The City of York, in Yorkshire is a wonderful place to walk and discover. There are so many hidden gems in and amongst the more famous landmarks. Whenever I visit the city I have a camera on hand at all times, you never know what delights you will see or encounter.
For example, walking by York Minster on a cloudy early evening, then suddenly the sunset appears through the clouds at the perfect time.
Bettys Tea Room
Bettys Tea Room is a popular place to visit for any passing tourist, and locals alike. They sure know how to set it up for the dark evenings with light and colour, looking so inviting.
The cafe has been drawing crowds here since 1936. The interior based on the the Queen Mary ocean liner, also launched in 1936. People will queue a long way here for one of their famous afternoon teas as a break from shopping.
I love walking through the centre of York in the evening too. The big mass of tourists largely disperse and the vibe around the city with those around creates a great vibe.
The sun goes down, the lights come on and York looks completely different again. Looking up river from Lendal Bridge in the evening is such a contrast from its iconic York sunset view.
Another opportune sunset photo I got was at Holgate Mill, the last surviving mill in York. In fact it is the oldest 5 sailed windmill in Britain. The windmill was working from as far back as 1770.
It feels even more unique when you pass it today as it is in the middle of a street of houses and becomes a roundabout.
The mill has been wonderfully restored and you can visit it when open to look inside as well.
Of course the things to see and places to explore are not confined to the city itself. The suburbs can be full of interest.
I must say it is very quiet and has interesting buildings. The church at Nether Poppleton in the outskirts of York is a great photography spot. The sunset and light moves around with the seasons and the eerie feel as the darkness comes adds to the setting.
Every single sunset is different. If you went to the same spot every day it would be hard to replicate the exact same settings and colours than the day before. I always use that to my advantage, I love variety.
Clouds are different every time and they can add so much to a scene. Just after sunset they can reflect colour everywhere too! Always worth a wander along the River Ouse at sunset time.
Unique foregrounds make a massive difference too. In this picture below I used a piece of art in the fields around Nether Poppleton. Again was accidental and opportunistic as I actually went to this spot to wait to get a photo of the night sky.
Below, the aold Tithe Barn, again in Nether Poppleton, added colour to a building scene, for me perfectly.
Tithe Barn looks like any old barn from the area but it has its own historic secrets. It was built in the middle of the 16th Century and historians in the know often call it Rupert’s Barn.
This name came from Prince Rupert whos is said to have stationed here with his royalist troops the night before the Battle of Marston Moor not too far away. In July 1644
Fields Of Colour
During the days of Spring and Summer the landscapes around the outskirts of York become rich with all kinds of colours, from bright yellow rapeseed to deep reds of poppies.
A joy to walk amongst, the flatter landscape need not put you off a great long walk as the land here has a huge charm of its own.
Back along the River Ouse, just like the sunsets, every day is different. Hence even if the only camera I have is a smartphone, I thus still have a camera with me.
The big skies above the flat landscape lend to huge colours as the sun sets.
So much so if you look around you can see people stopping in their tracks to watch the world go by, no matter how busy they were.
Back into the city we head and to a more well known and iconic street, The Shambles.
One of the oldest preserved medieval streets in Europe, The Shambles is certainly a unique place to walk down, or up.
The narrow cobbled road with different shaped shop fronts and overhanging architecture dating back to the 14th Century.
The street was made intentionally really narrow way back when. It was the place for selling meats through windowed shop fronts and the narrowness kept the meat away from sunlight and thus preserving the meat for longer.
If you want colour, charm and festivity then a walk around York on a December evening is a great option. You don’t have to stay around the Christmas market to enjoy the city in lights and colours.
On Stonegate you will find the first German Käthe Wohlfahrt all year round Christmas Shop in Britain. In the height of August it is a novel sight. Now in December it fits right in its place.
The windows here are a stopping point for many on a Christmas evening walk for sure. Festive window shopping. The tree circling around in the display.
The toys lit up at night with teddy bears either inviting you in? Or looking like they want to get out on an adventure…
Even on a cold winter day the atmosphere in the city is great. People laughing, drinking, eating or walking.
Every York Visit Unique
As I put this together I realised I had hundreds and hundreds of photos. I realised that there are so many everyday moments that capture the sight and imagination to cause me to get a camera out.
Even empty benches on the city walls look serene and colourful on a cold night.
These places and photos only just scratch the surface on a discovery of York and colours. I will let you go and search with your own senses and your own adventures there. Happy snapping.