After a slight adjustment to my plans after leaving university this year, I made the decision to commit to a return to education in September 2016, to complete an MA in Women’s Studies.
I chose the University of Exeter at an undergraduate level according to league tables and showed up at my halls of residence in September 2012 having never even set foot on campus, and without any idea about where I was. Not at all up to my usual standards of organisation! Luckily, Exeter was lovely, and I had a great three years there, but I’ve always regretted my lack of research. It made turning up at a university I knew nothing about, in a city I’d never been to, all the more daunting.
This time around I vowed to do things properly and booked onto an open day at the University of York as soon as I found out York offered the course I want to do. After a rather reluctant 6am start, I made it to King’s Cross station. One chocolate chip shortbread and a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte later, I was feeling much more ready to face the day and I passed the two-hour train journey with my nose buried in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
It was great to look round the university, even if I did feel like a bit of an impostor tagging along on the undergrad day (didn’t these people know I already had a degree? Silly freshers).
I even found out that York has a whole college just for postgrad students, so everyone’s in one big halls, which sounds like a lot of fun. Bring on fresher’s week round four! Once I’d had a thorough nose around campus I headed into the city centre. Apparently, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live in Britain, and it’s easy to see why.
As soon as you get out of the main station you’re surrounded by so many gorgeous buildings and scenery.
I didn’t arrive with a plan for the day but I soon stumbled upon York Museum Gardens and couldn’t resist strolling through.
I ended up wandering past the museum to St Mary’s Abbey which dates back to 1086, now in ruins after being destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII.
After a brief energy slump, I stopped at one of York’s many lovely independent cafés for yet another caffeinated pick-me-up.
York is just a photographer’s dream. I passed a few happy hours exploring the old winding streets and taking in the sights.
York Minster was particularly stunning.
I had intended to stop at Betty’s Café Tea Rooms for a cream tea after a few recommendations.
However, quite a few others had apparently also heard of this rather legendary establishment, so I decided against a 40-minute queue for a couple of scones and went to find sustenance elsewhere. Luckily, the York Food and Drink festival happened to be in full swing so I grabbed a beef brisket burger with spicy BBQ sauce at one of the stalls.
The central Shambles Market was brilliant.
How could I not take a picture of this?!
I picked up a little bottle of ‘Rhucello’ (Yorkshire rhubarb liqueur) for my rhubarb-loving mother and a bag of fudge as a surprise for my younger brother, who’s got some time off from his army training to come home this week. I was rather taken aback by the unusually good-natured market workers. There must be something in the water up north because you certainly wouldn’t get so many friendly attempts at conversation in a typical London market. Us southerners get in and get out, none of this ‘stop for a chat’ nonsense!
After a naughty trip to H&M (I couldn’t resist), I hopped back on the train and made my way home through London, impulse buying Lola’s cupcake at Waterloo station. Apparently, clothes and food render me powerless… Nothing new there then!