Sometimes when you live, work or commute to a city everyday you forget to notice the little things that make a city beautiful. I am lucky enough to study in York, which despite being a city, isn’t a concrete jungle. York is honestly the most beautiful place I have ever been, and is very photogenic. I wanted to write this blog post as a reflection on my first year studying in York, but also about how I am beginning to notice now that the summer is here how much nature intertwines with a city that is so heavily focused on architecture. York is full to the brim with culture and history alongside some very aesthetically pleasing buildings and outdoor spaces. During my second semester at university I decided to make a conscious effort to make the most of my surroundings, to see more of where I study, and find all of the beautiful outdoor spaces York has to offer.
One of my favourite places to visit are the Minster Gardens, it is slightly out of the way, it is quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourists and the perfect place to sit and read! The museum gardens are also lovely, and sitting along the river on a sunny day might be one of the best things about being in York. As a literature student, I love a good bookshop, and there are an abundance of bookshops selling both second hand and brand new books (including a brilliant Waterstones!) Minstergate Bookshop is among one of my absolute favourites! It sells amazing quality books – I am not 100% certain whether they are actually secondhand, I’m sure some of them are, but regardless they sell new looking books for a secondhand price and the shop itself is reminiscent of York with it’s teeny tiny rooms and narrow staircases. There is also The Little Apple Bookshop which sells full price books but is affiliated with my university so has a lot of copies of my set texts, meaning I can always find what I am looking for in there. These shops are to name but a couple of MANY lovely little bookshops in York, many of which I have yet to visit!
York has so many independent shops, and I often walk past a bakery that sells artesian bread and pastries on the way to university and the smell really is something else! Many of the independent coffee shops use locally sourced bread and produce, and it is nice to know that what you are eating hasn’t been sat in a factory days before you’re eating it. York is a city, and a pretty big one at that, but strangely enough all of its quirks and winding streets are completely unchanged by the presence of modern life. Every historical building and place stands proudly above the bustling city, everyone who lives here boasts of how lucky they are live in such beautiful surroundings and everyone who visits envies us all. York is unapologetically natural in every way possible and I too feel lucky to live and study here.