I’d heard for years how much fun people have in York and finally I had one day to find out! When Jenni and I left the Oxford MINI Plant, we drove north. It was supposed to be a little over 3 hours to get there, but we spent at least an hour sitting still on the M1.
While that gave us plenty of time to reminisce about our time in the MINI Plant and brainstorming strategies for me to acquire my next job driving MINIs off the assembly line, we ended up missing out on the Bloody York Ghost Walk.
By the time we arrived, I was worn out and the 5 hour drive hadn’t revived me. We went to the bar and I ordered a Guinness but about three-quarters of the way in my eyes began to shut and I called it a day. Jenni and I arranged to meet the next morning for breakfast.
We’d purchased a York Pass to visit the key attractions so our first stop was at the Tourist Information Office to pick them up. The lady there gave us a map and a few tips on what to visit first. The York Minister was a short block away so that seemed like a great place to start.
Our next stop was the Monk Bar and the Richard III Experience. It was a short walk from York Minister down some adorable streets with cute little shops. I had a hard time convincing Jenni not to stop but lured her with the promise of a day of shopping on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
The Monk Bar is one of the gates to the walls of the city. I’m sure I read somewhere why they call them bars instead of gates but it escapes me now. Anyhoo, we flashed our York Pass and then climbed the creepy steps to the top.
There were several flights…
Inside we saw a replica of a prison cell.
When we left we walked along the city walls to the other side of the York Minister.
Our next stop was Barley Hall. They had set up a medieval christmas market inside so that’s really all we saw. While I didn’t capture any pictures, I did find a few medieval baubles.
We decided to walk through the Shambles on our way to the next stop. To get there we had to pass through some Christmas markets!
We passed through the Christmas market where I lost Jenni for a while.
We were making our way back to the car, but along the way we found the York Dungeon. It was on my list of things to do, though I couldn’t remember why. The exterior of the building was pretty nondescript with just a simple sign. As we walked in, there was a dimly lit, narrow staircase that turned and then there was a rope across the door. The girl working the rope line let me in and asked if I was alone. Jenni was still outside taking pictures. She asked me which one of us was guilty of a crime so I told her Jenni was (obviously). As soon as Jenni came up and rounded the corner, she handed her a sign, pushed us against the wall and snapped a photo.
We flashed our York Pass and bought a cold drink before heading through the door into the dungeon. When we entered the room, it was pitch dark. There was an illuminated head that appeared in a corner of the room that said the tour would soon be starting and that no photos or videos were allowed.
As we grew accustomed to the dark, we realized there were other people sitting on benches along the wall. A few minutes later a door opened and a woman walked through. She spoke with a charming cockney accent and was cute and vivacious… No wait, that was me in the Portsmouth Little Theater’s production of The Admirable Crighton in 1983 (according to the Virginia Pilot).
Anyhow she did have a cockney accent and she pulled one of the other people from our group over to one of the stained glass windows. As she was yelling at her to push on it quickly (because apparently we were being raided by Henry VIII) the bottom half of the window fell out. She ushered us out of the room and into the next where we met a “doctor’s assistant” from the time of the plague.
We sat on benches throughout the room. He pulled one guy up onto the stage and explained how he was going to “cure” him. When he mentioned the leaches, he yelled “Oh no, they escaped!” and suddenly the bench I was sitting on began to wiggle.
There was a tavern with a tavern wench who told us a ghost story and screamed over and over “I’ll see thee in Hell!” the lights went out and when they came back on she was directly behind us screeching “I’ll see thee in Hell” and cackling wildly.
We progressed from room to room. My favorite was the judge who found one guy guilty of being from Belfast and the executioner who gleefully explained how he was going to use all of his tools. At the last room, we were met by a man who pulled me aside, handed me a scroll, and told me to sit on the stage and read it. The scroll said I was going to be part of a great trick that would only involve me standing very still and to nod my head if I agreed. I looked up and nodded my head.
He pulled me up onto the stage in front of a bunch of wooden stakes and then told everyone I was a witch and he was going to burn me. There were logs piled in front of me and they began to glow, smoke started rising and suddenly the lights flashed and the funeral pyre I was standing on rotated. When they stopped, the crowd saw the burned corpse and I saw a sign on the wall that said stay very still and we will come and get you. They did and led me out to the gift shop to meet the rest of the group.
We left there and went to the Castle Tea Shop for lunch.
There were lots of ladies in there and Jenni and I shared a delicious pot of tea and had some lunch.
We loaded up the car and left. Our next destination was Dunblane which is north west of Edinburgh. I tried to play the new Janet Evanovitch book on tape, but about 45 minutes in it stopped unexpectedly and said I needed to download once again. I fired up my alternative playlist and we rocked out all the way to Scotland.
The journey continued and we skirted Edinburgh and finally arrived at the Doubletree Dunblane Hydro. I was upgraded to a family room. Jenni was upgraded to a palatial penthouse suite. Lucky for me, she doesn’t drink so she let me have dinner in her dining room and gave me her bottle of wine!