My Solo Trip to York

Authored By:

Elizabeth P.

When I made the decision to study abroad, I knew that solo travel was something I really wanted to experience. As much as I love traveling with my family and friends, I feel like taking a trip on your own forces independence and grants freedom in a special and specific way. So, I decided to try out solo travel first with a day trip, and choose my destination: York, England.

Originally founded by the Romans, York is a city with a very rich history. From an old Viking village to a major railway hub in the nineteenth century, there are so many layers to York’s past that can be uncovered on a visit, even if it’s just a day trip!

Trains run multiple times a day from London King’s Cross to York, and I was able to find cheap tickets by using the Trainline app. My train departed at 8:30, and I really enjoyed the two hour trip to York through the English countryside. 

Upon arriving at York Station, my first priority was finding some coffee. Based on some research, I walked ten minutes to the Perky Peacock, which was easily the coolest coffee shop I’ve ever been to. Located in a 14th century tower on the River Ouse, it had so much character and my cappuccino was delicious as well.

The Perky Peacock

One of the most popular things to do in York is to walk the city walls, so that is what I did next. I walked the path between Monk Bar and Bootham Bar which had great views of the York Minster. This section of the walls takes 15-20 minutes to walk, and it was so cool to sit back and reflect on the history surrounding me!

My favorite part of solo travel is being able to do whatever I feel like doing in a new place and not having to factor in anyone else's opinions of what sounds fun - I can be as spontaneous as I want! So, after walking the city walls, I decided to attend Ash Wednesday service at York Minster! Usually you have to buy a ticket to enter the Minster, but on Ash Wednesday and other important days in the Church the building is open to worship. I was able to explore the Minster before the service, and it is easily one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in. 

Some other things I did in York were Clifford’s Tower, the Shambles, and afternoon tea at Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro! I loved the freedom to walk where I wanted when I wanted, and really just had a great time wandering around and experiencing the city.

Photo for blog post My Solo Trip to York

On my train back to London that afternoon, I really just reflected on how grateful I was to have had the experience that I did! York had been a dream destination of mine for awhile now and I’m so glad I got to explore it on my own terms and on my own time. I think that the most helpful thing for me was planning so much of the trip in advance - I walked out of that train station with a list of 5-10 sights to see and was able to map myself around the city to find them. Because of this I was able to be spontaneous with my time but never felt lost or unsure of what to do. 

Overall, I highly recommend that any student studying abroad takes themself on a solo trip. It doesn’t have to be a huge weekend trip or anything, it can be a short train ride away or even an afternoon in your own city! Learning how to navigate and be comfortable spending time with yourself is so important, and you feel so proud of yourself once you succeed! I will definitely be taking myself on more solo trips in the future, and am so happy I could start in York.