Enjoy York While You Can

Charlie Cooling

York is a wonderful place and although the Campus is fantastic and seeing the city sloshed is fun, there is a lot of it to explore while sober too.

(Image: Iwan Stone)

I spent my entire lockdown in York, living alone. 

It was a strange experience from the get-go, I still remember my housemates all moving back home mid-March and warning me of the forthcoming lockdown with all those WhatsApp screenshots sent to them by someone who “worked in the Civil Service”. It’s funny to look back now and think about how everyone seemed to know the same employee who was part of the never-to-be-heard-of-again, very official sounding ‘COVID-19 Committee’. 

I decided to not take heed of these warnings and head home like many other students, leaving me stranded in an empty uni house without company for the foreseeable future. With third year exams looming, this should have been the perfect opportunity for me to knuckle down with revision and smash my final papers out of the park, however, like many, I found the will to revise evading me, no matter how hard I attempted to pin it down via productivity meditations. One thing I did successfully achieve during my lockdown though, was deepening my knowledge of York which I had never previously considered. 

Soundtracked by David Bowie, I would escape the confines of my bedroom and wander around the city alone. Most students aren’t too familiar with areas of York across Millennium Bridge, such as the Knavesmire and places further afield such as Acomb, which is reached by crossing a stray similar to Walmgate. Acomb has a relaxed vibe and feels as if you are in a 1950s suburban planner’s idea of paradise. Despite this, the walk there from more familiar areas of York is pleasant and worthwhile. 

In the daytime, I would frequently trek up and down the river Ouse, reaching concrete-filled Clifton in the North before heading back towards muddy Fulford on the opposite side. The river is the lifeblood of the city, and is incredibly under appreciated, especially by those who live further afield in Tang Hall or Heworth, but who can blame them when it is a 30 minute walk away. I have been very fortunate to live within a few minutes walk of the oft-flooded banks of the Ouse in the last two years, and couldn’t imagine a day spent without a quick stroll alongside it. 

I took advantage of the emptiness of Campus too, and although the geese remained, the lack of students created a feeling of space which I have never felt when rushing between SLB and the Exhibition Centre on a usual day, it really is worth having a walk around in the dead of night. 

Before this mutates into a Lonely Planet blog, I will make my point clear: make the most of living in this city while you have the opportunity to do so, York is a wonderful place, and although the Campus is fantastic and seeing the city sloshed is fun, there is a lot of it to explore while sober too.