As many of you know, until a few months ago I had lived in York for 6 years. I’m originally from the South Wales valleys, but after going to university in York, I decided to make it my permanent home. It is one incredible city that I am lucky to have lived in for so long, and I’ll always think of it as home.
Travelodge are currently running a campaign called Flaunt your Haunt, designed to show off the parts of your city that you love, maybe the parts that might be missed by visitors and tourists, perhaps those places off of the beaten path. Having only lived in Newcastle for a few months, I thought it was unfair to try and pin down my favourite spot there.
Alas, it’s still not so easy to do this with York – it’s a really, really small city and most big landmarks are within walking distance of each other – you can’t really miss much, and while you’re visiting the big names (the Minster, Betty’s, Clifford’s Tower, the City Walls) you’re more than likely to discover the lesser known gems in the city. For me, that’s part of the charm of this gorgeous place.
However, my favourite hideaway in York is the Museum Gardens.
The Hospitium (source)
The Museum Gardens are hidden in the city centre, 10 acres of beauty tucked right away by the River Ouse. Easily missed, but not to be missed.
It may not look much from the outside, but inside Museum Gardens there’s plenty of history to see, and plenty of activities for all ages and interests. I used to spend my lunchtimes there with a book, and watch the world go by. Tourists with their cameras marvelling at the sights, mammas and daddas with their little ones, birds of prey displays, even a huge Richard III demonstration one time (!).
The ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, first built in 1088, are still there in the background, silent but looming. The Hospitium (above), a gorgeous medieval building lurks behind trees, today a hub of wedding ceremonies and receptions, birthday parties, and conferences.
The Observatory, hidden away, means you can see the stars in the centre of York. it also houses a clock from 1811 which tells the time based on observations of the positions of stars.
You’ve also got the Yorkshire Museum itself, the Gardens’ namesake, which is a brilliant place to learn.
Not only this, but each year York hosts the light festival ‘Illuminating York, part of which frequently takes place in Museum Gardens. It’s genuinely one of the most magical sights I’ve ever seen – it actually makes me tear up a bit!
Chris and I frolicking in Museum Gardens, this time last year!
Next time you’re in York, please promise me that you’ll visit Museum Gardens – it really is a wonderful place and you’d be foolish to miss out!
*I received vouchers as a thank-you for this post. However, as York is the ultimate babein’ city, all views are OBVIOUSLY my own 🙂