanes, with quirky names such as Mad Alice Lane and Finkle Street.
* Cats - It's hard not to notice the cat statuettes around the city - after all, there are more than 20 around York. They were dotted around in the hopes of scaring away plague-carrying mice, as well as spirits; which is understandable, seeing as York is Europe's most haunted city.
* Firemarks - Before the public fire service, if companies were not insured, they were left to burn! The Firemarks signified that the building was insured.
* Crossed keys - To show that it was a city within a city. They also signified the keys to heaven, of which St.Peter was said to be the gatekeeper.
With its rich history in chocolate, tea, literature and low shop fronts, York is undoubtedly high up on my list of favourite places. (Thank you to Go Yorkshire Magazine for the interesting facts!)
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!