A Tour Through (Part of) the Whole of Great Britain in October 2019. Day 7: York

The final day of a holiday can be melancholy. You are not ready to go back to reality, but knowing you have to. This is balanced against wanting to squeeze every moment of enjoyment in that you can.

If there is ever a way that I can become the Lord Mayor of York, I’ll take it. (I have no idea how to achieve this.) With the job comes the magnificent York Mansion House. It only opened to the public in 2018 so we had not visited it before.

York Mansion House dates from 1732. One of my main Day 7 takeaways is just how Georgian York is. It’s famous for its Roman, Viking, and medieval excavations and architecture, but the Georgian era is everywhere, too. York Mansion House is a lovely example both inside and out. What will you find inside? Everything from grand interior decoration, an impressive selection of silver, and a mummified cat.

Lion and Unicorn at York Mansion House
View from York Mansion House Dining Room

And this: an actual rosewater dish made out of silver – the very thing I had read about in The Secret Commonwealth. I looked to my left and right: this was quite weird. But I knew what the dish was for. And now, with a 2020 lens, it is interesting to find that rosewater has antiseptic properties. A medieval and early modern version of hand sanitiser perhaps?

Rosewater Dish at York Mansion House

The Shambles led us to the York’s Chocolate Story Shop. We did the tour on our previous visit to York so I knew I would find some good things to take home from the shop. A coffee shop opposite provided a vantage point to monitor the queue of visitors and swoop in when the way was clear. I picked up some treats to enjoy at Christmas. Mission accomplished, it was time to check in on another favourite pub.

Pivni is in a 16th century building in the Little Shambles and set over three floors. We had a table there up on the first floor, chosen on our first visit and always found since. (I see from Pivni’s website that it’s all table service and assigned seating now. On the plus side they say, ‘No more up and down the stairs for drinks, we’ll do all that.’ I’m not sure if that is a plus on reflection. Part of the fun of craft beer pubs is checking out the pumps to see what’s on and trying not to spill anything on your way back.)

‘Our’ seats at Pivni. The bag on the table is full of chocolate from the York’s Chocolate Story shop

We reflect on who else’s seats this place must be, here and other haunts, when we are not here. Popular and locals’ places must have sets of people who come and go, but never meet. (Proprietors will not find this mysterious.)

We collect our luggage and there’s time for another visit to the Wonky Donkey. We don’t have a regular seat there (yet), but I feel we can start to call it by its locals’ name now that we’ve had a chat with some of them. A swift half later and we’re in the Duke of York at York station which is being refurbished, but has remained open. There’s Motown and on jukebox and its a fine way to end our stay.

And then suddenly the Magical Memories Tour is over. We’re back on a train and heading home to Edinburgh.

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