Wednesday September 10, 2008
When I asked Gillian (Gillybob) what was a must do during our trip to Northern England, she said "You must visit York".
So, on Wednesday, Hans and I headed for the Halifax Train Station to get a train to York.
NORTHERN RAIL has trains going to York every hour. We took the 10:02 train and paid £11.50 each, return (off-peak rate). It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there. The heart of the city of York (go left) was about a ten minute walk from the York Train Station. You can't miss seeing the huge York Minster.
We made the trip to York from Edinburgh in 2 1/2 hours by train - it didn't seem long due to the fact we had some great conversations on the train. York is 203 miles north of London and it's a short 2- hour trip by train from York to Kings Cross Station. We were on a Britrail pass so don't know the cost of first class accomodations from Edinburgh or London. Check train website listed below for times and fares.
The bus takes 4 1/2 hours.
Like London there are double decker busses in York, only York has two bus tours to choose from; the Red City Sight Seeing busses or green Guide Friday busses. The route they take round town is slightly different from each other. The green bus usually has a live guide on board to give you a commentary on the places and buildings you pass.
It's a good idea to buy your ticket and travel early as the ticket can be used all day to hop on and off the bus at any of the stops and at £7.50 per adult you will want to get the most from your ticket. One full circuit round town takes about one hour.
Some of the bus stops on the tour include
the Merchant Adventurers Hall
Clifford's tower and
the museum gardens
I decided to take a Hop on-hop off trip to get a lay of the land. I sat on the upper deck with the guided commentary piped beside my seat. There are 22 stops .That way I saved my feet , as walking on cobbles and uneven surfaces is not fun. This way too, you can get off and wander around places that interest you. The whole trip takes about an hour. If you get off, another bus appears every 12 minutes. The ticket is valid for 48 hours. There is more than one bus company; used York City Sight-seeing but there was York Pullman , and Terrible Tales tour.
It cost me £7 as a concession, adults £10, children £4 or a family £15. A Family Fun tour also runs every hour. A heritage tour with a live guide costs £12.50, £9 concession, £5 children and £25 for a family. Under 5 yrs old go free.50. Tours run from 2 April until 25 September 
Wheelchair friendly buses are available.
A map is provided on the bus.
York is just over two hours from London by train. We travelled from London's King's Cross with GNER trains for only 19 pounds return. To get a fare this cheap, you need to book a few weeks in advance. Also, when you are booking make sure you book two singles rather than a return as for some reason it works out cheaper. For example, when booking our fare the cheapest return was 72 pounds. When we clicked on the option to book two singles it cost 9.50 each way, a saving of 53 pounds! I've no idea why this anomaly exists but I've been using it for ages to book cheap fares.
York station is just outside the town walls, about half a kilomtere from the old centre of the city. Railway enthusiasts will love York. The station, complleted in 1877, is one of the finest in England. If you have time to spare while waiting for a train, there is a model railway exhibition in the station building, while the National Railway Museum is a short walk away on Leeman Road.
I travelled to York by train, taking a regional train to Cologne, then ICE to Brussels, EuroStar to London and then an East Coast train from London to York. The journey from London Kings Cross to York takes about two hours and I found it very enjoyable, the views were nice and the train very comfortable.
During my stay in York, I often used the TransPennine Express, a First train that connects Liverpool and Newcastle, but also has several shorter branches. I used this service to go to Scarborough, Durham and Leeds. Depending on your destination, trains go every hour or much more frequently.
York's train station is very convenient, there is a nice seating area close to the entrance. There are some small restaurants, and free toilets that were always very clean. There is also a WHSmith which has a good selection of books. The station is only a short walk from the city centre.
I pre-booked all my tickets on www.nationalrail.co.uk, you can save a lot if you book early.
Yorkboat operate river trips on their distinctive red boats from their staithes at Lendal Bridge and Kings Staithe in the city centre. The river cruises operate from February to early December and give a different perspective to this attractive city by letting visitors see the city from the river.
There are several city cruises each day that last 45 minutes and once a day in the summer a cruise to the Bishops Palace.
You can sit in the open on the upper deck but if it is cold there is a warm seating area downstairs with a cafe bar.
The captain performs a running commentary and we found this very informative. The prices can be found on the website. The boat sails north initially and then south again to the Millenium Bridge from where it returns to the city centre.
Disabled access only from Kings Staith only - beware of steep steps at Lendel Bridge.
Parking in York is a nightmare, and very expensive. Many roads are 'residents only', so even if you think you see a space, chances are that you can't use it for more than 10 minutes. Best to use one of the park & ride sites, around the edge of the York ring road. Buses are frequent (although they stop around 8pm, which is a bit early) and it's a lot cheaper.
The train station in York is a busy place and I must add very clean! If you don't know your way around like I didn't, the people at the information counter are very helpful. Just show them your ticket and they'll set you in the right direction. Lifts will take you over and to platforms on the other side of the tracks.
If memory serves me correct a ticket to London via Leeds was about 55 pounds.
"Bar" meaing "Gate" in York. Outside of the city there are several large "park and ride" parking lots. They are free of charge and there are regular shuttle bus services into the city center. York is trying to discourage too much vehicle traffic into the city center, to help preserve things. Also there is limited parking and a lot of the streets are narrow. It really is the best way to do it. The busses take you into town and you can join an local tour or walk about on your own.
Moors Bus is an initiative to allow people without cars ( or those with who want to let the bus take them out) to places both well known and others not so well known in the North Yorkshire Moors National park.
This is an excellent and very cheap way for visitors to the city , especially those from overseas who are not driving, to reach usually inaccessible places such as Castle Howard or Farndale.
The buses interlink quite well but you do have a read through the very informative but long website to get details.
Summer only and some buses disabled friendly. Recommended.
Although there are buses that go from London to York, the only feasible way to do the 200 mile trip on a daytrip from London is to take the train. Better yet, spend the night, you will find yourself wanting more time in York!
The ride from London's King's Cross station takes 2 hours. Tickets are MUCH cheaper if you purchase them in advance, I found a L19 round trip fare on my 1st visit and L22 on my 2nd visit. Booking 3 weeks in advance, there was only one day that had the cheap fare left and the times were pretty limited so book far ahead. If you purchase the advance fare, they say you must take the train that you've booked or you'll pay full fare. Seats are reserved so check your tickets for the seat number.
If you are visiting from outside the UK, you can purchases tickets in advance. They won't deliver the tickets to you but they send you a code via email that you use in conjunction with your credit card at the King's Cross Station. It was extremely easy to pick up the ticket, it took less than a minute to print out my ticket. Good thing since a serious tube delay (and a little underestimation on my part) left me with about 3 minutes to get the ticket and get over to the platform!!!!
The Coast Liner is a bus that, as the name says, goes all the way to the Yorkshire coast. There are several lines, but the main route, served by all those lines at least in part, goes from Leeds to Whitby. The main stops along that route are Tadcaster, York, Malton, Scarborough and Pickering. Some busses also stop in Filey and Bridlington.
I used the Coastliner to go to Pickering, from there I took the steam train to Whitby and in the evening returned to York by Coastliner again. Both journeys were very comfortable, as the busses were very modern and new. There are several tickets just as one way and return tickets as well as "freedom tickets" and weekly tickets. I used single tickets on both journeys - the ticket from York to Pickering was £8 and from Whitby to York it was £10. The first journey took about one hour and fifteen minutes and the journey back about two hours.
I also liked the bus journey because the views were absolutely wonderful - the rural, green areas on the way to Pickering, and then the fascinating and enchanting Yorkshire Moors on my way back. I must admit that I thought the views from the bus more interesting than those from the railway, and so if you are mostly interested in the landscape, I recommend the bus rather than the train!
The bus leaves in front of York Railway Station, Stop C.
As in the rest of Britain buses were everywhere and made getting around easy. This bus however was one I'd never seen before. Completely pink! I took a ride on one and it was just like sitting in an ordinary one. You could see out the windows just as clearly!
I always loved seeing and hearing these carriages. Nothing like the clip clopping of horses hooves on cobblestones to really take you back in time.
Well worth the money to take a jaunt around the city. I didn't get on one here but in other places it was about 10 pound for half an hour.