THERE are some benefits to the current Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ even though many of us may be feeling that's not the case and going a touch ‘stir crazy’ as it relentlessly wears on.

The garden has never looked tidier, with fence and shed painted, weed free and a few new plants provided by friends while maintaining social distancing.

The odd job has been done such as tightening up cupboard doors. Also a massive tidy up-cum-spring clean, file updates regarding matters such as insurance and during all of this discovering some unforgotten matters such as holiday travel stories that haven’t seen the light of day... until now.

One of these being a thoroughly enjoyable break in the magnificent city of York, a place of fun and learning.

It was one of those sudden impulses that found us, and friends, as a foursome bound for this hugely historic city.

We’re not exactly spring chickens and somewhat surprisingly we previously had just a couple of fleeting glimpse of the place, overnight stays when returning home to Worcestershire from the far north. Our friends had never been there!

So chatting one afternoon over a cup of tea and cakes the four of us had been wondering where we might head for on our next short break having been to the Lake District a couple of times and two visits prior to this to Cornwall.

Having explained some of the attractions of this famous historic and walled city the argument was clearly winning the day, and then, when the coup de grace, was delivered it was no contest, especially as two of us are avid steam buffs and York has that wonderful railway museum.

York, with its old Roman wall, its 13th century Gothic Cathedral - the outstanding York Minster, its splendid cobbled streets and variety of shops, along with its markets, the River Ouse and boat trips and then, of course, the National Railway Museum.

It proved to be the perfect choice that pleased us all particularly as their are several places not too far away to visit by bus.

Because of the ‘railway' connection the decision was to let the train take the strain and leave the car at home. A good move with the excellent public transport available.

All booked, using our rail cards and with dates confirmed for renting a luxury apartment, set the fun factor in motion.

And fun it was - almost a laugh-a-minute.

Arriving at Birmingham’s Grand Central station, what we used to know as New Street Station, from Worcester brought the first fit of the giggles.

I was left to mind the luggage and the other three headed off to the loos and a cup of coffee.

Five, ten, 15 minutes elapsed and then quite a bit longer. What had happened to them?

Undaunted, and knowing they would return, I began to eat my lunchtime sandwiches. All this time unaware of eyes attempting to make contact as the rest of the group were shut behind barriers some distance away and not even assistance from station staff could find the missing trio a route back to me, their luggage and sandwiches!

Eventually though we re-grouped, still laughing, and on board our train one of our travellers, we’ll call him Roger to avoid recognition, insisted he must travel facing forwards.

So when the train arrives he takes his seat facing the way he wanted only to discover it went back out the same way. Not what was wanted so cue a session of musical chairs, having already caused a major blockage with other folk already occupying our booked seats!

Even more fun later at our luxury apartment - booked via City Lets of York, just a short walk from the city centre.

It was what we had hoped for, excellent rooms, however a problem did manifest itself around 11pm when I went to take a shower…

The shower cubicle's sliding door fell away but, completely in the buff, I managed to prevent it crashing into the wall opposite after a call to my wife.

Not quite the sight she wanted to see last thing at night!

More amusement explaining the events to our friends at breakfast, as well at our landords for a few days, the City Lets office close by. They were most obliging and offered to move us to another apartment but with another shower available we stayed put.

As for the offending door it was off its rails, not repairable and it transpired the whole unit would have to be replaced.

Also that morning we suddenly lost Roger. Where was he? His wife, we’ll call her Heather, suddenly spotted him in the adjacent but wrong wrong block of flats! How he’d managed that we couldn’t work out especially as you need special codes. But manage it he did. Perhaps he had worked for MI5?

On other days we wondered around enjoying the sights - the city walls, National Trust attractions, viewing magnificent York Minster, the city’s market and narrow streets full of colour and busy shops and the splendid Railway Museum. This is a great morning or afternoon visit even if you are not a rail buff. Plenty for all to enjoy.

No lockdown back then as the crowds poured in.

Nearby, if by car or bus, you’ve got the Yorkshire Dales and Moors, the area’s coastal charms aren’t too far away either.

Whitby with its wonderful reputation for that Great British favourite of fish and chips, is one such seaside town.

Visiting there takes you though ‘Heartbeat’ country, land of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway with its links to Goathland - the railway station used in the tv series.

Heartbeat was a hugely popular television drama centred on the local police and ran for 18 years until 2010.

The port also has links to the legend of Dracula, with author Bram Stoker having stayed there and apparently influenced by the town’s ruined Gothic abbey.

Mystery there and whichever way you turn back in York with lots more mystery, myth and legend, it’s very ancient past as a Roman settlement and as a Viking stronghold. And this has continued over the centuries to create a destination to encourage tourists to return and explore further.

Without doubt York has a particular vibrancy and attractiveness to win you over time and again.

More ticket fun on the return home. Our booked tickets were for the right date but no one had spotted the seat numbers were registered for another day. More to-ing and fro-ing, more amusement - eventually the member of the party needing to face forwards was accommodated and the rest of eased into seats close by.

We never knew that travelling could be so much fun or confusing, and more importantly so memorable.

One thing for sure. York still has plenty more attractions waiting be explored on our next visit.

**City Lets is based at 8, Fossbridge House, Walmgate, York YO1 9SY. It’s open weekdays 9am to 5.30pm and can be contacted on 01904 652729 or by email on