As we go into November, Bonfire Night will soon be upon us, and what better way to spend it than in Guy Fawkes’ supposed birthplace. To remember, remember the fifth of November, York’s Guy Fawkes Inn is the place to go for a warm cosy atmosphere and guest ales straight from York Brewery. In the north during late October, the air is as crisp as the leaves on the ground and I find myself wanting to get out of the cold and into somewhere with a roaring fire, candlelight embracing the room and a chilled glass of prosecco (arguably an all-year-round drink!) and The Guy Fawkes Inn ticks all those boxes. In honour of Halloween, however, I had to ditch my glass of faux fizz and try the local guest ale – Ghost Centurion Ale by York Brewery. I don’t profess to be an ale connoisseur but if you enjoy a dark ale with a rich aroma of roasted malt (and supposedly berry and chocolate tones), you may enjoy this seasonal blend, although it was not to my liking. Even without particularly enjoying my ale, just being there felt like home.
The Guy Fawkes Inn is slightly further from the centre stage of bars, pubs and restaurants, situated opposite the Minster. It felt like walking into your local – friendly faces (typical of Yorkshire folk), candles in place of electricity and uneven wooden floorboards. Their 2AA rosette restaurant boasts homemade meals using locally sourced, seasonal produce and they certainly deliver on that. I particularly recommend the potato and leek soup, something so simple but so comforting in the autumn months. It was seasoned to perfection. On their themed a la carte menu they offer locally sourced award-winning sausages and roasted garlic mash, vegan chickpea curry to “feed the fire” and of course their famous steak pie for a reasonable starting price of £10.95 for main courses and £5.50 for “start the fire” starters. Perhaps the pricing is not for your average Wednesday night, but it’s suitable if you fancy splashing out a little when your student loan next rolls in or when your parents have come to visit and you want to treat them to a proper meal, at their expense of course! If Bonfire Night is not at the forefront of your mind and you’re more into Halloween, then the place to go for a quick pit stop on the way to Stone Roses, Yates or wherever is offering triples for singles, is the Golden Fleece overlooking the Shambles.
Supposedly the Fleece is the most haunted pub in York, and one of the most haunted in the UK, so if you are looking for an eerie encounter, this surely is the best place to find it?.There have been several eyewitness accounts including the apparition of a young Victorian boy in the front bar by the entrance who was allegedly killed by a horse from the delivery cart. Despite its chilling history, the atmosphere is nothing short of warming, offering huge portions of food, local ales and plenty of spirits (pun intended!)
Autumn isn’t just about Halloween and Bonfire night though, there are plenty of other reasons to love the season. Chunky knits are back, Christmas is fast approaching and pumpkins are in season. If you don’t fancy donning your hat and gloves for the march into town, stay in your new home and do some of your own cooking. Pumpkins aren’t just for looking scary, they also make a tasty soup. Simply add some stock and spices! You have a nutritious and warming meal. Perhaps you are looking for a slightly more substantial meal, why not make a comforting stew? With dark mornings and early evenings, investing in a slow cooker will make your days last longer. They can be left to cook while you’re in a seminar and you can get away with using cheaper cuts of meat, as the meat will tenderise the longer it’s left to cook and will be ready for when you get home.
There really is nothing better than the warm feeling you get from food when you’re cold, tired and maybe a little bit homesick – I definitely recommend getting those pots and pans your parents bought you out of the cupboard and whipping up something delicious and simple that makes you feel comforted despite the changes in the weather.