IT HAS been six months since I started writing for The Press.

During this time, I have thoroughly enjoyed producing trending stories and feature articles for the paper.

Being from the West Midlands, my knowledge of York initially stemmed anything my local friends could tell me about the city.

However, writing for the paper has truly allowed me to expand my knowledge of York and dig deep into the city's history, speak with residents and really feel like I am part of the York community.

Here are just nine things I have learnt about York after writing about the city for six months:

1. The properties are expensive… but beautiful.

There’s no denying that house prices in York can be eye-wateringly expensive.

According to Zoopla, the average property price in the city is almost £300,000.

However, I cannot deny that some of these houses are beautiful and many of them would be my dream home.

One property that sticks in my mind is the £1.5m property on St Martin’s Lane.

I wrote about this property back in October and took the reader on a virtual tour through the luxe home.

York Press: The kitchenThe kitchen

(Photo: Zoopla, Carter Jonas)

As a self-confessed foodie, I would love to prepare a meal inside this property’s massive kitchen.

2. It was once known as The City of Chocolate
York Press: Confectionary factory in YorkConfectionary factory in York

(Photo: Geograph/Michael Jagger)

Speaking of food, I also discovered more about York’s link to chocolate while writing for the paper- it was even dubbed The City of Chocolate.

This is partly due to the Rowntree’s and Terry’s factories which were built during the 20th century.

3. There are plenty of natural beauty spots in the city

Six months ago, I thought York was a bustling city filled with students but never really considered how beautiful it is.

Thanks to some historic monuments and pretty natural areas, locals can wake up to a great view everyday.

York is even home to some scenic walking routes, my favourite of which is the Stockton on the Forest walk as it takes you past the 18th century Holy Trinity Church and the Georgian-built Brockfield Hall.

4. It is home to some fantastic businesses

I try to promote and shine a light on independent businesses whenever I can.

In the last six months, I have spoken to some lovely sellers with truly unique products up for sale.

If you are looking for some small businesses to support, York Gin is a great place to start or Give The Dog a Bone in Fossgate.

I also spoke to some local Etsy sellers who gave me some gift inspiration for my own Christmas shopping.

One local woman produces synesthesia art from a condition that allows her to see music and sound as colours -and she sells these products on Etsy!

5. I discovered more about York’s history

To say that York is bursting with culture is an understatement.

I have written extensively about York’s historic monuments and locations- locals are so lucky to have these places right on their doorstep.

I discovered that the historic York Minster took over 250 years to build and that several names have been linked to its construction, including Archbishop Thomas of Bayeaux, Archbishop Roger of Pont l’Évêque, Archbishop Walter de Gray, King Edwin and King Oswald.

York Press: York Minster York Minster

(Photo: Geograph/Ian Capper)

While writing for the paper, I also found out that York itself dates back as far as 71AD during the Roman era.

5000 Roman forces set up camp in the city, which was then called Eboracum.

However, there is also evidence that people from the Neolithic period (4000-2500 BC), and Bronze Age (2500-800 BC) lived in York.

6. There is plenty to do (once the pandemic is over)

I started writing for The Press in the middle of the pandemic meaning most attractions and events have been cancelled.

While I have only scratched the surface, it’s clear to see that York is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do; it’s especially good for families.

The National Railway Museum always has an event taking place, even during the pandemic.

Castle Howard and Beningbrough Hall can also be relied upon for a great day out.

One of my personal favourites is the York Dungeon which depicts the history of the dungeon and introduces actor-led shows.

7. I know exactly where to stay for a weekend break

With lockdown measures in place and the travel rules constantly changing, a proper holiday has been a pipe dream for many of us- myself included.

With the travel rules constantly changing, our safest option for a holiday this year seems to be staying in the UK.

Over the past six months, I have written extensively about the best hotels and staycation destinations in York, hoping to give readers a glimmer of hope about the prospect of a weekend away- even if it is just on the doorstep.

If I wanted to stay in a local luxe hotel near York, my first choice would be The Grand in Station Rise.

Alternatively, North Yorkshire is also a fantastic place for a glamping getaway and the Rufus’ Roost Treehouse in Hustwaite looks fantastic.

It’s only 30 minutes away from York and is nestled in the trees- best of all, it has its own hot tub.

8. Dame Judi Dench is from the city

York Press: Dame Judi Dench (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA)Dame Judi Dench (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

As a Skyfall fan, I was surprised to learn that Dame Judi Dench hails from York- and she isn’t the only one.

Many famous faces come from the city, including Mark Addy from Game of Thrones and Danny Worsnop from Asking Alexandria.

9. York has a haunted past

I love all things spooky and paranormal.

While I may not necessary believe in spirits and ghosts, I still enjoy hearing spooky stories.

Last year, I looked into the most haunted places in York; the Peaseholme Green and The Yorkshire Museum are just some places with ghostly stories attached to them.

I also spoke to a local ghost walk tour guide who shared her paranormal stories with me- she believes that she has captured physical evidence of a ghost manifestation while walking down Piccadilly road in York.