- For other places with the same name, see York (disambiguation).
The ancient cathedral city of York has a history dating back over 2000 years. Romans, Saxons, Vikings, and Britons from all eras have each left their mark. It is home to some of Europe's best-preserved historical buildings and structures, including York Minster and dozens of other churches, the Shambles medieval shopping street, countless handsome townhouses, and the city's walls and gatehouses. Other popular attractions on the bucket lists of York's 7 million annual visitors include the Jorvik Viking Centre and Britain's National Railway Museum.
York is in North Yorkshire, England, and is the unofficial capital of the entire region of Yorkshire. The city is a perfect base for exploring "God's own county", having some of the finest hotels around, and all the comforts and amenities of a large city, while retaining the atmosphere and scale of a small town. York's shops, markets, pubs, and restaurants delight in offering Yorkshire-made produce, so you will find it difficult not to overindulge.
A UNESCO City of Media Arts, York has a festival for every occasion, celebrating everything that has shaped the city's culture over the centuries: music, dance, chocolate, theatre, literature, horseracing, digital media. Whatever time of year you come, you're sure to find a gig, show or exhibition that tickles your fancy.
So, plunge forward, and discover York!
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 1800 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 (from Old Norse gata), 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 Roman and Viking remnants, through timber frame medieval structures, to much grander stone and brick edifices from later periods. The centre straddles both banks of two rivers - the Ouse (pronounced ooze) 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 (Stephen Cottrell, as of 2020) 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". Eboracum began as little more than a military outpost at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, but 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 waned 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's exhausted army 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 Royalist York was 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 whose members 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 2018, it was named the best city to live in the UK by The Sunday Times. In 2021, the city is 1,950 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 visitEdit
|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 PassEdit
- 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 17 attractions in York, and discounted entry to a number of others. 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 costs £48 per adult and £30 per child, while a two-day pass costs £65 per adult and £35 per child. You can buy online or in person at the visitor information centre. When buying online, your pass is downloaded to your smartphone. (March 2021)
The pass is valid for 24 months after purchase and activated when you enter your first attraction. The one-day pass is valid for one calendar day, not a 24-hour period. Two-day passes are valid for consecutive calendar days. The pass covers the entry fee of every participating attraction, but does not allow you to queue jump or to have privileged access.
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 two-day pass; if this sounds like too much, the pass is not for you.
1 Manchester Airport (MAN IATA), 85 mi (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 to York, 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 mi (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 A1 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 mi (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 Underground (Piccadilly line); from Gatwick take the Thameslink train 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 (at least 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 King's 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).
King's Cross in London is adjacent to St Pancras International, the British terminus for high-speed Eurostar trains from the near continent. This very easy interchange brings York within 4 hr 30 min from Paris and Brussels, 3 hr 30 from Lille, and under 6 hr from Amsterdam
- 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.
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 5 bus stop RC for northbound services, and at 6 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 7 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.
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. If you're coming from the urban north-west, follow the M62 east onto the M1; from the Yorkshire Dales and Lakes, use 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 £3.30. 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.
Coronavirus - park and ride is running a reduced service as of March 2021. Poppleton Bar is closed until further notice. It is mandatory to wear a facemask on all public transport in the United Kingdom.
|Road access||Which bus?||Hours|
|8 Askham Bar||from Leeds and the south-west||M-Sa 6AM-10PM,
|9 Designer Outlet||from Selby and the south||M-Sa 7AM-10PM,
|10 Grimston Bar|| from Bridlington and the east
from Hull and the south-east
|11 Monks Cross||from Scarborough and the north-east||M-Sa 7AM-9:30PM,
|12 Poppleton Bar||from Harrogate and the west||M-Sa 7AM-8:30PM,
|13 Rawcliffe Bar||from Thirsk and the north-west||M-Sa 7AM-10:30PM,
- 2 Yorbag, 20 High Petergate, YO1 7EH, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 on flat terrain between most of the sights. That said, the winding, narrow streets can be confusing and aren't always well-signposted, so a map is always handy.
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 walks 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 online.
- 3 Cycle Heaven Bike Hire, Station Road, YO24 1AY (On your right as you exit the railway station through the main entrance.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. Coronavirus - cycle hire is suspended until further notice. 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 (March 2021). 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. Adult single fares are from £1.20 (March 2021), but increase for longer journeys. You can purchase your ticket 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, valid every day of the week after 9AM Monday to Friday, and anytime weekends and bank holidays. You can only buy this ticket via the First Bus app, but each five-person ticket costs £9 (March 2021), 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-7AM) 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. (March 2020)
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.
If you're using York as a base from which to explore the Yorkshire countryside, you will find all the major car hire companies in town, mostly by the railway station.
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, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Minster visits: M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM, Su 12:30PM-3PM; Museum: M-Sa 10AM-4:30PM, Su 1PM-3:15PM; Worship: 4 or more services 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 inside of the cathedral has beautiful stained glass and several interesting and peculiar features – look for the modern statues signalling "Christ is here" in semaphore and the dragon hanging from near the ceiling. 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 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. Worship, park and plaza free. York Pass accepted.
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 creditors 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 lynch mob 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, ☏ . Closed for conservation work until summer 2021. 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 £5.90, child £3.50, concession £5.30, English Heritage members free.
- 6 Fairfax House, Castlegate, YO1 9RN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM, M entrance by guided tour only 11AM, 2PM. A Georgian townhouse built as the winter home for the Viscount Fairfax and his daughter, which has today been lovingly restored as a charming example of aristocratic life in York. It is decorated and furnished similar to how it would have been in the 1760s, almost exclusively using objects from the private collection of chocolatier Noel Terry (1889 - 1979). Giuseppe Cortese's elaborately-wrought stucco ceilings are a particular highlight, adorning half a dozen of the Fairfaxs' stately rooms. 'Gregory the Townhouse Mouse' will keep your kids entertained with his exploration trails around the property. Audio tours in eight languages. Adult £7.50, child £3, concession £6. York Pass accepted.
- 7 Guildhall, St. Helen’s Square, YO1 9QN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 8 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.
- 9 Merchant Adventurers' Hall, Fossgate, YO1 9XD, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. Good café on-site. Adult £6.50, concession £5.50, under 17s free. York Pass accepted. Admission includes audio tour in English / written guide in other languages.
- 10 National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, YO26 4XJ (Adjacent to York railway station. Bus: 2, 10, or take the road train from the Minster), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 11 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.
- 12 Treasurer's House, Minster Yard, YO1 7JL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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 £8.90, child £4.45, NT members free.
- 13 York Army Museum, 3 Tower Street, YO1 9SB, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. 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. York Pass accepted.
- 14 York Mansion House, St Helen's Square, YO1 9QL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Gastronomes will be interested in the daily cooking demonstrations in the authentically-restored 18th-century kitchen. Adult £6.50, concession £5, child £3.50. York Pass accepted.
York Archaeological TrustEdit
The York Archaeological Trust run five attractions, which can be visited on various individual or combined tickets. The most useful of these is the Triple Ticket, valid for 12 months, and allowing you entrance to three of the Trust's attractions: Jorvik, Barley Hall and DIG. This is available for £18 per adult, £14.50 per concession, and £12.50 per child.
Coronavirus – Jorvik, the Barley Hall and DIG reopen in May; there is no reopening date for the Henry VII and Richard III Experiences. (March 2021)
- 15 Jorvik Viking Centre, 19 Coppergate, YO1 9WT (within the Coppergate Shopping Centre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily Apr-Oct 10AM-6PM, Nov-Mar 10AM-4PM, longer hours during school holidays. Reconstruction of York as it might 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 Jórvík. Audio commentary available in 15 languages. After the ride is a 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. York Pass accepted.
- 16 Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, off Stonegate, YO1 8AR, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-3PM/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. York Pass accepted.
- 17 Micklegate Bar (Henry VII Experience), Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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.
- 18 Monk Bar (Richard III Experience), 6 Goodramgate, YO1 7LQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 TrustEdit
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.
Coronavirus - with the exception of the Museum Gardens and St Mary's Church, all YMT attractions are closed until at least May. (updated March 2021)
- 19 York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, YO1 7EW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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.
- 20 York Castle Museum, Tower Street, YO1 9RY (next to Clifford's Tower), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 21 Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, Museum Street, YO1 7FR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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.
- 22 York Museum Gardens (outside Yorkshire Museum), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10:30AM-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 23 Multangular Tower, which only saw action 14 centuries later during the English Civil War; the remains of 24 St Leonard's Hospital, where the poor and sick of medieval York were cared for physically and spiritually; the ruins of the Benedictine 25 St Mary's Abbey, which date from 1088 and once rivalled the Minster for grandeur. The small 26 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.
- 27 St Mary's Church (not to be confused with St Mary's Abbey), Castlegate, YO1 9RN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM, closed W. 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. Until at least 31 August 2021, the church is fully dedicated to a major exhibition: the UK première of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, which has come 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. York Pass accepted.
As well as the Minster, York has a number of parish churches which are of architectural or historical interest:
- 28 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.
- 29 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.
- 30 Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, 70 Goodramgate, YO1 7LF (Enter via an unassuming gated archway opposite Tesco Express. Wheelchair access via Petergate next to Poundland), ☏ . W-Sa 11AM-3PM. 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.
- 31 Holy Trinity, Micklegate, Micklegate, YO1 6LE, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 32 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.
- 33 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.
- 34 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.
- 35 The Bar Convent, 17 Blossom Street, YO24 1AQ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. York Pass accepted.
Coronavirus - churches are prioritising their congregations and reopening for worship, so may take longer to welcome visitors again.
- 36 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), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Coronavirus - garden only: daily 10AM-5PM. 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. Adult £10, child £5. York Pass accepted. NT members free.
- 37 Cold War Bunker, Monument Close, YO24 4HT (off B1224 Acomb Road, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of city centre. Park on Acomb Road or at Carlton Tavern. Bus: 1), ☏ . Coronavirus - due to the enclosed nature of the visit, this attraction is likely to remain closed for several months after most others have reopened. 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. Adult £8.30, child £5, concession £7.50, EH member free.
- 38 Goddards House, 27 Tadcaster Road, YO24 1GG (1¾ miles (2.7 km) south-west of centre. Bus: 4, 12, 13, 840, 843, ZAP), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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 £5, child £2.50, NT member free.
- 39 Holgate Windmill, Windmill Rise, YO26 4TX (1½ miles (2.4 km) west of centre. Park on Acomb Road (YO24 4AE) or at Carlton Tavern (YO24 4HA). Bus: 1, 5, 5A, P+R Turquoise), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Mill open for tours on irregular weekends 11AM-4PM, very frequently in summer, but seldom in winter. Mill shop every Sa 10AM-noon. Full calendar here. One of York's more unusual sights is this 18th century windmill, unique in Britain for having five sails, which sits rather conspicuously in the middle - literally - of a very ordinary residential street. After falling into disuse in the 1930s, the mill was painstakingly restored to working condition by volunteers between 2001 and 2012. On open days, you can see the sails moving, then go inside the mill and understand how the power of wind is harnessed to turn the millstone and grind wheat and spelt into flour. The same volunteers are on hand to answer your questions and sell you some of their freshly-ground flour!. Adult £3, child (5-18 years) £1.
- 40 Murton Park, Murton Lane, Murton, YO19 5UF (4 miles (6.4 km) east of centre, just outside ring road (Grimston Bar). Bus: 747 from York station to Murton village - limited service, see timetable here), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Farming museum: Easter-October daily 10:30AM-4:30PM. Living history: school holidays daily, same hours. DVLR: Su, bank holidays, same hours. Three attractions in one:
The Yorkshire Museum of Farming takes visitors through a typical year on the farm, and charts the industry's development from the 1800s to the 1960s, with farming equipment and lovable animals to meet too. Explore reconstructions of a dairy parlour, blacksmith's forge and veterinary surgery which features equipment from James Herriot's famous clinic in Thirsk. Special focus is on an indoor exhibition about the Women's Land Army, who helped keep Britain fed during two world wars, and paved the way for postwar gender equality. Afterwards, take a walk along the nature trail to discover the rich diversity of wildlife that lives on farmland.
The Danelaw Centre for Living History presents a number of recreated rural dwellings from Yorkshire's past, from Iron Age, Saxon/Viking villages and a Roman fort, to a Tudor homestead and wartime farm. As it is used as an outdoor history classroom during term time, access to the centre for the general public is limited to weekends and school holidays, and if you want to make the most of the 'living history' aspects (reenactors, stories from long ago, hands-on activities, weapons training etc), you'll need some children with you. The range of cool stuff for them to do will make you wish you were a kid again. To find exactly which activities are happening on which days see the site's events page.
The Derwent Valley Light Railway is the half-mile remnant of a line which once linked York to Selby. Nowadays, you can enjoy unlimited - if admittedly short - diesel-hauled rides from Murton Park's cute little station. And if you're still put out at not being able to join your little Vikings in defending their village from attack, you can console yourself by learning to be a train driver, with a practical lesson from one of the DVLR experts. Once you've learnt the ropes, you can drive your loco the length of the track and back - sorry, kids, you have to be 18 or over. Adult £11, child/concession £9, includes all living history activities (when available) and unlimited access for one year. Locomotive driving experience (adult only): £10.
- 41 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), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Su 10AM-4PM (summer until 5PM). 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. York Pass accepted.
- 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 (Atlantis, NYPD, Ministry of Wizards), and you have 60 minutes to solve a series of puzzles and codes in order to escape. Teams from 2 to 6 players, ages 8 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), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Regular flat-racing events April-Oct, though the big fixture is Ebor Races in late August. 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. Outside that, dressing up smart is not required, but does add to the sense of occasion. £5-£300, depending on race and desired seats.
- 3 Jorvik DIG, St Saviour's Church, St Saviourgate, YO1 8NN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily, hours vary, last admission one hour before closing. 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 £7, child/concession £6.50. Combo ticket with Jorvik Centre: adult £15.50, concession £13, child £12. York Pass accepted. Booking recommended.
- 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), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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 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 Dungeon, 12 Clifford Street, YO1 9RD, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily, 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. Walkup prices: adult/child from £17; online prices: adult from £13, child from £12 with timed entry. York Pass accepted. Merlin Pass holders free.
- 6 York Maze, Elvington Lane, YO19 5LT (5 miles (8 km) east of city centre on the B1228. Bus: 36, X36 (M-Sa); timetable and details here.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Summer 2021. The largest 'maize maze' in Europe. Each year is different; the 2018 maze was shaped like two giant Jurassic Park dinosaurs. There are numerous other activities, such as mini-mazes for children, quadbiking, games such as crazy golf, and funfair-style fun like pig racing (seriously), stage shows and rides. Grill restaurant and café on-site. Be prepared for an assault of corny puns about how 'a-maize-ing' everything is. Adult £16, senior/child £15, under 3 years free. 50% off all prices for disabled visitors and their carers. £1 discount when bought online in advance.
- Hallowscream (Will provide private bus shuttle from Memorial Gardens, YO26 4ZF), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Autumn 2021. In autumn, things get gory at the York Maze: five night mazes stalked by insane scientists and bloodthirsty monsters, plus scary sideshows and seasonal food and drink. Wrap up warm, wear suitable footwear and prepare to get wet - regardless of whether it rains. £20-£42, depending on date and type of ticket. Add £8 for bus return ticket. Tickets by online reservation only. Aged 14 and over only, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
- 7 York's Chocolate Story, King's Square, YO1 7LD, ☏ . Daily 10AM-4PM (start time of last tour). Email via 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 £15, child 4-15 years £12.50, under 4 years free.
Tours and tripsEdit
- 8 City walls walk, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 8AM-dusk. Enjoy the 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. The total walk is around 2 mi (3.2 km): if short on time or energy, the best section is along the western perimeter from 9 Bootham Bar to 10 Monk Bar, close to the Minster. There never was a wall to the north-east, 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. You can download a map and guide of the walls courtesy of the Friends of York Walls here. Coronavirus - a clockwise one-way system is in operation on the walls to facilitate social-distancing. Free, except the Micklegate Bar, and Monk Bar towers, which are small museums.
- 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. A mummified cat was even found concealed in the Mansion House. The original statues have now all long-since weathered away, but the concept 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, or else look through Visit York's directory. While most tours are in English, Descubre York also offers tours in Spanish and Portuguese, while Yorktour offers French, German, Italian and Turkish tours. Coronavirus - many guided walks are still taking place, but under social-distancing conditions, i.e much smaller groups - contact a provider to find out more. History and culture tours free, ghost walks around £5.
- 11 The Original Ghost Walk of York, Depart the King's Arms pub, Ouse Bridge, ☏ . Coronavirus - not running until further notice. Email via online contact form. 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 £6, child/concession £4; no need to book.
- Bus tours are an easy way to discover the city, especially if your time or mobility is limited, though they do come at a much higher price than the public bus fares. York is not especially big, so most travellers could easily cover everything on the tour under their own steam.
- City Sightseeing York (You can embark at any stop along the route, but the most logical places would be on Station Road or from the tourist office on Museum Street), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Late Feb-early Nov daily 9AM-3:30PM, every 30 min. Double-decker open-top bus tour of the city, with commentary in nine languages, plus a kids' commentary and bonus Yorkshire dialect narration. Operates a continuous hop-on/hop-off service in a circuit; the full loop takes 60 minutes. Adult £16, child £9, concession £13, under 5s free, valid for 24 hr from activation. Offers discounts to some attractions en route. Bus tour free with York Pass.
- 12 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 7:30PM, 9PM; Sa 6PM, 7:30PM, 9PM; Su 7:30PM. Approximately 75-minute comedic horror tour of the city in a black routemaster bus, with onboard actors and technical wizardry creating an experience you're unlikely to forget. Adult £16, child £12, concession £13.
- 13 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. York Pass accepted.
- Go cruising on the River Ouse:
- 14 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, regular departures 10:30AM-3PM, takes 1 hr. Early evening cruise: Mar-Nov nightly, departs 6PM (Mar, Oct-Nov) / 7:30PM (Apr-Sep), takes 1 hr. Floodlit evening cruise: May-Sep nightly, 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 lunchtime and dinner cruises, Halloween ghost tours and Santa specials; check website. Daytime: adult £10.50, child 5-15 years £6, concession £9 (York Pass accepted). Early evening: adult £11.50, child £6.50, concession £10. Floodlit evening: adult £15, child/concession £13. Online discounts available.
- 15 Motor boats for hire (Red Boats), King's Staith, YO1 9SN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 1 Apr-31 Oct from 10AM until late afternoon. 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.
- Rowing boats for hire (York Skiff Hire), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A skiff is a traditional wooden rowing boat from the Thames in London. You will receive coaching if needed, then get free reign to take either Amelia or Belle Époque for a leisurely trip along the Ouse. £50 for 4 hr, £80 for 1 day. £100 refundable deposit.
- 16 Grand Opera House, Clifford and Cumberland Streets, YO1 9SW, ☏ (non-geographic; standard rates apply). Box office M-Sa noon-4PM, show days until 15 mins before start of performance. First built as a corn exchange in 1868, it was converted to full-time theatre use in 1902. The auditorium is indeed 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.
- 17 National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, YO1 9TL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Box office M-F 9AM-5PM. Early music is European music from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, although the 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 and full time students of any age receive very generous discounts.
- 18 Theatre Royal, St Leonard's Place, YO1 7HD, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Box office M 10AM-5PM, Tu-Sa 10AM-8PM. 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.
- 19 York Barbican, Paragon Street, YO10 4AH, ☏ (London number). Box office M-F 10AM-2PM, show nights from 5PM. Email via online contact form. A medium-sized venue for touring music and comedy gigs, orchestral performances, opera, ballet, and tribute acts for past pop legends. One of two venues for the Laugh Out Loud comedy club.
All cinemas are open daily from around 9:30AM until midnight or just after.
- 20 City Screen (Picturehouse York), 13-17 Coney Street, YO1 9QL, ☏ (premium), ✉ email@example.com. Peak time is Tu-F after 5PM, Sa Su, bank holidays 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 £10.70 (£12.50 peak), child £7.20 (£8 peak), concession £9.70 (£11.50 peak), Mondays £7.90 all patrons, autism-friendly £3, dementia-friendly £4.
- 21 Everyman York, Blossom Street, YO24 1AJ (10-minute walk SW of the city centre. Bus: 1, 4, 5, 10, 13 and the 3 from Askham Bar Park & Ride. Very limited parking.), ☏ (premium), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside a distinctive art deco building, this cinema is held close to the hearts of York residents. Prices vary per film and showing time, but around £11-£13 adult, £10-£12 concession.
- 22 Vue Cinema, Clifton Moor Centre, Stirling Road, YO30 4XY (On the A1237 ring road, 3 miles (5 km) NW of town. Bus: 6), ☏ . The city's largest multiplex with 12 screens. £4.99 p.p.
Events and festivalsEdit
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 (February 2022), ☏ , ✉ 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 (March 2022). Email via online contact form. 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 (14 - 18 April 2022), Parliament Street / Shambles Market, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- York Festival of Traditional Dance (26 June 2021). Email via online contact form. A rich variety of traditional (or Morris) dance sides from all over the country join in a celebration of the diversity of ritual dancing, normally held over two days. The Saturday begins with a colourful dance procession from St Helens Square, to Parliament Street, before the teams separate to dance in Exhibition Square, King’s Square, Minster Piazza, St Helens Square, 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 Early Music Festival (12 - 16 July 2021), ☏ , ✉ 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; 2021's is called Encounters and mixes COVID-safe live concerts with online-only performances. Prices vary per concert.
- York Mystery Plays (summer 2022), ✉ 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, performed on floats carried around the city. The performances can be accompanied by traditional bands of musicians called "waits". They don't run every year and the most recent was 2018.
- York Food and Drink Festival (17 - 26 September 2021), 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-oriented 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 (15-18 September 2021 (TBC)), 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 £7, Th £8, F Sa £9.50. Prices include £3 deposit for glass, refundable upon return of glass. CAMRA members £2 discount on these prices.
- York Mediale (autumn 2021 (TBC)), ☏ , ✉ 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. York is a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. Prices vary per event.
- York Christmas Festival (November - December 2021). 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 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 (December 2021), 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 (19 November 2021 - 9 January 2022 (closed 25 Dec)), 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. 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, though certainly pricier than other, less desirable, parts of the North. Being on the East Coast Main Line, it's within easy reach of most parts of England and Scotland.
- 1 University of York, YO10 5DD (The two campuses (east and west) are both in Heslington, 2 - 3 miles (3 - 5 km) east of centre), ☏ . Consistently ranked one of the UK's better universities, and part of the prestigious Russell Group. The departments of English 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 (About ½ mile (800 m) north of centre, in Bootham), ☏ . 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, and each are set in large former townhouses.
- 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 intense programmes. 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. 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 shop fronts, both medieval wood and Victorian red brick, 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, TK Maxx, Zara et al.
- 2 Fossgate. Assorted specialist fashion shops selling bowler hats, smart gentlemen's outfits, and clothing and accessories specifically for tall women. 3 Walmgate, which it leads onto, has a number of homeware stores, a cycling shop and a modelling shop.
- 4 Gillygate. Several interesting shops to fill your home with mementos of your time in York, plus an independent bookshop, cheesemonger and retro gaming store.
- 5 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 6 Stonegate, where you'll find several fashionable independent retailers and the original House of Trembling Madness, which stocks 900 bottled beers.
- 7 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 most high street banks and building societies. The row continues northwest onto the much narrower 8 Davygate, which has high street fashion giants such as New Look, Pandora and Superdry.
- 9 Browns, 21 Davygate, YO1 8QT, ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. A good quality family-run department store that has been trading in York for over 100 years, stocks most of the global fashion brands, and features large beauty, furniture, and handbag departments.
- 10 York Farmers' Market, Parliament Street, YO1 8SG, ☏ . First Friday of the month 9AM-4PM. An excellent place to buy and discuss food, drink and crafts with local producers. Meat, eggs, organic veg, cheese, pies, fudge, honey, pottery, wool - it's all here.
- 11 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 eateries 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.
- 12 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.
- 13 York Designer Outlet, St Nicholas Ave, YO19 4TA (On the A64 southern ring road, 3½ miles (5.6 km) south of the city. Bus: 7, 415), ☏ . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-7PM, 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 Adidas, Calvin Klein, Fred Perry, GAP, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Levi's, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Superdry and Ted Baker. The sweet-toothed will find a good selection of confectionery chains too: Cadbury, Haribo, Hotel Chocolat, Lindt...
- 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 county's Norse connections are maintained by the serving of Yorkshire-made gravadlax.
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. Made with the meat of the large white pig, in taste the ham 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. Appleton's Butchers had a shop on Lendal from 2016-2020, marking the return of York-cured hams, but closed down in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, traditional York ham is no longer regularly produced in the city, though specialist butchers around Yorkshire do cure large white hams to a similar, if not identical, recipe.
While other northern towns busied themselves manufacturing useful but boring 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.
As diverse as York's restaurant scene is, there are some generalities that apply to many of the city's addresses. No matter the cuisine on offer, they have a sense of place and like working with local ingredients; even if you never eat a Yorkshire pudding, you'll be hard pressed to find a good café or restaurant not cooking food produced in the county. In addition to the aforementioned platters, many restaurants seem to be gripped by an obsession with "tasting menus": multi-course extravaganzas of small dishes, often with suggested drink pairings at a hefty premium. While this can be good for sampling variety, it's not so fun for cash- or time-poor travellers to be roped into spending hours eating and drinking expensively. On the other hand, at many places, you can get high-quality food experiences on the cheap if you plum for a weekday lunch or early evening meal, rather than waiting for dinner.
Coronavirus - All the listings posted here and marked as up-to-date June 2021 have been verified to be still in business. Opening hours are as up-to-date as possible, but double check with the business before you go.
- 2 House of the Trembling Madness (Lendal), 14 Lendal, YO1 8AA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-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. Schnitzel, salchichón, and other continental comfort foods complete the picture. The same company has a much smaller venue on Stonegate. Mains £9-£10.
- 3 Hungry Horace, 39 Layerthorpe, YO31 7UZ, ☏ . M-F 8AM-12:30PM. 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.
- 4 Ippuku Tea House, 15 Blake Street, YO1 8QJ, ☏ . M-F noon-9PM, Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM. Email via online contact form. Authentic Japanese restaurant with vegan and gluten-free options, and an enormous tea menu to accompany your meal. Mains £7-£13.
- 5 Millers Fish & Chips, 55 The Village, Haxby, YO32 2JE (4½ miles (7.2 km) north of town up Haxby Road. Bus: 13), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Th 4PM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-2PM, 4PM-9PM. Award-winning family-run chippy with takeaway and restaurant. As good a plate's worth as you'll get in York, so it's worth the trip. Gluten free and halal options available. Haddock and chips £7.20 (takeaway).
- 6 Mr Chippy, 2 Church Street, ☏ . M–Th 11AM–8:30PM, F Sa 11AM–10PM, Su noon–8:30PM. Fish and chips with the usual sides. Offers delicious vegan options (including vegan fish and chips, with the "fish" made from banana blossom) and outdoor seating. £9–12.
- 7 Spring Espresso, 45 Fossgate, YO1 9TF, ☏ . Daily 8AM-5PM. 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, pancakes, and pastries for all day breakfast or brunch. Excellent fresh coffee, made Seattle-style. Another identical café is at 31 Lendal. Food items £3-£8; full or vegetarian English breakfast £10.75.
- 8 St Crux Church (St Crux Parish Hall), Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, YO1 8BL, ☏ . Daily 10AM-4PM. 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.
- 9 The Taylor Made Kitchen, Shambles Market, 5 Silver Street, YO1 8RY, ☏ (mobile). Su-Th noon-4PM, F Sa noon-8PM. Email via online contact form. Excellent fast food wagon serving burgers, burritos, and dirty fries in epic portions using fresh local ingredients. Meals £5-£9.
- 10 Shambles Sausage & Pie Company, 45 Shambles, YO1 7LX, ☏ . Tu-Sa 8AM-4PM. Pick up some truly divine pork pies in a plethora of flavours, both traditional and exotic, to munch on outside. The husband-and-wife duo also dry-cure their own bacon on-site, and make a selection of sausages, some of which, in a pleasant surprise, are more French than British. £2-£8.
- 11 Ambiente, 31 Fossgate, YO1 9TA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11:30AM-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. They have a second, much smaller, restaurant at 14 Goodramgate. £4-£8 per tapa.
- 12 ASK Italian, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, YO1 8QG, ☏ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM. Come for the setting rather than the food (which is fine for a chain, just nothing special): 18th century marble-columned Palladian assembly rooms with 40-foot ceilings and plaster cherubs. Extremely busy at weekends and tourist periods. Mains £11-£15.
- 13 The Blue Barbakan, 35 Fossgate, YO1 9TA, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M 9AM-3PM/5:30PM-9PM, Tu-F 9AM-3PM/5:30PM-10PM, Sa 9AM-4PM/5PM-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. Lunch mains £7-£11, dinner mains £15-£20.
- 14 The Chopping Block at Walmgate Ale House, 25 Walmgate, YO1 9TX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W 5PM-10PM, Th-Su noon-10PM. Formerly known for its quirky modern British cooking, a change of chef has brought a new menu serving French classics such as beef bourguignon and duck confit. Yorkshire ingredients are still key, and the setting is as pubby as ever. Lunch mains £10-£12, dinner mains £14-£22, set menu £7.95 for two courses, £19.95 for three courses.
- 15 Double Dutch Pancake House, 7 Church Street, ☏ . M Tu Th F Sa 9AM–5PM, Su 9AM–4PM, closed W. Dutch pancakes, savoury or sweet, with a variety of creative variations like "Mexican" and "Independence Day". They make a delicious breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snack. Extensive vegan menu and gluten-free options. £9–13.
- 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 gentlemen's club 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 £11-£16.
- 17 Skosh, 98 Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W-Sa noon-2PM / 5:30PM-10PM, Su noon-4:30PM. 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. Reservation recommended. Has held Michelin's bib gourmand since 2018. Dishes £4-£18. Count on 6-8 dishes to share between two.
- 18 The Ivy, 2 St Helen's Square, YO1 8QP, ☏ . M-Th 9AM-10:30PM, F Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10PM. Set menu M-F 11:30AM-6:30PM. Email via online contact form. A national chain serving modern British and European cuisine. While there are no knock-out unique dishes on the large menu, the cooking is of high quality and there are extensive vegetarian and vegan options. One speciality is their version of an English classic - shepherd's pie with slow-braised shoulder of lamb and cave-matured cheddar. Mains £14-£25, set menu 2 courses £16.95, 3 courses £21.50.
- 19 The Masons Arms, 6 Fishergate, YO10 4AB, ☏ . M-Th noon-11PM, F Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-11PM. Last food orders 8:30PM nightly.. Email via online contact form. Quality pub grub favourites with daily specials for soup, homemade pie, local bangers and mash, and curry, plus separate steak and risotto menus. Mix things up a bit with a spicy lamb stew or a slow-roasted belly porchetta. Very limited choice for vegetarians. Mains £11-£16, Sunday roast £12.45 for one course, £14.95 for two courses, £15.95 for three courses.
- 20 The Rattle Owl, 104 Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-F 6PM-9:30PM, Sa noon-2PM / 6PM-9:30PM, Su noon-6:30PM. Thoughtfully-crafted seasonal menu drawing from what's available locally. Each course has very limited 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 £19-£23; Sunday lunch two courses £27, three courses £33; tasting menu six courses £60 + £15 pp deposite.
- 21 The Viceroy (part of small local chain, Jinnah Restaurants), 26 Monkgate, YO31 7PF, ☏ . Daily 5:30PM-midnight. Email via online contact form. Always busy even in early evening, this long-established North Indian (Kashmiri) 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 £10-£16.
- 22 Arras, The Old Coach House, Peasholme Green, YO1 7PW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu 6PM-9:30PM, W-Sa noon-2PM / 6PM-9:30PM. Despite the name, the French influence on Arras's set menu is not overly pronounced. Instead, focus is on unloved ingredients that most chefs stay away from: offal, Brussels sprouts, eel; this could be a recipe for disaster, but somehow it works. The dishes are refined and flavoursome, and the service knowledgeable and personable. They save the best to last, in the form of a bumper British cheese board introduced by chef himself. Lunch £22.50 for two courses, £27.50 for three courses; dinner £39.50 for two courses, £49.50 for three courses, £60 for five courses, with wine pairing £100.
- 23 Café No.8 Bistro, 8 Gillygate, YO31 7EQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Sa 5PM-10PM Su noon-5PM. Refined food which has Yorkshire in its soul: lamb from the Wolds, fish from the North Sea, cheese from Thirsk, and rhubarb and custard for pudding! The intimate indoor space is complemented by a small dining garden at the rear. Dinner mains £14-£32, Sunday lunch mains £14-£18.
- 24 Le Cochon Aveugle, 37 Walmgate, YO1 9TX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Dinner service W-Sa sitting at 7PM and 8:30PM, lunch Sa sitting at 12:30PM and 1:30PM. Arrive up to 30 minutes ahead of sitting for apéritifs. Closed for half the week, limited sittings when it is open, no children or special diets 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 subverts expectations: while based in the Gallic tradition and with an impressive cave à vin to match, it is not afraid to do its own thing and draw from diverse influences. Expect creative, bold and expressive dishes across a 4-course blind tasting menu (with the expectation that you, the diner, fill the role of pig). With room for only 20 covers, reservation is essential. Four-course lunch £75, with wine pairing £135; four-course dinner £95, with wine pairing £175.
- 25 Melton's, 7 Scarcroft Road, YO23 1ND (1 mi (1.6 km) south of the city centre. Bus: 11, 26), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Sa noon-1:45PM / Tu-Sa 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, or else the wild garlic gnocchi. Scrummy. Vegetarian and vegan tasting menus available. Set menu (dinner only): £42 for two courses, £50 for three courses; both include canapés and bread. Six-course tasting menu (lunch and dinner): £62, with cheese course £70. Add wine pairing for £38.
- 26 The Judge's Lodging, 9 Lendal, YO1 8AQ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 9AM-9PM, F Sa 9AM-9:30PM, Su 9AM-8PM. Fine cuisine in rococo splendour. Actually, most of the main dishes - a range of posh burgers, plus a nice collection of salads, platters, meat and fish dishes - belong firmly in the mid-range bracket, but it's the steak and the shellfish - and the drinks - that will lighten your pockets. Mains £13-£30.
- 27 The Rise, Station Rise, YO1 6GD (within the Grand Hotel), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily12:30PM-9:30PM. Don't be fooled by the posh hotel setting, this is essentially pub food at a premium. If you're paying £22 for a burger, you'll want it to be the best damn burger you've ever eaten, but it won't be. Couple this with variable customer service, and it's hard to believe this and the Grand are run by the same people. Mains £17-£34.
- 28 The Star Inn the City, Lendal Engine House, Museum Street, YO1 7DR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th noon-9PM, F-Su 9:30AM-9PM. Dine on seasonal Yorkshire produce beside the Ouse within a warm velvet and tartan décor. 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. That said, the Star's sister restaurant in Helmsley has a Michelin star, so this is definitely one to watch. Mains £15-£32, brunch £9-£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, if at all! 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 £10. Most cafés in York, though not listed here, will serve this, plus a selection of other traditional cakes.
- 29 Bettys Tea Rooms, 6-8 St Helen's Square, YO1 8QP, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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-£14.
- 30 Countess of York, Leeman Road, YO26 4XJ (within the National Railway Museum), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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 £25.50, with champagne £35.50.
- 31 The Cake Shop and Tea House, 24 Fossgate, YO1 9TA, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Afternoon tea: 12:30PM-3PM. Step into the 1940s for a slightly more economical 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 freshly made on-site, you don't need to make a reservation and you won't have to queue upon arrival. The place does some quirky house rules (no children under 10, no devices out at tables) and somewhat temperamental owners. Tea for two £35.
- 32 The Garden Room, The Principal York, Station Road, YO24 1AA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily noon-4PM. A grand and comfortable lounge with armchairs and sofas, and views across the lawns to the Minster. Traditional afternoon tea £23.50, incl. champagne £30.50.
- 33 The Grand Hotel, Station Rise, YO1 6GD, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily noon-6PM (must be seated by 3:45PM). Take a four-course tea in the hotel's swish Rise restaurant, which offers views over the city walls. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free menus available. There's also a special menu for kids. Grand afternoon tea £25.50, incl. sparkling wine £30.50, incl. gin and tonic £33.50, incl. champagne £34.50, children £17.
Brewing and distillingEdit
The city of York is the site of three breweries, one combined with a vineyard, 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, with hipsterish names such as Cereal Killa (a gluten-free citrusy pale ale), Goose Willis (gooseberry fool in beer form), and Tonkoko (the "9th best stout in the world!"). Periodically, they mix things up by discontinuing their entire range and releasing a new selection; there's even an IPA which changes its hops with each batch. You can drink at their achingly trendy "tap room" (see below), or else look out for the odd brew of theirs in pubs.
Wine: Yorkshire has no fewer than six vineyards. The closest is Yorkshire Heart at Pool Lane, Nun Monkton YO26 8EL. They also have a brewery and a campsite, and offer tours.
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 become a fixture in the local drinks culture, being stocked by dozens of shops, bars and hotels in and around the city, and is now making a splash in international industry awards. The varieties available include the classic London-style dry gin which was at its peak popularity in York in the 18th century; Old Tom, imbued with the white rose of Yorkshire; and the imperial-red juniper, apple and berry-infused Roman Fruit — all nod to the city's heritage. For Yorkshire whiskey you'll have to visit Filey on the coast.
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), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F noon-9PM, Sa Su 11AM-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, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. Daily noon-10PM. 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 noon-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, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th noon-10PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM. A standard Greene King chain pub in all ways but one: the building. 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. An atmospheric venue for drinks, but avoid the food.
- 6 The Maltings, Tanner's Moat, YO1 1HU, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-11PM. 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, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W Th 4PM-10PM, F 3PM-10:30PM, Sa noon-10:30PM, Su noon-8PM. 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-Th 3PM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-1AM Su 11AM-midnight. 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 11AM-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 fee (York Pass accepted).
- 11 The Three Legged Mare (The Wonky Donkey), 15 High Petergate, YO1 7EN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10:30PM. 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, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Beer hall: Tu-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-9PM. Tap room: W, Th 6PM-11PM, F 4PM-11PM, Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-9PM. Brewery tours (duration 45-60 min): F 5:30PM, Sa 1:30PM, 3:30PM. This craft brewery's 200-seater beer hall and tap room are 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. Burgers and Korean sides will help soak up the alcohol.
- 13 Dusk, 8 New Street, YO1 8RA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-2AM. 2-for-1 cocktails M-Th all night, F-Su 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, especially when there's a live music act, you can usually find some space upstairs.
- 14 Evil Eye, 42 Stonegate, YO1 8AS, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. W Th 4PM-midnight, F 4PM-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-midnight. 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.
- 15 House of the Trembling Madness (Stonegate), 48 Stonegate, YO1 8AS, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-midnight. Email via online contact form. If the name doesn't put you off, then presumably neither will the taxidermied lion's head hanging over the bar, or the wax-encrusted candlesticks on the tables. Work your way through their encyclopedic collection of Belgian beers, and then soak up the booze with some maddeningly superior barsnacks. The same company has a much larger venue on Lendal.
- 16 Jalou, 2 Micklegate, YO1 6JG, ☏ . Su-W 4PM-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.
- 17 The Biltmore, 29 Swinegate, YO1 8AZ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Th 5PM-midnight, Fr 3PM-at least midnight, Sa Su noon-at least 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.
- 18 The York Tap, York Station, Station Road, YO24 1AB, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 10AM-11PM, F Sa 10AM-11:40PM, Su 11AM-11PM. 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, pies, and homemade cakes here too.
- 19 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 British ales and Belgian draughts, plus over 200 bottled continental beers and 300 spirits.
- 20 Valhalla, 4 Patrick Pool, YO1 8BB, ☏ . Su-Th noon-11:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-12:30AM. 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 from a big horn, and feasting from platters stuffed to bursting with quality Yorkshire and Scandi produce.
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.
- 21 Club Salvation (Salvo), 3 George Hudson Street, YO1 6JL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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).
- 22 Kuda Bar and Club, 12 Clifford Street, YO1 9RD, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-W, F 11PM-3:30AM, Sa 9PM-3:30AM. 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.
- 23 Popworld, George Hudson Street, YO1 6JL, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Fr Sa 9PM-2AM. 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. Entry generally free, some events £3.
- 24 Society Bar & Lounge, 1 Rougier Street, YO1 6HZ, ☏ . W-Su 9PM-2AM, 3AM Sa. Cheap drinks and mainstream party 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, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F noon-1AM, Sa Su 11AM-1AM. A 90s-themed rock/britpop bar which steadily morphs into a club as the night goes on. Decent atmosphere and bargain bevvies. Free entry except for gigs.
Live music and comedy venuesEdit
- 26 Fibbers, 3-5 Toft Green, YO1 6JT, ☏ (general), (tickets - premium rate), ✉ email@example.com. 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. As of summer 2019, facing an uncertain future - enjoy it while you can.
- 27 The Basement, 13-17 Coney Street, YO1 9QL (Under the City Screen Picturehouse), ☏ (premium rate), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. One of two venues for the Laugh Out Loud comedy club. 16+ only.
- 28 The Crescent, 8 The Crescent, YO24 1AW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 4PM-midnight (Sa Su until 1AM). Working men's club turned community events venue. Tuesdays are for retro gaming, Wednesday is open decks night, and there are music gigs several times a week.
- 29 The Fulford Arms, 121 Fulford Road, YO10 4EX (Bus: 7, 25, 26, 415), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 4PM-midnight, F Sa 11:30AM-1AM, Su 11:30AM-midnight. 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:|
Coronavirus - To maintain social distancing, hostels may have reduced capacity and shared facilities including kitchens may be closed - check directly with the hostel before booking.
- 1 Astor York Hostel (Holgate Hill Hostel), 124 Holgate Road, YO24 4BB (Bus: 1, 5, 5A), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Small, basic rooms. Wi-Fi signal not great. Nice communal areas, including a bar. Unbeatable £1 breakfast. From £10.
- 2 Diamonds Guest House, 114 Bishopthorpe Road, YO23 1JX (Bus: 11, 26), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Diamonds also has three other guesthouses in period properties around York. From £38.
- 3 Park View Guest House, 22 Haxby Road, YO31 8JX (½ mile (800 m) north of city centre. Bus: 1, 5, 5A, 6, 40), ☏ , ✉ AhmForh@aol.com. Check-in: 11:30AM, check-out: 10AM. Victorian-era villa with a range of en-suite rooms, including an accessible ground floor double room. Full English and continental breakfast. Private parking. Wi-Fi. From £20 pppn.
- 4 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 run by a friendly husband-and-wife team. Has a mix of en-suite rooms and a few with shared bathrooms. From £30 pppn, incl. very tasty full English / vegan breakfasts.
- 5 Safestay York Hostel, 88-90 Micklegate, YO1 6JX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Handsome Georgian townhouse right in the centre of York's nightlife: free earplugs available if you find it noisy. A mix of shared dormitories (4-12 people, some female only) with bunk beds and private rooms (2-4 people). Free Wi-Fi, bar, breakfast £3.50. 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 mi (16 km) west of the city; see Tadcaster for details.
- 6 The Fort Boutique Hostel, 1 Little Stonegate, YO1 8AX, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Five individually-decorated rooms created by five up-and-coming UK artists and designers. Also several dorms for 6-8 people. Common room with microwave, fridge and toaster. Two bar-restaurants on-site. Breakfast £4-£9. From £10.
- 7 YHA York Hostel, Water End, YO30 6LP (1 mi (1.6 km) north of city walls. You can walk along the river. Bus: 2), ☏ (non-geographic number). Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. This youth hostel is clean and has 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. Free Wi-Fi. Free parking. Dorm from £15, private room from £25 pppn.
- 8 Holiday Inn York City Centre (formerly Hotel 53 - beware, as the old website is still active as of Aug 2019), 53 Piccadilly, YO1 9PL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Modern design 6-storey hotel, with stylish contemporary interiors. The standard Holiday Inn experience (gym, air conditioning, good breakfast); there's also another one a bit further out of town on Tadcaster Road. From £55.
- 9 Ibis York Centre, 77 The Mount, YO24 1BN (Bus: 1, 4, 5, 5A, 12, 13, 840, 843, ZAP), ☏ (Leeds number). 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 £49.
- 10 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 Wi-Fi. Dogs welcome. From £69.
- 11 Middletons, Skeldergate, YO1 6DS, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 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. From £89. Parking £10 pn.
- 12 Mercure York, Fairfield Manor Hotel, Shipton Road, YO30 1XW (4 mi (6.4 km) northwest of centre on A19. Bus: 19, 29, 30, 30X, 31, 31X), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. July 2020: temporarily closed. From £60 pppn. Pets £15.
- 13 Premier Inn York City (Blossom Street North), 20 Blossom Street, YO24 1AJ (Sat-nav: YO24 1AD), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Features an art deco clocktower. Standard rooms have 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 £33 pppn.
- 14 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. From £30 pppn.
- 15 Bar Convent, 17 Blossom St YO24 1AQ, ☏ . Peaceful B&B within a working convent, perilously established in 1686, "welcomes those of all faiths and none". Assistance dogs only. The cafe in the charming atrium is open M-Sa 8AM-3PM. B&B double £100.
- 16 Lendal Tower, Lendal Bridge, YO1 7DP, ☏ (Harrogate number), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Around £250 per night, minimum four-night stay.
- 17 Middlethorpe Hall, Bishopthorpe Road, YO23 2GB (On southern edge of Knavesmire racecourse, 3 mi (4.8 km) from city centre. Bus: 11), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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. From £106 pppn.
- 18 Park Inn by Radisson York City Centre, North Street, YO1 6JF, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 £64 pppn.
- 19 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 towers over on the opposite side of the street. Free Wi-Fi, on-site bar and restaurant. From £80 pppn. Valet parking £20 pn.
- 20 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 £128 pppn. Valet parking £35 pn. Dog £25 per stay.
- 21 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 £89 pppn. Breakfast £15.95 pp. Parking £10 pn. Dog £20 including treats.
- 22 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 £135 pppn.
- 23 The Principal York, Station Road, YO24 1AA, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Email via online contact form. 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 a premium for the view of the Minster. Also has a bar, swimming pool and gym. From £100 pppn.
Unusually, York has an inner city campsite:
- 24 York Rowntree Park (Caravan Club), Terry Avenue, YO23 1JQ (Bus: 11, 26), ☏ . Check-in: 1PM. 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, Wi-Fi. Disability friendly. Barbecues and dogs allowed. Non-members welcome. Tariffs are seasonal: adults £8-£12 pppn, children £1-£3 pppn, extra charges for hardstanding with awning, tent pitch £6-£11 pn. CC members' discounts available.
There are several campsites on the outskirts of York or in the near hinterland. The following three have been chosen for their locations just outside the city ring road and for their high ratings:
- 25 Nurseries Caravan Park, Askham Bryan Lane, YO23 3QY (4 mi (6.4 km) south-west of city centre, off A1237 ring road and 1½ miles (2.4 km) from A64. Bus: 37 - infrequent), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 26 The Little Hide (Adult-only glamping), Willow House Caravan Park, Wigginton Road, YO32 2RH (On B1363, 3 mi (4.8 km) north of city, off A1237 ring road. Bus: 40 - hourly all day until 7PM), ☏ (mobile), ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 10AM. Two-person wooden 'pod' cabins, three-person yurt. All units are heated and lit and have beds, sofa, table and chairs. Bring your own kitchen appliances, plates and cutlery, and a gas stove if you intend to cook. BBQs provided. On-site washing and laundry, café. From £41 pn. Over 18s only, dogs welcome.
- 27 Wagtail Park, 23 North Lane, YO32 9SU (4 mi (6.4 km) north-east of city centre, off A1237 ring road. No public transport access), ☏ (mobile), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM-8PM, 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. Terrorism is locally unheard of, though the nationwide threat level remains high. 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.
- 4 York Hospital, Wigginton Road, YO31 8HE, ☏ , 999, 112 (emergency). 24 hours. Visiting times 1PM-8PM. NHS hospital with accident and emergency facilities
- 5 Monkbar Pharmacy, 3 Goodramgate, YO1 7LJ (By Monk Bar / Richard III Experience), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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), ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 10AM-8PM. Email via online contact form
York has dozens of Christian churches, including of the Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, Russian Orthodox, 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.
There are numerous public toilets around York city centre. These are open daily 9AM-7PM and nearly all charge a fee of £0.40 (July 2021); various coins are accepted but no change is given. Three handy locations include:
- 1 Castle Walk WC, 31 Castle Walk, YO1 9WT (close to Clifford's Tower, Fairfax House, Jorvik, York Castle Museum)
- 2 Silver Street WC, 32C Parliament Street, YO1 8RS (centrally-positioned for most shopping and eating)
- 3 St Leonard's Place WC, YO1 7HB (next to Bootham Bar and close to the Minster and York Art Gallery)
Free public toilets are available in the railway station, on the first platform from the ticket office, right of the York Tap.
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. Coronavirus - reopens April.
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 mi (34 km) west on the A59, or 33 min on the train, and home to the original Bettys Tea Rooms. Worth a stop on the way is Knaresborough (25 min on the train), 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 mi (40 km) north-west via the A59 and A1 (M), or bus 22 takes an absurd
1 hr 20 min. On the way, why not check out the Roman villa at Aldborough?
- Selby's 11th century abbey is worth the 14 mi (23 km) journey south on the A19, or 20-30 min on the train.
- Tadcaster is a brewery town noted for its Sam Smiths beers 10 mi (16 km) south-west on the A64, or 25 min on buses 840, 843, or 845.
- Thirsk is a small market town 23 mi (37 km) north on the A19, or 15-20 min on the train, 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 mi (66 km) south-east via the A1079 and A63, or 1 hr 5 min by train.
- 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 mi (40 km) south-west on the A64, or 25 min by train.
- Rural Yorkshire's apotheosis, the Dales National Park, sits west of Harrogate. Drive as far as Bolton Abbey on the A59, then up the Wharfedale road into the heart of the park: the majestic Ribblehead Viaduct, Yorkshire's Three Peaks, cheese town Hawes, and bucolic Swaledale await. Access via public transport is easiest in summer, as there are some seasonal bus routes. Journeys at other times of the year will likely take you via Leeds, but you can equally get a bus up Nidderdale from Harrogate; see Yorkshire Dales#Get in for details.
- The heather expanses of the North York Moors National Park stretch north of Pickering (26 mi (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. Coastliner bus 840 runs from York through the moors.
- Bridlington (via the A166), Filey (via the A64) and Scarborough (via the A64) are all Victorian seaside resorts, and all 41 mi (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. The train from York to Scarborough takes 55 min, and you can then catch onward trains or buses to the other destinations mentioned here
See the main Yorkshire article for many more ideas.
|Routes through York|
|Middlesbrough ← Thirsk ←||N S||→ Selby → Doncaster|
|Yorkshire Dales ← Harrogate ← Knaresborough ← (North) ←||W E||→ END|
|Leeds ← (South) ← Tadcaster ←||SW NE||→ Malton → Scarborough/North York Moors|
|END ←||W E||→ Driffield → Bridlington|
|END ←||NW SE||→ Pocklington → Kingston-upon-Hull|