c A Visit to Historic York including Bettys Tearoom and Fairfax House | Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me

A Visit to Historic York including Bettys Tearoom and Fairfax House


My recent visit to Yorkshire, also included a stay in historic York, I have visited York previously. I was only 12 years old at the time on a school trip. I recall I visited the train museum and enjoyed a trip on the river,  staying in the dormitory at York Racecourse - ra,ra and puff ball skirts were in fashion!
Visiting York Minster
The magnificent York Minster
My sister and I stayed in a central location in York, the Hilton Hotel overlooking Clifford's Tower, and next to York Castle Museum, Fairfax House, Fenwicks department store. But also close to a stop for the York City sightseeing tour.  This was ideal for me and my limitations when it comes to walking. 

We started the day by catching the York Sightseeing Tour bus from the Clifford's Tower stop. We completed a full circuit of the tour, enjoying the informative commentary and passing many interesting points including Dick Turpin's grave. We left the tour at the Museum Gardens, the nearest stop for York Minster.  When we arrived at the Minster graduation ceremonies for York St John were taking place, so we were not able to enjoy a guided tour inside. So we marvelled at the spectacular architecture of the Minster from the outside.


Bettys Tearoom - Stonegate, York
Bettys Tearoom - Stonegate, York
Next stop was Bettys Tearoom at Stonegate, this is the smaller but more personable of the two Bettys tearooms in York. We had a very short wait for a table and passed the sweet trolley on our way to be seated. I lucked out when it came to my selected choices on the menu, they had but one pikelet left and all sold out of my selected praline eclair.  So one pikelet it was and a rather lovely fresh fruit and cream heart pastry cake. I also treated myself to a strong rich cafeteria of Bettys Java coffee.  


Betty's Shop - Stonegate, York
We made a number of cake related purchases in the shop on our way out, snacks for later! Christmas French Fancies, Betty's famous Rascals, biscuits, loose tea and coffee.
York's Christmas Lights
York's Christmas Lights
The rest of the afternoon we wondered around the shops at Stonegate and York's famous 14th century dated shopping street with overhanging timber buildings called The Shambles. I was surprised to see a number of empty shops in this area, though it just proves that no where is immune to the pressures of the  recent recession.  Then we moved onto the larger high street stores along with Fenwicks, which is close to the Jorvik Viking museum.  All along this route you will find plenty of places to stop for tea, helping to break up exploring the city and a chance to catch your breath and enjoy a cuppa.


Fairfax House - York a Georgian masterpiece
The next day we visited  Fairfax House it's location next to the hotel made it very convenient. It is one of England's finest Georgian Town Houses, restored to its former glory by York's Civic Trust. What a splendid gem it is, containing some wonderful pieces of furniture and decoration. There was a particular type of piano which was specifically shaped to fit against a wall. When discussing this with the room guide, she advised us it was a spinet, coincidentally this was mentioned in a Poldark book my sister was currently reading. 

If you love your National Trust or Heritage properties then Fairfax House is a must visit when you are in York. Sadly no photography is allowed in the property, though you will find the room guides very knowledgeable and exceptionally helpful.

Finally before leaving York we visited York Castle Museum, which  had some interesting exhibitions suitable for adults and children alike.  Though we realised on our way home that we had missed out elements of the tour, this was due to poor signage and unhelpful staff.
Visiting York Castle Museum parking
York Castle Museum
Parking at York Castle Museum Car Park for the disabled is free all day, this is located right opposite the hotel. 

We faired well with the weather and really enjoyed our stay, we did not manage to visit everything. I already have places in mind for a return visit - The Merchants Adventurer's Hall, Treasurers House, Museums Gardens and of course a tour of York MinsterYork was smaller than I remembered and I confess to expecting more historic properties, from a Shropshire perspective I would say Shrewsbury is bigger and had more heritage buildings.

Have you been to York? What is your favourite place to visit in York?
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