Whether you’re venturing out to discover new places, or you’re commuting around the area you have lived in for your whole life, often, travelling by bus can introduce you to some of the hidden gems dotted around that may have otherwise gone undiscovered.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on one of York’s bus routes which connects the north of the city, to the south. The number 11 First Bus route is ideal for exploring the lesser-known outskirts of York city centre, and here, we’ll be giving you a guided tour of some of our favourite hidden gems on the route, and giving you the full insight into where to get off and what you’ll find there. 

And what’s better? You can make this road trip a real bargain. Using First bus’ aptly named ‘Taste of Freedom’ ticket, you and 4 others can enjoy unlimited travel across York for the whole day. Check out the First Taste of Freedom ticket here!

So, without further ado, let’s hit the road once again!

Bus stop: Maple Avenue 

Brunswick Organic Nursery – Brunswick Organic Nursery and Craft Workshop is an independent charity that offers supported work opportunities to adults with learning difficulties. Brunswick Nursery provides a safe and stimulating environment for people with learning difficulties to work in. The charity works predominantly as a plant nursery, growing a range of plants for sale, as well as growing seasonal organic fruit, vegetables and herbs. The team provide a contract gardening service for the local community, and also produce a whole range of gift cards, gift wrap, woven goods, bird boxes and other wood worked items, some of which are made by the team. 

Many people with learning difficulties are eager to work and engage with their local community, but are limited by the lack of opportunities and support. The Brunswick not only gives those the opportunity to work within the community, but also encourages and supports them to harness their skills.  

 

Bus Stop: Bishopthorpe Road 

M&K Butchers – Bishopthorpe Road, known locally as ‘Bishy Road’ is the next stop on the tour; and the first stop-off is the much-loved York butchers, M&K Butchers. One of the longest-standing businesses in York, M&K Butchers is a real hidden gem thanks to the wholesome family and story behind the business.

M&K Quality Butchers was first established over 40 years ago by Philip Kneavsey and his wife Lindsey. Philip originally learnt his trade in the late 60’s, when shortly after he was informed by a family member that a butcher’s shop had become available on Bishopthorpe Road. At only 21 years of age, this was quite a leap for Mr Kneavsey, but after the first six weeks it was clear to see the risk paid off, and he would need extra staff to cope with the rapid growth of the business. Throughout the years, M&K Quality Butchers has gone from strength to strength, and the shop is now run by brothers Matthew and Simon Kneavsey, as well Simon’s children, Charlotte and Ben.

Millie’s Greengrocers – Bishy Road also plays host to another one of York’s famous family-run businesses, Millie’s Greengrocers. The greengrocers is believed to be the longest-running produce supplier in Yorkshire, celebrating 100 years of business last year. The business was first established in 1918 in York Market by the current owner Simon’s Great Grandfather, John Pennington, and has been passed down through the family until 2006, when Simon finally took over the business. Simon has fond memories of working alongside his Dad, particularly during strawberry season, when Simon would not be able to attend school as there was simply too much to do during that time. The shop has gone from strength to strength over the years, and Millie’s now employs eight full time staff and has over 130 loyal customers in the books.

Pig and Pastry – Another fantastic story to make it out of Bishopthorpe Road is thanks to the well-adored neighbourhood cafe, Pig & Pastry. At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the team at Pig & Pastry set up the Supper Collective, an initiative which helped create ready-meals for the most vulnerable people in the community, including residents, the homeless shelter, and front line staff at York District Hospital. Pig & Pastry used their kitchen, culinary skills and kindness, as well as encouraged other independent businesses to do the same, and as a result the Supper Collective managed to feed over 1300 people a week in the first lockdown. And the work is still continuing, with nearly 200 meals being distributed per week; owner of Pig & Pastry, Steve Holding, hopes to focus on looking after people struggling with loneliness. As a result of the heroic work Steve and the rest of the Pig & Pastry team did during lockdown, they received a special ‘lockdown heroes’ blue plaque to be showcased outside the cafe.   

Bus stop: Rougier Street 

Whippet Inn – Last stop, the bar! Just a short walk from the bus stop on Rougier Street, you’ll find the Whippet Inn bar and restaurant on North Street. Often referred to as York’s best hidden gem, the Whippet Inn has earned itself not only a great reputation but also a handful of awards for its food. Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, the Whippet Inn is best known for its outstanding beef; offering their guests a fantastic variety of ever-changing cuts & breeds, they are equally applauded for their other seasonally inspired plates, focusing on locally caught fish and unique vegetarian dishes. 

15 North St, York YO1 6JD