Feeling like jumping back in time for a bit? Then, York in England would be an excellent place to visit. For a city seemingly frozen in time, its cobblestone walks offer a rich history that has to be explored by every culture and history-loving traveler. From the York Minster and its famous city walls to the coolest hidden bars, this charming city would be brimming with adventure.
How to Get There
Located in Northern England, Yorkshire is quite easy to get to. In the case that you’re coming from London, taking the LNER train would take over two hours and this is also the cheapest option especially when booked directly through the train company.
If you’re flying in, the nearest airport would be the Leeds-Bradford Airport. From here, take the 757 bus or a taxi to the local train station to get to the city. Travel time should take about 25 minutes from Leeds.
Manchester International Airport is another entryway and is often the arrival location if you’re coming from America. There will be a direct train from the airport to York station and this should take around 2 hours. After you get off, a regular city bus service is available to take you to the centre.
As soon as you get to York, you will notice that it’s a pretty compressed city, with almost everything you need to see at a walkable distance. Crossing from one end to the other should take about 15 minutes. It is why many recommend that this city is best explored on foot, especially since most major streets in the centre are closed to traffic from 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
If you’re staying for a couple of days, renting a bike would also be a good mode of transportation given the number of cycle paths available. It’s an excellent way to see the city’s rolling hills and picturesque views.
Lastly, you can take the bus to go around, which has stops in different convenient places. The routes are easy to understand and most stations have live real-time boards with expected arrival times.
Top Things to Do
With York’s rich history, you won’t have a hard time figuring out where to start since you will often pass by its ancient walls to get to different places. Walking around the York City Walls already offers a great tour that leads you to plenty of the city’s must-see attractions like the York Minster.
Built from 1230 to 1472, the gothic cathedral would likely be the first stop if you are interested in architecture. It is highly recommended that you purchase a ticket inside to climb the tower because it offers a 360-degree panorama of York. Entry into the minster is £11 for adults, seniors and students are £9, and free for children. If you include the tower, the price would be £16 for adults, £14 for seniors and students, and £5 for children, but they have to be 8 years old and above.
Up next would be Clifford’s Tower, often said to be best climbed at sunrise for amazing photographs. Afterward, drop by the York Castle Museum to learn more about this last remnant of the castle.
For your next stop, go down to The Shambles, a quintessentially old English street. You will see a lot of independent shops and restaurants inside buildings dating back to the 14th century. It’s worth mentioning that this street is likened to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley so it’s a must-see if you want to feel like a wizard shopping for the upcoming school year.
If you’re the adventurous type, then the Bloody Tour of York may be something that would interest you. For a city whose history dates back to the Medieval Ages, it’s understandable why it has a chock-full of folklore and ghost stories; not to mention that it’s also rumoured to be the most haunted city in Europe. These ghost tours would often take you to places like the Lund’s Court, the York Dungeons, and the Mickelgate Bar, with stories that would surely keep you on edge.
What to Eat
The city also boasts a lot of restaurants that showcase distinctly British food as well as a taste of different parts of the world. York has a wide array of options to choose from like Betty’s Tea Room known for their English sandwiches, Cafe No. 8 where you can enjoy some gnocchi, and Brew and Brownie famous for their pancake stacks and poached eggs.
At night, you can have a relaxed drink at the Guy Fawkes Pub, originally the birthplace of its namesake. For some quirky fun, try out the Evil Eye Lounge for amazing cocktails. They’re recognized in the Guinness World Records for having 1,028 gins and their clientele is said to be as diverse as their offerings.
On the other side of the spectrum, The Snickleway Inn is a place to go to admire its antiquated interiors that barely changed since the 15th century. Naturally, since it’s been around for so long, locals often say it’s the most haunted bar around so feel free to drop by if you want that extra oomph to your drink.
Where to Stay
York attracts a diverse set of tourists. For those wanting a luxurious stay, make sure to book a room at The Grand Hotel & Spa, a fitting name for the city’s only 5-star hotel. It has a spa, a pool, and rooms with distinct Edwardian features.
If you want to be near the city’s independent bars, delis, and vintage shops, then you will enjoy your stay at The Parisi Hotel. This is a breakfast-only hotel known for its colourful and stylish rooms.
Lastly, if you want to be tucked away in the city’s premiere location, you can book a stay at Grays Court. It has been around since the 11th century so it’s the ideal location if you want to be near the wall and the Minster.
• Go to York and enjoy a cup of the local coffee and tea.
• Drop by parks and pubs. You might run into improv artists putting on a show.
• Be adventurous with your food since the city offers quite a lot from Thai, African, and Spanish.