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  • Writer's pictureMarion

How to make the best of a rainy day in York? Our top picks for a cozy day out in the city.

Yes,spring is coming, we can feel it in the air… But, but, but. Winter’s not quite over yet and we’re still in for a few cold, dreary days where a warm drink, a rolling fire and perhaps even a movie, chocolate and cake will seem like the best remedy to it all. So here’s how we best enjoy a cold and dreary day in York.

First, take a walk along the walls. No, we are not crazy. We know it’s cold, we know it’s dark, but trust us. Just wrap up and head for the walls. While cold and wet may not be your typical idea of a ‘great day out’ it certainly does give a place a particular atmosphere and that is especially true of York. Head for the section of the walls starting at Bootham Bar in front of the art gallery for wonderful and dramatic views of York Minster and beyond.

The Walls on a cloudy day... Look at the dramatic colours coming through!

Photo credits: PixelArt

Best Coffee Shop

At Walmgate Bar you will find the Gatehouse coffee shop, a cosy little café inside, yes, you heard us, inside the Bar. The coffee is brilliant while the old stone walls, well-worn wooden furniture and cosy sofas invite you to just sit back and enjoy the Instagram-worthy setting. Being slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, the Gatehouse coffee shop is one of the secret gems of York and a perfect place to truly experience the historicity of the city in a quiet, cosy and welcoming atmosphere. For the hungry, a range of pastries, cakes and snacks are available while warm paninis and soup might offer a more substantial 'snack'.

Best Tea Shop

Best Scones in York with clotted cream and jam

If you’re more of the tea, cake and scone kind of person (and who could blame you), head to the Shambles where you will find the The Flax and Twine, a true vintage wonderland. Take some time to browse the wonderful diversity of intricate and beautiful antiquities before you head up the stairs to the quaint and cosy tea room and sit yourself down for a delicious experience in yet another unique and most historical setting. The cakes on display are more than alluring but for this once do stick to the traditional tea and scone. They will not disappoint and we have them every. single. time. (There is a reason why they are part of our Afternoon Tea Tour of York!) Served warm, they are flaky and soft though still crisp on the outside and with a generous serving of clotted cream and jam, you will surely agree that these are the best scones in York, possibly even of Yorkshire or, why not, the whole of the North!

Best stop for chocolatey-comfort

Rich and decadent hot chocolate at the Cocoa House

It is no secret that York is a chocolate city and what better on a cold and dreary day than to indulge in rich cocoa delights? Head to the York Cocoa House which is sure to sweep the chocolate lovers of their feet and offer a delicious dose of comfort to the chilled and tired. Made from chocolate shavings,the hot chocolates are gorgeously rich and decadent. Do contemplate treating yourself to one of their luscious treats - from deep chocolatey cake to lighter bites such as cheese and cocoa nib scone (a stunner), there is something on offer to suit any sort of taste. If you’re feeling more adventurous, we strongly recommend ordering from the savoury menu. Featuring top Yorkshire produce, the guys at the Cocoa House really know how to create dishes that make chocolate sing. Chocolate-BBQ chicken quesadillas anyone? It's delicious... Enjoy the experience! ;)

Best view, best cinema

On a cold and dreary day, the City Screen Picturehouse is the perfect option for an off-the-beaten-path sort of activity. A wide range of films are listed including classics, independent and art films but also some more popular titles. Apart from being a top venue for film lovers and amateurs, City Screen York does great food and beer. Their motto "We take our food and beer as seriously as we take our films" turns out to be quite true and is just another reason why we have included it in this list. Along with great food, the Riverside Café-Bar has an extensive drink offer and the full-height window means you can enjoy fantastic views of the River Ouse while staying warm and dry. Perfect for a pre-movie munching and drinking. Food, beer film and music on the banks of the River Ouse? That sounds like our idea of a cozy afternoon out in York.

Best Pub and rolling fire

Finish the day with a visit to The Black Swan, a splendid 15th century haunted Inn which will take you right back in time. Take a seat next to a rolling fire in one of the pub's cozy rooms and enjoy a pint of good Yorkshire ale. Hungry? Satisfy yourself with The Black Swan's hearty and comforting British classics. Our favourite is the rabbit stew: It’s piping-hot flavourful goodness is some sort of a blessing on a cold and dreary day. If you’re looking for something a bit more typical, try the Giant Yorkshire Pudding. It really is giant and sure to leave you full and satisfied. On a Thursday evening, some great names of folk complete the experience with live music.Check out upcoming shows here. Let’s be honest. A pint, great pub food, open fire and live music in a 15th century setting must be the perfect end to the best cold and dreary day in York. And when visiting, make sure to ask about the secret passageway lying right under the floorboards… If lucky, you might even see a ghost or two!

Photo credits: The Black Swann Inn

Which are your favourite places in York for a cozy time?

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