A Weekend In York with Mercure


weekend in york

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to York by Mercure Hotels, to spend a weekend in the beautiful city and stay in their Fairfield Manor Hotel. The trip was organised in collaboration with other bloggers. I was lucky enough to be able to ‘city swap’ with Bee from queenbeady.com. Bee travelled to Oxford (where I’m from and was living until the end of 2016) and I went to her hometown of York.

I’d visited York only once before. It was on New Year’s Eve, a long time ago, and all I remember about it was dancing away in a nightclub which played only 80s music. It was right up my street but, as you can imagine, not much sightseeing was done the following day. York was an important city in Roman times (its Roman name was Eboracum) and, as an ancient history graduate, I’ve always wanted to go back and spend some quality time there.

weekend in york
weekend in york

I imagined York to be a beautiful city, and it did not disappoint me.

Originally I meant to travel there with Sean, but we ended up having no one to feed the cat and so my mum was drafted in to come with me. We both enjoyed ourselves. The premise of the weekend was to not only try out the Fairfield Manor Hotel, but to also get involved with some of the recommended activities from our hometown blogger’s list.

Betty’s Tea Rooms

Top of the list of things we must do was to visit Betty’s Tea Rooms. Something of an institution in York, we knew we were in for a treat. The weekend we visited York was extremely cold and also drizzly, but when we walked up to the Tea Room on St Helen’s Square, a queue was waiting outside. We waited for half an hour, but the inside looked so inviting that we didn’t mind. I recommend you book though, if you plan a visit, as many others had booked and were of course able to just walk straight in.

The inside of the St Helen’s Square Betty’s is reminiscent of an Art Deco style. It was inspired by a trip its founder, Frederick Belmont, took on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary. It has equally lovely food and staff. We were able to sit and watch the world go by extremely comfortably.

weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york

York Minster

After this, we walked down to York Minster to take a look. This enormous gothic cathedral is so beautiful both outside and in.

weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york

It is definitely worth a visit. You can wander around the incredible building, take a tour of the Undercroft (underground chambers unearthed a few decades ago – fully interactive and with many artefacts on display), and climb the tower. Guided tours are also available. With the wealth of history contained within and underneath this site, it’s a picturesque cultural break from shopping and eating. Both those things are abundantly available in York, and are things mum and I happen to do well.

Wandering around the city…

We loved York for its laidback and friendly atmosphere, its winding cobbled streets and its endless supply of cosy tea rooms and pubs. There are so many corners to explore in York. We definitely did not make it all the way round in a full day. Particular points to note are the existence of the old city gates and parts of the walls which protected and enclosed York in days gone by. These grand landmarks remind you of the depth of history contained within the space of the city. A bit like Oxford, you often wonder as you walk around the streets what might actually be below the cobbles you’re standing on.

weekend in york
weekend in york

Mum on Google Maps trying to find Betty’s


weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york

York also had some of the best buskers I’ve ever heard! It contributes to the friendly and warm atmosphere, having people of real talent entertain you as you move from one area to the next. It also has awesome shopping, including one of the nicest Oliver Bonas shops I’ve ever found. It’s built in an old house, with numerous floors, staircases, nooks and crannies. Old fireplaces are in situ as well as carved built-in cupboards. (I picked up some earrings which I’m giving away at the bottom of this post – just scroll down and enter via the Gleam app).

Before heading to the hotel we finished up with a ghost tour. You’ll find signs around York advertising the tours, telling you where to turn up and when. I recommend it as it was a lot of fun. I didn’t get any photos of course, as it was dark!

weekend in york
weekend in york

The Fairfield Manor Hotel

We were shattered by this point. We wanted to get to the hotel to shower, change, eat and drink some wine. The Fairfield Manor Hotel is in a perfect location to explore York. I was pleased to find it very easily about 4 miles from the centre of York, up a long straight road.  Set within its own six-acre grounds, it was built in the early 1800s. Used as a stud farm for most of its existence, it became a hotel relatively recently. Mercure have owned it since 2011.

It has its own car park and transport links to the centre of the city, making it the perfect base to explore from. The entrance is very grand, and there are sweeping staircases, a grand piano, and a large bar. We were kindly allocated a suite in the main building, which was very welcome as we really wanted to unwind.

weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york
weekend in york

We had booked a table for dinner when we checked in, and after a quick shower and change we headed to the bar for a bottle of red. It was a Friday night but was pretty quiet in the bar. However, the restaurant was very full and had a buzzing atmosphere. Our food was delicious, and a real high point of our stay. Breakfast the following morning, continental style, was also good. I took myself off to explore parts of the hotel. It has meeting rooms tucked away, extra staircases, enormous mirrors and is very quiet. I found myself in a room called The Library, which was indeed an old library complete with rows upon rows of books. It doubles up as a conference room. There are lots of places to sit in peace and unwind in the evenings, as there are rooms with large sofas dotted about.

In the morning, I really wanted to explore the hotel’s grounds but it was absolutely pouring down with rain. However, I noticed numerous picnic tables and benches. It looks like it would be a gorgeous place to sit in warmer months and admire the views of the countryside.

The Fairfield Manor Hotel was very comfortable, the staff very friendly, and the food excellent. Mercure Hotels have kept much of the character of this Georgian Manor House in the decor. This results in many parts of the hotel feeling a little dated, although in very good condition. If this doesn’t bother you, then I recommend this hotel as the perfect place to explore York city centre from and then escape back to for a cosy and comfortable lodging for the night. There is, however, also a more modern annexe to the main building. I didn’t see it, but the rooms there are more contemporary. I noticed as well that the hotel runs regular tribute nights. It would be a good place for a hen weekend or girly getaway when one of those nights is running.

Thank you to Mercure Hotels for giving me the opportunity to go back to such a beautiful city and experience it fully. I’d go back to York in a heartbeat, and in fact loved it so much I didn’t want to leave. There is so much to do, see and explore there. If you’re thinking of visiting York I hope this post helps you to make up your mind.

The giveaway

I’ve been away from blogging for a while. It’s been a weird and difficult year so far. I moved on December 16th from Oxfordshire to Gloucestershire, and continued working in Oxford for a couple of months. It was a four hour round commute each day (sometimes five). I was really looking forward to finishing work to become a full-time blogger (amongst other things, such as eBay reselling).

However, three days after my last day at work my fiance Sean went in to hospital with suspected viral encephalitis. Two weeks later, he finally came out of hospital but doctors now believe he had a stroke. He’s thirty nine, so this was a huge shock. We still don’t know the reason why it happened and are awaiting further results. Happily he has made a full recovery with the exception of a small amount of memory loss which should come back. He is on preventative medication and we are slowly going back to normal.

Soooo, this is the reason for the huge blogging break. It’s been so long, and I’ve not done a giveaway for a long time. I love to run giveaways., so I’m giving away a pair of Oliver Bonas Kauri Enamel Dot Hoop Earrings. I got the same pair for myself while in York. They are gorgeous in person, 4cm long and dangle from behind the ear. The black enamel circle shows at the front.

Kauri Enamel Dot Hoop Earrings

Entries are via the Gleam app below. The giveaway is open until midnight on Sunday 23 April, and I will announce the winner shortly after. It’s open internationally.

Thanks for visiting, and good luck!!
Oliver Bonas Kauri Enamel Dot Hoop Earrings Giveaway

Note: this post is in collaboration with Mercure Hotels who kindly sponsored my stay in York. All opinions expressed herein are my own. The giveaway is not associated with any collaboration and I purchased the prize with my own money.

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  1. Margaret gallagher
    March 28, 2017 / 11:27 pm

    I love York although I’ve not been for a while
    Quite like Bristol -shops and culture -lots to see and do

  2. Sarah Mackay
    March 29, 2017 / 12:05 am

    Have been to York many times and absolutely love it.

  3. Tracy Nixon
    March 29, 2017 / 5:38 am

    Yes, I have been to York many times – love the shops there and so many places to visit! I would recomment my home town of Newcastle!

  4. March 29, 2017 / 9:55 am

    Sorry to hear Sean has been ill, it must have been a very worrying time. Before we moved to Cheshire I did a four hour round trip commute for a while, it was hideous, so I can sympathise. I was only thinking yesterday how nice it would be to go to York in the Easter holidays. I went years ago, but I’d love to go with my daughter. Glad to see you back blogging – congratulations on going full time 🙂

    Emma xxx

  5. Jordan Jarmain
    March 29, 2017 / 11:52 am

    I love York. Absolutely beautiful city steeped in history. I’d also recommend Edinburgh for the same reasons. Stunning views and friendly people x

  6. michaela atkins
    March 29, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    not realy a city but my home town has a local friendly atmosphere. lovely seaside resort (whitby)

  7. Katie Skeoch
    March 29, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    I have, York is lovely. Edinburgh is a favourite of mine for a weekend away x

  8. S.Reid
    March 29, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    York is magical, we went there when visiting Robin Hoods Bay. Best wishes.

  9. Nina C
    March 29, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    I visited York when I was a teenager and can still remember it to this day, a lovely city. I’ll add another vote to where I lived for a few years, Newcastle.

  10. Suzanne G
    March 29, 2017 / 4:29 pm

    I have never been to York but it looks like an amazing city to visit. My sister and I are travelling to London this spring from Canada and definitely will keep York in mind.

  11. Isabel O
    March 29, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    My parents took me to York a lot as a child but I haven’t been as an adult.

  12. Ashley Perez
    March 30, 2017 / 1:11 am

    No, I have never been to York.

  13. Rebecca Smith
    March 30, 2017 / 9:35 am

    I’ve never been to York, would love to go. We went to Winchester just before Christmas and i loved it they had there Christmas market by the cathedral and was lovely not to busy and so festive was really nice to just walk around and enjoy the sights

  14. stuart hargreaves
    March 30, 2017 / 5:49 pm


  15. Fiona K
    March 30, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    I haven’t been to York yet but would like too. Good weekend breaks I have enjoyed were to Edinburgh and another one to Bath

  16. mari sutherland
    March 30, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    I haven’t been to York since my boys were little and we visited the Railway museum. Love trips to London.

  17. amy bondoc
    March 30, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    i havent been to york before. best place ive visited int he uk for a city break is bath i loved it 🙂

  18. Sarahann
    March 30, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    I’ve never been to York but I’ve heard it’s amazing! I went to Belfast for a weekend away and had such a good time.

  19. Chloe Davies
    March 30, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Never been to York but I love Bath for a city break 🙂

  20. Kristie Metcalfe
    March 31, 2017 / 9:32 am

    My Granddad lives in York and loves it! His sister also used to own Betty’s, so family history is mixed up in the place.

  21. Helen Tovell
    March 31, 2017 / 9:36 am

    Never been to York but enjoy going to Cambridge

  22. Hayley Canning
    March 31, 2017 / 10:24 am

    I haven’t been to York yet. Edinburgh is my all time favourite city to visit X

  23. Eleanor Beavan
    March 31, 2017 / 11:56 am

    I have never been to York but it looks like just my cup of tea, so beautiful. I love Hastings Old Town which is pretty similar and I am dying to go back there.

  24. Jo Carroll
    March 31, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    I haven’t visited York yet but it’s definately on must do list, it looks lovely – so much history too.

  25. Alica
    March 31, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    I love York and I would recommend my home of Manchester for a great weekend away!

  26. jennifer thorpe
    March 31, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Yes, I’ve been to York – it’s a beautiful city. Similarly, Bath and Chester are well worth a visit

  27. Heather T
    March 31, 2017 / 4:48 pm

    I’ve never been to York but would love to go to the railway museum to do some family history. I loved my visit to St Austell in Cornwall, it’s not too posh like some parts of the county, I felt right at home!

  28. Christine Shelley
    March 31, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    I went to York some years ago and loved it. We also like Chester which is in some ways similar

  29. Lesley Shackleton
    March 31, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    Love your blog on York and it sums it up just perfectly. Betty’s is wonderful and their Christmas Cake is just something else. Lots to see and do. A wonderful city and you have it just right. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful it is. I must visit myself again very soon. xx

  30. Ailsa
    March 31, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Have only ever passed thru York on the train to Scotland!

  31. Heather Brannan
    April 1, 2017 / 8:48 am

    Been to York a few years and it is such a beautiful place. Went to Newcastle last summer and loved the people, restaurants and nightlife

  32. Tiff Jordan
    April 1, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    York is a lovely city to wonder around. I particular like the small independent shops and the narrow streets, which reminds me of the lanes in Brighton. That’s a great city to visit if you’re ever down that way!

  33. Maggie Coates
    April 1, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    I live in the South and have never been to York. I would recommend Brighton for a city break.

  34. Solange
    April 2, 2017 / 4:23 am

    I have never been to York. I would recommend Bristol a good weekend away.

  35. Jane
    April 2, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Love York and it is a great for a weekend break or longer. Lots to do good food and drink!

  36. Gary Topley
    April 2, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Belfast is a great city with lots to see. Have only ever really passed through York. Not stayed there.

    April 2, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    I personally haven’t been to York but Edinburgh is a fantastic place to escape away too

  38. Virginia C.
    April 2, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    I’ve never been to York. I would recommend Stratford Upon Avon for a weekend away trip.

  39. Danielle Graves
    April 2, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    Yes I’ve been shopping there and also visited to do museums like the national railway museum, jorvik, etc

  40. Jodi hill
    April 4, 2017 / 7:05 am

    No, I’ve never been.
    Birmingham is a great city… lots to do in the day, great nightlife, awesome food & shopping!

  41. Laura Farnworth
    April 4, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I love London and I also like Whitby although that’s a town.

  42. Stephanie Coals
    April 5, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    I’ve never been but would definitely recommend Exeter – its a lovely little city with some really beautiful areas to see and lots of things to do.

  43. April 6, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Love the photos of York! It’s such a gorgeous, little city.

  44. Rebecca Beesley
    April 7, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    Bath is great.

  45. April 8, 2017 / 6:58 am

    I’ve been to York twice, but it’s a very long time ago. Next on my hit list for a weekend break is Manchester, it seems to have come a long way since my teens!

  46. Katy Malkin
    April 9, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Not been to York. Belfast is great for a treat. The people are lovely and friendly, lots of restaurants to choose from.

  47. Alison McClean
    April 9, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    I love York, so many lovely things to see but if you get a chance come to my home town Belfast. It’s full of culture,lovely restaurants and great shops.

  48. Heather Morrison
    April 10, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    We used to go to York on our family holidays when we where young! We loved how scary we thought it was! I’d always recommend Liverpool for a good weekend (my home town) xx

  49. Sharon H
    April 10, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    I love York and never tire of visiting. I also love Bath and Chester, both have everything you need for a great weekend break.

  50. Richard Tyler
    April 11, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    I’ve been to York once for a wedding, beautiful!

  51. Barbara Webster
    April 13, 2017 / 1:57 am

    Yes, I visited York a few years ago, there is so much to see and do. York a beautiful city. I can recommend Liverpool for a weekend break, I visited about 5 years ago, it has plenty to offer, if your a Beatles fan, I can recommend The Beatles Story Experience.

  52. Barbara Daniels
    April 14, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    my son is at york uni and we love visitin him and the culture is gorgeous as well as the history

  53. Kelly Hirst
    April 16, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    I haven’t visited York but it’s somewhere I’d like to visit in the future

  54. April 17, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    York is so beautiful, wish I could visit it too!

  55. Louise Farmer
    April 17, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    I went to York last year when I was working away in Hull. I thought it was a fabulous city. At the opposite end of the country Bristol and Bath are fabulous for getaways too!

  56. Natalie Crossan
    April 19, 2017 / 11:48 am

    Never been to York – I recommend Torquay in Devon. Beautiful beautiful place and great shops too!

  57. Anita Zadeh
    April 20, 2017 / 12:15 am

    I’ve never been to York. Would love to go.

  58. Stacey Gahan
    April 20, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    I’ve never been to York would love to though!

  59. Lisa Wilkinson
    April 21, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    Yes we go to York quite often as it’s not far from us and one of our favourite places. I am from Hull which is the City of Culture 2017. It gets a bad rap in the media but it is a beautiful city with lots of history and great restaurants. You are all invited to visit our hidden gem 🙂

  60. Maureen Quinnell
    April 21, 2017 / 6:28 pm

    I’ve been to York before, Bath is a great place to visit but be prepared for it to be busy!

    April 21, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    I have never been to York its on my list to visit I enjoyed your blog very interesting and made me eager to go. I love visit Leominster in Herefordshire I love the little shops and Antique shops in the area.

  62. April Alder
    April 21, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    Been to York a few times and enjoyed it. I would recommend Brighton, Bath or Nottingham for a great weekend break.

  63. Susan Smith
    April 22, 2017 / 10:15 am

    Been to York once and thoroughly enjoyed it, would love to go again for perhaps longer, Bath is another beautiful city to see another place where a weekend is just not enough

  64. Yunqi Koh
    April 22, 2017 / 11:27 am

    Have not been to York but have only heard good things about it, would love to go! Recommend Edinburgh!

  65. Lynn Brown
    April 22, 2017 / 11:30 am

    I love York and Betty’s! My other fav cities are Liverpool and of course London.

  66. Hazel Rea
    April 22, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    I haven#t been to York. I’d recommend Bath – it’s really lovely.

  67. David Randall
    April 22, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    Been to York once before and enjoyed the week-end. Would also recommend Dublin.

  68. Ann Skamarauskas
    April 22, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    Never been to York, although I am seriously tempted now. I would recommend Bristol as a fabulous city to visit, be prepared for some steep roads though 🙂

  69. Derek Wilson
    April 22, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    I used to live in a little village called Acomb outside of York many years ago, and visited York every weekend – it was bliss. I now live in West London and work in East London – it takes an hour to get across the capital. The things we do for our jobs! Welcome back to blogging, and thanks for the competition, the earrings would make a lovely gift. x

  70. Beryl Drake
    April 22, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    Yes I have been to York , beautiful city where you can combine history and sime shopping too . Bristol is also a lovely place with lots to do and fabulous shopping tpl

  71. Mark Whittaker
    April 22, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    I have been to York and thoroughly enjoyed it , really interesting mix of old and new , some amazing riverside eateries and bars .

  72. Laura Khomutova
    April 22, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I have never been to York yet

  73. Andrew Hindley
    April 22, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    I have been to York would recommend visiting liverpool there’s so much to do there

  74. paula cheadle
    April 22, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    never been to York, but te potteries in Stoke-on-Trent is very nice

  75. denise s
    April 23, 2017 / 3:14 am

    never been to York, but would love to and especially visit bettys, love going to Cambridge for the weekend .

    • Michelle Pierce
      April 23, 2017 / 3:48 pm

      Never been to York but would love to go.Belfast is a great city to visit.

    April 23, 2017 / 10:20 am

    I have been in York for work what a gorgeous city but have never been there for a little break would be over the moon to win this as my wedding anniversary is coming up would be an amazing surprise

  77. Sara Goodman
    April 23, 2017 / 11:10 am

    I’ve never been to York, but I can recommend Bournemouth, some lovely places to go and loads to do.

    Thanks for a fabulous giveaway. xx

  78. Julie Edwards
    April 23, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    I love York. Stunning city. Amazing places to visit.

  79. Miss Tracy Hanson
    April 23, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Love York, it’s not too hilly for people who can’t walk too far. But there’s plenty of things to do and see or to just enjoy a walk round the shops.

  80. Paul Ballantine
    April 23, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    I’m looking to visit York sometime, it looks a great place to visit.
    Ive been to Glasgow a few times its a really nice place to visit with plenty going on

  81. Lia Burns
    April 23, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    I’ve only ever been to York for a wedding so never got to explore, Cardiff is a beautiful city and so is Brighton!

  82. Hayley Todd
    April 23, 2017 / 3:08 pm

    I have been to York but unfortunately it wan’t a social visit. I was there for 3 days at the National STEM Centre on a course for work and only managed to get into York for a look around one evening for a couple of hours. I thought it was absolutely lovely and would love to go back.

  83. Ruth Wollerton
    April 23, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    I have been to York, it’s beautiful. But so are Bath and Norwich – quaint little shops, great architecture and great restaurants xxx

  84. Emma Davison
    April 23, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    I have. It is a beautiful city

  85. Kate Brealey
    April 23, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    I’ve never been to York but it looks beautiful.

  86. Carly Belsey
    April 23, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    York looks really nice, I have never been there but would love to go one day. London is a good place to go for me as it isn’t that far away or Canterbury is a nice City.

  87. Tammy Neal
    April 23, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    I love seeing Bournemouth or Kent it’s beautiful to seeing different places x

  88. Leeanne Clifford
    April 23, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    I’ve never been but really want to now!

  89. Ailsa
    August 25, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Looks like a wonderful weekend destination

  90. ren taylor
    October 6, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    I love York its one of my favourite places in Britain!

  91. caroline tokes
    November 26, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    Looks like a great weekend away

  92. Amy Fidler
    December 1, 2017 / 9:32 am

    looks like a great place to visit x

  93. Andrea Fletcher
    December 29, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    Love York, its not too far from where we live so have visited several times, Can recommend the Christmas market. Edinburgh and Lincoln are also great for a short break.

  94. Rachell Craig
    December 30, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    We visited York earlier this year. I do like York, visited a few times over the years. We got to York Minster, had afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms :- Lovely!

  95. Stevie
    January 26, 2018 / 10:20 am

    I’ve always loved since our school trip to Jorvik, we stamped our own coins.

  96. Carol Thomas
    February 7, 2018 / 2:22 am

    I am one of rhe blessed ones to live in this beautiful city about 10 minutes from the centre when there is no traffic which doesn’t happen unless it’s very early in the morning or in the night

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