The Gorgeous Guide to York
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The Gorgeous Guide to York

The beautiful city of York lies right in the heart of Yorkshire and to this day retains many features of its rich and varied history. The real magic of this city, however, is that it manages to combine old world charm with a cosmopolitan feel.

Wander down cobbled streets such as the Shambles and check out the ancient city walls before sipping a cocktail (or two) in one of the popular bars overlooking the River Ouse, you’ll find plenty to see and do on a visit to York.

York Minster, York

York Minster courtesy of Mike Kipling

Take a look at our Gorgeous mini-guide to the best this stunning small city has to offer…

Things to do

York Minster

  • York Minster lies in the heart of the city and, as the second largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, it is hard to miss.  Parts of this impressive building date back to the 13th century and it took a whopping 250 years to complete. The towers, tombs and spectacular stained glass windows should be visited by everyone at least once.
  • The Jorvik Centre is built on the exact site where Viking remains were found during the 1980s and here you will see the remnants of 1000 year old houses and Viking tools.  The main attraction is a ride which transports you through time so you can see (and smell) how the Vikings once lived.
  • To see some of the darker history of the city pay a visit to The York Dungeon. With live actors and special effects, it provides great entertainment for older kids who can come face to face with famous characters from history such as York’s own gunpowder plotter, Guy Fawkes.
  • If dressing up to the nines, sipping champagne and having a little flutter is more your thing then York Races is a great day out (and you may even end up with a winner). Highlights of the racing calendar include the John Smith’s Cup in July and the Ebor Festival in August.

Food and Drink

Star Inn the City - one of the best restaurants in York

  • If you have a sweet tooth then York is a chocolate lover’s heaven with plenty of chocolate shops and patisseries to choose from.  Try York’s Chocolate Story in King’s Square where you’ll learn how chocolate is made before getting to sample it or the York Cocoa House which offers a range of chocolate drinks and artisan sweets.
  • To see (and taste) some of the best culinary delights that York has to offer pay a visit to the annual York Food & Drink Festival, held each September at various locations round the city.  It includes a Taste Trail – 26 places to visit for samples ranging from ice cream to real ale – as well as chef demonstrations and wine tasting events.
  • And for year-round dining there are some excellent fine dining restaurants as well as many other great gastro pubs and cafes. We love Star Inn the City, Meltons & The Blue Bicycle to name just a few. Take a look at our 5 of The Best Restaurants in York blog for more info.
  • York is a great place to get a drink either in the day time (especially on a sunny day) or for a big night out. There is a choice of bars overlooking the river and lots more lurking down cobbled streets like Fossgate and Stonegate.  Many of the bars are independent with a laid back atmosphere (and great cocktails). Try the trendy Fossgate Social or the quirky Evil Eye Lounge.  You should also make time to visit one of York’s historic pubs – the oldest is Ye Olde Starre Inn which dates back to the 1600s.


Stonegate York

The designer outlet village, McArther Glen is just 10 minutes from York and with plenty of discounted items from retailers including Ted Baker and Hugo Boss you can easily spend the whole day there.  Within the city centre there is a selection of department stores (such John Lewis and Fenwicks) and smaller independent shops. Head to The Shambles, one of the best preserved medieval streets in the world, and you’ll find a great selection of small shops selling homemade gifts, food and jewelry.


All set for your next holiday to York? Take a look at some of the gorgeous holiday cottages we have in and around the city here: York Self-Catering



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