Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Claire Kenny
Features Writer
1:00 AM 18th November 2023

Let’s Talk York

Claire, sister and mother
Claire, sister and mother
Thinking of your next short break as we head into the colder months? York will make those chilly days and nights positively sparkle!

My sister, Mum and I had been talking about ways we could boost our energy levels in advance of the busy Christmas season, and a visit to beautiful York offered the perfect remedy. Easily accessible via road or rail and with all the ingredients for a magical escape, this is the perfect venue for a laid-back girls’ trip.

The Churchill Hall
The Churchill Hall
Pulling into the carpark of the Churchill Hotel, a smart Georgian mansion with a beautifully curated outdoor dining area, we knew we’d found the perfect backdrop for our stay. The team couldn’t have been more friendly, and from the moment we arrived we felt well looked after, receiving a wonderfully warm welcome from reception.

Eager to start the shopping element of our trip, we were thrilled that the hotel, on Bootham, was just moments away from the retail and foodie action. Ambling along the cobbled streets, the breathtaking Minster was a constant presence, standing proud and immaculate against a crisp blue sky. Fenwick’s is a must-visit for the classic department store experience (I loved its glam café with modern décor and high seating), and Freckleface Home and the stunning Käthe Wohlfahrt are must-visits!

The Churchill
The Churchill
Shopping made us thirsty, so off we went to Betty’s for their classic afternoon tea offer. We opted for a pre-bookable experience in the Bootham Room with live pianist, which felt peaceful and relaxed. Upgrading to a glass of pink champagne was the icing on the cake if you’ll pardon the pun! With flawless service and sandwiches and cakes that make your heart sing, this is a treat I’d recommend wholeheartedly. It’s places like this that exemplify what York is all about: gentle refinement and bags of old school charm.

THe Churchill bedroom
THe Churchill bedroom
Back at the hotel to check in, my mum and I were delighted to discover our shared suite The Bunker - two luxurious adjoining rooms with their own super-modern bathrooms and a small additional lounge area. The vibe throughout the hotel is quirky, moody and stylish yet it still manages to feel fresh and modern.

Being an independent, nothing is too much trouble for The Churchill – we loved the stunning grazing board and red wine combo the restaurant team had ready for us when we returned from the theatre late that evening.

What else we got up to:

Saw La Bamba at the Grand Opera House – the upgrade to the Ambassador Lounge Experience with a pre-show drink and at-table nibbles made our visit even more special. Look out for the waiter with a penchant for bursting into opera singing – he was amazing!
Took a boat tour with City Cruises – the perfect way to round off a day of walking and see the city from a different perspective
Another culinary highlight was Ate O’ Clock, which has possibly the most Instagrammable entrance in Yorkshire! This place has a high-end neighbourhood bistro feel and offers all the classic foodie favourites done exceptionally well. Think salty halloumi fries with chilli jam, silky pate with fresh bread, classic fish and chips that are crispy and light, and generously portioned sea bass with a modern twist. The desserts are to die for too, and the bill was surprisingly reasonable, particularly for three courses each and a decent bottle of pinot grigio.

Our visit to York left us wanting more, but the cocktail of mouth-watering food, retail therapy and culture was everything we needed. I hope that sharing our highlights might help you plan yours, and I’m so excited to return!

Claire and family stayed at the Churchill Hotel