ON a sunny winter morning in York, there is a buzz within the historic city walls.
A stone’s throw from the station, groups of families and friends gather to take in the sights and the embark on the York Ice Trail 2020.
We pick up our ice trail maps and York City Pass, which gives access to 25 different attractions, at the information centre (£45 per adult and £30 for kids) and march off to view the 40 ice sculptures dotted across the city.
Wandering the cobbled streets, it’s hard to miss the statues, as crowds gather, smartphones in hand, taking pictures of intricately carved masterpieces such as a fantastic steam train, with the stunning York Minster in the backdrop.
The historic Minster is a must see from both the outside and in, but be prepared for a leg workout if you decide to climb to the top of the cathedral tower as there are 275 stairs, up a narrow spiralling staircase.
Wind swirling around me, the far reaching views over the city and across to the North York moors made it all worthwhile.
The city boasts a fantastic mix of independent and high-street shops, quaint maze-like streets such as the well-known Shambles, castles, museums, art galleries and more pubs then there are days of the year.
But most notably, a visit to York wouldn’t be complete unless you go for Afternoon Tea at Bettys – who have sponsored a gingerbread man ice sculpture outside the famous Tea Rooms.
Having hit my 10,000 steps for the day walking round the city, Bettys was a perfect hideaway from the chilly breeze outside (although some of the ice sculptures had started to melt by 3pm!).
We received the warmest of Yorkshire welcomes as we sat at our table, the room filled music from a live pianist, a selection of teas, optional champagne and delicate tiers of treats.
Sandwiches, scones and cakes galore, it really is a delightful place to unwind – and you can see why Bettys has been a success for over 100 years!
Next to the train station and short walk to the city centre is the elegant Principal Hotel.
For a little bit extra, stay in the York Suite, offering a stunning room to enjoy with blissful views of the minster.
Take time to enjoy coffee in the tasteful Garden Room or a meal in The Refectory restaurant, all prepared with fresh Yorkshire produce.
There’s a pool, sauna and hot tub alongside a gym and beauty salon for the ultimate opportunity to re-energise over a long weekend.
If you’re thinking about spending a weekend away or looking for a UK city break with family or friends, then York is an ideal location.
It has a good mix of history, culture, shopping and nightlife all within the city and only a short drive from scenic Yorkshire countryside.
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