September 25, 2015 Jennie Chancey

Day Three: Morning in York, then Back to London

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!

York Minster in the sunshine

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.

Inside York Minster

Looking up from my bench near the Choir…

The Rose Window, York Minster

The famous Rose Window with sun streaming through it and the stained glass windows below.

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:

Beautiful church by Whip-ma-Whop-ma-Gate in York

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!

Duttons for Buttons, York

Next, I made my way toward the center of town, taking pictures of lovely churches and shops as I went.

York Minster seen through the streets of York

York Minster is easy to spot from many places in town.

Naturally, I had to stop in at the Hat Shop and just ogle all the gorgeous things on display!

The Hat Shop, York

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.

St Martin Church, York

St Martin Church

Unusual clock at St Martin Church, York

Sun-drenched church in York

Another sun-drenched church near St Helens Square

Mr Simm's Olde Sweet Shoppe, York

An adorably Dickensian sweet shop!

Lady Peckett's Yard, York

Lady Peckett’s Yard is a little “Snickleway” off a main street. I nearly walked right by it but caught the half-timbered building out of the corner of my eye. Wonderful!

Lovely church tower in York

I got turned around at one point while looking for the Yorvick Viking Centre, but I stumbled upon another pretty church in the process!

Looking into a private garden, York

A beautiful private garden walk near the Viking Centre.

York Minster playing hide and seek by Deangate.

York Minster playing hide and seek by Deangate.

St William's College, York

St William’s College, built in 1465, is the oldest surviving medieval hall in York. It fell into disrepair after being turned into apartments but was, thankfully, rescued and restored in the 1980s.

Inside the courtyard door at St William's College, York

Looking through the main entrance of St William’s College.

Half-timbered house in York

Another lovely half-timbered house in York.

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!

York Minster

The Monkbar Gate, York

One last look at the Monkbar Gate, which was just opposite our hotel.

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:

St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery

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:

Trafalgar Square, London

The interior of the National Gallery is absolutely stunning–a truly wonderful setting for the works of art inside:

Interior of the National Gallery, London

I wandered around the galleries, snapping pictures of my favorite paintings.

Rebecca at the Well by Pellegrini

Rebecca at the Well by Pellegrini

Portrait of a Lady by Goya

Portrait of a Lady by Goya (ca. 1808)

The Tailor by Moroni

The Tailor by Moroni (I have always loved this painting but didn’t realize it was in the National Gallery!)

Gainsborough's portrait of his daughters (one of many), National Gallery, London

Gainsborough’s portrait of his daughters (one of many). The youngest daughter is reaching out for a butterfly, a symbol of fleeting childhood.

The Magdalen Reading by van der Weyden

The Magdalen Reading by van der Weyden (I have always loved artwork that portrays women reading!)

The Dream of St Helena by Veronese

The Dream of St Helena by Veronese

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).

Liberty of London

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!

Trafalgar Square at dusk

Passing by Trafalgar Square at dusk–the view from my perch in the double-decker bus.

Big Ben at Dusk

Rounding the Houses of Parliament. I cannot believe I managed to get this shot as we swung around the corner from Whitehall!

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…!

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About the Author

Jennie Chancey I launched Sense & Sensibility Patterns in 1998 with my original Regency Gown pattern. I never dreamed I'd one day have over two dozen patterns on the market and would be leading tours yearly in the UK! Enjoy my blog, and let me know if you'd like to travel with us!

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