- For other places with the same name, see York (disambiguation).
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The ancient cathedral city of York has a history which dates back over 2000 years. It is situated in North Yorkshire, England and is the unofficial capital of the entire region of Yorkshire, with some of the best preserved historical buildings and structures in Europe. As of the 2011 census, the population of York was 198,051 with 83,552 households. This population doubles during the summer months due to the 7 million visitors to York each year. York is frequently ranked in the top 15 visited cities in England after London. In 2018 it was named the No.1 city to live in the UK by The Sunday Times.
Although only the sixth largest city in Yorkshire and having no official status, York is regarded as the county's capital, and is also positioned just east of its geographic centre. For nigh on 2000 years, it was the largest and most important city in northern England, though today has a rather modest population just shy of 200,000 people. Despite its size, York packs in more history and culture than many much larger places, and is a fascinating and beautiful destination any time of year.
York is popularly known as a place "where the streets are gates, the gates are bars, and the bars are pubs!" If none of this makes any sense to you, remember that York has Viking roots, and the Norsemen also influenced the local language. So, yes, many streets are called gates, among them Micklegate, Fossgate, and Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, the shortest street in York with an insensibly long name, apparently meaning "What a street!" The fortified gates in the city walls are invariably known as bars (think "barrier" and it makes sense), pedestrianised areas are logically called footstreets, and simple alleys take on a new magic as snickelways. Need a drink after all that? Ask for the nearest pub.
York city centre is a compact and dense warren of mostly pedestrianised streets lined with centuries-old buildings in a mix of architectural styles, from timber frame medieval structures, to much grander stone and brick edifices from later periods. The centre straddles both banks of two rivers - the Ouse and the Foss - which merge just south of the castle. At the city's heart stands the imposing York Minster, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world, and the mother church for northern England's Anglican community. The Archbishop of York (John Sentamu, as of 2019) holds the third highest office in the Church of England, after the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen. York's old town is completely encircled by a series of defensive medieval walls. At just over 2 miles (3.2 km) long, 13 feet (4 m) high, and 6 feet (1.8 m) thick, they are the UK's most extensive and best-preserved city walls.
Most visitor attractions are within or just outside these walls, so you will seldom find yourself venturing into York's outer neighbourhoods. However, if you do, you will find them pleasant and residential, mostly containing red brick houses from the 19th and 20th centuries. There is a modern university campus around Heslington in the south-eastern suburbs, a large racecourse called the Knavesmire in the south-west, and extensive parks along the Ouse's journey through the northern and southern suburbs. This urban sprawl is bounded by a modern day city wall of sorts: the ring road separates York from its rural surroundings, the well-endowed farmlands and villages of the Vale of York.
York has played a crucial role in many eras of English history, and the city's own story closely mirrors that of the country as a whole.
Evidence of human settlement in York dates back to 8000 BC, but the city wasn't founded until 71 AD by the Romans, who named it Eboracum, as a Latinisation of the Celtic Eburākon, meaning "yew tree place". Initially little more than a military outpost at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, Eboracum quickly became one of the most important cities in Roman Britain, and from 211 was the capital of the Britannia Inferior province; Emperors Hadrian, Septimius Severus and Constantius I all visited during their military campaigns against the native Britons and Picts. The latter of the three actually died during his stay, and his son, the future Constantine the Great, was first proclaimed Emperor in the city by his generals. Constantine later converted to Christianity, and legalised freedom of religion throughout the Empire. Eboracum was prosperous and particularly attracted merchants and retired veterans of the Emperors' wars. Why said retirees apparently chose the damp and chilly Yorkshire climate over the Empire's many Mediterranean provinces remains one of history's great mysteries.
After Rome, the 5th century brought the arrival of the Angles - the first Englishmen. This period saw the expansion of the city's trading prowess, the founding of York Minster as a small wooden church, and a spell of political prominence under the Kings of Northumbria. By 735, the Minster was already important enough to be the seat of an archbishop. But Eoforwic ("place rich in boar"), as it was now known, proved too much of a success and quickly caught the attention of avaricious Norsemen: Vikings had been harrying and raiding the north of England since the 700s, but why sail for days just to snatch a pig and a bracelet and rush back to sea, when they could harvest this rich farmland for their own? So, in 866, a huge army of Danes captured Eoforwic and, realising that name was a hopeless mouthful, rechristened their new city Jórvík (pronounced "Yor-vik"). From here, they controlled pretty much all of northern and eastern England, in a region known as the Danelaw. Jórvík was pretty perfect as a Viking capital, since its inland location offered defence and shelter, while the Ouse provided their longboats easy access to the sea via the Humber. Even though Viking power waxed and wained over the centuries, large numbers of Scandinavian people settled permanently in the region, meaning Jórvík was a bilingual (Old English and Old Norse) city at the time of the Norman Conquest.
By 1066, the Vikings had once again been ousted by the Saxons, but nursed ambitions to return. Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England, but faced a combined invasion by his exiled brother Tostig and the Norse king Harald Hardrada. The invaders won a battle at Fulford just outside York, but King Harold marched north and defeated them at Stamford Bridge 15 miles east. Yet, while his back was turned, William the Conqueror's Normans invaded from across the English Channel. Harold marched south again, this time to crippling defeat at Hastings. England came under Norman rule, and the Anglo-Saxon/Norse society that the country had developed, and York exemplified, was dismantled swiftly and brutally.
The Harrying of the North was a violent campaign of oppression against rebellious northerners in the years after the Conquest. From his castle in York, King William ordered the mass murder of civilians, demolition of numerous villages and burning of crops across the north of England, and York was also heavily damaged. As in the rest of the country, Normans became the new aristocracy, with the English and remaining Norse people reduced to serfdom. From this point on, the Normans consolidated their rule with the construction of castles, monasteries and great cathedrals. York Minster's Gothic design first took shape in the 12th century, while the present city walls, their gates (known as bars), and Clifford's Tower also cemented the Normans' impact on York's cityscape.
The late Medieval period produced much important architectural and cultural heritage, which are still evident today. The centuries-long construction of the Minster finally wrapped in 1472, while the higgledy-piggledy timber-frame shops of the Shambles mostly date from the 14th and 15th centuries. York's Mystery Plays, performing weird and wonderful Bible stories, were begun in the same era and continue to the present day. Then, in 1455, England was consumed by civil war: rival royals from York and Lancaster fought a brutal series of campaigns for control of the crown. Yorkist armies marched under the banner of a white rose, while their enemy Lancastrians followed the red rose, hence the name of this conflict, the Wars of the Roses. The last Yorkist king, Richard III, was finally defeated in combat at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, 30 years after the wars began. The Lancastrians' leader, Henry VII, became the first monarch of the Tudor dynasty, and both York in general and King Richard in particular were subsequently demonised.
The city's economy and status went into a long decline which wouldn't be recovered until after England's second Civil War, during which York was yet again on the wrong side of history, and besieged by the ultimate victors (Parliament) for 10 weeks in 1644. The siege and subsequent storming of the city destroyed many medieval buildings, but paved the way for fashionable new brick townhouses to be built as York regained its mojo in the late 17th and 18th centuries.
This resurgence in the city's wealth may have been what saved York's ancient streets from the smoke-stack industry which sprang up in many other northern towns from the late 18th century onwards. However, the industrial revolution didn't bypass York completely. In the 1840s, the first long-distance railway raced north from London to Edinburgh, and York's station was constructed as a cathedral of sorts in homage to the great connecting power of trains, while the locomotive yards next door kept the country's engines moving. The city found its other manufacturing niche soon after when the Rowntree family opened their chocolate factory. Many of their creations - among them KitKat, Aero and Smarties - are still staple snacks in the UK and around the world. The Rowntrees, known for their philanthropy, were Quakers, a religious group which has had a strong presence in York for three centuries, and have done much to shape its development - they were also behind the burgeoning rail industry.
While its prominence and relative size in comparison to other cities have dwindled since the 19th century, and its status as capital of the north credibly challenged by the likes of Manchester and Leeds, York remains prosperous and lively. In 2019, the city is 1,948 years old, and today's visitor will easily recognise and marvel at just how well York has preserved aspects from every major episode of its history, as much in the way of culture and traditions as in the built environment.
When to visit
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Summer clearly brings the best chance of sun and warmth, and is thus the finest time to make the most of the city's squares, parks and rivers. If you really like flat caps and whippets, then be sure to be in town on 1 August for Yorkshire Day, when a procession of proud Yorkshiremen march their white rose flags all through the streets. Summer visitors may also get the chance to see festivals dedicated to chocolate, early music and folk dance, and the really lucky may even catch a mystery play - although these follow an irregular schedule and don't take place every year.
On the other hand, summer is when everyone visits, so is not the best time if you don't like mingling with thousands of your fellow tourists. Besides, nobody comes to North Yorkshire for the weather, and summer washouts are just as likely as heatwaves, so why not take a punt on autumn or winter? Some of the city's key annual events, such as the Viking Festival and Christmas celebrations, take place in the chillier half of the year. What's more, you need short days in order to experience the magical atmosphere of a twilit evensong in the Minster, and you need to get cold to fully appreciate the cosiness of a hearty meal and pint next to a roaring fire in one of York's pubs.
By the way, if you're planning to use York as a base to explore the wider region's countryside and coast, then spring is the season for you. The fields and trees are at their greenest, wildflowers are in bloom, visitor numbers are fewer, and the late spring weather is often better suited to hiking and walking than high summer. And honestly, who doesn't love the sight of spring lambs gamboling about joyfully?
Visitor information and York Pass
- 1 Visitor Information Centre, 1 Museum Street, YO1 7DT, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 10AM-4PM. A first port-of-call for maps, hundreds of leaflets, attraction discounts and impartial advice from local experts.
If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, you can save money by purchasing the York Pass, a ticket which gives you access to around 50 attractions in York and across North Yorkshire. The pass also includes a 24-hour ticket for the City Sightseeing bus tour, a free Italian meal, and a guidebook and map.
A one-day pass for 26 attractions in the city costs £45 per adult and £30 per child, while a three-day pass for all participating attractions costs £70 per adult and £40 per child. Two-day and six-day passes are also available. You can buy online or in person at the visitor information centre. When buying online, allow five working days for postage to a UK address (£1.95), and 10 working days for international postage (£3.95); alternatively, you can download your pass to your smartphone instantly and for free.
The pass is activated when you enter your first attraction. The one-day pass is valid for one calendar day, not a 24-hour period. Two-day and six-day passes are valid for consecutive calendar days, while the three-day pass is valid for any three calendar days over a period of six consecutive days. The pass covers the entry fee of every participating attraction, but does not allow you to queue jump or to have privileged access.
Two caveats: to get your money's worth, you should visit at least five ticketed attractions on a one-day pass, or three attractions per day on a multiday pass; if this sounds like too much, the pass is not for you. The other caveat is that some attractions which are already free to visit (like the Shambles, city walls and railway museum) are marketed as being 'free' with the pass, which while technically true is also misleading.
1 Manchester Airport (MAN IATA), 85 miles (137 km) south-west of York, has global direct connections, including from North America, Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, East Asia, the Caribbean and pretty much everywhere in Europe. A direct train, operated by Transpennine Express, runs every 30 min, taking 1 hr 50 min. By road, from the airport, follow the M56 onto the M60 Manchester Ring Road (east/anticlockwise), then at junction 18 take the M62 towards Leeds. This takes you across Saddleworth Moor, the highest section of motorway in Britain; in good weather, it's very scenic, but snow and extremely dense fog can badly affect or even close the route any time of the year. At junction 29, take the M1 north. This soon merges onto the A1 (M), and from here you take the next exit for the A64 towards York.
2 Leeds-Bradford Airport (LBA IATA) is the closest airport to York, 31 miles (50 km) away by road. It has decent connections across western Europe, and is served by budget carriers Jet2 and Ryanair. British Airways and KLM connect to their respective hubs at London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol. The airport is north of Leeds, so you can mostly dodge the city traffic by following the A658 past Harrogate to the A59, where you pick up signs to York. By public transport, take bus 757 from the airport into Central Leeds. From here, you have the choice of taking the train or the bus. Crosscountry, LNER and Transpennine Express all operate trains to York, taking 25 mins and offering a 'turn-up-and-go' frequency. The Cityzap and Coastliner buses both leave every 30 mins during the day (M-Sa; Su every hour) and take 60 mins; Cityzap stops at 7PM, but Coastliner maintains an hourly service until 10:15PM.
3 Doncaster-Sheffield Airport (Robin Hood) (DSA IATA) has flights from some European hubs and cities in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, and is 44 miles (71 km) away by road. You can drive to York via the M18 (north), M62 (west) and A19 (north), or if you're using public transport, get a half-hourly bus to Doncaster station and catch a frequent direct train to York using LNER, which takes 20-25 min.
The London airports obviously have a huge range of flights, especially Heathrow (LHR IATA) and Gatwick (LGW IATA). However, by public transport you have to travel into central London before heading north to York from King's Cross Station: from Heathrow use the Piccadilly line; from Gatwick take the Thameslink to St Pancras, adjacent to King's Cross. LNER trains leave every 30 min and take roughly 2 hr. Alternatively, with a car you have to endure a long journey (5 hours in good traffic) around the M25 ring road and up the A1.
Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in Great Britain.
York is on the East Coast mainline, with LNER trains running every 30 min or so from Doncaster (20 min), Durham (50 min), Edinburgh Waverley (2 hr 30 min), Leeds (25 min), London Kings Cross (2 hr) and Newcastle Central (1 hr). Hourly Crosscountry trains link to York from Birmingham New Street (2 hr 45 min - 3 hr 15 min), Bristol Temple Meads (4 hr 10 min), Plymouth (6 hr 15 min) and Sheffield (45 min - 1 hr). Transpennine Express trains run hourly from Manchester Airport (1 hr 45 min), Manchester Piccadilly (1 hr 30 min) and Manchester Victoria (1 hr 15 min), via Huddersfield (47 min) and Leeds. Northern branch lines run from Scarborough (50 min) and Hull (1 hr 10 min) on Yorkshire's east coast, and from Harrogate (40 min) and Knaresborough (30 min) in the west of the county. Although there are multiple train companies, times and prices for all can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling ☏ (non-geographic).
- 4 York railway station, Station Road, YO24 1AB. Just outside the western walls, access the city north along Station Road for the Museum Gardens and Minster, or south via Queen Street to Micklegate and the Jorvik Centre. A cycle hire stand is just outside the main exit. Bus stops for many services are in the station forecourt, and any bus that doesn't pass here is likely to run through Rougier Street just inside the walls. The excellent National Railway Museum is adjacent on the west and is signposted from the platforms. There is no left luggage service at the station; the nearest one is on High Petergate, about 50 m from York Minster.
Wikivoyage has a guide to Driving in the United Kingdom.
From the south, take the M1 north to junction 32, then the M18 east to junction 2, A1 (M) north to junction 44 and finally the A64 east to York. Or you can stay on the M1 all the way to the A64, but it gets very congested around Sheffield and Leeds in rush hour. Lighter traffic may be found by taking the A1 all the way from London. From the north, approach via the A1 (M) onto the A59 east, or take the A19. From the west, if you're coming from the urban north-west, follow the M62 east onto the M1, or from the Yorkshire Dales and Lakes, the A59. Approach from Leeds using the A64, and from Hull (for ferries from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge) by the A1079.
The old city is not designed for driving and is positively hostile to parking. If you are just visiting York for the day, don't try to park in town. Instead, use one of the park and ride sites, located close to the ring road and well signposted from the main roads. Each site is connected to the city centre by a unique colour-coded bus route, every 10 minutes, seven days a week. A day's parking is free, and a return bus fare costs £3.20.
|Road access||Which bus?||Hours|
|5 Askham Bar||from Leeds and the south-west||M-Sa 6AM-10PM,
|6 Designer Outlet||from Selby and the south||M-Sa 7AM-10PM,
|7 Grimston Bar|| from Bridlington and the east
from Hull and the south-east
|8 Monks Cross||from Scarborough and the north-east||M-Sa 7AM-9:30PM,
|9 Poppleton Bar||from Harrogate and the west||M-Sa 7AM-8:30PM,
|10 Rawcliffe Bar||from Thirsk and the north-west||M-Sa 7AM-10:30PM,
However, you can't use the park and ride overnight, so if you are staying in York, make sure that your accommodation offers parking, or consider leaving your car at home.
National Express has two direct daytime coaches (426) and one overnight (436) to/from London Victoria, taking around six hours. Both routes also serve Milton Keynes, Sunderland and South Shields, while the night route 436 makes an additional stop at Heathrow Airport. A third route (530) runs daily via York from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Paignton, in Devon, and back. Other calling points en route include Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Exeter and Torquay. All three of these routes call outside the railway station, at 11 bus stop RC for northbound services, and at 12 bus stop RG for southbound services. For other connections, change at Leeds.
Cityzap (sometimes signed as just ZAP) buses run every 30 minutes from Leeds between 7AM and 7PM, taking around 55 minutes. Coastliner run two different bus routes (840 and 843) through York from Leeds (840, 843), Tadcaster (840, 843), Malton (840, 843), Pickering (840), Scarborough (843) and Whitby (840) every 30 minutes during the daytime and every hour in the evenings. Both routes have two calling points in York city centre: outside the railway station at stops RC and RJ, and on 13 The Stonebow. The last buses to York depart Leeds at 10:15PM, Scarborough at 8:25PM, and Whitby at 5:45PM. However, daytrippers from Leeds can get the last bus back from York at 11:05PM. Enjoy the view - Coastliner's 840 service has won the prodigious title of "Britain's most scenic bus route".
Megabus doesn't serve York directly, but offers tickets in partnership with Cityzap via Leeds.
- 2 Yorbag, 20 High Petergate, YO1 7EH, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 9AM-7PM, last drop 5PM. Centrally-located Visit York-endorsed left luggage service. No overnight service. Small case (55cm x 35cm x 25cm or smaller): £3 up to 10 hr. Large case: £3 up to 2 hr, £5 up to 10 hr. Storage box for smaller items and shopping: £3 up to 2 hr, £5 up to 10 hr.
The City of York Council have a website named i-Travel York, which provides unbiased information for travelling around the city on foot, by bike, by bus and by car.
The best way to discover York: the city centre is small enough to walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes, and there is only a short distance between most of the sights. The terrain is flat and there is plenty of directional signage, so it couldn't really be any easier.
Some streets within the old city (i.e. inside the city walls) are pedestrianised during the day, closed to all cars except disabled drivers and emergency vehicles between 10:30AM and 5PM daily. You can see a map of these roads, locally known as footstreets, on i-Travel York. Some streets are subject to additional controls, for instance the Shambles is pedestrian-only at all times. Take care walking around the city centre when the roads open to car traffic at 5PM, as they fill up quickly with delivery vehicles servicing local shops and businesses.
If you enjoy walking, you must do the 2-mile (3.2-km) city wall circuit (see below for details), which offers views all around and should give you a feel for York's layout. Additionally, footpaths line the River Ouse for most of its journey through the city north to south, and there is a lot of parkland to discover alongside with the promise of wildlife sightings - see i-Travel's wildlife booklet for ideas.
York is one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the UK - there's an extensive network of cycle routes in and around the city, and most of the traffic controls have been set up to give cyclists priority. There are no significant hills in or around the city centre, which is a big help. The river path along the Ouse contains some wonderful bike routes out of the city. Also beware that police and CCTV operators take a very dim view of cycling without lights after dusk, or cycling in the city centre pedestrianised area before 5PM, and will hand out an on-the-spot £60 fine for doing so. You should be able to pick up a copy of the York Cycle Route Map for free from cycle shops, or alternatively you can find PDFs online.
- 3 Cycle Heaven Bike Hire, Station Road, YO24 1AY (On your right as you exit the railway station through the main entrance.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. You can rent bikes adapted to short city hops (Gazelle) and longer country trips (Ridgeback), plus folding bikes (Brompton). Hire price includes a helmet, lock and an optional basket and toolkit. 2 hr £10, 5 hr £15, 24 hr £20, 3 days £50, 5 days £65, 7 days £75, 14 days £100.
Bus services connect all the points of interest in the city. Download a PDF of the city's network map here. A variety of operators run the individual routes, but thankfully you can still buy a ticket which works on every company and line in the city within a set period: All York comes in three flavours, one day (£4.90), one week (£19) and one month (£66) passes. The day tickets are not 24 hour passes, rather they are valid until midnight on the day of purchase. If you are staying a week or longer, consider getting a smartcard, onto which you can load your All York ticket. Some operators accept contactless payment by credit and debit card. These tickets are only valid on public bus services, and not on sightseeing tours.
That said, the majority of bus routes are operated by First York, a private company. Their adult single fare is £1.80 for a shorter journey, and £2.50 for a longer journey, both of which you can purchase with cash or contactless. For groups looking for a discount, here's a corker: if you are in a group divisible by five, you can get a group ticket which gives five people unlimited travel in York for a whole day. You can buy this ticket any day of the week, after 9AM Monday to Friday, and anytime weekends and bank holidays. Each five-person ticket costs £10, so as long as you travel everywhere as a group it is great value compared even to the All York pass.
Like everywhere else in the UK, all taxi services are provided by private companies, but the fares are metered and strictly regulated by the local government authority. In this case, it is the City of York Council which sets the rates, the details of which you can download here. During the daytime (7AM-10PM), the base fare is £2.90, while the nighttime (10PM-7PM) base fare is £3.70. To these, 10p is added for every 80 metres travelled. Higher rates exist at Christmas, New Year, and for travelling to/from the Knavesmire on race days.
All four of the following companies have apps for iOS and Android:
The best advice for driving in York is don't. The roads were designed for carts pulled by oxen, and the city council is actively discouraging car use through a combination of high parking charges and traffic-calming measures. If you are bringing a car to York, your best bet is to leave it in a park and ride, at your hotel, or if absolutely necessary, a city centre car park.
There's plenty to see in York, but if you leave without visiting the Minster and either the Jorvik Viking Centre or the National Railway Museum, you're doing it wrong. If you only have a day, prioritise two of these.
Aside from these three standout attractions, the joy of York is in wandering the ancient streets and coming across surprising buildings and beautiful views all by yourself. You might find old churches, timber-framed shops, the ruins of an abbey, or the leftovers of medieval defences.
- 1 York Minster (Cathedral of St Peter in York), Deangate, YO1 7HH, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Minster visits: M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM, Su 12:30PM-3PM; Museum: M-Sa 10AM-4:30PM, Su 1PM-3:15PM; Worship: Daily 7:30AM-6PM. The largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, York Minster dominates the skyline and dates back to the 8th century at least. The Undercroft Museum, beneath the Minster, displays centuries worth of archaeological findings in an interactive display. Then, climb the 275 steps to the top of the Minster's Central Tower to experience panoramic views from York's highest spot (ages 8+ only). The nightly Evensong worship has haunting acoustics, and is the only way of accessing the cathedral on Sunday late afternoons. On the south side of the Minster outside, don't miss the 2 statue of Constantine the Great, who was in 306 AD proclaimed emperor of Rome in York. At the far end of the plaza from this is a 3 Roman column which was unearthed beneath the Minster and reerected in 1971 to mark the 1,900th anniversary of the city's founding. Once you've seen all this, relax in the 4 Dean's Park - a simple expanse of grass and trees that affords breathtaking views of the north side of the Minster. In spring or summer, you may catch a glimpse of nesting peregrine falcons. Adult £11.50, senior £10.50, student with ID £9, child under 17 free. Access to Minster, museum and guided tour included; £5 extra for tower. Park and plaza free.
York's medieval pogrom
Jews settled in England for the first time in recorded history after the Norman Conquest. Being exempt from Catholic laws prohibiting money-lending, Jewish people were seen as engines for economic growth, and were thus granted special immunities under the Crown. As one of the most important cities in the kingdom, York had a significant Jewish population by the 12th century, but the ongoing wars of religion in the Holy Land and indebted townspeople's ill-feeling towards their debtors fuelled antisemitism. On 16 March 1190 - the Friday of Passover - in such a climate, all it took was for an accidental fire to be blamed on Jews, and a lynchmob was formed.
York's Jewish families were forced to flee and invoke the royal protection granted to them by seeking refuge in Clifford's Tower. Once inside, they were effectively under siege, however, and the soldiers who were supposed to be protecting them turned coat and joined the baying mob outside. At some point, a fire started in the tower - whether by the occupants or their tormentors is unknown. Vastly outnumbered, and faced with an ultimatum to convert to Christianity or be slaughtered, the community realised the only way out was suicide; on the advice of their Rabbi, the father of each family killed his wife and children, before taking his own life.
Consumed by flames, the wooden tower burnt to the ground, and among its ashes the Earthly remains of 150 people.
- 5 Clifford's Tower, Tower Street, YO1 9SA, ☏ . Daily 10AM-6PM. In the 11th century, the Normans built a castle here to keep the Vikings at bay and subdue the local population following their conquest of England. The Vikings being Vikings, they promptly smashed it, so the Normans built bigger and better - the tower you see today was the castle's keep. The tower was the scene of the infamous massacre of York's Jews in 1190. In 1684, its interior was wrecked by an explosion, but the hollow tower is now the oldest remnant of the castle. The rest fell into disrepair, before being re-built as a gaol, and in modern times housing the Castle Museum. Access is by very steep steps up the hillock; it's a bit like climbing a pyramid. After closure, you can still climb to the front door and look back over the square - this is especially atmospheric after dark. Adult £5.70, child £3.40, concession £5.10, English Heritage members free.
- 6 Guildhall, St. Helen’s Square, YO1 9QN, ☏ . Built in the 15th century as a meeting hall for the guilds of York, the Guildhall is now also home to the city council chamber. Guilds are associations of artisans and merchants of a particular industry akin to something between a professional association, a trade union and a monopolistic cartel. In the middle ages, these guilds had a dominant role in the economies of every English city. However, the Guildhall you see today is a faithful replica, as the original was mostly destroyed by bombing in 1942. Notice the stained-glass window depicting York's history. Not open for general visits, so if you want to go in, you need to attend one of the regular civic events.
- 7 King's Manor, Exhibition Square, YO1 7EP, ☏ . M-F 8AM-6PM. Now the very apt home for the University of York's Archaeology Department, this was a royal headquarters during the Tudor and Stuart dynasties (16th and 17th centuries). As this is a working academic building, you may have to content yourself with admiring the Grade I listed architecture from the outside, unless you can pass as a scholar that is! Respect the students and staff, or you'll ruin it for future visitors. Free.
- 8 Merchant Adventurers' Hall, Fossgate, YO1 9XD, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-F 10AM-4:30PM, Sa 10AM-1:30PM. Remarkable timbered guild hall, built by city merchants between 1357 and 1361. The great hall was where they gathered for business and socialising, the undercroft was an almshouse for the poor and sick, and in the chapel all mercantile sins were conveniently forgiven. Adult £6.50, concession £5.50, under 17s free. Admission includes audio tour in English / written guide in other languages.
- 9 National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, YO26 4XJ (Adjacent to York railway station. Bus: 2, 10, or take the road train from the Minster), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily Apr-Oct 10AM-6PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-5PM. The largest railway museum in the world, with a magnificent collection of locomotives, rolling stock, railway equipment, documents and records. The bulk of it is British, but there are also great snorting monsters from China and the U.S. Highlights include Queen Victoria's opulent Royal Train, famous locos such as Stephenson's Rocket and Mallard, and a first-generation Shinkansen - the only one outside of Japan. When it's not cruising the rails in summer, Flying Scotsman overwinters at the NRM. Out in the yard, a steam-engine hauls rides in the summer, and a miniature railway operates year-round. And the best thing for railbuffs: the museum is in sight of York station and has a viewing deck overlooking the East Coast Main Line! Museum and all exhibitions free. Steam rides £4, miniature railway £3, under-2s free.
- 10 Snickelways. These are the famous medieval (and later) alleys and narrow streets that thread the centre of the city, typically lined with timber frame and brick houses and shops. They are all pedestrianised in the daytime, and indeed most are too narrow for vehicles to use. See Mark W Jones' book A Walk Around the Snickelways of York (ISBN 1871125723) or its hardback companion The Complete Snickelways of York (ISBN 1871125049) with their quirky, hand-written descriptions, and follow his suggested route taking in 50 of the snickelways within the city walls. Jones himself coined the term for his books in 1983, as a triple portmanteau of the Yorkshire dialect words snicket and ginnel, and their standard English equivalent alleyway.
- 11 Treasurer's House, Minster Yard, YO1 7JL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-4:30PM. Grade I-listed town house and garden dating from the 12th century that acted as the official residence of York Minster's treasurers over the centuries. However, it was purchased in 1897 by Frank Green, heir to an industrialist's fortune, and transformed into a lavish pad to flaunt his enormous wealth and eclectic decorating tastes, collecting art, antiques and furniture. Today it is managed by the National Trust, and the visitor can discover both Green's dizzying collection and the contrastingly calming gardens. Like all good Trust properties, there's an on-site shop and café. Garden: free. House: adult £8.70, child £4.35, NT members free.
- 12 York Army Museum, 3 Tower Street, YO1 9SB, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Contact via Facebook and Twitter. The museum brings together the collections of one of the Army's oldest cavalry regiments - the Royal Dragoon Guards, dating from 1685, with one of its newest infantry regiments - the Yorkshire Regiment, which was only formed in 2006. Charting the relationship between Yorkshire and the Army going back centuries, the collections span medals, standards, uniforms, firearms, swords and soldiers' personal effects, with interactive exhibits and many tales of individual courage and hardships to bring the history to life. Adult £5, child aged 5-16 years £2.50, under 5 years free, concession £4, service personnel 50% off applicable ticket.
- 13 York Mansion House, St Helen's Square, YO1 9QL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-Su, bank holidays 10:30AM-5PM. The grand official residence of the Lord Mayor of York, dating from 1732, holds an unparalleled collection of civic gold and silver, plus extensive items of furniture, ceramics, glassware and art. Adult £6.50, concession £5, child £3.50.
York Archaeological Trust
The York Archaeological Trust run five attractions, which can be visited on various individual or combined tickets. The most useful of these is the Pastport, valid for 12 months, and allowing you entrance to all five of the Trust's attractions: Jorvik, Barley Hall, DIG, the Henry VII Experience and the Richard III Experience. This is available for £20 per adult, £16 per concession, and £13 per child. Or if Vikings leave you cold, you can save a considerable amount of money by getting the Medieval Pass, which allows access just to the Barley Hall and the two Experiences: £8 per adult, £6 per concession and £4.50 per child.
- 14 Jorvik Viking Centre, 19 Coppergate, YO1 9WT (within the Coppergate Shopping Centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-4PM. Reconstruction of York as it would have looked 1000+ years ago. The visit takes the form of a sit-down ride as you experience the sights, sounds, smells and diverse languages and faces of everyday 10th century life, with the aid of animatronics, dioramas and touchscreen technology. Although a bit like the Viking version of It's a Small World, everything you see has been meticulously researched and the centre is itself built on the archaeological remains of the real Jorvik. Audio commentary available in 15 languages. After the ride is an extensive collection of artefacts, including replicas - for more visit the Yorkshire Museum. Adult £12.50, child 5-16 years £8.50, concession £10.50. Fasttrack entry with Pastport.
- 15 Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, off Stonegate, YO1 8AR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-4PM. Reconstruction of a medieval townhouse. Built in the 14th century by the monks of Nostell Priory in Wakefield, but serially chopped, changed and neglected over the centuries. By 1970 it was a plumber's storeroom, on the brink of demolition. It's now been rebuilt to how it was in the 15th century, discarding later additions. Its detractors say this was more like a retro-fit and prettification of history, but it's difficult to see how anything more "authentic" could have been made viable, and it can be accurately described as a large piece of experimental archaeology carried out by experts. Adult £6.50, child 5-16 years £3.50, concession £5. Combo ticket with Jorvik: adult £15, child £10, concession £12.
- 16 Micklegate Bar (Henry VII Experience), Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily Apr-Oct 10AM-4PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-3PM weather dependant. Micklegate Bar was first recorded in the 12th century, but reuses stone from an earlier Roman gate. It has long been the official entrance to the city of York for royalty, most recently welcoming Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. Henry Tudor won the Wars of the Roses in 1485 and founded a monarchic dynasty that would shape the next 120 years of English history. The Henry VII Experience charts his life and the troubled relationship he had with the people of York, who had backed his enemy Richard during the War, and continued to rebel during his reign. Free written guides available in eight foreign languages. Adult £5, child 5-16 years £3, concession £3.50. Includes admission to Richard III Experience.
- 17 Monk Bar (Richard III Experience), 6 Goodramgate, YO1 7LQ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-4PM. Monk Bar is one of four heavily-fortified medieval gates in the city wall, built in several stages in the early 14th century, to defend from Scottish attacks. Inside, an exhibition tells the story of Richard of York, the last Plantagenet king of England, and the man who lost the Wars of the Roses. Free written guides available in eight foreign languages. Adult £5, child 5-16 years £3, concession £3.50. Includes admission to Henry VII experience.
The fifth attraction, DIG, is listed in the Do section below.
York Museums Trust
The York Museums Trust operate several civic museums and galleries. You can buy a YMT card for unlimited visits to any of the Trust's sites in a twelve month period. Children aged 16 years and under get in free to all YMT sites, so the YMT costs £25 per adult (or £20 by renewable direct debit), and £15 for a student in possession of ID (£12 by direct debit). Since the card only offers a very modest saving from the standard costs of the three ticketed YMT attractions, it is probably not worth it unless you plan to revisit one or more of the museums during your stay, and is definitely not worth it if you don't plan to visit all three.
- 18 York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, YO1 7EW, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-5PM. A public art gallery with a collection of paintings, prints, watercolours, drawings and ceramics from the 14th century to the contemporary era. The Burton Gallery hosts Italian and Flemish Old Masters, and early 20th century modern art, while an 18th century automaton clock featuring Hercules, waterfalls and dancing figures has pride of place. Look out for paintings by York natives William Etty and Albert Moore. There are regular temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Adult £7.27, student £5.60, child free.
- 19 York Castle Museum, Tower Street, YO1 9RY (next to Clifford's Tower), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 9:30AM-5PM. Outstanding museum of everyday life with exhibits to appeal to all ages. Highlights are Kirkgate, a recreated Victorian street, and Half Moon Court, an Edwardian street, exhibitions of York's confectionery industry, plus costumes and toys through the ages. The site includes a former prison, in which you can experience the cells, and imagine what it was like in 1739 when infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was awaiting his execution by hanging. There are numerous special exhibitions and events throughout the year. Adult £10.90, student £8.40, child free.
- 20 Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, Museum Street, YO1 7FR, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-5PM. Interesting, and quite good for curious children. Features permanent displays of Roman and medieval riches, including the Vale of York Hoard of Viking treasure. There are also natural history sections dedicated to astronomy, biology and geology. A long-term exhibition exploring Yorkshire's Jurassic World uses VR technology and up-to-date research to engage you in the county's prehistoric past. Adult £7.27, student £5.60, child free.
- 21 York Museum Gardens (outside Yorkshire Museum), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Summer daily 7:30AM-8PM, winter daily 7:30AM-6PM. Free tours every Su 1PM. This extensive botanical collection is a great place for a picnic. Perambulate through a variety of borders (butterfly-friendly, oriental, prairie), not missing out the fern garden and rockery. Daffodils and bluebells abound in spring. The gardens are not just for nature lovers, however, as they also contain much significant archaeology: the third century Roman fortification known as the 22 Multangular Tower, which only saw action 14 centuries later during the English Civil War; the remains of 23 St Leonard's Hospital, where the poor and sick of medieval York were cared for physically and spiritually; the ruins of the Benedictine 24 St Mary's Abbey, which date from 1088 and once rivalled the Minster for grandeur. The small 25 York Observatory, which was constructed in 1832/33 and is still in working condition, is also located in the gardens. It's open most days 11:30AM-2:30PM, plus some winter evenings for public astronomy events. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
- 26 St Mary's Church (not to be confused with St Mary's Abbey), Castlegate, YO1 9RN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-W 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-7PM. A Saxon church, though most of the current building dates from the 13th century. Its 47 m steeple is the tallest in York and it has some fine stained-glass windows. Deconsecrated in the 1950s, St Mary's was reborn as a contemporary art venue in 2004, and now hosts exhibitions throughout the year. From 5 July 2019 until 5 January 2020, the church is fully dedicated to a major exhibition: the UK première of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, which comes to York following successful runs in Amsterdam and several other European cities. The "Experience" is a 360-degree multisensory digital presentation of hundreds of the Dutch post-impressionist's works, allowing you to see through the eyes of the great man himself and gain an insight to his unique mind. Access to building normally free. Van Gogh: Adult £13, concession £11, child £9.
As well as the Minster, York has a number of parish churches which are of architectural or historical interest:
- 27 All Saints, North Street, North Street, YO1 5JD, ☏ , . M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 10:15AM-6:30PM. Colourful angels smile cheekily down at you from the ceiling in this 12th century church, which is grade I-listed due to having the finest collection of medieval stained glass windows in the city. The most famous window, dating from around 1410, depicts the Prick of Conscience - a popular Middle English poem. Free.
- 28 All Saints Pavement, 32-37 Coppergate, YO1 9NR. Daily 9AM-7PM. Best viewed from the outside, from where you can admire its unusual octagonal tower. All Saints is also the civic church of various city guilds and the garrison church of the Royal Dragoon Guards. Free.
- 29 Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, 70 Goodramgate, YO1 7LF (Enter via an unassuming gated archway opposite Tesco Express. Wheelchair access via Petergate next to Poundland), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-3:30PM. Peaceful and atmospheric grade I-listed 12th century church that you won't find unless you're looking for it. The wooden box pews and stone altar are once-common rarities from an early period in church history. Free.
- 30 Holy Trinity, Micklegate, Micklegate, YO1 6LE, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-4PM. Founded prior to 1066, this is the only pre-Reformation monastic building in York that is in use today. The wooden beams supporting the roof are breathtaking, and there is a small interactive exhibition about those medieval monks and their priory, making use of touchscreens and 3D imagery. Free.
- 31 St Helen Stonegate, 5 St Helen's Square, YO1 8QN, ☏ . Daily dawn-dusk. A largely 15th century building, but built on a site important in Roman times and possibly founded as early as the 8th century, this is now a quiet refuge from the city's bustle. It also serves as an atmospheric and intimate concert venue. Free.
- 32 St Martin-le-Grand, 13 Coney Street, YO1 9QL, ☏ . Daily 9AM-5PM. Named for Martin of Tours, the bulk of the church dates from the 15th century, and what was the Great West Window depicts 13 moments from the saint's life. The building suffered heavy fire damage during an air raid of 1942, but fortunately much was restored, including some perky grinning gargoyles and a very attractive 17th century clock which adorns the façade. Free.
- 33 St Olave, 8 Marygate Lane, YO30 7BJ. Daily dawn-dusk. Believed to be the oldest church dedication to Olaf, patron saint of Norway, it once lay in the shadows of St Mary's Abbey and is still within the abbey grounds. In the English Civil War, it formed part of York's defences during the Parliamentarians' siege of the city. Today, the churchyard is a green oasis, and St Olave's maintains its links with Scandinavia. Free.
- 34 The Bar Convent, 17 Blossom Street, YO24 1AQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Founded in the 17th century, when Catholics were widely persecuted in England, the convent is still home to a community of nuns, members of the Congregation of Jesus. In a small interactive museum, you can discover the brave sisters' remarkable story, from their underground origins hidden in plain sight of the authorities, right through to their survival under the bombs of the Luftwaffe. There is also an on-site café and 'secret' garden, as well as B&B-style accommodation. Adult £5, child £2, concession £4.
- 35 Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough, YO30 1DD (8 miles (13 km) north of city centre off the A19 - follow brown signs. Free parking. No convenient public transport access), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Jun-Aug daily 11:30AM-4PM (garden 10:30AM-5PM), Sept Oct Tu-Su, Nov-Mar Sa Su same hours. 18th century mansion in Italianate Baroque style, now managed by the National Trust. It is the red-brick creation of John Bourchier, who was inspired by the Grand Tour of Europe he took as a 20 year-old. Inside, it's all gilt and ornate white plaster, with an ever-changing rotation of over 100 period portraits on permanent loan from the National Portrait Gallery in London, while outside the gardens are rich, extensive and diverse. Eclectic too are the attractions on offer: Beningbrough is no staid stately home, with dogs welcome in the gardens and children well catered for by heaps of activities throughout the year, bicycle hire and several themed walking routes with such intriguing titles as 'Top ten trees of interest'. A restaurant, shop and adventure playground complete the package. Mar-Oct: adult £14.40, child £7.20, Apr-May/Nov-Feb: adult £8, child £4. NT members free.
- 36 Cold War Bunker, Monument Close, YO24 4HT (off B1224 Acomb Road, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of city centre. Park on Acomb Road. Bus: 1), ☏ . Apr-Oct W-Su 10AM-6PM, last tour 5PM, Nov-Mar Sa Su 10AM-4PM, last tour 3PM. From the 1960s to the 1990s, behind blast-proof doors, sat volunteers of the Royal Observer Corps, waiting to log nuclear bomb explosions in the region and monitor radioactive fallout. Fortunately they had a quiet few decades at the office. It is now English Heritage's most modern property, and also one of its spookiest. Visit only by guided tour, which takes an hour and includes a film and thorough radiation decontamination. Adults £8.30, child £5, concession £7.50, EH member free.
- 37 Goddards House, 27 Tadcaster Road YO24 1GG (1¾ miles (2.7 km) south-west of centre. Bus: 4, 12, 13, 840, 843, ZAP), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. April-Oct: W-Su 10:30AM-5PM, mid Nov- mid Dec: Th-Su 10:30AM-4PM. The family home of Noel Goddard Terry, of the Terry's chocolate company. Built in 1927 in Arts & Crafts style, but mostly furnished in Georgian, parts of the house are open to the public to offer glimpses of what the Terrys' family life would have been like, but some of the building is a regional office of the National Trust. On the other hand, the typically English gardens can be visited in their entirety, and you can hunt down birds, bees and butterflies like a true twenties gent. Adult £7.40, child £3.70, NT member free.
- 38 Yorkshire Air Museum (Allied Air Forces Memorial), Halifax Way, Elvington, YO41 4AU (7½ miles (12 km) south-east of city centre on B1228. Bus: 36, X36 (M-Sa), 18a (Su - limited service). Read times and details here), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-4PM. The former site of RAF Elvington (a WWII bomber command station and base for the Free French Air Force) has been converted into a large open-air museum. In addition to over 60 historic aircraft and vehicles, many original elements of the RAF base - such as the air traffic control tower, hangars and an officers' mess - remain as testament to the sacrifices of airmen and women in all conflict. It also hosts the only Allied Air Forces memorial in Europe. Dogs on leads welcome. On-site NAAFI-style canteen. Information brochures in five European languages available. Adult £12, child 5-15 years £5, under 5 free, concession £9.
- 1 GR8escape (escape rooms), 4a Colliergate, YO1 8BP, ☏ . Daily, pre-booked time slot. No guaranteed entry if you turn up without a reservation. Email via online contact form. Your team is put in one of three themed rooms (Spy School, NYPD, Space Cadets), and you have 60 minutes to solve a series of puzzles and codes in order to escape. Teams from 2 to 6 players, ages 10 years and up with accompanying adult. M-F £48-£78, Sa Su £54-£88. Prices are per team and vary according to the number of players.
- 2 Horse racing (The Knavesmire), Knavesmire Road, YO23 1EX (1 mile (1.6 km) south of the city centre. Bus: 197 shuttle operates between railway station and course on race days), ☏ . Regular flat-racing events April-Oct, though the big fixture is Ebor Races in late August. Email via online contact form. York has been going to the races since Roman times, and the current site, in use since the early 18th century, is one of England's largest horse racing venues. Racegoers to the County Stand must adhere to a formal dresscode. £10-£190, depending on race and desired seats.
- 3 Jorvik DIG, St Saviour's Church, St Saviourgate, YO1 8NN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-5PM, last admission 4PM. Hands-on experience for children, who are briefed and then let loose on fake archaeology pits to turn up what they can. The 'synthetic soil' means germaphobe parents can relax and wonder why they've been charged an entry fee to sit and watch. After the dig, the kids can handle real finds discovered on actual York Archaeological Trust digs. Adult £6.50, child, concession £6. Combo ticket with Jorvik Centre: adult £15.50, concession £13, child £12.
- 4 Rowntree Park, Terry Avenue, YO23 1JQ (Walk: follow the New Walk along the Ouse for about 1 mile (1.6 km) from town, then access via the Millennium Bridge. Bus: 11, 26). M-F 8AM-dusk, Sa Su 9AM-dusk. Named for the Rowntree company, which gifted the park to the city, and dedicated to company employees lost during the First World War, this is a 30-acre green flag oasis of green next to the Ouse. Facilities include tennis and basketball courts, a skate park, children's playground and café. Use the Millennium Bridge to cross over the river and grab something cold from the 1 Two Hoots "ice cream boat", which is moored on the opposite bank on fine afternoons. Free.
- 5 York Brewery, 12 Toft Green, YO1 6JT, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tours Tu-Su 12:30PM, 2PM, 3:30PM, 5PM. The brewery was founded in 1996 and is now part of Mitchell's of Lancaster, producing a range of ales. The tour takes about 40 min showing you the whole brewing process and includes four ⅓ pint tasters. They also have a bar area where you can try their beers without the tour, and their beers are widely available across the city. Taxi home rather than drive yourself? Yes, Joseph Hansom, inventor of the Hansom cab was born in this building. Adult £8, concession £6, child under 14 years £4.
- 6 York Dungeon, 12 Clifford Street, YO1 9RD (opposite Grand Opera House, near Clifford's Tower), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Mostly 10AM-5PM, with periodic late night adult-only events. Knock-about version of horrible history, suitable for ages 8+. 75 minute tour with storytelling and a very liberal interpretation of historical events that will keep you laughing and screaming. Part of The Dungeons international franchise, run by Merlin Entertainments. Prices per person: walkup from £17, online from £12. Merlin Pass holders go free.
- 7 York Maze, Elvington Lane, YO19 5LT (5 miles (8 km) east of city centre on the B1228. Bus: 36, X36 (M-Sa), 18a (Su - limited service). Read times and details on air museum website), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 14 Jul-3 Sep: daily 10AM-6:30PM, last admission 4:30PM. A very large maze (the largest in Europe they say) and it's made of maize. Each year is different; the 2018 maze is shaped like two giant Jurassic Park dinosaurs. Give it at least a couple of hours. There are other activities, such as mini-mazes for children, and games such as Crazy Mazey Golf. Adult £15.75, senior citizen £15.25, child 3-15 years £14.75, under 3 years free. 50% off all prices for disabled visitors and their carers.
- 8 York's Chocolate Story, King's Square, YO1 7LD, ☏ . Daily 10AM-4PM (start time of last tour). Email through online contact form. A guided tour telling you all about York's historic role in the confectionery industry. Find out about the origins of chocolate and the city's big name brands, hear testimonies of the people employed by local factories, watch chocolate-making demos and taste some of the good stuff yourself. As a bonus, you can make your own chocolate lolly (full chocolatier workshops can be arranged upon appointment). There is a café and chocolate shop at the end of the visit. Adult £12.50, child 4-15 years £10, concession £11.50, child under 4 years free.
Tours and trips
- Walk along the city walls for great views, and try to imagine yourself in the role of city watch keeping a lookout for approaching enemy armies. The walls are medieval, built on Roman foundations, though the Station Road bridges are modern. About an hour's walk: if short on time or energy, the best section is along the west perimeter from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar, close to the Minster. There was never a wall to the northeast, as the swamps along the River Foss were sufficient defence, so this is the least interesting section, where you have to walk along busy Foss Islands Road. No dogs except guide dogs are allowed on the walls. They are open daily from 8AM to sunset and are free, although the Micklegate and Monk Bar towers are small museums (see above). You can download a map and guide of the walls courtesy of the York Archaeology Trust here.
- Lucky Cat Trail (Start on the Shambles), ☏ . Cats have been considered good-luck omens in York for centuries, and cat statues were once placed on buildings throughout the city to ward off rats, mice and the plague they were thought to carry. The original statues have now all weathered away or been taken down, but the idea was resurrected by a local architect in 1979. Since then, more and more buildings have added sculptures of cats clinging to walls or perched on balconies. Today, you can follow a trail around the old town in an attempt to find 22 cats, and spot plenty of landmarks while you're doing so. Download the trail map for free.
- Walking tours: history, culture and ghost walks. Wonderful. There are many walking tours and ghost walks that run throughout the year. The volunteer-led walking tours tend to focus on history and culture, and take place throughout the daytime, while the ghost walks normally start from 6PM onwards and invariably include an element of street theatre. Tours last for one or two hours. Just look for the posters and billboards posted throughout the city centre for details and the meeting point for that evening. While most tours are in English, Descubre York offers the chance for Spanish and Portuguese speakers to be guided in their native tongue. History and culture tours free, ghost walks around £5.
- 9 The Original Ghost Walk of York, Depart the King's Arms pub, Ouse Bridge, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Nightly 8PM. No gimmicks, tricks or jumpscares, just experienced storytellers doing what they do best, helped by the atmospheric background of this ancient city and a very real gruesome history to draw from. Adult £5, child/concession £4; no need to book.
- 10 The Ghost Bus Tours, Station Road, YO24 1AA (Departs from bus stop RE next to the Principal Hotel, 100 m from the railway station), ☏ (premium), ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Th 7:30PM; F 6PM, 7:30PM; Sa 6PM, 7:30PM, 9PM; Su 7:30PM. Approximately 75 minute comedic tour of the city with actors and technical wizardry creating an experience you're unlikely to forget. Adult £15, Child £10, Concessions/student £12.
- 11 Road train (Duncombe Place by the Minster / National Railway Museum). Daily 11AM-4:15PM. Departs every 30 mins from the museum on the hour and half-past, from the Minster at quarter-past and quarter-to. A fun way to travel between the centre of York and the Railway Museum. Adult £3 one-way, child £2 one-way.
- Go cruising on the River Ouse:
- 12 City Cruises, Lendal Bridge, YO1 7DP / King's Staith, YO1 9SN (check where your cruise departs from), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daytime city cruise: Feb-Nov daily, Jan Sa Su, regular departures 10:30AM-3PM, takes 1 hr. Early evening cruise: Mar-Oct nightly, departs 7:30PM, takes 1 hr. Floodlit evening cruise: May-Aug nightly, Sep F Sa departs 9:15PM, takes 1 hr 10 min. Various boat trips along the Ouse. The three listed here are the most popular, but there are many other cruises throughout the year, including Halloween ghost tours and Santa specials; check website. Daytime: adult £9.50, child 5-15 years £5.50, concession £8.50. Early evening: adult £10, child £6, concession £9. Floodlit evening: adult £14, child/concession £13. Online discounts available.
- 13 Self-drive boats for hire (Red Boats), King's Staith, YO1 9SN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 16 Feb-4 Nov 9:45AM-3PM. 8-seater red motor launches for you to explore the Ouse under your own steam, river conditions permitting. Full training and lifejackets are provided. The person hiring the boat must be an adult and be in possession of valid ID. From £20 for half an hour, from £30 for one hour + £40 refundable deposit. Online discounts available.
- 14 Grand Opera House, Clifford and Cumberland Street, YO1 9SW, ☏ (premium). Box office M-Sa noon-5PM. First built as a corn exchange in 1868, it was converted to full-time theatre use in 1902. The auditorium is very grand, if a little faded. Despite the name, the Grand hosts a wide variety of plays, musicals, gigs and dance, although opera and ballet performances are rather scarce.
- 15 National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, YO1 9TL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Box office: M-F 9AM-5PM. Early music is European music from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, although this centre has broadened its study to encompass all pre-modern music from cultures around the world. In addition to its two festivals (see below), the NCEM has an extremely lively and diverse annual programme of concerts, seminars and workshops, mostly held at its base in a 12th century deconsecrated church. Prices vary per concert; under 35s receive very generous discounts.
- 16 Theatre Royal, St Leonard's Place, YO1 7HD, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Box office M 10AM-5PM, Tu-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su closed. York's home of 'serious' theatre, dating from 1744 and built on the site of St Leonard's Hospital, whose remains can still be seen in the present building. The company puts on its own plays and also receives touring productions.
- 17 York Barbican, Paragon Street, YO10 4AH, ☏ (premium). Box office M-F 10AM-2PM, show nights from 5PM. A medium-sized venue for touring music and comedy gigs, orchestral performances, opera, ballet, and tribute acts for past pop legends. Also home to the monthly Laugh Out Loud comedy club.
All cinemas are open daily from around 9:30AM until midnight or just after.
- 18 City Screen (Picturehouse York), 13-17 Coney Street, YO1 9QL, ☏ (premium rate), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Peak time is Tu-F after 5PM, Sa Su all day. Discount day is M. A modern cinema which shows a mix of mainstream and arthouse films. It has a bar/cafe with a fantastic balcony overlooking the River Ouse. Adult £10.40 (£12.20 peak), child £6.90 (£7.70 peak), concession £9.40 (£11.20 peak), Mondays £7.50 all patrons, autism-friendly £3.
- 19 Everyman York (Many people still refer to it as the Odeon.), Blossom Street, YO24 1AJ (10-minute walk south of the city centre on Blossom Street. Bus: 1, 4, 5, 10, 13 and the 3 from Askham Bar Park & Ride. Very limited parking.), ☏ (premium rate). Inside a distinctive art deco building, this cinema is held close to the hearts of York residents.
- 20 Vue Cinema, Clifton Moor Centre, Stirling Road, YO30 4XY (On the A1237 ring road, 3 miles (5 km) north-west of town. Bus: 6), ☏ . The city's largest multiplex with 12 screens. £4.99 p.p.
Events and festivals
There is a very full series of events in York. The most important are listed below, January to December; events taking place in the latter half of the current year are listed near the bottom.
- Jorvik Viking Festival (20 - 27 February 2019), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A city-wide celebration of all things Norse; the largest Viking festival in Europe. There are 'living' Viking encampments, guided walks and talks. This festival holds lots of appeal for children, with dressing up, have-a-go activities and combat performances on the cards, and it's all backed up with the serious educational purpose of the Jorvik Centre. Prices vary; lots of free events.
- At other times of the year, scandiphile visitors should check out the York Anglo-Scandinavian Society, which put on regular talks, activities and film screenings with a Nordic slant, mostly at the University of York's Norwegian Study Centre.
- York Literature Festival (15 - 31 March 2019), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Takes place annually for a week and a half in March. This city-wide festival promotes the arts in York, with an emphasis on literature, spoken word and poetry. It also features music, comedy, cinema and theatre. Prices vary; some free events.
- York Chocolate Festival (18 - 22 April 2019), Parliament Street / Shambles Market, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A city-wide celebration of the chocolate industry with a chocolate market, artisan chocolatiers and attractions which share a piece of York's chocolate history.
- Shakespeare's Rose Theatre (25 June - 1 September 2019), Tower Street, YO1 9WD, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Europe's first pop-up Elizabethan theatre showcases four well-known Shakespeare plays over the summer. The 2019 season will stage Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. Around the theatre is an Elizabethan garden and a recreation of 16th century village, complete with stalls, jesters, minstrels and regional food and drink.
- York Early Music Festival (5 - 13 July 2019), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. World class series of concerts, lectures and workshops focusing on pre-18th century music which takes place at venues across the city. Each year has a theme; 2019's is called Innovation: The Shock of the New. Prices vary per concert.
- York Festival of Traditional Dance (8 - 9 September 2018). Email via online contact form. A rich variety of traditional dance sides from all over the country join in a celebration of the diversity of ritual dancing. The Saturday begins with a colourful dance procession from the St Helens Square, to Parliament Street, before the teams separate to dance on site, in Exhibition Square, King’s Square, Minster Piazza and St Sampson's Square throughout the day, before a final grand show in front of dignitaries. The Sunday dancing is less formal, taking place in the squares over lunchtime.
- York Mystery Plays (9, 12, 16 September 2018), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. £10-£15 per ticketed performance. A medieval tradition to showcase stories from the Bible through the medium of colourful, humorous and entertaining plays, revived in the 20th century. The performances can be accompanied by traditional bands of musicians called "waits". They don't run every year and are acted on floats carried around the city.
- York Food and Drink Festival (20 - 29 September 2019), Parliament Street / Shambles Market / St Sampson's Square, ✉ email@example.com. The food element majors on Yorkshire food, while the drinks programme has a worldwide and wine-orientated theme. The range of events is very wide, with demonstrations, tastings, recipe hunts, markets and dinners everyday. Big 'slow food', Fairtrade and other worthy projects allied with lots of hands-on cooking for kids at the Food Factory. Or, if you want to get exploring the city's culinary prowess, pick up a Taste Trail booklet for £5 which pays for all the samples you'll be gorging on. Markets and demos free. Other events ticketed at various prices.
- York Beer & Cider Festival (19 - 22 September 2018), The Knavesmire (A steady 25 min walk from York Station; also served by an hourly festival bus service opposite the station.), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W 5PM-11PM, Th-Sa noon-11PM. Yorkshire's biggest beer festival, run by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) serving up over 500 beers (including 300 which are produced in Yorkshire), 100 ciders and perries, plus a large foreign beer bar, wine and soft drinks. There is live music and an extensive range of world foods from numerous caterers and other stalls. Seating is in a huge beer garden or under massive marquees if it’s wet. Children welcome (accompanied) until 8PM. W £3.50, Th £4.50, Sa Su £5.50. CAMRA members £2 discount on these prices.
- York Mediale (27 September - 6 October 2018), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A biennial festival providing a showcase for leading international digital artists and the best emerging media art talent. The event presents a citywide celebration of exhibitions, installations, live performances, dance, music and workshops. Prices vary per event.
- York Christmas Festival (14 November - 22 December 2019). The streets of York come alive in the run up to Christmas. Carol singers and buskers flock to perform to thousands of festive shoppers. The St Nicholas Fair has market stalls and wooden chalets on Parliament Street, St Sampson's Square and Coppergate, specialising in gifts, crafts, and local farm produce, the Yorkshire Barn sells locally-produced yuletide foods. Elsewhere, the Barley Hall presents a special insight into how people celebrated Christmas in the Middle Ages, while St William's College houses an arts and crafts market for fine handmade items.
- York Early Music Christmas Festival (8 - 15 December 2018), St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, YO1 9TL and other venues, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The Christmas sister festival of the summer event presents a series of concerts with internationally-renowned artists performing seasonal music from the 18th century and earlier. Various prices; under 35s get ridiculously generous discounts.
- Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland (mid November 2019 - early January 2020), York Designer Outlet, St. Nicholas Avenue, Fulford, YO19 4TA. Skate: daily 9:30AM-9:30PM. Funfair: until 15 Dec M-F 3PM-8PM, Sa Su 11AM-8PM, from 16 Dec daily 11AM-8PM. Santa: daily 9:30AM-5PM. All closed 25 Dec. Email via online contact form. The main attraction is The Ice Factor, which is the North's largest seasonal ice rink with a giant Christmas tree as centrepiece. Surrounding the rink is an excellent little vintage funfair, log cabin stalls, and of course Santa's Grotto. Skate: adult £10.95, child/concession £9.95 for 1 hr. Skate hire included. Santa: £4.50, including wrapped gift.
York is an excellent place to be a student; it's friendly, compact, walkable and beautiful, with a lively cultural scene to rival cities many times its size. You'll find York a cheaper place to live and study than other historic cities down south, such as Bath, Cambridge or Oxford, and being on the East Coast Main Line, it's easy to get to most parts of England and Scotland.
- 1 University of York, YO10 5DD, ☏ . Consistently ranked one of the UK's better universities, and part of the prestigious Russell Group. The departments of English and Related Literature, Chemistry, Computer Science and Psychology are particularly well regarded internationally as leading research centres. York is a collegiate university with around 18,000 students across nine colleges, though is not particularly old for such an historic city, being founded in only 1963.
- 2 York St John University, Lord Mayor's Walk, YO31 7EX, ☏ . A small and modern university with just 6000 students, St John's is ranked fairly low nationally, but has strengths in drama, education, English language and literature, health, psychology, sports and theology.
All three of the language schools listed here are accredited by the British Council.
- 3 British Study Centres York (formerly English Language Centre York), 5 New Street, YO1 8RA, ☏ . Email via online contact form. With 20 years' experience, this school is open to students aged 16 and over, though the average age of its students is 30 years old and there is a course specifically catering to the over-50s. Course lengths vary 1-48 weeks.
- 4 English in York Language School, Peasholme House, St Saviours Place, YO1 7PJ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Established in 1985, this school caters only to over-16s and has a variety of courses such as general English, business English and exam preparation. For most courses, you have to commit to a minimum of one week, but some are shorter or longer.
- 5 Melton College, York, 137 Holgate Road, YO24 4DH, ☏ . Email via online contact form. Almost 50 years old, Melton College caters to students of all abilities and from ages 11 up. Older learners may be pleased to enrol in an age 40+ class, thus avoiding the teenagers and twentysomethings who are the typical clientele of these colleges. Course lengths vary 1-36 weeks.
York comes highly recommended for its unique shops and boutiques. There's the usual range of high street stores, but York is also a great place for independent shops, especially if you're looking for gifts, high-end English and Italian fashion, books, or - it has to be said - tourist tat! Shops in York change from year to year, but the beautiful old fashioned wooden shop fronts and grand red brick edifices haven't changed much since they were first built. The extensive pedestrianisation and interesting architecture make shopping and spending a pleasure for even the most miserly Yorkshireman.
- 1 Coney Street. Along with Parliament Street, this is the place in the city centre to head for the chain high street shops you can find all over the UK: Boots, H&M, River Island, Zara et al.
- 2 Fossgate. Fossgate has assorted specialist fashion shops selling bowler hats, smart gentlemen's outfits and clothing and accessories specifically for tall women. Walmgate has a number of homeware stores, a cycling shop and a modelling shop.
- 3 Gillygate. Several interesting shops to fill your home with mementos of your time in York, plus an independent bookshop, cheesemonger and retro gaming store.
- 4 High Petergate and Low Petergate. A hub of small fashion and jewellery stores with a mix of high-end brand names and independents. Those with a sweet tooth should check out the Fudge Kitchen. At the point where the two Petergates meet is 5 Stonegate, where you'll find several fashionable independent retailers and the original House of Trembling Madness, which stocks 900 bottled beers.
- 6 Parliament Street. One of very few wide and straight roads in the centre is this very attractive tree-lined boulevard mostly home to larger chain stores such as Disney, M&S and New Look. Most high street banks and building societies are also represented here. The row continues north-west onto the much narrower 7 Davygate, which has high street fashion giants such as GAP, Pandora and Superdry.
- 8 Browns, Davygate, YO1 8QT, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. A good quality family-run department store that has been trading in York for over 100 years.
- 9 York Farmers' Market, St Sampsons Square, YO1 8QT, ☏ . First Friday of the month 9AM-4PM. An excellent place to buy and discuss food, drink and plants from local producers.
- 10 Shambles. A medieval shopping street with overhanging timber-framed buildings, which was once a street of butchers. This is easily the most touristy street in York and is mostly devoted to places to eat and gift shops. The most notable of the latter are a loose-leaf tea emporium, a popular artisan bakery, a sweet little chinaware shop and a crowded store dedicated to selling Harry Potter memorabilia.
- 11 Shambles Market, 5 Silver Street, YO1 8RY (Between Shambles and Parliament Street). Daily 7AM-5PM. A permanent outdoor market with more than 85 stalls of which some sell fresh local produce, some the ubiquitous world street food, others clothes and accessories, and others still arts, crafts, fabrics and ceramics.
- 12 York Designer Outlet, St Nicholas Ave, Fulford (On the A64 southern ring road, 3½ miles (5.6 km) south of the city. Bus: 7, 415), ☏ . M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 9AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Of particular interest to followers of fashion, this indoor shopping centre contains 120 clothes stores from many top-name brands such as Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren and Ted Baker.
- See also: Yorkshire#Eat
As capital of Yorkshire, the county's cuisine is front and centre on many of York's menus. This is honest and rustic fare, in which generous portions are the norm, and large tasting platters are common. Yorkshire puddings, pies, local game, lamb and beef are all prized by restaurateurs, as are the local cheeses: wensleydale from the Dales, shepherd's purse blues from north of Thirsk and St Helen's Farm hard goat's cheese, produced in the Vale of York. The fish and crab in restaurants is often landed at East Coast ports such as Grimsby and Whitby, while the city's Norse connections are maintained by the serving of Yorkshire-made gravadlax. Pick up some truly divine pork pies to munch on outside from Ye Olde Pie and Sausage Shoppe on the Shambles.
The city itself has two famous products: ham and chocolate.
York ham has been produced within the city walls for hundreds of years, and far-fetched local legend states that the first hams were smoked with sawdust generated by the building of the Minster. The ham comes from the large white pig, in taste is mild, salty, smoky and often breaded, and in appearance a delicate pink. When served hot, it is traditionally accompanied by Madeira sauce. Disaster struck in the mid-2000s, when the last curer in town went out of business, and for 10 years there was no ham produced in York. However, in 2016, Appleton's Butchers opened on Lendal, and York-cured hams are available once more.
While other northern towns busied themselves with boring but useful things like steel and cotton, 19th century York took a sweeter path. Rowntree's created Aero bars, Fruit Pastilles, Kit-Kat, Smarties and Yorkie bars, among other internationally-known sweets. Although bought out by Nestlé in the 1980s with most products rebranded, the original factory has been maintained and expanded, and the Rowntree's brand lives on with Fruit Pastilles and newer products brought out since the acquisition such as Rowntree's Randoms. The other large York company, Terry's (of Chocolate Orange fame) has had a less rosy time: upon acquisition by Modelez, production was moved overseas. But alongside Nestlé's investment, a number of small independent chocolatiers have appeared in York: Choc Affair, Guppy's, Monk Bar and the York Cocoa House, the latter of which runs a chocolate restaurant (see mid-range below).
- 2 Ambiente, 31 Fossgate, YO1 9TA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-10PM. Tapas restaurant with a semi-industrial interior design channelling the modern Madrileño look. On the menu is a cool mix of classic favourites such as albóndigas and patatas bravas, alongside innovative creations like the Yorkshire morcilla. £4-£7 per tapa, or three for £10.95 weekday afternoons.
- 3 Bari Ristorante, 15 Shambles, YO1 7LZ, ☏ . Daily 10AM-3PM/5PM-9:30PM. Cheerfully unpretentious Italian bistro serving pizza and pasta in an authentically Italian style (overly-phallic pepper grinders and waiters adopting cod accents.) Food's not bad, it's reasonably priced, and it's pretty lively of an evening. Mains £7.50-£15.
- 4 Hungry Horace, 39 Layerthorpe, YO31 7UZ, ☏ . M-F 7:30AM-1PM, Sa 8AM-noon, Su closed. Classic working men's cafe for breakfast or brunch. Greasy and tatty but the food is of a very high standard. The staff are very friendly and may refer to you as love or flower. Mains from £4.
- 5 Ippuku Tea House, 15 Blake Street, YO1 8QJ, ☏ . M-F 11:30AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Email via online contact form. Authentic Japanese restaurant with lots of vegan and gluten-free options, and an enormous tea menu to accompany your meal. Mains £6-£11.
- 6 Merchants' Coffee House, Fossgate, YO1 9XD (within the Merchant Adventurers' Hall), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 10AM-4:30PM. Splendid 14th century setting for local speciality breakfasts, lunches and cakes. A good place to try York ham and the original recipe medieval-style Merchants Pie, filled with four meats, fruit and spices. Mains £5-£8.
- 7 Miller's Fish & Chips, 55 The Village, Haxby, YO32 2JE (4½ miles (7.2 km) north of town up Haxby Road. Bus: 13), ☏ . M 4:30PM-10PM, Tu-Th 11:30AM-2PM/4:30PM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su closed. Award-winning chippy with takeaway and restaurant. Reasonable prices and as good a plate's worth as you'll get in York, so it's worth the trip. Cod and chips £6.40.
- 8 Spring Espresso, 45 Fossgate, YO1 9TF, ☏ . Daily 8AM-6PM. Email via online contact form. Snazzy artisan sandwiches and paninis (think York ham, goat's cheese, pastrami, hummus...) for lunch, and a selection of toasts and pancakes for breakfast. Excellent fresh coffee. Another identical café is at 31 Lendal. Sandwiches and pancakes £6.50, paninis £5.50.
- 9 St Crux Church, Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, YO1 8BL. Tu-Sa daytime. Part jumble sale for second-hand books, part cafeteria selling good cheap homemade sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks in a tiny deconsecrated church - eat on the grass outside. £3 for bacon butty and tea.
- 10 The Nook, 3a Castlegate, YO1 9RN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-11PM. Specialists of international street food, brought indoors for a cosy, convivial atmosphere. Mercifully, there's no enormous, jack-of-all-trades menu typical of other 'world food' restaurants here; just a focus on eight core dishes, each from a different culinary tradition. £8 per dish.
- 11 ASK Italian, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, YO1 8QG, ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. Come for the setting rather than the food (which is fine for a chain, just nothing special): marble-pillared Georgian assembly rooms with 40-foot ceilings and plaster cherubs. Extremely busy at weekends and tourist periods. Mains £11-£15.
- 12 Barbakan, 58 Walmgate, YO1 9TL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M 9AM-3PM, Tu-F 9AM-3PM/6PM-10PM, Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Hearty Eastern European food given Western panache. The resulting roast meats, soups and pies are not a million miles away from English cuisine, but with an intriguing Polish or Hungarian twist. Mains £12-£18.
- 13 Bistro at Walmgate Ale House, 25 Walmgate, YO1 9TX, ☏ . Tu 5PM-11PM, W-F noon-11PM, Sa Su 9:30AM-11PM, M closed. Fine, seasonal and locally-sourced food in a pleasant olde worlde environment. Lunch £7-9, dinner mains £13-17.
- 14 Café No.8 Bistro, 8 Gillygate, YO31 7EQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F noon-10PM, Sa Su 9AM-10PM. Refined food which has Yorkshire in its soul: lamb from the Wolds, fish from the North Sea, cheese from Harrogate, and rhubarb and custard for pudding! Mains £16-£18.
- 15 Chocolate Café (York Cocoa House), 3 Blake Street, YO1 8QJ, ☏ . M-W 8:30AM-6PM, Th-Sa 8:30AM-9PM, Su 10AM-5:30PM. The home of chocolate-based gastronomy in York, where savoury local recipes are ingeniously joined by chocolate with intriguing results. Afternoon chocolate is a chocolate version of tea for those who want to sample a selection of the café's dishes. 2 courses £15.50, 3 courses £19.50, afternoon chocolate from £13.50.
- 16 Pizza Express, 17 Museum Street, YO1 7DJ, ☏ . Daily 11:30AM-11PM. A chain which needs no introduction, but this one is worth a look for the setting - a spectacular 19th century brick edifice perched on the bank of the River Ouse. Summer evenings on the terraces are pleasant, and their toilets are marble temples of Victorian excess - it's worth eating there just for the chance to use a solid brass-and-marble urinal. Mains £10-£14.
- 17 The Royal Oak, 18 Goodramgate, YO1 7LG, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-11PM. 15th century timber frame gastropub which offers a charming mix of rustic fare (pie of the day, local sausages, pan-fried woodpigeon) and international flavours (daily special risotto, American "Deep South" tray). Wash it down with a York Gin. Lunch mains £7.95 incl drink, dinner mains £11-£18, set menu two courses £14, three courses £18. Sunday roast two courses £15.45, three courses £19.45.
- 18 The Viceroy, 26 Monkgate, YO31 7PF, ☏ . Daily 5:30PM-11PM (midnight Sa). Always busy even in early evening, this long established Indian restaurant is a favourite of York residents who keep returning time after time for its excellent food and friendly atmosphere. As they say - when in Rome... Mains £9-£14.
- 19 Trembling Madness, 14 Lendal, YO1 8AA, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-11:30PM, Su 11AM-11:30PM. Email via online contact form. An ale house which promotes the pairing of good beer with quality food. The menu is bursting with regional produce, from bread baked in the city, to platters of locally-smoked meats and rich, savoury pies. The same company has a much smaller venue at 48 Stonegate. Mains £9-£12.50.
- 20 Le Cochon Aveugle, 37 Walmgate, YO1 9TX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dinner service W-Sa at 6PM and 7:30PM, lunch Sa noon-1:30PM. Closed for half the week, limited sittings when it is open, no children allowed and a ruthless cancellation policy: "The Blind Pig" is like a parody of a stuffy and inflexible French restaurant. In this regard, the food completely undermines expectations: while based in the Gallic tradition, it is not afraid to do its own thing and draw from diverse influences. Expect creative, bold and expressive dishes across a 4- or 8-course tasting menu. With room for only 20 covers, reservation (4 diners max) is essential. 4 course lunch £40 (with wine pairing £75), 8 course dinner £60 (with wine pairing £110).
- 21 Melton's, 7 Scarcroft Road, YO23 1ND (1 mile (1.6 km) south of the city centre. Bus: 11, 26), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-Sa noon-1:45PM / 5:30PM-9:30PM. Promoting fine dining without the formalities, and run by the York Food Festival's director, this is yet another place in town proving the worth of modern British gastronomy. Try the East Coast cod and octopus, or else the Yorkshire duck confit. Scrummy. Lunch £28-£32, dinner £28-£42.
- 22 Skosh, 98 Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Sa noon-2PM / 5:30PM-10PM, Su noon-4PM. You choose a series of small dishes, and the staff are on hand to advise you on what order to eat them. Think of it as a tapas or meze place, but without the constraints of a single cuisine. The dishes themselves are ambitious, imaginative and memorable, with distinctly Japanese flavours and making excellent use of British produce. Dishes £3-£16. Count on 6-8 dishes to share between two.
- 23 The Ivy, 2 St Helen’s Square, YO1 8QP, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-12:30AM, Su 9AM-12:30AM. Set menu M-F 11:30AM-6:30PM. Email via online contact form. Modern British and European cuisine. While there are no knock-out unique dishes on the menu, the cooking is of extremely high quality and there is an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu. One speciality is their version of an English classic - shepherd's pie with slow-braised shoulder of lamb and cave-matured cheddar. Mains £13-£34, set menu 2 courses £16.50, 3 courses £21.
- 24 The Judge's Lodging, 9 Lendal, YO1 8AQ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 7:30AM-10AM / noon-9:30PM, Sa Su 8AM-10AM / noon-9:30PM. Fine cuisine in rococo splendour. Actually, most of the main dishes - a range of posh burgers, plus a nice collection of meat and fish dishes - belong firmly in the mid-range bracket, but it's the steak and the shellfish - and the wines - that will lighten your pockets. Mains £11-£35, set menu 1 course £10, 2 courses £13.50, 3 courses £15.
- 25 The Rattle Owl, 104 Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Sa noon-3PM / 5:30PM-9:30PM, Su noon-4PM. Thoughtfully-crafted seasonal menu drawing from what's available locally. Each course has only five options, so you'd really hope the chef's knowledge of his cooking and attention to detail would be there, and on these counts the Rattle Owl aims high. Full marks, too, for the sympathetic restoration of their 17th century building and bonus points for the Roman archaeological remains in the wine cellar! Mains £16-£22, early bird set menu (order by 6PM W-F) £21, Sunday lunch 2 courses £21, 3 courses £26.50.
- 26 The Star Inn the City, Lendal Engine House, Museum Street, YO1 7DR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 9:30AM-11PM. Yorkshire cuisine with a taste of the countryside. Cook has a knack for making trad dishes look like intrepid new creations - or for overworking and needlessly 'cheffing up' old favourites, depending on your perspective. Dine on seasonal produce beside the Ouse within a warm velvet and tartan décor. Dinner mains £18-£32, breakfasts £5-£12.
York is known for its decadent afternoon teas: a pot of tea to a blend of your choice, served with dainty sandwiches with the crusts cut off, finger cakes and patisseries, and of course fruit scones with clotted cream and jam. Your food will arrive on a stacked metal stand, with three-tiered platters containing each course of the meal. To this can be added a glass of champagne or some other alcoholic beverage, for those who really want to indulge in luxury. If this sounds like a lot of food and drink, that's because it is; afternoon tea will typically replace lunch, and you may not feel like your dinner until much later on! The price of a full afternoon tea is fairly high; count on spending at least £20 per person, and add up to £10 more if you're having champagne too. Take into account that the venue itself is often as much a part of the experience as the tea, with Bettys, the Garden Room and the Countess of York arguably offering the most luxurious surroundings.
A less indulgent and cheaper option can be just to have a cream tea, that is jam-and-cream scones plus a pot of tea, which should cost no more than £8. Most cafés in York, though not listed here, will serve this, plus a selection of other traditional cakes.
- 27 Bettys Tea Rooms, 6-8 St Helen's Square, YO1 8QP, ☏ . Daily 9AM-9PM. World-famous for its nostalgic atmosphere and spectacular Swiss-Yorkshire patisserie-style catering. It is a 1930s-style tea room complete with palm trees, aproned waitresses and live pianist, and is best known for its afternoon teas but also serves breakfast and lunch/dinner. As Bettys is the tea room all the tourists want to visit, be prepared to queue outside at peak times or book well in advance. Alternatively, you can try the Little Bettys at 46 Stonegate, which doesn't get as busy. Afternoon teas £20-£28, breakfast £3-£12, lunch/dinner £6-£12.
- 28 Countess of York, Leeman Road, YO26 4XJ (within the National Railway Museum), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tea served at noon, 2PM, 4PM. Railfans rejoice! You can get your afternoon tea fix in the NRM's opulently-restored train carriage, the Countess of York. There are a dozen blends of Harrogate tea to choose from, and a seasonal selection of sandwiches and cakes, with the highlight being traditional Yorkshire scones, vanilla cream and homemade jam. As capacity is constrained by the size of the carriage, it is recommended to book well in advance Traditional afternoon tea £23.50, incl. champagne £30.50.
- 29 The Cake Shop and Tea House, 24 Fossgate, YO1 9TA, ☏ . Tu-Su 12:30PM-3PM. Email via online contact form. A slightly more economic afternoon tea that is certainly less refined than other options in the city, but is nonetheless still tasty, filling and satisfying. The advantages of going to a much smaller tea house like here is that you can be sure all the food is made on-site, you don't need to make a reservation and you won't have to queue upon arrival. £35 for two.
- 30 The Garden Room, The Principal York, Station Road, YO24 1AA, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily. Afternoon tea 1PM-5PM, twilight tea 5PM-8PM. A grand and comfortable lounge with armchairs and sofas, and views across the lawns to the Minster. Gluten free and vegan versions of afternoon tea are available. The twilight tea includes the addition of a cocktail. Traditional afternoon tea £23.50, incl. champagne £30.50, children £14.95, cream tea £7.50. Twilight tea M-F £21.95, Sa Su £25.
- 31 The Grand Hotel, Station Rise, YO1 6GD, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily noon-6PM (must be seated by 3:45PM). Take tea in the hotel's swish Rise restaurant, which offers views over the city walls. Vegetarian and gluten-free menus available. Grand afternoon tea £25.50, incl. sparkling wine £30.50, incl. gin and tonic £33.50, incl. champagne £34.50, children £17.
The city of York is the site of two breweries and one distillery.
Beer, that is ale, has been brewed within the city walls for centuries, and the latest iteration of this tradition is York Brewery, which brews a range of three pale ales, the award-winning dark ruby ale Centurion's Ghost, and their signature golden ale Yorkshire Terrier. There is also a constantly changing selection of limited-edition creations, which adds a touch of FOMO-fuelled uniqueness to any beer-lover's visit to York. You can also visit the brewery; see the 'Do' section for details.
The new kid on the block is Brew York, which eschews tradition by selling its brews by can. They specialise in U.S.-style craft beers, indeed their flagship can is a self-titled American pale ale. Also look out for the 6.5% Big Eagle American IPA, the smoked porter Viking DNA and the smooth bitter Maris the Otter. You can drink at their achingly trendy "tap room" (see below), or else make your purchase online.
And then there's gin. Running with the established zeitgeist of stunningly unimaginative names, the York Gin Company launched its range in March 2018. It has already made its mark on the local drinks culture, being stocked by dozens of shops, bars and hotels in and around the city, and is attracting attention at industry awards. The three varieties available are the classic London-style dry gin which was at its peak popularity in York in the 18th century, a chocolatey gin called Gin Cocoa, and the imperial-red juniper, apple and berry-infused Roman Fruit; all three nod to the city's heritage.
Cider is not made in York, and indeed has never been hugely popular up north, but if you like your apple tipple, then look out for Ampleforth Abbey Cider from nearby Thirsk.
York has perhaps the most pubs per square mile of any city in the country; supposedly there's one for every day of the year.
- 1 The Ackhorne, St Martin's Lane, YO1 6LR (Tucked down a very narrow streetlet off Micklegate, past the church), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th noon-11PM, F-Su noon-midnight, quiz Su 9PM. Cosy locals' haunt that is too well hidden to be a major tourist trap. Think pub quiz, pork pies and Yorkshire ales and ciders.
- 2 The Blue Bell, 53 Fossgate, YO1 9TF, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-10:30PM. The smallest pub in York really is tiny, but the Edwardian interior (grade II* listed), conversational atmosphere and real ales mostly from around Yorkshire make this a firm locals' favourite. As there is nowhere to go but the bar area, children are not allowed.
- 3 The Keystones, 4 Monkgate, YO31 7PE, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-11:30PM. Popular with a younger crowd for its live sports on telly at the weekends, pool table, variety of board games and free Playstation 4. Beer garden at rear.
- 4 The Kings Arms, 3 King's Staith, YO1 9SN, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su midnight-10:30PM. The king in question is Richard III, and his house is right on the river bank, meaning one of its annual traditions is becoming part of the river, a fact which is cheerfully recorded on its flood level gauge on the wall inside. Some of the bar rules ('no swearing', 'no drunkenness') are a bit suspect for a pub, and it exclusively serves beers from local brewery Samuel Smith's.
- 5 Lendal Cellars, 26 Lendal, YO1 8AA, ☏ . Su-Th 10AM-11PM, F Sa 10AM-1AM. A standard Greene King chain pub in all ways but one: to access, the visitor must leave the street via a passageway, then descend into this arch-ceilinged underground bar, which was the Lord Mayor's personal wine cellar in the 18th century. A great place for drinks, but avoid the food.
- 6 The Maltings, Tanner's Moat, YO1 1HU, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10:30PM. Absolutely cracking real-ale free house. The resident beer is Yorkshire's famous Black Sheep bitter, and there is a constant rotation of six other guest beers and four traditional ciders.
- 7 The Micklegate, 127 Micklegate, YO1 6LB, ☏ . Su-Th 10AM-11PM, F Sa 10AM-midnight. Good for a noisy couple of hours. If there's no live football with eager fans staring at the multitude of screens, then the music will be playing loud.
- 8 The Minster Inn, 24 Marygate, YO30 7BH, ☏ . Daily noon-11PM. Not actually by the Minster and off the beaten track, most of the inn's clientele are regulars. Full of local charm, serving a wide range of traditional ales and, as a bonus from 4PM, pizzas stone-baked to order.
- 9 The Priory, 103 Micklegate, YO1 6LB, ☏ . M-F 11AM-1AM, Sa Su 11AM-2AM. Part of the Wear Inns chain, this pub has a pool table, jukebox and live sport on the telly. There is better beer to be had in York, and frankly better places to drink it, but the late-night opening makes The Priory stand out from the crowd.
- 10 The Roman Bath, 9 St. Sampson's Square, YO1 8RN, ☏ . Daily 11:30AM-11PM. Shabby John Smiths pub with a wide selection of lagers and frequent open-mic nights. As the name hints at, the building is on top of the remains of a real Roman bath that you can visit for a small fee.
- 11 The Three Legged Mare (The Wonky Donkey), 15 High Petergate, YO1 7EN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-11PM. York Brewery pub which serves their ales and bar snacks, the Donkey has quite an active social week, with a Monday quiz, Thursday open mic night, Friday live folk music and various live music acts on Saturday nights. .
In this section, you'll find a selection of the most recommended bars in town, with a bit of everything from brewery tap rooms to cocktail bars and places to nab a Viking brewski.
- 12 Brew York, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, YO1 9TT, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W, Th 6PM-11PM, F 4PM-11PM, Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10PM. 45 min brewery tours: F 5:30PM, Sa 1:30PM, 3:30PM. Craft brewery whose tap room (bar) is right alongside the brewing machinery; the beer couldn't be fresher! They also have a nice small open-air seating area in the back facing the River Foss. Tour £8 p.p. incl. 4 samples of ⅓ pint.
- 13 Dusk, 8 New Street, YO1 8RA, ☏ . Daily 10AM-2AM. 2-for-1 cocktails M-Th until 10PM. A great place for cocktails, that describes itself as a "laid-back café bar by day, den of iniquity by night." While it does indeed get busy of an evening, you can usually find some space upstairs.
- 14 Evil Eye, 42 Stonegate, YO1 8AS, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F Sa 10AM-1AM. Colourful cocktail bar tucked behind a gin shop owned by the same people. You may have to queue to enter, as the place is very small. No longer serves street food.
- 15 Jalou, 2 Micklegate, YO1 6JG, ☏ . Su-W noon-1AM, Th-Sa noon-2AM. Email via online contact form. Geordie glam meets medieval York: lavish and pricey cocktails served to an RnB soundtrack in a grade II-listed Gothic church with an impressive 'neon chandelier' centrepiece.
- 16 The Biltmore, 29 Swinegate, YO1 8AZ, ☏ . Tu 5PM-midnight, W, Th noon-midnight, Fr, Sa noon-2AM, Su noon-midnight. Housed in a converted historic church, this New York-inspired swish champagne and cocktail bar is relaxed in the week and buzzing at the weekend with the house DJ's music.
- 17 The York Tap, York Station, Station Road, YO24 1AB, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa 10AM-midnight. Housed in a smartly converted Edwardian tea room, this is the place for a decent (if not cheap) pint while waiting for a train. True to its former life, you can still get hot drinks and homemade cakes here too.
- 18 Vahe Bar, 31-33 Goodramgate, YO1 7LS, ☏ . W Th 5PM-11PM, F 10:30AM-midnight, Sa 12:30PM-midnight. Lovely relaxed bar overlooking York Minster serving 10 draught rare imported lagers and UK ales, over 200 bottled continental beers and 300 spirits.
- 19 Valhalla, 4 Patrick Pool, YO1 8BB, ☏ . M-Th noon-11PM, F-Su 11AM-11PM. Anyone versed in Norse mythology will love this bar, which offers proof if it were needed that the Viking spirit is alive and well in York. A place for loudly drinking mead, cider and ale, and feasting from platters stuffed to bursting with quality Yorkshire and Scandi produce.
Nightclubs are the weak link in York's nightlife offering. If you're legally or mentally 18, you'll probably love the singularly awful half-dozen offerings which are aimed squarely at the city's population of students (and underage teens), but if you want any kind of sophistication or musical variety, then you should heed the call of Leeds.
- 20 Club Salvation (Salvo), 3 George Hudson Street, YO1 6JL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. University term time: W F 10:30PM-4AM, Sa 11PM-4AM. University holidays: Sa 11PM-4AM. Essentially for boozed-up undergrad students, Salvo has cheap drinks, chart music and absolutely no class. The bouncers have a bad attitude, but a strict policy against drugs. Free entry before 10PM, then £5 (combo ticket with Society).
- 21 Kuda Bar and Club, 12 Clifford Street, YO1 1RD, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-W, F 11PM-4AM. Split over two floors and three rooms, including a tiki bar complete with hula girls, and a cocktail lounge. VIP booths available. Drinks are pricey. Entry from £3.
- 22 Mansion, 55 Micklegate, YO1 6LJ, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9PM-4AM. The kind of place where projectile vomiting adds to the fun, this is a hard-drinking, slightly filthy club. Entry £5.
- 23 Popworld, George Hudson Street, YO1 6JL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 10PM-3AM, F 8PM-3AM, Sa 5PM-3AM, Su 9PM-3AM. Describing itself as "cheese with style", Popworld is deeply proud of how uncool it is. This chain club is smaller than most of its sister venues, but has a revolving dancefloor on which you can bust out your worst moves to music as sugary as the floor's sticky coating.
- 24 Society Lounge and Bar, 1 Rougier Street, YO1 6HZ, ☏ . W-Su 9PM-3AM. Cheap drinks and mainstream music, popular with students. It gets cramped at the weekend. Free entry before 10PM, then £5 (combo ticket with Salvo).
- 25 The Stone Roses, 4 King Street, YO1 9SP, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily noon-2AM. A 90s-themed rock/britpop bar which steadily morphs into a club as the night goes on. Decent atmosphere and bargain bevvies.
Live music and comedy venues
- 26 Fibbers, 3-5 Toft Green, YO1 6JT, ☏ (general), (tickets - premium rate), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Most shows 7:30PM-10:30PM. Long running music venue which has hosted many of the UK's biggest acts since the 1990s. Gigs several nights a week. 14-16 year olds must be accompanied by an adult (18+). No under 14s.
- 27 The Basement, 13-17 Coney Street, YO1 9QL (Under the City Screen Picturehouse), ☏ (premium rate), ✉ email@example.com. Most gigs 8PM-11PM, most other events 7:30PM-10PM. 100-seater underground venue for live music (especially jazz), comedy, film, poetry, workshops and discussions. 16+ only.
- 28 The Crescent, 8 The Crescent, YO24 1AW, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 4PM-midnight (Sa Su until 1AM). Working men's club turned community events venue. Wednesday is open decks night, and there are music gigs several times a week. Also has free bar games and retro video games.
- 29 The Fulford Arms, 121 Fulford Road, YO10 4EX (Bus: 7, 25, 26, 415), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 4PM-midnight, Fr Sa 11:30AM-1AM, Su 11:30AM-11:30PM. Real ale pub with a relaxed 'suburban local' atmosphere by day, but with live music and other events such as charity fundraisers nearly every night.
York has everything from humble hostels and cosy guesthouses, to some of England's grandest historic hotels. The usual chains are present in abundance, but there are also plenty of unique independents worth seeking out. Most accommodation listings here are in the heart of the city, within easy walking distance from attractions and services, but some are situated in quieter residential neighbourhoods or just on the fringes, though nowhere is very far apart in compact York. And while most people don't associate city breaks with camping opportunities, there are a surprising number of places to pitch a tent or park a campervan both in town and a little way outside.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
- 1 Astor York Hostel (Holgate Hill Hostel), 124 Holgate Road, YO24 4BB (Bus: 1, 5, 5A), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small, basic rooms. WiFi signal not great. Nice communal areas, including a bar. Unbeatable £1 breakfast. From £20.
- 2 Diamonds Guest House, 114 Bishopthorpe Road, YO23 1JX (Bus: 11, 26), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Cosy but basic B&B in a Victorian house, offering a continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi. No alcohol on premises, but there are good pubs and restaurants close by. From £36.
- 3 Holmlea Guest House, 6 Southlands Road, YO23 1NP (1 mile (1.6 km) south of city centre, close to racecourse. Bus: 11, 26), ☏ . Check-in: 10AM, check-out: 10AM. Email via online contact form. Homely by name... this cosy corner terrace house has about five cutely-decorated rooms and is in a quiet residential setting. Free continental breakfast served in your room. Limited on-street parking; reserve a permit for £5 per day. From £25 pppn.
- 4 Old Grey Mare, Clifton Green, YO30 6LH (1 mile (1.6 km) north of city centre on A19 Clifton. Bus: 2), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. An old-fashioned pub with homely en-suite rooms. English and Indian food served on site. No breakfast, but there's a good café across the road. £20-£25 pppn.
- 5 Safestay York Hostel, 88-90 Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Handsome Georgian townhouse right in the centre. A mix of shared dormitories (4-12 people, some female only) and private rooms (2-4 people). Free WiFi, bar, breakfast £4.50-£5. From £10.
Where are the budget chains?
If you're looking for the likes of Premier Inn, Travelodge or Ibis in travel hotspot York, you'll either have to spend a bit more, or compromise on location. The city centre hotels of these usually budget-friendly chains charge premium room rates and are therefore listed in the 'Mid-range' section below. Alternatively, there are cheaper motel options for the former two brands on the A64, around 10 miles (16 km) west of the city; see Tadcaster for details.
- 6 The Fort Boutique Hostel, 1 Little Stonegate, YO1 8AX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Five individually-decorated rooms created by five up-and-coming UK artists and designers. Each room has an en-suite and a flatscreen TV. Common room with microwave, fridge and toaster. The bar and restaurant downstairs is open from 8:30AM for breakfast, and serves food and drink until 9PM. From £32.
- 7 YHA York Hostel, Water End, YO30 6LP (Bus: 2), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. 20 minutes' walk away from the city walls, this youth hostel is clean and cheap with good showers. Good family rooms for four. Adequate breakfast is included in the price, and they'll pack you a breakfast if you're leaving especially early. Dorm from £15, private room from £25 pppn.
- 8 Hotel Noir, 3-5 Clifton Green, YO30 6LH (Bus: 2), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 28 comfortable rooms, all en-suite. Free, small car park, good breakfast and free minibar. The road outside can be noisy, so stay in one of the rear rooms if you're a light sleeper. Lively bar as well. B&B doubles from £100.
- 9 Holiday Inn York City Centre (formerly Hotel 53 - beware, as the old website is still active as of Jan 2019), 53 Piccadilly, YO1 9PL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Eye catching, modern design 6-storey hotel, matched by stylish contemporary interiors. The standard Holiday Inn experience (gym, air conditioning, good breakfast); if you can't get in here, there's another one a bit further out of town on Tadcaster Road. B&B doubles from £110.
- 10 Ibis York Centre, 77 The Mount, YO24 1BN (Bus: 1, 4, 5, 5A, 12, 13, 840, 843, ZAP), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. The setting in a large brick townhouse means the rooms are a bit smaller than with other Ibis hotels. Onsite restaurant and bar. Pets welcome. From £43.
- 11 Marmadukes Hotel, 4 St Peter's Grove, YO30 6AQ (Bus: 2), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Boutique 4-star hotel in a Victorian property. All 21 rooms have en-suites and free wifi. The on-site restaurant is pricey but you get what you pay for - seasonal and modern British fine dining with almost universal online acclaim. B&B doubles from £110.
- 12 Middletons, Skeldergate, YO1 6DS, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: M-Sa 11AM, Su noon. 56 rooms spread across a complex of listed historic buildings - Charlie Chaplin was once a guest here - and pleasant outdoor space, Middletons features a restaurant, bar and fitness centre including a small pool. B&B doubles from £88. Parking £10.
- 13 Queen Anne's Guest House, 24 Queen Anne's Road, YO30 7AA (Bus: 2), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 11:30AM-1:30PM or 4:30PM-7:30PM, check-out: 10AM. Traditional B&B with a mix of en-suite rooms and a few with shared bathrooms. From £35 pppn, incl very tasty full English / vegan breakfasts.
- 14 Mercure York, Fairfield Manor Hotel, Shipton Road, YO30 1XW (4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of centre on A19. Bus: 19, 29, 30, 30X, 31, 31X), ☏ (premium), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. 18th century manor house with some original features, set in six acres of private grounds, offering countryside views. On-site restaurant. From £60 pppn, breakfast not incl. Pets £15.
- 15 Premier Inn York City (Blossom Street North), 20 Blossom Street, YO24 1AJ, ☏ (premium). Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Standard rooms feature a king-size bed and excellent showers. Two kids can sleep in the same room on pull out beds, and they get breakfast for free with a paying adult. There is another Premier Inn, "Blossom Street South", just down the street. From £88.50.
- 16 Travelodge York Central, 90 Piccadilly, YO1 9NX (Bus: 1, 3, 4, 5, 5A, 12, 13, 59, 840, 843, ZAP), ☏ (premium). Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Rooms are comfortable and private, and are good value for the location. But don't take the breakfast, as the Wetherspoons next door is better value. There are two other central Travelodges in York - at Layerthorpe and Micklegate. B&B doubles from £90.
- 17 Lendal Tower, Lendal Bridge, YO1 7DP, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This proud 14th-century tower guarding the river bridge is now a boutique self-catering property which sleeps six. Highlights of your stay may include enjoying the panorama from the rooftop terrace or relaxing like a lord in a four-poster bed. From £400 per night.
- 18 Middlethorpe Hall, Bishopthorpe Road, YO23 2GB (On southern edge of Knavesmire racecourse, 3 miles (4.8 km) from city centre. Bus: 11), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. If you've ever wanted to stay in one of the National Trust's stately homes, this is your chance: a country hall and estate dating from 1698, set in an impressive 20 acres of garden. The rooms and suites make full use of antiques and period features, but there are multiple dining options and a cottage pool and spa. B&B doubles from £219.
- 19 Park Inn by Radisson, North Street, YO1 6JF, ☏ . From the outside, this is a hideous mid-20th century cornflakes box that sits awkwardly on the Ouse riverfront. Once you're inside, of course, the building's memory quickly fades as you admire unhindered views of the river and the attractive medieval surroundings. There's also a swimming pool, bar, grill restaurant and large conference space. From £55 pppn.
- 20 The Dean Court Hotel (Best Western), Duncombe Place, YO1 7EF, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. An imposing Victorian pile, this hotel is lauded for its comfortable rooms and suites, and its views of the Minster, which is opposite. Free wifi, on-site bar and restaurant. From £80 pppn. Valet parking £20.
- 21 The Grand Hotel, Station Rise, YO1 6GD, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Very luxurious Edwardian hotel from the golden age of the railway. There are numerous top catering options, a large conference room, and a spa, gymnasium and swimming pool which hark back to Roman Eboracum. No on-site parking, but the concierge team can provide a meet-and-greet service at the station, chauffeur pick-ups and even a helicopter transfer! From £125 pppn. Valet parking £30.
- 22 The Grange Hotel, 1 Clifton, YO30 6AA (Bus: 2), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. In a Regency town house, it's gone for the country-house-chic look - all deep sofas, open fires and unobtrusive service. There are three restaurants ranging from a seafood bar, through contemporary cellar bar to the full-on French silver service. Not cheap, but deeply luxurious, and a real change from the standard pre-packaged international chain hotels. From £70 pppn. Breakfast £15 pp.
- 23 The Judge's Lodging, 9 Lendal, YO1 8AQ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Upmarket place in Grade I-listed Georgian townhouse, with a collection of characterful and smartly-decorated rooms. On-site is a traditional cellar bar and restaurant. No parking. From £115.
- 24 The Principal York, Station Road YO24 1AA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. In a Victorian mansion right next to the railway station, try for a higher floor to avoid noise from the street and function room. Good restaurant but you pay for the view of the Minster. Also has a bar, swimming pool and gym. B&B doubles from £180.
Unusually, York has an inner city campsite:
- 25 York Rowntree Park (Caravan Club), Terry Avenue, YO23 1JQ (Bus: 11, 26), ☏ . Camp in the city! Next to both Rowntree Park and the River Ouse, this is mostly a site for caravans and motorhomes, though there are pitches for tents too. Washroom, laundry room, electricity and gas hook-ups, wifi. Disability friendly. Barbecues and dogs allowed. Non-members welcome. Tariffs are seasonal: adults £7-£11 pppn, children £1-£4 pppn, extra charges for hardstanding with awning, tent pitch £5.50.
There are several campsites on the outskirts of York or in the near hinterland. The following two have been chosen for their locations just outside the city ring road and for their high ratings:
- 26 Nurseries Caravan Park, Askham Bryan Lane, YO23 3QY (4 miles (6.4 km) south-west of city centre, off A1237 ring road and 1½ miles (2.4 km) from A64. Bus: 37 - infrequent), ☏ . Pitches for tourers and tents in a 7 acre park. Heated washroom with hot showers, launderette, small shop for camping essentials. Dogs welcome on a lead. Tariffs are seasonal: 2 adults with car and power hookup £19-£21, £5/£3 per extra adult/child.
- 27 Wagtail Park, 23 North Lane, YO32 9SU (4 miles (6.4 km) north-east of city centre, off A1237 ring road. No public transport access), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. A quiet campsite on the edge of town; just pitch up with your vehicle, trailer or tent, or you can try one of the site's four 'pods', snug two-person cabins with heating and electricity. There's a fishing pond on site, but no facilities or activities specifically for children. Washroom with wet room showers. Dogs welcome. Tent, caravan or campervan pitch from £17 or from £20 with electricity hookup. Pods from £40.
York is a safe city with no significant crime problem. It is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the whole UK, and high safety levels help to influence this. Unlike certain other European cities popular with tourists, visitors to York are not a particular target for scams and crimes. There are, however, some precautions worth taking.
Take care on weekend evenings in York. Plenty of local youngsters overestimate their capacity for alcohol and the city centre can seem to be awash with lager louts, mainly in the Micklegate area. If you are approached just keep on walking and they will find another victim to pester. Aim for Wikivoyage's recommended pubs, though, and you'll find that safe socialising in the company of affable locals is still possible!
Try to avoid secluded cycle paths and ginnels (alleyways) at night as it is not unknown for robberies to take place in these parts, however this tends to be away from the main city centre.
Be careful near and on the River Ouse, as it is deep and cold, and the current is surprisingly strong. If you have been drinking, avoid going near the river altogether, especially at night. The bankside paths can be slippery and poorly lit, and if you do fall in, there may well be no-one around to help you out. Several people drown in the Ouse every year, and alcohol and darkness play a role in the majority of deaths.
In spite of elaborate defences, York floods pretty much every winter. All it takes is a few days of sustained rainfall somewhere upstream, and the houses and businesses nearest to the Ouse are submerged. There's about 30 miles of Pennine moors, from Harrogate to Richmond, where the pouring rain has only one way out. If it keeps raining, then 48 hours later the river at York is brimming; another day of rain and riverside properties start to become inundated.
Aside from providing the press with a dependable annual news story, the only upside to York's frequent inundations is that locals know what to do. If you're caught in a flood, follow their lead. You can also access the city council's flood advice portal. While water damage to property is often serious, flood-related injuries and deaths are extremely rare. Follow the authorities' advice, and you'll be fine.
- 5 Monkbar Pharmacy, 3 Goodramgate, YO1 7LJ (By Monk Bar / Richard III Experience), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 7:30AM-10:30PM, Su 8:30AM-6:30PM.
- 6 The Priory Pharmacy, Priory Medical Centre, Cornlands Road, YO24 3WX (2⅓ miles (3.6 km) south-west of city in Acomb), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 10AM-8PM.
York has dozens of Christian churches, including of the Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, and Latter Day Saints denominations. Muslims can worship at the city's first and only mosque on Bull Lane (YO10 3EN). The Quaker meeting house on Friargate (YO1 9RL) also hosts York's Liberal Jewish and Buddhist communities. Adherents of other faiths and denominations will generally find their nearest place of worship to be in Leeds.
York's area code (for landline numbers) is 01904 when dialled from within the UK or +44 1904 from outside the UK. Calls made from landlines within York do not require the area code to connect.
Most of York is covered by the CityConnect free Wi-Fi service - see the website for a map of all the hotspots. Complete a brief online registration form, and you're good to go.
Alternatively, if you don't have a device capable of connecting to the internet, or you need to get online on a desktop computer:
- 7 York Explore Library, Library Square, Museum Street, YO1 7DS, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 9AM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Ask at the enquiry desk - you'll see plenty of locals using the computers, but the staff can arrange web access for visitors too. Printing facilities are also available.
- 8 The Coffee Bureau (internet café), 42 Micklegate, YO1 6LF, ☏ . M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa Su closed. A space for concentration and coffee.
York is centrally located in Yorkshire, making it a great base for days out in any direction.
The Vale is a prosperous agricultural country sandwiched between the Pennines and the East Coast. Peppered with medieval monasteries, castles and stately homes, it also has a selection of attractive small towns:
- Harrogate is the obvious next move from York, being an elegant Regency-era spa town 21 miles (34 km) west on the A59, and home to the original Bettys Tea Rooms. Worth a stop on the way is Knaresborough, to see the 12th century castle and visit a witch's lair.
- Ripon is a village-sized city that still packs in an impressive Early English cathedral, the haunting ruins of Fountains Abbey, and a host of justice-themed museums. It's 25 miles (40 km) north-west via the A59 and A1 (M). On the way, why not check out the Roman villa at Aldborough?
- Selby's 11th century abbey is worth the 14 miles (23 km) journey south on the A19.
- Tadcaster is a brewery town noted for its Sam Smiths beers 10 miles (16 km) south-west on the A64.
- Thirsk is a small market town 23 miles (37 km) north on the A19, with a museum dedicated to the vet James Herriot.
- Hull is a major East Coast seaport in the midst of long-awaited urban renaissance, having successfully reinvented itself from a synonym for dull into the UK's 2017 City of Culture. It's 41 miles (66 km) south-east via the A1079 and A63.
- Leeds is the biggest and most cosmopolitan city in Yorkshire, known for its palatial shopping arcades and fantastic for clubbing, drinking and dining. It's 25 miles (40 km) south-west on the A64.
- The heather expanses of the North York Moors National Park stretch north of Pickering (26 miles (42 km), best accessed by the A64, turning off near Malton). The National Trust property Nunnington Hall, English Heritage ruin Rievaulx Abbey and baroque magnificence of Castle Howard are within the park.
- Bridlington (via the A166), Filey (via the A64) and Scarborough (via the A64) are all Victorian seaside resorts, and all 41 miles (66 km) from York, via different routes. The scenic coast road north of Scarborough leads past little coves and windswept moors to Whitby, where you can contemplate Count Dracula, while eating possibly the best fish and chips in the world.
See the main Yorkshire article for many more ideas.
|Routes through York|
|Middlesbrough ← Thirsk ←||N S||→ Selby → Doncaster|
|Yorkshire Dales ← Harrogate and Knaresborough ←||W E||→ END|
|Leeds ← Tadcaster ←||SW NE||→ Malton → Scarborough/North York Moors|
|END ←||W E||→ Driffield → Bridlington|
|END ←||NW SE||→ Pocklington → Kingston-upon-Hull|