When I woke up early Thursday, glorious sunshine was already showing outside my window, so I got up and dressed quickly, determined to catch a song service at the Minster. How different the great cathedral looked against a bright blue sky!
As before, the door was open, but no one was inside, so I made my way down the nave, hoping to catch someone who could tell me where the song service could be heard. No luck, but I did finally discover a small group of people in a side chapel to the right of the Choir, gathering for morning prayers. As the service had already started, I slipped into the back and just listened. It was touching to hear the mixture of historical responses from the Book of Common Prayer mixed with the leader’s own petitions for those suffering during the present refugee crisis and for other modern-day concerns. I stayed until the end, then sat in the quiet of the empty cathedral as before, just taking in the peace before setting off for my last morning on foot in York.
Suzi had told me I must visit Duttons for Buttons, so I made my way through Stonegate and the Shambles and by Whip-ma-Whop-ma-Gate, enjoying the view of the church there in the bright sunlight:
Duttons for Buttons is an absolutely darling little shop chock-a-block with (of course) buttons of every description, plus embroidery kits, floss, ribbons, and more. I picked up new buttons for a much-loved coat and a needlework kit for one of my daughters. This shop is a treat for the sewing enthusiast and will definitely be on my must-visit list for 2016!
Next, I made my way toward the center of town, taking pictures of lovely churches and shops as I went.
Naturally, I had to stop in at the Hat Shop and just ogle all the gorgeous things on display!
The church below has a most unusual clock out front with a little 18th-century gent perched on top. I was so intrigued that I did a web search when I got back home and found out the little man is an admiral of the navy who was placed by the clockmaker in the 1770s. He used to revolve to face the sun at all times, but he was damaged at some point in the 19th century and stopped moving. He was also burnt badly during a bombing raid in 1942 and was restored and replaced in 1966. You can read his full history at this link.
I finally came full circle after roaming about York’s streets for a couple of hours, taking one last farewell look at the Minster before heading to the hotel for breakfast and check-out. What an utterly delightful visit! I simply cannot wait to come back and share this beautiful city with my group in 2016!
We hit the road at 10:15am, stopping only for a brief lunch before arriving in London around 3:30pm. Because so much of the afternoon was still before me (and because I hate wasting any opportunity to see something “new” in London!), I grabbed my Oyster card and boarded a bus for Trafalgar Square. I’ve been into the National Portrait Gallery a few times, but I had never visited the National Gallery that faces the square, so I decided to do so before closing time. The bus actually didn’t complete its route but dumped all passengers out at the middle of the Strand, so I walked down in the sunshine, enjoying the bustle of a London afternoon and taking in the sights. As I crossed the street from Charing Cross, I had to snap a picture of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which is one of my favorite churches in the city:
Trafalgar Square was absolutely thronged with people, but I made my way through and up the stairs of the National Gallery, stopping to take a picture of the square itself:
The interior of the National Gallery is absolutely stunning–a truly wonderful setting for the works of art inside:
I wandered around the galleries, snapping pictures of my favorite paintings.
After this enjoyable foray into the world of fine art, I popped back out into the square and hopped a Number 12 bus to Oxford Circus, determined to find a pair of ballet flats to wear to the ball in Bath. I went in and out of several shoe shops without success before finding a pair of slip-on shoes with elastic in the heels at Top Shop. They didn’t have my size, but I thought I could stand wearing shoes a tad snug for one night. Mistake. More about that later!
When I finished my shopping, I walked back to Regent Street and headed down toward Piccadilly to find another Number 12, which would take me all the way back to Suzi’s place. I had to snap Liberty of London’s iconic storefront as I passed by, and I stepped in to take a look around, only to find a huge fashion event was in full swing (Vogue’s Fashion Night Out).
With the sun beginning to sink, I finally boarded my bus and enjoyed the sights all the way home. Just as an aside here, there was a time when I would have taken the tube every time and skipped the buses. After getting ridiculously turned around (TWICE) on buses in 2007, I had written off this form of transport as hopelessly confusing. The tube is much easier to figure out, so I stuck with it for years. But I’m happy to say that, taking Suzi’s advice, I’ve learned the bus system (for at least a good portion of the city I usually visit), and I really enjoy seeing everything as I go. It’s also very convenient that the buses that travel from Suzi’s bus stop allow me to go quite directly to most of the places I enjoy revisiting!
After a delicious dinner at Suzi’s, I repacked my bag for Bath. We would leave right after the morning rush and make our way to a full-on weekend of Jane Austen delights! More to come…!