2015 may have been a so-so year on the reading front but it was the year I turned the big 3-0. Indeedy do. We had so many lovely bookish adventures last year but our trip to York for my thirtieth had to top it all. So, donning the tutu my 5 year old niece very kindly bought for me and bagsying an astonishingly cheap hotel deal, the other half and I proceeded to explore the winding old streets of York; its bookish nooks and oldy woldy pubs, for the first time.
With my deep love of history, real ale and all things bookish, I’d always been told that York would be absolute heaven. It really was and I’m hugely embarrassed that it took me 30 years to experience a city that really isn’t very far at all as the crow flies. Nestled within the city walls we discovered a cornucopia of cobbly streets, wonky buildings and, best of all, cute bookshops to explore, spandangling window displays included.
The Minster Gate Bookshop features at the top of every York book shop list and was the one place I was hell-bent on visiting but, unbelievably, very almost missed! After a good hour getting lost in the windy medieval streets, we finally chanced upon this absolute treasure trove, nestled in the shadow of the Minster.
Set over five floors in an old Georgian town house it’s hard to believe this shop has only existed since 1970; so cosy and bedded-in does it feel. Although (as you can see from the pic above) there are countless sections to explore I found myself routed to the spot in the ‘bargain basement’ fiction section downstairs. Lordy lord. Brand new books; contemporary and classic fiction all as cheap as cheap as can be. It is, if you’re ever lucky enough to be visiting York, the nicest way to while away an afternoon. Indeed I got so lost in my perusals that the OH had to come and bring me back to reality after I’d been down there for well over an hour….sigh…
Dotted around the outlying streets are some nicher offerings, like Janette Ray’s colourful shop above. Others are open by appointment only, I tremble to think of the delights inside.
Our shabby-chic hotel was the perfect place to retire after a day of hardcore city tramping. The cosiest corner to settle down with my book haul, which included the following:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou –
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Lazy Tour Of Two Idle Apprentices by Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins
The Perils of Certain English Prisoners by Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Mugby Junction by Charles Dickens
Crash by J.G. Ballard
The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier
Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier
Bingo! Have those of you who’ve had the pleasure of York before got any favourite corners of this fabulous ancient city? If you haven’t been please do take some time this year to give yourself a wonderful weekend out and report back here to let me know what you think!