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A Taste of Learning History with a Difference in York

A Taste of  Learning History with a Difference in York

From Bonfire Night in York to spooky Halloween performances at Whitby, we’ve loved visiting Yorkshire at this time of year…. But today we’ve grabbed the chance to wrap up warm and head into York’s historic city centre to discover more about the Industrial Revolution, Georgian History and to build on our learning in Porto about the Age of Discovery.

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There’s lots to love about this time of year in Yorkshire, especially after spending a crisp winters day exploring Helmsley yesterday. But nothing beats the winter chill than finding a museum that actually encourages you to explore inside whilst enjoying steaming mugs of hot chocolate… just like the York’s Chocolate Story does!


Having visited York last year, we’d grabbed a quick visit to the York Chocolate Story & the Minster, but both girls were desperate to spend some more time understanding just how York’s chocolate story began. Having seen the impact of the Cadbury family in Birmingham, we’d discussed just how York had led the field in terms of workers rights.


Discover the story of Chocolate at the  York chocolate story

We’ve been fortunate to see some of Europe’s best campsites over the past 2 years, and each have had something to remember them by. For instance, Tiroler Zugspitze’s Cable Car or Camping Krk Resort’s ‘infinity pool’ takes some beating…. not to mention Aufenfeld’s panoramic ‘natural alpine lake’ …. But for Playa Montroig, you have to look no further than the palm fringed water slides or perhaps the fantastically comfortable ‘astroturf’ sunbathing area that wraps itself around the vast array of pools.

One of the finest Medieval buildings across Europe

With daylight running out as the nights close in, we left the area around Clifford Tower and Fairfax House and headed back towards the centre of York and one of the finest medieval guildhalls in England at the Merchant Adventures Hall.


Having loved visiting and learning about a similar guildhall in Exeter (Tuckers Hall) both girls couldn’t wait to explore the stunning medieval building… reputably one of the finest remaining examples across Europe.

Having previously enjoyed York’s impressive ‘Henry VII’ & ‘Richard III’ Experiences, it’s a step back in history to an interesting period of discovery… much like we found at the Age of Discoveries in Porto, Portugal (arguably the birthplace of the very first merchant adventurers.

It often seems that York’s modern life is inextricably linked to it’s past…. a point made even clearer by the snaking roman walls that encircle the historic centre. But it’s clear to see just how much medieval endeavour must have gone into the timber framed hall (built in 1357) and both girls loved seeing examples of just how impressive it must have looked back then (see here)

Before you visit, it’s well worth checking out what might be available. There are educational workshopson Trade and Exploration,Tudor Medicine & Dance workshops

LifeinourVan Top Tip

Merchant Adventurers Hall is in the heart of the city centre near CastleGate and costs £12 (family  of 4). Special offers are available or just use your York Pass.

LifeinourVan Top Tip

Still home to the modern day Merchant Adventurers, it houses a 660 year unbroken tradition of entrepreneurship, wealth and experience that has built York: from the 14th century (via railways and chocolate) to it’s prominent role nowadays.

Yet again, York has proved itself to be a History Lovers Paradise and one that has yet again provided us with another fantastic ‘road schooling’ lesson on Georgian History that both girls loved from start to finish.

york chocolate story

fairfax house

merchant adventurers hall york

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About The Author


Ever wanted to pack your bags, just jump in a motorhome and go off and explore Europe as a family? Well, that’s exactly what my family has done since September 2015. Visiting 35 European countries, travelling over 54,000 miles and grabbing over 450 family experiences on the way… enjoying Bobsleigh in Norway, Climbing into Mt Etna in Sicily or Kayaking the River Dordogne.

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