York Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in YorkWhere to Stay
As one of the UK´s great historic cities, York attracts hordes of visitors, and this small city has no shortage of hotels waiting to welcome them. Accommodation options range from chic boutique hotels and spas in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside to city-centre guest houses and family-friendly lodgings such as the centrally-located Royal York Hotel. Many hotels here are very affordable compared with the south of England.
Caution: Book hotels in advance if you plan to visit during the summer high season - from late June to the end of August. Lodgings also tend to shoot up in price over this period.
Hot Tips: The surrounding countryside is home to some lovely country house hotels - ideal for a weekend retreat.
What to Eat
Yorkshire is famous for its afternoon teas, and it would be a shame to visit York without making a visit to one of the city´s traditional tea rooms. Bailey´s Cafe and Tea Room is a lovely spot to enjoy a slice of cake and a hot pot of tea, and also serves traditional English breakfasts to those with hearty appetites. Local specialties aside, York also offers its fair share of international restaurants - from Italian pizza and pasta to Indian curry.
Be Sure to Sample: Fish and chips from a local takeaway - it's not fine dining, but on a chilly evening it's hard to beat.
Things to See
York is a handsome historic city, and many of its attractions are to be found in its imposing historic buildings, such as the world famous York Minster cathedral. Start your sightseeing at the Shambles - the maze of shopping, eating and drinking streets at the town's historic center, and enjoy a pint and a bite to eat at one of the traditional pubs before heading out along the City Walls for sweeping vistas. York is home to plenty of family-friendly attractions, too, of which the Jorvik Viking Centre and the gruesomely-fascinating York Dungeon are enduring favorites with pre-teens.
Hot Tips: Jorvik Viking Centre has plenty to interest adult visitors as well as children, and brings to life the world of the vikings that plundered York centuries ago.
Places to Party
Nightlife in York is more about propping up the bar with a pint in hand than partying the night away, but the city's drinking and dining scene has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, with some elegant wine bars and bar-restaurants springing up, and the city´s student population means there is always an opportunity to catch a live band and an indie disco. For drinks and pub meals in a handsome historic building, The Black Swan is a good bet.
Caution: The streets of York city centre can get a little rowdy after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights - book cabs in advance if you want to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Hot Tips: Shambles is a great place for a pub crawl - start at one end and enjoy your drink of choice in each establishment you come to, until you can walk no further!
Where to Shop
Shopping opportunities in York are less impressive than those of neighboring Leeds, but there is plenty here to interest anyone with an interest in clothes, accessories or handicrafts. For delicious soaps, bath products and gorgeous hand creams, pay a visit to the York branch of Crabtree & Evelyn and pick up a gift for yourself or somebody else.
Best Local Souvenir: Look out for handcrafted wooden replicas of York landmarks such as the cathedral.
Ready for Your Dream Vacation?
York has a heritage to rival any city in Britain. King George VI famously remarked that York's "history is the history of England." Perhaps that's overstating it, but York has nevertheless seen a lot, from the Roman and Norman periods to the vast changes in the Victorian era. As if to ward off time, the city is still encircled by two-and-a-half miles of medieval walls. Whereas sentries used to walk the wide ramparts in days of yore, tourists walk them today. As one of the most intriguing cities in northern England (the heads of traitors used to hang at the entrance to Micklegate), York boasts a number of historical landmarks. Don't miss Minster Cathedral, the Castle Museum, Jorvik Viking Center, Clifford's Tower, and The Shambles, which is one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe.