Friday, 18 July 2014

To York By Train: Enroute to Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

It’s time – we’re boarding a train for York on our second day in London. The decision to travel by train was prompted by the fact I’m told that:
  • Traffic getting out of London is hellish; and
  • The immediate scenery is bloody boring anyway.
Or so I’m told.

We could get the train all the way to Edinburgh, but we want to drive up through the Scottish Borders, so instead we’ll get off at York, do a little sightseeing, stay overnight, and drive on tomorrow.

While we’re in York, I absolutely want to see Jorvik, but other activities will probably depend on time and how we feel. In my experience, optional activities are great to fill in time when you feel like it and to skip when you don’t.


Viking woodturner at Jorvik

Apparently this is a must-see – or again, so I’m told. Or at least so the website says. It could be biased.

This is a reconstruction of 1000 year old Viking streets, I think based on actual excavation at Coppergate, and including finds from the dig. You can travel around the Viking-age city to see its houses and backyards and experience a bit of their everyday life, including blacksmithing and cooking. I imagine it’s a little like visiting Pompeii but with additional experiences. I could be wrong. In any case, it seems worth a look.

York City Sightseeing Bus

This seems like a good optional experience for if we’re tired but have some time to burn. No walking, just a drive on an open-top bus for an hour checking out the city sights. Great for tired kids who don't want to walk anymore.

Castle Museum 

Recreation of Victorian Street

I would really like to see this, but it will be dependent on time and the goodwill of my children. If I haven’t previously mentioned, we’ll be travelling with our (then) 6 and 3 year old daughters, as well as my parents.

The museum includes recreated Jacobean dining rooms, information about famous Victorian criminals and exhibits all the way through to the swinging Sixties - which, truth be told, interests me less.

The museum has a particular exhibit designed to 'take you back in time' with recreated Victorian street 'Kirkgate' which allows you to experience victorian shops and their goods, including luxurious fabrics, traditional sweets, and children's toys. Luxurious fabrics. Mmm. The flip-side shows you Victorian life in the poverty-stricken back streets.

A nice bonus is that kids go free with a paying adult.

National Railway Museum

Possibly a good family outing, as we can take the kids to see trains through history, including 'the Mallard' the world's fastest steam train, the Japanese bullet train and Queen Victorian's luxury train.

For the kids it features an outdoor play area and a miniature railway ride. We recently did something similar here in Australia and the kids loved it.

Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 - join her on a virtual tour of Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip. Somewhere you think she should go or stay? Please comment!

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