Hello travel bunnies!
England is full of historic places, and one of my favourites has to be York. It’s an ancient city, in the north-east of England, founded in 71 AD. Throughout history York saw the Romans, the Normans, the Saxons, and even the Vikings! As such, it’s rich with history, full of cute little shops and little snickets. You won’t be pressed for things to do! Hopefully this post will help you plan your trip to England’s prettiest little city.
How to Get There
- There are trains from all over into York, and all major train lines (TransPennine, CrossCountry, Northern, London NorthEastern, etc) will take you to York Station. This is just north-west of the city, and it’s a short walk into the center. It’s about 2 hours from London, and maybe 2 1/2 from Edinburgh.
- Alternatively, you could opt for a bus. Buses are fairly nice and safe in the UK, however, depending on where you’re coming from you may have to change buses and have long wait times.
- If you’re driving the M1 and M62 will easily get you into York. Bear in mind that parking is pretty expensive around the city. You may be better going for a park & ride (which is what Rohan & I do, even though we live pretty close). You find info on the park & ride spots here.
Where to Stay
There are many options of where to stay in or around York. Rohan and I usually opt for AirBnB when we travel, but if you’re not into that, there are plenty of choices. Now, full disclosure, since we live so close I’ve never stayed over, but I do have my eye on a few places. If you’re looking for something different and quirky, go for Judges Court. If you want something upscale and fancy, I’m dying to stay at The Grand Hotel & Spa. If you’re on a budget, check out The Fort. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a hostel, I’ve stayed in many and this one has a great location and fab reviews.
What to Do
There are so many things you could do but I’ve compiled a list of both my personal favourites and fan suggestions.
- Visit Clifford’s Tower– the last remaining bit of York Castle, with a dark history. Though it doesn’t take much time to do the tower, it’s interesting and also offers a great vantage point to see the city.
- Go to The Shambles– a medieval street where the houses are so close together, at some points you could shake your neighbour’s hand from your window. Rumour has it that the Shambles inspired J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley, in the Harry Potter series.
- Take a walk around the City Walls– you can’t go to York and not check out the still standing city walls. The full circuit will take about 2 hours, but even if you only do a section, you’ll feel like you’re walking with history. Don’t miss the “Bars,” which are four impressive gatehouses at each corner of the city.
- Explore the River Ouse– whether you choose to take a boat, have a drink on the riverside, or just walk along it, the River Ouse is full of pretty views and interesting architecture.
- Check out York Minster– honestly the minster is just as impressive as Westminster in London, and far cheaper. If you don’t want to spend the £11 to go inside, the little park to the left of it is a gorgeous place to hang out. Sometimes they even have little teepees and events going on!
- Get spooked at York Dungeon– if you’re a fan of the creepy, check out the city’s famous dungeon. Here you can learn about the city’s gruesome past, from the Vikings to the Plague.
- Go back in time at Jorvik– the Viking centre of York, Jorvik takes you through the Viking presence in the city. There’s a little ride, a museum and people in costume doing demonstrations. If you’re into ancient history, this is a really cool place to go.
Of course there are so many other great things to do in York, and this list barely brushes the surface. For more options of what you can get up to, check out York’s official website.
Where to Eat
There’s loads of options of where to eat in York. Be very English-and very fancy- and go for afternoon tea at Betty’s. If you want something more chilled but still very tasty-check out The Cut & Craft. Although Bill’s is a chain, the food is great, it’s cute, and the prices are pretty fair. If you’re trying to maximize your time and want something on the go, I recommend The York Roast Co., home of the YorkyPud Wrap. Essentially it’s a a giant Yorkshire pudding made into a wrap, filled with your choice of meat, veg, stuffing & gravy. If you’re looking to indulge in something sweet, look no further than York’s Chocolate Story. Here you can learn a little history about chocolate in Britain, then head to the cafe and sample some chocolatey goodness.
Side note: I have to give a special thanks and shout-out to our dear friend Connor, who has shown us around the city and given us countless recommendations. You’re the best, Connor!
York is such a fantastic city, with so much history and loads of things to do. If you’re looking for a place to visit, I highly recommend York. Have you ever been to York? What are your favourite spots & what would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading & stay golden!