travelknitter in York

I’m actually doing pretty well on my resolution to do more trips around the UK this year; I just haven’t blogged about any of it yet.  Time to make a start.

Recently I spent a long weekend in York.  It’s one of those famous touristy cities that everyone-except-me seems to have gone to, despite the fact that I’ve lived in London for a total of six years.  I needed to sort that out.

I snaffled a cheap ticket up on the train (£13) and an even cheaper route back on the OK-but-crowded Megabus.  It might take twice as long, but only involves sitting on the coach for half the journey, before changing on to a train at the train-station-with-cooling-towers.  Strange experience.

For all my travelling I actually hate being a tourist, and I’m pretty rubbish at it too.  By that, I mean I hate doing the usual touristy things, paying money to see the sights, and taking photos of all the famous places.  For example, I walked past York Minster, failed to capture it all in one photo, and then left the throngs of tourists to it.

I did enjoy walking around the city walls, although I have no photos of that because it was raining.  I just find it amazing to have such ancient city walls right next to residential flats and a supermarket.  Many hundreds of years on, the walls still make a good circuit around the city centre.

I stayed in a convent, for something a bit different.  Bar Convent was rather sweet, but don’t be confused in to thinking it’s a place for boozing: the Bar in the name is in fact Mickelgate Bar, a medieval gatehouse entry in to the city of York.

I wonder if driving through an ancient gatehouse makes peak hour traffic more bearable?

I’d done my crafty research beforehand, and discovered a york craft trail.  Brilliant idea!  I made a few notes, and had my shortlist all ready to go.  York is such a small place, and easily covered on foot.  However, I have no sense of direction, so I kept the map in my bag,  and just wandered.  It worked well, and eventually I stumbled across all the places I was hoping to see anyway.

Hot on my list was Duttons for Buttons:

They had a really good range of buttons (actually the largest in the UK, apparently) but I didn’t have anything in mind, so came away empty handed.  The unexpected bonus was the top floor of the building, which they’ve named their medieval room. This was where they keep their yarn, although it’s mostly of the acrylic/baby yarn variety.  The room itself is amazing.  After removing a modern ceiling, the original beams from 1422 were uncovered.  Seriously, 1422! I just find that completely incredible.

I was upstairs for ages, on my own, just marvelling at the history.

York has quite a number of yarn shops actually.  The two dedicated stores are


and Poppy’s:

Both are perfectly nice shops, stocking quite a few of the usual suspects, such as Debbie Bliss, Rowan and the like.  Living in London though, I’m spoiled for choice, and was hoping for more in the way of local wool and hand-dyed yarn.

My favourite crafty shop on this trip was Grace and Jacob:

Their primary focus is on feltmaking, but there are lots of other goodies as well, including lovely fabrics, haberdashery, and a small range of hand-dyed yarns.  I had a lovely time chatting away to the woman who was working there, and I’d happily go back for another visit.

After mostly avoiding the usual tourist traps, I did make it to one exhibition: the lovely Quilt Museum.  Due to the delicate nature of the fabrics, the museum can have only a few quilts on show at any one time, but they were great to see.  I love the fact that a dedicated quilt museum actually exists!  I don’t even quilt (although have grand ambitions) and came away feeling very inspired.  One day, one day.


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