Something that struck me about York was its overwhelmingly Dickensian atmosphere. The cobbled streets are a maze, running off in all different directions and forming a range of narrow alleys and courtyards that are crowded with a hodge podge of buildings built over several centuries. The air vibrates with the sound of feet against stone and the peal of bells from the cathedral that dominates the skyline. Close your eyes and you could easily have stepped back in time; I could almost hear the swish of skirts and  the clatter of hooves. It is a city that cries out to be put on a Christmas card; it has a nostalgic cosiness that is the equivalent of a chocolate box cottage, and I’d love to see the leaning medieval houses and beautifully decorated bow fronted shop windows covered in a layer of snow. Coincidentally, while Miranda and I were at Mark Hearld and Emily Sutton’s house, I noticed that Emily had illustrated a lovely edition of Dickens’ Christmas novels, and I very much suspect that she used York’s streets as her inspiration. It’s gone on my list for next year! – Rachel