Finally Journeying to the North of England

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I’d wanted to visit the north of England for years. Maybe it’s because most of my English friends are northern, or because I’m obsessed with medieval British history or heck, because I love Game of Thrones (the Starks, anyone?). Regardless, I knew I’d have to venture north during my three weeks in England.

Going north also meant visiting Lauren, one of my good friends from my Paris days! (You may remember her from posts such as this one and this one.)

I found a lot to love up north, from the incredibly friendly people to the winding medieval alleyways of York.

Here were my highlights from my long weekend in the North of England.

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The Train Ride

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The train ride up north was as quaint as a train ride through the English countryside ought to be.

I scribbled down notes as I gazed out the window: Back and white magpies flying low over barren fields, bales of hay stacked like wine barrels, work-horses with muddied legs, a man in a black blazer walking a small white terrier.

Also, blessedly, there were no billboards. America, we need to follow suit.

 

A Hilarious Night OutNorthX

While in Lincoln we had a fantastic night out which featured pre-gaming with Cards Against Humanity, swing-dancing to metal at a trashy local club called Cubes, scarfing down kebabs in the street at 2 a.m and me declaring one poor girl the next Margaret Thatcher. (My drunk brain thought this was a compliment, evidently.)

Also I really enjoyed playing Cards Against Humanity because I won like five times, and when I play in the states all of my jokes are fails. Clearly this is a sign, guys.

 

Crumpets for Breakfast

So, crumpets are a real thing. Who knew? And they’re also the best thing ever- like spongy English muffins that soak up buttery beautifully.

 

My First Cream Tea

Is it weird one of my travel goals was to have cream tea in England? Whatever.

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It turns out cream tea is every bit as good as I expected: piles of buttery scones, moist lemon cakes and the best smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches ever. And for only £9, what a steal! (Good luck finding cream tea in London for that price.)

Plus, the tea shop we visited couldn’t have been more adorable; a quaint, timber-framed address with views of the river.

 

Exploring Lincoln and Visiting the Cathedral

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When I arrived in Lincoln, I was surprised to see it was as flat and green as my native Michigan.

And though I had somewhat imagined a Billy Elliot-esque town, Lincoln is a small, well-to-do city with an 11th-century cathedral jutting above the other buildings.

Fun fact- Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in the world for 238 years (1311–1549). #nerdalert

One must-do in Lincoln: Trekking up the Steep Hill to reach the cathedral. (Plus, Steep Hill looks just like Hogsmeade.) And once you’re inside the cathedral keep an eye out for the Lincoln Imp!

Relaxing with Friends

Sometimes when you travel you crave the mundaneness of  la vie quotidienne.

Which is why I relished the normal things in Lincoln: grabbing Indian take-out, eating duck ramen at Wagamama’s, spending a lazy Monday seeing the (fantastic) Grand Budapest Hotel, doing nothing but watch War Horse and Orange is the New Black one day when Lauren was at work.

Yep, I’m such a good traveler.

 

Day-tripping to York

Being a history nerd, I couldn’t skip out on one of England’s most historically important cities, now could I?

So I was delighted when Lauren suggested driving up north to York on Sunday. York is also where Lauren and our friend Victoria went to college (or uni, as they would say).

As it was Sunday, we had Sunday roast at Evil Eye. And I nerded out about trying Yorkshire pudding for the first time IN Yorkshire.

Overall I enjoyed Sunday Roast, but I won’t lie- I still think Thanksgiving dinner trumps it by a mile.

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I enjoyed every second we spent exploring York. From peeking into a few shops…

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To shooting a fake band album cover at the York Minster…

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to strolling down the narrow street called The Shambles…

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To retreating for tea at the House of Trembling Madness, or as it is known locally, Delirium Tremens. Delirium Tremens is a medieval drinking hall, the first Norman house built in York in 1180 and constructed with 12th century ship beams.

Also, everyone was incredibly cavalier about the fact that we were drinking tea in a 12th century drinking hall. I love England.

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Have you ever spent time in the North of England?

I used thetrainline.com to book my train to Lincoln and it only cost me £ 11.25 for a one-way ticket– so inexpensive! Just to note this is not a sponsored mention- I was honestly so surprised by how cheap it was.

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

23 thoughts on “Finally Journeying to the North of England”

  1. I’m a northerner and proud (GoT speak, I live by the Wall I am that northern!) and it always heartens me to see people venturing out of London and seeing what the North has to offer. So glad you enjoyed and got to have a proper cream tea!

  2. Beautiful photos, Ashley. I so wish that we had enough time on this past visit to make it out of London but… we were having so much fun in London! But I know England is a country I will go back to again and again and again; next time I’ll certainly have to venture north. I’ve seen parts of it, but not nearly so much as I would like.

    Also, crumpets are the bomb! We have them here in Canada, and they are vastly superior to the insipid English muffin!

  3. While I adore London, I would love to see more of the country, particularly the North and especially the Lake District :) I have been to Bath which I loved but need to see more. My paternal grandfather’s family is originally from York and it’s on my bucket list of places to see one day.

    I’m currently watching “The White Queen” and am on a super “everything England” kick!

  4. Beautiful shots of Lincoln and York! It looks wonderfully medieval. I still have not been to England (I honestly cannot believe it!), in favor of farther destinations, but hoping to change this by the end of this year! The smaller towns are exactly what I picture them to look like!

  5. YES! I absolutely love York. I could live there. The shambles made me feel like I was in Harry Potter. And the York Minster is stunning. I haven’t been to Lincoln, but I have heard a lot about the cathedral. Northern England is definitely a stunning place – the green rolling hills put me in a trance!

  6. It’s great to see another side of England. York looks like a picture-perfect place. I’d really love to visit someday. Ah, and all of that food looks so good!! I’ve never tried a crumpet. Apparently I’m missing out!

  7. It’s beautiful. England is on top of my bucket-list. Thank you for such a lovely visual treat. I love its architecture, the alleyways, shops and afternoon tea culture!

  8. Being a history nerd, I simply love England. We are heading there this fall. Your photos of York and Lincoln are beautiful. I just find all of the old buildings and tight alleyways/streets amazing! And now that I know you are a GoT fan, this has become my new favorite blog ;)

  9. Lovely post :) Being a Brit, it’s always really interesting to read other people’s take on England. I live not too far from Lincoln so I love that you’ve written a post about the North of England. In my opinion it’s soooo much better than the south! xx

  10. The North of England is the best part! Although, I’m talking a lot more north than York. I spent a year in the Lake District and it is by far one of the most beautiful places I have visited. And up *really* north is Alnwick Castle and the countryside around there is also gorgeous. Oh and my favourite bookshop in the UK is in Carlisle. It’s huge and I have literally got lost in it. If time and money allows, every visitor to London should make an effort to visit this part of the country.

  11. Nice to see the North of England getting some press as so many people stick to London and the south! I love York but have never been to Lincoln, looks lovely too so will have to pay it a visit sometime. p.s. the train system in the UK is totally bizarre, sometime you can get halfway across the country for under £10 and the next it’ll cost you £50 to go half an hour away!

  12. so pretty! Ive never been to the north of England but when I go back to the UK this has definitely encouraged me to go up and have a look for a few days :)

  13. I’m glad you had such a good time in York, I really like it there. It’s so quaint yet still filled with things to do. I’m a northerner, from Newcastle, so it’s more North East! Glad you had fun exploring a new part of England though :)

  14. Unfortunately I’ve not been to England yet. Hopefully though my Northern English boyfriend will take me one day to experience some afternoon tea.

  15. I’m from Northern England Ashley. I’m from Manchester! I’m so pleased that you went “Up North,” as most tourists tend to sort of get stuck in the South!

    I love Northern England, the best place to be, next to Berlin! I’m delighted that you went to York, and you experienced the things that make us English. Crumpets and tea anyone?

    P.S. I like “the band” photo. Very English rock n’ roll!

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