North England – York and Chester #adeoontheroad

Continuing with our adventures in North England (blog post here), we spent a wonderful night at The Grand York and were ready for a walk around the walled city of York with Duncan and Mark.


Influenced by various inhabitants throughout the centuries, including the Romans, Vikings, Anglo Saxons and Normans, York offers a feast of historic landmarks!

adeo Travel Team by York Minster

On our morning walk, expertly lead by our driver-guide Mark, we firstly headed towards the imposing cathedral of York Minster. It was a perfect Winter’s morning – extremely cold and frosty but beautifully bright – the Minster looked absolutely spectacular in the glorious morning sun. Towering over the historic city of York, the cathedral stretches 175 yards long with its spire reaching 65 yards tall. The magnificent Gothic architecture shows off grand pillars, towers, arches and comical ornamental gargoyles. The central tower is large enough to fit the leaning tower of Pisa inside and if you’re brave enough to climb the 275 step spiral staircase to the viewing platform you’ll gain magnificent panoramic views of the York and the rolling Yorkshire countryside beyond. Inside the Minster there is a wealth of historical and striking features to explore; the choir screen is lined with statues of former Kings of England, the vaults of the Chapter House will offer the chance to spot beasts and gargoyles amidst the decorative carvings, whilst in the Vaults and Crypt you’ll find the treasures of York Minster. Although limited by time we only admired York Minster from the outside, the impressive Gothic building is a must-see when in York!


Afterwards, we continued with a gentle stroll around York’s encircling city walls and gates, which in parts remain original from the Roman times. Climbing the few steps of Roman Fortress staircase on High Petergate street, we found ourselves “above the ground”, step-by-step uncovering some spectacular views for the city, River Foss, York Minster and Treasurer’s House, giving us a completely different perspective of the city. Exiting by Monk Bar Gate, we followed Goodramgate Street and found ourselves in York’s heart, with artisan and boutique shops, bakeries, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. The architecture varies from Medieval timberwork or stone buildings, yellow-stone or brick Georgian ones, to modern houses making it a true travel-through-time experience. We stopped by Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma Gate street, known for its short length and, as you can see, very unusual name, which meant either “what a street!” or “neither one thing nor the other”.

The Shambles, York

Wandering the cobbled lanes of York, we reached well-preserved The Shambles, which resemble famous Diagon Alley from “Harry Potter” movies. Britain’s oldest shopping street, where lurching timber facades lean over the narrow cobbled lane below, The Shambles in medieval times was a street of butchers’ shops and houses, many with a slaughterhouse at the back of the premises, where the meat was hung up outside the shops. You can still see some of the original butcher’s meat-hooks attached to the shop fronts, literally giving you chills when you think of lack of fridges and sanitation back in the day…

We deepened our knowledge about York’s history thanks to our guides’ insights and found out that beneath the old town you can explore York’s reputedly haunted dungeons, whilst above the town you can explore the hilltop Clifford’s Tower constructed as on of William the Conqueror’s original strongholds. I will definitely be back to explore more of this remarkable city!



Departing gorgeous York, we travelled north-west to one of England’s finest historic houses of Castle Howard. Located only 15 miles from the city of York, this stately home was built on the site of a former castle and offers a great insight to the rich history of the building and Howard family. Set in over 1000 acres of parkland with beautiful walled and woodland gardens, a notable array of statues, temples and follies, and tranquil nearby lakes with impressive wildlife and birds, Castle Howard is truly astounding and no wonder it was used in many movies, music videos and most recently as a set in Netflix series “Bridgerton” and American reality show “The Courtship”. During our visit, the Castle was dressed for Christmas and this year’s theme was Peter Pan and Neverland. With colourfully decorated trees, sparkling ornaments and Christmas music playing, it was a truly magical visit.


Leaving the vast premises of Castle Howard, we headed to the walled city of Chester, taking lunch and recharging ourselves with naps on our way in the luxury mini-coach.

Upon arrival, we checked-in to our hotel and shortly after departed to walk around Chester’s cobbled streets, finding ourselves on the city’s walls. Duncan, our driver-guide in this area, told us a story that wall-gates were locked for the night during medieval times and there was no way to get back inside once shut. So if your house was located within the walls, but for some reason (usually alcohol-delights) you couldn’t reach the gates in time, you were bound to spend a night in the streets and wait until the morning, when the gates were opened again for the day.

Chester Town Hall
Eastgate Clock, Chester
Chester Cathedral

Passing the Cathedral’s slate-covered bell tower, Addleshaw Tower, we left the walls and turned onto Abbey Street to find ourselves on Northgate Street. Revealing colourful and shimmering lights of an array of Christmas markets situated in front of Chester Town Hall, to which we would return the next morning before our train to Cardiff, we followed the street to reach our next destination of the day, Chester Cathedral. This imposing 1000 year old Cathedral with some of Europe’s finest examples of medieval carvings, is a mixture of architectural styles. From Norman, medieval, Gothic and Romanesque, the building is truly spectacular with high ceilings, spiky arches and spirelets, grandiose organs, ornaments, gargoyles, figurines, or coloured stained glass windows. We were welcomed by a choir rehearsing for their performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, which alongside Christmas trees, decorations and a nativity scene, made us really feel the festive spirit!

Returning to the hotel to get ready for dinner in one of Chester’s many pub restaurants, we took a photo by the famous Eastgate Clock, wandered Chester streets and stopped by once the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain.

We really enjoyed this part of England’s Rustic Charm and we are sure you will too! But don’t worry, if you have already visited the northern part of England. Perhaps you would be more interested in our South West of England tour to Devon, Cornwall and Somerset on Treasures of West Country tour, or other regions of Britain including Secrets of Scotland, Enchanting Wales or all 3 countries combined in Aspects of Britain tour? But there is more! You can combine multiple tours together. For more information, please visit our small group tour section and book your place in with one of our British Travel Consultant here.

Magdalena Glen

February 23, 2024

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