There is nothing more heavenly for me than simply to have a whole day off in York, free to wander, complete with my writers’ notebook and coffee, wherever my eyes take me. York has a wonderous mix of different coffee and tea shops to sit and dream the world away in. There is just one problem. I lived for a year in Italy getting to sample arguably the best coffee in the world. Their Cappuccino is a masterpiece indeed, a balanced equation of the perfect amount of milk and coffee beans, blended to become the perfect frothy sip. It is very rare in England to find a Cappuccino which rivals this mastery, but today I am going to try. York is a city of many gifts and I am sure she can match this challenge.
Of course, before any adventurous day begins, it’s important to have the right fuel, and I start with a beautiful Eggs benedict and an artistic Cappuccino from the ‘Brew and Brownie’ cafe situated directly opposite the enchanting museum gardens. It’s a usual weekday for everybody else, and I feel like a salmon swimming against the tide of normality as I have this whole, beautiful day stretching ahead of me. The cakes here are homemade and sumptuous inside, and there is also a great range of gluten free options for people like me allergic to gluten. The portions are also just the right size, not so overwhelming that I don’t want to continue walking on, yet not so small I am left still feeling hungry. Service is warm and friendly, and the music is soothing. The Cappuccino doesn’t have the foamy perfection of Italy, but the aftertaste of the coffee beans is gorgeous and again, just the right size and perfect amount of coffee fix. I’m perked up and ready to go.
The first stop today is the beautiful Stonegate Street, situated a stones-throw away from the Minster. The street is impossibly beautiful, and alongside York’s Shambles, arguably one of its most famous for tourists as they gaze at the otherworldly historic facades and elegantly curious shop windows. Home to the quirky Cath Kidston shop, enticing fudge and ice cream stores, and the fascinating York Armoury, and a magical Teddy Bear shop to name a few, it is easy to spend a few hours here browsing and gift shopping. The handmade bear shop is a real treasure, with life-size teddy bears and many other crafted masterpieces. Equally enchanting is the Christmas shop. My best friend Gavin, who craves an eternal Christmas day is often found gazing outside this shop dreaming of his next Christmas as the snow falls inside, watching from outside like an abandoned little match boy. So much wonder in one street!
It isn’t long before its time to sample our next coffee. Walking back to the museum gardens and next to Lendall Bridge and our beautiful River Ouse, is the ‘Perky Peacock’. This is instantly my favourite restaurant by default in York. A walled turret from yesteryear with a giant bolted door which frames the entrance, the Perky Peacock overlooks the Ouse, and there are places to drink both inside and out. Inside the concentric building, the seats curve round, and are dominated by huge wooden tables worthy of any hungry King. Like-wise the selection of herbal teas and coffees available is diverse and again a great range of cakes. The Cappuccino is incredible, almost Italian-like in its foam with scented coffee beans drifting through the whole café. Service is also very hospitable and friendly, and overall, this is my favourite café so far in York. The only criticism pertains to its smallish size, so you may need to be patient at peak times.
And time to wander on. I continue with a walk alongside York walls, which is a story in itself, as several kilometres of wall twist their way around the city giving us a unique bird's eye view of all there is to see. My final coffee for the day is from the exquisite ‘Partisan’ coffee shop located on Micklegate, again a street near to the city centre. This café is an artistic café with a sense of Picasso and other Cubist artists, with colourful art peppering the walls, and with bright, uplifting décor. For even a coffee addict such as myself, I am struggling to take in the thought of more caffeine, so I opt for a gentle latte and final treat, a chocolate Brownie. I am a lucky girl indeed to live here, and of course, with there being so many more coffee shops to try, I have only just scratched the surface! That’s enough caffeine for today, but there will be more. Enjoy!