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York is a historic walled city at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The municipality is the traditional county town of Yorkshire to which it gives its name. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events in England throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural and sporting activities making it a popular tourist destination for millions.
The city was founded by the Romans as Eboracum in 71 AD. It became the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and later of the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jórvík. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained.
In the 19th century, York became a hub of the railway network and a confectionery manufacturing centre. In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that provides services. The University of York and health services have become major employers, whilst tourism has become an important element of the local economy.
From 1996, the term City of York describes a unitary authority area which includes rural areas beyond the old city boundaries. In 2011 the urban area had a population of 153,717, while in 2010 the entire unitary authority had an estimated population of 202,400.
|FOUNDED :||as Eboracum c. 71 AD|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)|
• Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
|RELIGION :||Christian 59.5% |
No religion 30.1%
Other religions 0.4%
Religion not stated 7.8%
|AREA :||105.00 sq mi (271.94 km2)|
|COORDINATES :||53°57′30″N 1°4′49″W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :||White 92.8%|
Chinese or other 1.4%
|AREA CODE :||01904|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+44 1904|
York is an ancient cathedral city with a history that dates back to before Roman times. It is situated in Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, England with some of the best preserved historical buildings and structures in Europe. York is frequently ranked with Manchester as the second most visited city in England after London and is, of course famous, for giving its name to the city and state of New York in the United States.
York is a fairly small city - four days is enough to see the major sights although York is a city that reveals its charms to explorers with curiosity and patience.
York is known as England's "City of Festivals" as there are regular cultural festivals every year. The official festivals are the Viking Festival, the Festival of Angels, Early Music, Late Music, Horse Racing (the "Ebor Race Meeting"), Multicultural Food and Arts, Chinese New Year, Mystery Plays, Christmas St Nicholas' Fair, and the Food and Drink Festival. It's a romantic city for a weekend break. York is full of magic and a wonderful place to bring children!
Visitor Information Centre, 1 Museum Street, YO1 7DT, . Mon-Sat 09:00-17:00, Sun 10:00-16:00.
Origin of the name
The word York (from Old Norse Jórvík, from the 9th century AD) derives from the Latinised name for the city, variously rendered as Eboracum, Eburacum or Eburaci. The first mention of York by this name is dated to circa 95–104 AD as an address on a wooden stylus tablet from the Roman fortress of Vindolanda in Northumberland.
The toponymy of Eboracum is uncertain because the language of the pre-Roman indigenous population was never recorded. They are thought to have spoken a Celtic language related to modern Welsh. It is thought that Eboracum is derived from the Brythonic word Eborakon, a combination of eburos "yew-tree" (cf. Old Irish ibar "yew-tree", Welsh efwr "alder buckthorn", Breton evor "alder buckthorn") and suffix *-āko(n) "place" (cf. Welsh -og) meaning either "place of the yew trees" (cf. efrog in Welsh, eabhrac in Irish Gaelic and eabhraig in Scottish Gaelic, by which names the city is known in those languages); or less probably,Eburos, 'property', which is a personal Celtic name mentioned in different documents as Eβουρος, Eburus and Eburius, and which, combined with the same suffix *-āko(n), could denote a property. In his Historia Regum Britanniae the 12th century chronicler, Geoffrey of Monmouth, suggests the name derives from that of a pre-Roman city founded by the legendary king Ebraucus.
The name Eboracum became the Anglian Eoforwic in the 7th century: a compound of Eofor-, from the old name, and -wic a village probably by conflation of the elementEbor- with a Germanic root *eburaz (boar); by the 7th century the Old English for 'boar' had become eofor. Alternatively, the word eofor already existed as an Old Saxon word for wild swine, which is a cognate of the current Low Saxon word eaverand Dutch ever. The Anglo-Saxon newcomers probably interpreted the ebor part as eofor, and -rac as ric (meaning rich), while -um was (and is) a common abbreviation of the Saxon -heem, meaning home. To them, it sounded as a 'home rich in boar'. As is common in Saxon place names, the -um part gradually faded;eoforic. When the Danish army conquered the city in 866, its name becameJórvík.
Jórvík gradually reduced to York in the centuries following the Norman Conquest, moving from the Middle English Yerk in the 14th century through Yourke in the 16th century to Yarke in the 17th century. The form York was first recorded in the 13th century. Many company and place names, such as the Ebor race meeting, refer to the Roman name. The Archbishop of York uses Ebor as his surname in his signature.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesolithic people settled in the region of York between 8000 and 7000 BC, although it is not known whether their settlements were permanent or temporary. By the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, the area was occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Brigantes. The Brigantian tribal area initially became a Roman client state, but, later its leaders became more hostile and the Roman Ninth Legion was sent north of the Humber into Brigantian territory.
The city was founded in 71 AD, when the Ninth Legion conquered the Brigantes and constructed a wooden military fortress on flat ground above the River Ouse close to its confluence with the River Foss. The fortress, which was later rebuilt in stone, covered an area of 50 acres (20 ha) and was inhabited by 6,000 soldiers. The site of the Roman fortress lies under the foundations of York Minster, and excavations in the undercroft have revealed some of the original walls.
The Emperors Hadrian, Septimius Severus and Constantius I all held court in York during their various campaigns. During his stay, the Emperor Severus proclaimed York capital of the province of Britannia Inferior, and it is likely that it was he who granted York the privileges of a colonia or city. Constantius I died in 306 AD during his stay in York, and his son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor by the troops based in the fortress.
While the Roman colonia and fortress were located on high ground, by 400 AD the town was victim to periodic flooding from the Rivers Ouse and Foss and was abandoned. York declined in the post-Roman era, and was taken and settled by the Angles in the 5th century.
Reclamation of the flooded parts of the town was initiated in the 7th century under King Edwin of Northumbria, and York became his chief city. The first minster church was built in York for the baptism of Edwin in 627. Edwin ordered the small wooden church be rebuilt in stone but was killed in 633 and the task of completing the stone minster fell to his successor Oswald. In the following century Alcuin of York came to the cathedral school of York. He had a long career as a teacher and scholar, first at the school at York now known as St Peter's School, founded in 627 AD, and later as Charlemagne's leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs.
In 866, Northumbria was in the midst of internecine struggles when the Vikings raided and captured York. Under Viking rule the city became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe. The last ruler of an independent Jórvík, Eric Bloodaxe, was driven from the city in 954 AD by King Eadred in his successful attempt to complete the unification of England.
In 1068, two years after the Norman Conquest of England, the people of York rebelled. Initially the rebellion was successful but upon the arrival of William the Conqueror the rebellion was put down. William at once built a wooden fortress on a motte. In 1069, after another rebellion, William built another timbered castle across the River Ouse. These were destroyed in 1069 and rebuilt by William about the time of his ravaging Northumbria in what is called the "Harrying of the North" where he destroyed everything from York to Durham. The remains of the rebuilt castles, now in stone, are visible on either side of the River Ouse. See Peter Rex's The English Resistance, The Underground War Against the Normans, 2006.
The first stone minster church was badly damaged by fire in the uprising and the Normans built a minster on a new site. Around the year 1080 Archbishop Thomas started building the cathedral that in time became the current Minster. In the 12th century York started to prosper. In 1190, York Castle was the site of an infamous massacre of its Jewish inhabitants, in which at least 150 Jews died (although some authorities put the figure as high as 500).
The city, through its location on the River Ouse and its proximity to the Great North Road became a major trading centre. King John granted the city's first charter in 1212, confirming trading rights in England and Europe. During the later Middle Ages York merchants imported wine from France, cloth, wax, canvas, and oats from the Low Countries, timber and furs from the Baltic and exported grain to Gascony and grain and wool to the Low Countries. York became a major cloth manufacturing and trading centre. Edward I further stimulated the city's economy by using the city as a base for his war in Scotland. The city was the location of significant unrest during the so-called Peasants' Revolt in 1381. The city acquired an increasing degree of autonomy from central government including the privileges granted by a charter of Richard II in 1396.
16th to 18th centuries
The city underwent a period of economic decline during Tudor times. Under Henry VIII, the Dissolution of the Monasteries saw the end of York's many monastic houses, including several orders of friars, the hospitals of St Nicholas and of St Leonard, the largest such institution in the north of England. This led to the Pilgrimage of Grace, an uprising of northern Catholics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire opposed to religious reform. Henry VIII restored his authority by establishing the Council of the North in York in the dissolved St Mary's Abbey. The city became a trading and service centre during this period.
Guy Fawkes, who was born and educated in York, was a member of a group of Roman Catholic restorationists that planned the Gunpowder Plot. Its aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I, the entire Protestant, and even most of the Catholic aristocracy and nobility were inside.
In 1644, during the Civil War, the Parliamentarians besieged York, and many medieval houses outside the city walls were lost. The barbican at Walmgate Bar was undermined and explosives laid, but, the plot was discovered. On the arrival of Prince Rupert, with an army of 15,000 men, the siege was lifted. The Parliamentarians retreated some 6 miles (10 km) from York with Rupert in pursuit, before turning on his army and soundly defeating it at the Battle of Marston Moor. Of Rupert's 15,000 troops, no fewer than 4,000 were killed and 1,500 captured. The siege was renewed but the city could not hold out for long, and on 15 July surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax.
Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and the removal of the garrison from York in 1688, the city was dominated by the gentry and merchants, although the clergy were still important. Competition from Leeds and Hull, together with silting of the River Ouse, resulted in York losing its pre-eminent position as a trading centre but the city's role as the social and cultural centre for wealthy northerners was on the rise. York's many elegant townhouses, such as the Lord Mayor's Mansion House and Fairfax House date from this period, as do the Assembly Rooms, the Theatre Royal, and the racecourse.
During this general time period, the American city of New York and the colony that contained it were renamed after the Duke of York (later King James II).
The railway promoter George Hudson was responsible for bringing the railway to York in 1839. Although Hudson's career as a railway entrepreneur ended in disgrace and bankruptcy, his promotion of his own railway company, the York and North Midland Railway and of York over Leeds, helped establish York as a major railway centre by the late 19th century.
The introduction of the railways established engineering in the city. At the turn of the 20th century, the railway accommodated the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway, which employed more than 5,500 people. The railway was instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree's Cocoa Works. It was founded in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in 1869 by his brother the philanthropist Joseph. Another chocolate manufacturer, Terry's of York was a major employer. By 1900 the railways and confectionery had become the city's two major industries.
With the emergence of tourism, the historic core of York became one of the city's major assets, and in 1968 it was designated a conservation area. The existing tourist attractions were supplemented by the establishment of the National Railway Museum in York in 1975 and the Jorvik Viking Centre in 1984. The opening of theUniversity of York in 1963 added to the prosperity of the city.
In 2010, the former headquarters on the North Eastern Railway were refurbished and opened as York's first, and still only, 5-star hotel - currently known as The Grand Hotel & Spa.
York was voted European Tourism City of the Year by European Cities Marketing in June 2007 beating 130 other European cities to gain first place, surpassing Gothenburg in Sweden (second) and Valencia in Spain (third). York was also voted safest place to visit in the 2010 conde nast readers traveller awards.
York has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As with the rest of the Vale of York the city's climate is drier and warmer than the rest of the Yorkshire and Humberside region. Because of its lowland location York is prone to frosts, fog, and cold winds during winter, spring and very early summer. Snow can fall in winter from December onwards to as late as April but quickly melts. From May to July, York experiences the most sunshine, an average of six hours per day. Extremes recorded at the University of York campus between 1998 and 2010 include a highest temperature of 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) (Monday 17 July 2006) and a lowest temperature of −16.3 °C (2.7 °F) (Monday 6 December 2010). The most rainfall in one day was 88.4 millimetres (3.5 in).
Climate data for Linton on Ouse, England
|Record high °C (°F)||16|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||−16|
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: BBC Weather|
The city is 21 miles (34 km) from Leeds.
York lies in the Vale of York, a flat area of fertile arable land bordered by the Pennines, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds The city was built at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss on a terminal moraine left by the last Ice Age.
During Roman times, the land surrounding the rivers Ouse and Foss was marshy, making the site easy to defend. The city is prone to flooding from the River Ouse, and has an extensive (and until 2015 mostly effective) network of flood defences with walls along the river, and a liftable barrier across the River Foss where it joins the Ouse at the 'Blue Bridge'. In October and November 2000 York experienced the worst flooding in 375 years with more than 300 homes flooded. In December 2015 the flooding was more extensive and caused major disruption. The extreme impact led to a personal visit by Prime Minister David Cameron. Much land in and around the city is on flood plains too flood-prone for development other than agriculture. The ings are flood meadows along the Ouse, while the strays are open common grassland in various locations around the city.
York's economy is based on the service industry, which in 2000 was responsible for 88.7% of employment in the city. The service industries include public sector employment, health, education, finance, information technology (IT) and tourism that accounts for 10.7% of employment. Tourism has become an important element of the economy, with the city offering a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural activities. In 2009, York was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors.
Unemployment in York was low at 4.2% in 2008 compared to the United Kingdom national average of 5.3%. The biggest employer in York is the City of York Council, with over 7,500 employees. Employers with more than 2,000 staff include Aviva (formerly Norwich Union Life), Network Rail, Northern, York Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of York. Other major employers include British Telecom,CPP Group, Nestlé, NFU Mutual and a number of railway companies.
Today's economic position is very different from the 1950s, when its prosperity was based on chocolate manufacturing and the railways. This position continued until the early 1980s when 30% of the workforce were employed by just five employers and 75% of manufacturing jobs were in four companies. Most industry around the railway has gone, including the carriage works (known as Asea Brown Boveri or ABB at the time of closure), which at its height in the 1880s employed 5,500 people but closed in the mid-1990s. York is the headquarters of the confectionery manufacturer Nestlé York (formerly Nestlé Rowntrees) and home to the KitKat and eponymous Yorkie bar chocolate brands.Terry's chocolate factory, makers of the Chocolate Orange, was located in the city; but it closed on 30 September 2005, when production was moved by its owners,Kraft Foods, to Poland. The historic factory building is situated next to the Knavesmire racecourse.
It was announced on 20 September 2006 that Nestlé would cut 645 jobs at the Rowntree's chocolate factory in York. This came after a number of other job losses in the city at Aviva, British Sugar and Terry's chocolate factory. Despite this, the employment situation in York remained fairly buoyant until the effects of the late 2000s recession began to be felt.
Since the closure of the carriage-works, the site has been developed into offices. York's economy has been developing in the areas of science, technology and the creative industries. The city has become a founding National Science City with the creation of a science park near the University of York. Between 1998 and 2008 York gained 80 new technology companies and 2,800 new jobs in the sector.
York's area code (for landline numbers) is 01904 when dialed from within the UK or +44 1904 from outside the UK.
There are also several places that offer web and other internet access. These include:
- City Screen Picturehouse, 13-17 Coney Street (tucked away behind St. Martin's church - look for the iconic clock), . Computers, printing, and wireless in the Basement Cafe. If you bring your own laptop, wireless is a pound otherwise you pay by the amount of time spent online.
- Gateway Internet Café Bar, now situated in City Screen - above.
- Evil Eye Lounge, 42 Stonegate, . Just as with City Screen, if you bring your own laptop wireless access is just a pound. Pay at the counter just as you walk in to get that day's access code.
- York Central Library, Museum Street (between the river and the Minster).Open until 8pm Monday to Thursday, 6pm Friday, 5pm Saturday, and 4pm Sunday. Ask at the enquiry desk - you'll see plenty of locals using the computers, but the staff can arrange Web access for visitors too.
Prices in York
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.80|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€10.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€28.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€58.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€6.20|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€4.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€4.00|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€9.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€10.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.24|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€9.70|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€2.30|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€64.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€39.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€70.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€2.20|
58 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
238 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Most travellers will arrive in York by road (car or bus) or rail from other parts of the UK or an airport.
Visitors to York arriving by air have a number of options. These are essentially:
- Enter the UK at one of the London airports and travel onwards to York overland, either by road or by rail. If your itinerary includes other parts of the UK besides the north-east, this may be the best option, because the five London airports between them have a wider range of flight options and usually lower prices than are available for direct routings into an airport closer to York.
- If Yorkshire and/or the north-east is the main destination of your visit to the UK, fly directly into the north-east using an airport with good road connections to York, if you will be renting a car and/or are being picked up from the airport.
- If Yorkshire and/or the north-east is the main destination of your visit to the UK, fly directly into the north-east using an airport with good public transport connections to York, if you will not have access to a car.
If you are arriving in the UK at one of the London airports (Heathrow (IATA: LHR), Gatwick (IATA: LGW), London City (IATA: LCY), Luton (IATA: LTN) or Stansted (IATA: STN)), your best bet is to travel to York either by road in a rental car or by train. If you take into account the time it takes to get from a London airport to King's Cross station, either way will normally take you between four and five hours from the arrivals hall to York city centre. The airports within a significantly shorter overland travelling time to York are as follows.
Leeds-Bradford International Airport (IATA: LBA) is the geographically closest airport to York, located 31 miles from the city by road, but it is also arguably the least convenient and most expensive for visitors to the city. The low-cost carriers (LCCs) Jet2 and Ryanair operate extensive services throughout Europe. KLM is currently the only legacy airline offering hub-and-spoke connections worldwide, via its three daily flights to and from Amsterdam. In light traffic, it takes about an hour by road to York using the A658 and the A59, but often the journey timeis two hours. This route can get very congested around the outskirts of Harrogate during the rush hours, and there are several villages with 30 mph speed limits along the way. York residents collecting arriving passengers should note that it costs £12 an hour if you need to park and go into the terminal building (like if the flight is delayed): you are allowed to wait at the pick-up and drop-off area for only 10 min. There is no direct public transport to York. The best way is to take the 757 bus outside the airport to Leeds and then the 743, 800, 840, 843, 844, 845, X40 or X45 to York.
Manchester Airport (IATA: MAN), 84 mi by road from York, is the UK's largest airport outside London and offers a wider choice of LCC and legacy airline services worldwide. These include direct flights from the USA operated by American, Delta, and United. By road, the journey using the M62 and the A64 takes about an hour and a half in average traffic, but if you get caught in the rush hours around Leeds and Bradford it can take a lot longer. Direct train services provide connections to York throughout the day and night, with a typical journey time of just under two hours. It is worth booking tickets for rail connections online in advance, because 'turn up and ride' tickets are often a lot more expensive. If travelling at peak times without a reserved seat, you may have to stand for most if not all of the journey (these trains also serve commuters to Manchester and Leeds, and can get very crowded).
Doncaster-Sheffield (IATA: DSA), 41 mi by road from York - mainly serving European holiday destinations. This airport is not easily accessible by public transport. You have to take a bus to the Doncaster station.
Humberside (IATA: HUY, 48 mi) - KLM from Amsterdam and thence worldwide, some domestic flights with Eastern. Using the A1079 and the A15, the journey time to and from York is around an hour in typical traffic. This route takes you across the Humber Bridge, which is a spectacular sight in itself, but it can get congested in the rush hours. This airport is not easily accessible by public transport. You can take a bus to Hull or Grimsby stations. If KLM is offering a particularly attractive deal to Humberside, you will have access to a car and if you are staying in a southern part of York, Humberside is worth considering.
Durham-Tees Valley (IATA: MME, 47 mi) - Only year round flights are domestic commuters with Eastern plus KLM to Amsterdam and thence worldwide, most destinations are European summer resorts. The airport was formally called Teesside International until it was renamed in 2004, and the name "Teesside", "Tees-side" or "Teesside Airport" still appears on many local road signs, and on tickets and boarding passes issued outside the UK. Although air fares to Durham-Tees Valley can be on the pricey side, it is well worth considering as a starting point for visiting north-east England: as an underused regional airport, waiting and queuing times are very low. However, to recoup the lost revenue from falling passenger numbers in recent years, the airport introduced a "facility fee" of £6 per departing passenger (which must be paid before you are allowed through the security check) in December 2010. If you take the A67 eastbound from the airport through Yarm and Kirklevington and then join the A19 southbound to York, this route is hardly ever congested, even during weekday rush hours. Using public transport, a bus goes to Darlington station though there is a dedicated railway station with services to Darlington, they are very infrequent. From there, York is a 30 min train ride on the East Coast Main Line, with frequent services throughout the day.
Newcastle (IATA: NCL, 79 mi), offers a wider range of legacy services than LBA, HUY or MME, with British Airways and Emirates providing long-haul connections as well as KLM and Air France. Eastern and FlyBe for domestic. Air Transat also operate direct flights from Toronto during the summer months, though these may not continue in 2013. The journey to York by road using the A1 and the A59 takes just under two hours. Using public transport, a Newcastle Metro train takes about 45 mi from NCL to Central Station, from where York is a 70 mi ride on the East Coast Main Line, so this option is really only worth considering if you want to visit the North East as well.
The major car rental chains are available at all of these airports except Doncaster-Sheffield.
York is one of the main hubs of the UK rail network, with a large range of services and destinations to choose from. The train station itself is an attraction and was voted the 'nicest' station in the UK in 2007. Because of the number of lines that pass through, services tend to be frequent. Indeed it was the largest train station in the world when first built. While intercity trains can be expensive, regional services are relatively affordable. Buying tickets online a few weeks in advance can provide substantial savings on long distance tickets.
Virgin Trains East Coast operates several services from York. York is situated halfway between Edinburgh and London on the East Coast Main Line. East Coast Trains run services along this route approximately every half hour between King's Cross station in London and Edinburgh Waverley. The journey time from London is typically about 2 hours and 15 minutes, while Edinburgh is 2 hours and 30 minutes away.
Grand Central Rail operates 4 trains per day in each direction between York and London.
Arriva Cross Country operates trains between York and Scotland, and across the country to Birmingham, Oxford, Reading, Bristol and the South-West.
First TransPennine Express operates service to and from Manchester, Manchester Airport, Leeds, and Huddersfield. The service runs 24 hours a day, making it possible to have a late night out elsewhere in North England, while still being able to get back to York. It runs more or less hourly during the daytime and early evening, but less frequently in the late evenings and through the night.
Other regional trains run to Sheffield, Doncaster, Hull, Harrogate and Scarborough,Durham and Newcastle.
Train times can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling 08457 48 49 50 from anywhere in the UK.
National Express York operates bus service to/from York. Tickets can be purchased online, at the station, or from the Tourist Information Centre at 1 Museum Street in the city centre.
Although York is not directly on any of the main north-south motorways, the connections are reasonably good. From the south, the quickest route is probably to take the M1 northbound to junction 32, then the M18 eastbound to junction 2, the A1M northbound to junction 44 and finally the A64 eastbound to the York Outer Ring Road (A1237). Alternatively, you can take the M1 all the way to the A64, but the upper reaches of the M1 around Sheffield and Leeds can get very congested, especially in the rush hours. From the west, the A59 and the M62 provide connections from Liverpool and Manchester, and from the north the A1 and the A19 link York with Tyneside, Northumberland and south-eastern Scotland.
Driving into the city centre itself is something to avoid. Traffic congestion on the main arterial roads serving the city (especially the A19 on Bootham and the Inner Ring Road) can get very bad, especially during the rush hours and on Saturday mornings. The remodelling of some roads near bottleneck junctions to accommodate bicycle lanes has made traffic jams even worse still in recent years, and parking in the city centre is very expensive.
If you are just visiting York for the day, using a Park and Ride costs a lot less than trying to park in or near the city centre, and there are five sites dotted around the Outer Ring Road. However, the last buses from the city centre leave at around 8pm in the evenings and you are not allowed to leave your car in a Park and Ride overnight. Therefore, if you are staying overnight in York and arriving by car, make sure that your hotel offers parking before you book. If you are only visiting for the day but staying until late evening, you will need to use a city centre car park.
Transportation - Get Around
Some roads within the old city (i.e. within the city walls) are pedestrian precincts, closed to all cars except disabled drivers and emergency vehicles between 8:00 and 16:00, and most of the sights are only a short walk between one another. Take care walking around the city centre when the roads open to car traffic at 16:00, as the roads fill up quickly with delivery vehicles servicing local shops and businesses. The city centre is small enough to walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes.
Bus services connect all the points of interest in the city but they are not cheap. If more than one person is travelling and the distance is relatively short, a taxi may well be cheaper. However, a one-day bus pass (FirstDay) costs £3.70 per person, which is worth considering if you're going to make several journeys in a day.
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.
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 17:00, 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 PDFs online. Bikes are available to rent from a number of locations around the city, including the railway station.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
York comes highly recommended for its unique shops & boutiques. There's the usual range of high-street stores, but York is also a great place if you're looking for tourist tat of the highest order. Shops in York change from year to year but the beautiful old fashioned wooden shop fronts and buildings have not changed much since they were first built.
- The Shambles. Tat-central and the narrowest (and most crowded) street in York, with a full range of a present from York - emblazoned merchandise manufactured in the Far East.
- Gillygate and Low Petergate. There is a good range of stores apart from the standard high street, try these for some nice small shops and galleries.
- Walmgate and Fossgate contain some interesting shops, including several small independent book stores and retro clothes sellers.
- Browns, Davygate, YO1 8QT (near Parliament Street). A local good quality department store.
- Shambles Market, 5 Silver Street, YO1 8RY. Daily 07:00-17:00. A permanent outdoor market with more than 85 stalls of which some sell fresh produce, but many others sell clothes, accessories etc.
- York Designer Outlet, St Nicholas Ave, Fulford, . Of particular interest to followers of fashion, this indoor shopping centre on the southern outskirts of York contains 120 clothes stores from many top-name brands such as Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren and Ted Baker. Located on the A64 dual carriageway and frequently served by bus services from the city centre.
For budget eating, try any traditional pub (though food quality may be variable).
- A cafeteria in an old church facing away from Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gatesells cheap good food - eat on the grass outside.
- Hungry Horace, 39 Layerthorpe. Authentic working men's cafe. Greasy and tatty but the food is of a very high standard. The staff at the cafe are very friendly and may refer to you as love or flower.
- Walmgate Ale House and Bistro (formerly: Meltons Too), 25 Walmgate, YO1 9TX, . Mon closed. 5 minutes walk from the center in an area called Walmgate - good food in pleasant olde worlde environment. Lunch: around £7-9, dinner mains: around £13-17.
- Miller's. Delicious fish and chip shop in Fulford, which also works as a restaurant. Reasonable prices and as good a plate's worth as you'll get in York.
- Pizza Express, Lendal. Needs no introduction, but worth a look for the setting - a spectacular Victorian brick edifice 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.
- The Golden Dragon, King Street, not far from Ouse Bridge (Just round the corner from the famous riverside pub the King's Arms. Within falling distance of the Gallery and the Lowther.). Open till late. Cheap and cheerful Chinese food.
- The Spurriergate Centre, St Michael's Church, Spurriergate, YO1 9QR, . A great little cafe in an old church, well worth a visit just for the architecture but the food is good and there are vegetarian options. Very child-friendly.
- ASK, The Assembly Rooms. Like Pizza Express, come for the setting rather than the food (which is fine, just nothing special). A marble-pillared Georgian assembly rooms with 40-foot ceilings and plaster cherubs. Extremely busy at weekends and tourist periods.
- Bari's, The Shambles. Cheerfully unpretentious Italian bistro serving pizza and pasta in an authentically Italian style (overly-phallic pepper grinders and waiters adopting cod accents.) Food's not bad, it's reasonably priced, and it's pretty lively of an evening.
- El Piano, Grape Lane. Mexican influenced vegetarian food. Very relaxed atmosphere, you can carve your name in a table for a £1 donation to Amnesty (they lend you the tools). Has toys and games lying around. If you have children, ask nicely and they'll give you a room upstairs to yourselves.
- Old Grey Mare. A good curry place about halfway between the city walls and the YHA hostel.
- The Lime House, 55 Goodramgate, YO1 7LS, .This restaurant has won many awards but still doesn't seem to be on the tourist radar. This is a shame, because it serves some of the most inventive, lovingly-prepared food in the city. Starters from £5, mains from £13.
- Viceroy of India, Monkgate, . Always busy even in early evening, this long established Indian 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...
For upmarket eating, try York's 'restaurant district' on Fossgate and Walmgate.
- The Star Inn the City, Lendal Engine House, Museum Street, YO1 7DR. Spring/Summer (14th March to 30th September) Breakfast 8.30am to 11.30am All Day Menu noon til late. Autumn/Winter (1st October to 13th March) Breakfast 9.30am to 11.30am All Day Menu noon til late..Simple Yorkshire cooking with a taste of the countryside. Located in the Old Engine House on the edge of York's Museum Gardens in a riverside setting close to the historic Lendal Bridge, The Star Inn The City has an enviable position, which we aim to match with the best produce God's Own Country has to offer and genuine Yorkshire hospitality for the 'whole package'. Open daily for breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. £££.
- Betty's Tea Rooms, 6-8 St Helen's Square, .Open 9AM-9PM every day. World-famous for its nostalgic atmosphere and spectacular Swiss-Yorkshire patisserie-style catering. It is a twenties-style tea rooms complete with palm trees, aproned waitresses and piano player, and serves the kind of food that comes with the crusts cut off. The quality is superb, but it's not cheap - and be prepared for a queue at peak times, it's not unknown for potential customers to wait outside in the rain for a seat.
- Little Betty's, 46 Stonegate, . Open Su-F 10AM-5:30PM; Sa 9AM-5:30PM. This is a smaller version of Betty's in Stonegate which doesn't get quite so busy, and serves exactly the same kind of food in a similar ambience.
- The Judges Lodgings. Has the largest outside dining area in York. Its upstairs restaurant, located inside the hotel, serves freshly prepared meals, a selection of fine wines and homemade desserts. These are enjoyed among the splendour of gilt mirrors, antique paintings and beautiful architecture.
- Le Cochon Aveugle, 37 Walmgate, YO1 9TX, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tue-Sat: evenings from 6pm. A petite French restaurant situated in the heart of York. They do not have a fixed menu, rather they are guided by the quality of the produce available to the kitchen from their carefully selected suppliers. The chefs apply their skills and creativity to present bold and expressive dishes. It is highly recommended that all reservations are made in advance. £££.
Sights & Landmarks
- York Minster, York Minster, Church House, Ogleforth, , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Sa 9AM-5:30PM (last entry); Su 12:45-5:30PM. The largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, York Minster dominates the skyline & has a history of building that dates back to the 8th century at least. The one place that everybody visits. Stay for Evensong service if you can, especially if you've never been to a church service before. Adult £10.00, concession £8.00, child under 16 free; £5.00 for the tower.
- Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens (near Minster). 10am-5pm.Interesting, and quite good for curious children. Features displays of Roman, Viking and Medieval riches. Adults £6.81.
- York Museum Gardens, Museum Gardens, YO1 7FR (near Minster). Summer: daily 07:30-20:00, winter: daily 07:30-18:00. A great place for a picnic. Contain the Ruins of St Mary's Abbey and the small York Observatory, which was constructed in 1832/33 and is still in working condition.
- King's Manor. Now part of the University of York, previously a royal headquarters,
- Snickelways. The Snickelways are the famous medieval (and later) alleys and narrow streets that thread the center of the city. 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. Alternatively walk downstream to the Millennium bridge, cross and back upstream on the other bank.
- Guildhall. Built in 15th century
- Merchant Taylors' Hall, Aldwark.
- St Anthonys Hall (Quilters Guild).
- Merchant Adventurers' Hall, Fossgate, . M-Th 9AM-5PM F-Sa 9AM-3:30PM Su noon-4PM. Built 1357-1361 and of international importance, this building is Europe's finest medieval Guildhall and scheduled as an ancient monument. Nowhere else can be seen in one building the three rooms serving the three functions of a medieval guild: business, charity and religion. Above is the superb timbered Great Hall, below is the Undercroft or Hospital and Chapel. Audio guides available. Adult £6.
- Treasurer's House, Minster Yard, YO1 7JL, , e-mail: [email protected]. National Trust operated town house dating from Medieval times.
- York Castle Museum, Eye of York (next to Clifford's Tower), . Daily 9:30AM-5PM. An award winning museum of everyday life with exhibitions to appeal to all ages. Exhibits include Kirkgate, a Victorian street; Half Moon Court, an Edwardian street; and costumes and toys through the ages. Built in a part of the former prison there is also an opportunity to explore the old cells and see where Dick Turpin spent his last days. Adult £10, concession £7, child free with adult.
- Clifford's Tower, Tower Street, YO1 9SA, .Daily 10AM-4PM. This imposing "tower" represents the medieval castle of York, located in the centre of town, originally built by William the Conqueror to subdue the rebellious north, then rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th century. Fantastic panoramic views of York and the surrounding countryside from the top of the tower. adults £4.40, children £2.50, concessions £3.80.
- National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, YO26 4XJ, , e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 10AM-6PM. The largest railway museum in the world, responsible for the conservation and interpretation of the British national collection of historically significant railway vehicles and other artefacts. Contains an unrivalled collection of locomotives, rolling stock, railway equipment, documents and records.Free.
- Goddards, 27 Tadcaster Road, YO24 1GG, , e-mail: [email protected]. A family home of Noel Goddard Terry run by National Trust.
- York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, YO1 7EW, , e-mail: [email protected]. Mon to Fri: 10:00am – 5:00pm Sat: 10:00am – 6:00pm Sun: 11:00am – 4:00pm Closed: 25, 26 December and 1 January.. A public art gallery with a collection of paintings from 14th-century to contemporary, prints, watercolours, drawings, and ceramics. £7.50.
- Aldborough Roman Villa, Aldborough, Boroughbridge, YO51 9ES, . It's a bit of a push to the top of the county but well worth the trouble. Adults £3.50, children £2.10, concessions £3.20.
- Castle Howard, YO60 7DA, . One of the locations for the filming of Brideshead Revisited, this amazing stately home is a great day trip out of York. If you've got a car and go to Castle Howard its worth a look at Kirkham Priory too, just off the A64 at the top of the hill near Castle Howard.
- Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, Beningbrough, YO30 1DD, .
- Additional local historic sites in the York area include Bolton Abbey (near Skipton), Nunnington Hall (near Helmsley) and Rievaulx Abbey (also nearHelmsley).
- Yorkshire Lavender, The Yorkshire Lavender Farm, Terrington, YO60 6PB, . Only 3 miles from Castle Howard, Yorkshire's Award-Winning Lavender Farm & Lavender Gardens is set in a spectacular hillside farm of nearly 60 acres, within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Things to do
- Walk around the city walls.Daily 8AM-sunset. One of the best vantage points for the medieval city of York is from the ramparts of its medieval city walls, built on Roman era foundations. About an hour's walk: if short on time or energy, the best views are conveniently from the shortest section, from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar, around the Minster (about 15 minutes). No dogs (except guide dogs) allowed.Free.
- Walking tours and ghost walks.Wonderful. There are many ghost walks that run throughout the year during the evenings. Walks normally start from 6PM onwards and last for around an hour - just look for the posters and billboards posted throughout the city centre for details and the meeting point for that evening. Walking tours free, ghost walks around £4.
Visit York attractions
- Roman Bath public house (Eboracum Legion Bathhouse), St Sampson's Square, . Daily 10AM-5PM. A great venue for food, drink and entertainment - complete with a Roman period bathhouse in the cellar. One of York's oldest attractions, visitors can see the remains of ancient York, with insights into Roman military life and hygiene. Adult £2.
- Jorvik Viking Centre, . Daily 10AM-4PM (winter), 10AM-5PM (summer). It is a museum and visitor attraction run by the York Archaeological Trust. JORVIK Viking Centre invites visitors to journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets as they would have looked 1000 years ago. Closed due to flood £6.25 and upwards.
- Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, off Stonegate, YO1 8AR, e-mail:[email protected]. Daily 10AM-4PM (winter), 10AM-5PM (summer). A restored Medieval townhouse, situated on Coffee Yard (an alley off Stonegate) run by the York Archaeological Trust. Someone called it "a hidden gem". £3 and upwards
- Jorvik DIG (An Archaeological Adventure), St Saviourgate, e-mail:[email protected]. Daily 10AM-4PM (winter), 10AM-5PM (summer). At DIG you get to discover exciting archaeological artefacts from 2000 years of history hidden under the streets of York. Yet another site run by theYork Archaeological Trust £5 and upwards.
- Micklegate Bar Museum (Henry VII Experience), Micklegate, on the city walls, e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 10AM-4PM (winter), 11AM-3PM (summer). Yet another attraction by the York Archaeological Trust. Visit the ancient gateway to explore the pageantry and barbaric history that has unfolded between these walls through the centuries. £2.50 and upwards.
- Monk Bar (Richard III Experience). Yet another attraction by theYork Archaeological Trust. Visit the ancient gateway to explore the pageantry and barbaric history that has unfolded between these walls through the centuries
- York Dungeon. Entertaining, though perhaps not for the faint hearted or for young children, there is little blood or gore, and some may find it suitable for children. Definitely worth the entrance price, however check out the pubs beforehand, as you may find 2 for 1 beer mats in the Kings Arms, a pub on the banks of the River Ouse near the Yorkboat landing (Kings Straith).
- York Maze (next to Grimston Bar park and ride so by car or bus). A very large maze (the largest in the world, they say) and it's made of maize. Give it at least a couple of hours. There are other activities, such as a mini-maze for children, and games (such as Crazy Mazey Golf). Only open during the summer months.
- Cold War Bunker, Monument Close, YO24 4HT (off the B1224, west of the city centre), . Wed-Sun 10:00-18:00 (last tour 16:45), Mon-Tue closed. Visit only by guided tour, which takes about 1h. Adults £7, children £4.20, concessions £6.30.
- Battle of Fulford 1066 tour, , e-mail:[email protected]. In 1066 the greatest shield wall battle in world history took place - no, not the Battle of Hastings, but in fact the Battle of Fulford, fought just outside York on the 20th September 1066, just a few weeks before Hastings. Discover the background to 1066, including the great last Viking invasion of England, and the foul deeds and bloody history surrounding the monarchy at the time. A full tour of the battlefield is given by representatives from the ibattles website, who have made a documentary about the battle (a copy is included free with each tour). Please note the battle site is just a 5 minute drive by car from the city centre, transport can be arranged if required.
- Boat hire. Power up the River Ouse. Alternatively have someone else drive and go on a river trip. £20/hr, early in the day can be cheaper.
- Football (York City FC), Bootham Crescent. They’re a full-time professional club, playing in the N-Power Football League Two and famous for giant-killing victories over Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton. Their home ground of Bootham Crescent, formerly known as KitKat Crescent, is a traditional English football ground surrounded by terraced housing. It is about 15 minutes walk from the city centre, near the hospital.
- Rugby League (York City Knights), Bootham Crescent. York City Knights are currently playing in National League 2, advertising a good standard of rugby, currently playing at Bootham Crescent, the ground of York City FC. Matchdays are usually Sunday afternoons but you are advised to check before setting out as they are usually every other week.
- York Brewery, 12 Toft Green, YO1 6JT, .Tours Mon-Sat 12:30, 14:00, 15:30, and 17:00. The brewery tour takes about 40min and includes four tasters. They also have a bar area where you can try their beers without the tour. Adults £8.
- Vue Cinemas, 0871 224 0240 (premium rate). The city's largest multiplex, located on Clifton Moor Retail Park on the north-west outskirts of York. Access by car, or take the no.6 bus to Tesco.
- City Screen Ltd, 0870 758 3219 (premium rate). A new, modern cinema located just off Coney Street in the centre of York. Has a bar/cafe with a fantastic balcony overlooking the River Ouse. No private parking available.
- Reel Cinema York, Blossom Street, YO24 1AJ, . Located inside a distinctive art deco building and known for decades under its Odeon ownership, the cinema is held close to the hearts of the residents of York. Despite protests, it shut down a few years ago due to increasing competition. It has recently been bought and reopened by Reel, although many people still refer to it as the Odeon. It is located just a 10 minute walk south of the city centre on Blossom Street. It is on the bus routes 1, 4, 5, 10, 13 and the Askham Bar Park & Ride no.3. Very limited parking is available but not recommended.
Festivals and events
There is a very full series of events in York. The most important are:
- York Races. Held 6 to 8 times in the year with the key meetings in May and August.
- Mystery Plays. Medieval Passion plays, revived after the Second World War and the forum which first brought Dame Judi Dench to critical attention. Don't run every year and vary between the traditional plays acted on floats carried around the city and more formal renditions which change venues. They will next be performed on 26 May – 30 June 2016 in York Minster.
- York Festival of Food and Drink. Late September every year. The Food element majors on Yorkshire food, while the drinks program has a world wide and wine orientated theme. The range of events is very wide with demonstrations, tastings, markets and dinners everyday for 10 days. Big 'Slow Food' / Fairtrade and other 'worthy' food element allied with lots of hands on cooking for kids.
- Viking Festival. February. A big event with a lots of appeal for children - lots of dressing up and mock fighting but backed with the serious educational purpose of the Viking Centre.
- York Early Music Festival. Early July. World class event with very serious intent.
- York Beer & Cider Festival. The Knavesmire (Tadcaster Road end) is the new venue for an expanded York Beer & Cider Festival held in September. The increased capacity means they will be able to offer up to 200 beers, 30 ciders and perries and a foreign beer bar, with wine and soft drinks also available. This is an exciting expansion for the branch which they hope will be enjoyed by people from York and beyond. There’ll be live music on the Friday and Saturday evenings as well as a good range of food from mainly local caterers and other stalls. There’ll be a large amount of seating – inside the tent if it’s wet, with some outside if the weather’s good. Children are welcome during the afternoon sessions. The festival site is less than 15 minutes from York Station and is served by regular buses (12 Woodthorpe, 4 FTR Acomb, 13/13A Copmanthorpe and the Coastliner).
- York Festival of Traditional Dance. Early September. York’s own Ebor Morris, in conjunction with City of York Council and other local teams, invite a rich variety of traditional dance sides from all over the country to join in a non-competitive celebration of the diversity of ritual dancing. The Festival occupies the first weekend of September. The Saturday begins with a colourful dance procession from the Guildhall to Parliament Square, before the teams separate to dance on site, in King’s 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 St Sampson’s and King’s Square on the Sunday morning. Over the years we have had representatives of all the leading traditional team styles: the stick and hanky Morris of the Cotswolds, the large clog-stepping sides of the North West, the intricate weaving Yorkshire Longsword, the country-dance like East Anglian Molly, the bizarre costumes and disguises of Welsh border Morris and the swift interlacing of Northumbrian Rapper sword. This year’s Festival details are to be confirmed. We'll be inviting teams from all round England to join in this celebration of English Traditional dance, hosted by local team Ebor Morris. The two other local sides Acorn Morris & Minster strays should be in attendance, together hopefully with old favourites such as Brackley Morris from Northamptonshire.
- Illuminating York, e-mail: [email protected]. An annual festival celebrating celebrates light in all of its forms that takes places during October. A range of attractions, trails and late night openings can be experienced with the festival’s fringe events. Mostly free; a charge may apply for some events.
- St Nicholas Fair and other pre Christmas events. Offers a range of markets specialising in gifts, crafts, and the very best in local farm produce. Previously a 3 day event, it was prolonged to a 3 week event in 2014, starting from the end of November. Outside markets move into Parliament Street, St Sampsons Square and Coppergate while York's grand medieval Guild Hall provides a home for 'Made In Yorkshire' artists and crafters from across the region. The magnificent medieval townhouse, Barley Hall, presents a special medieval market with live crafting, mulled wine and costumed traders and St William's College houses an arts and crafts market for fine hand-made items not to be found in the shops. Carol singers and buskers flock to the city to perform over the weekend to thousands of festive shoppers.
- York Early Music Christmas Festival, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, YO1 9TL, , e-mail: [email protected]. A popular festival of Christmas entertainments that takes place annually in December. For anyone interested in listening to early music of the highest international quality; adults wishing to join with like-minded colleagues to make music together; youngsters wishing to learn more about historically informed performance; children wanting to know something of the history of the City of York and music in general.
- York Chocolate Festival, Parliament Street and other places in York, e-mail: [email protected]. An annual celebration of the chocolate industry with a chocolate market, chocolate lovers, artisan chocolatiers, museums and attractions who share a piece of York's chocolate history. Takes place in the spring.
- York Literature Festival, e-mail: [email protected].The festival promotes the arts in York, with an emphasis on literature, spoken word and poetry. It also features music, comedy, cinema and theatre. The festival takes place annually in March.
York has perhaps the most pubs per square mile of any city in the country (supposedly one for every day of the year). You shouldn't have any problem finding somewhere to get a drink. There are three key city centre areas for drinking depending on your taste:
- Micklegate area — which includes Rougier Street: Young, loud, brash, boozy, hen & stag nights abound. Wall to wall pubs in a very small area serving a younger clientele intent on getting well oiled and having a good time until 3 - 4AM.
- Coney Street area — goes from St Helens Square along Coney Street turning right to the edge of Ouse Bridge. Pubs & Bars are a lot more upmarket and it takes in 3 bars on Coney St overlooking the River Ouse.
- Goodramgate, Swinegate area — probably the best area for those who like a mix of traditional pubs, nice continental bars and 2 good swanky modern bars for dressing to impress. The atmosphere is the most laid back in this area and has the widest age range appeal.
- The Quarter — which includes Little Stonegate & Grape Lane, houses several nice bars such as Pivo, Stonegate Yard, Bobo Lobo, Slug and Lettuce (chain bar), 1331, Wilde's & Oscar's to name but a few. Tends to be slightly more chilled out but more expensive than other areas. Still rowdy on a weekend but more relaxed during the week where salsa lessons take place in a couple of the bars. The area is sometimes referred to as the 'Latin quarter' due to the nature of some of the bars and restaurants.
An excellent map of York bars, complete with reviews, is available online.
Bars and pubs
- The Ackhorne, St Martin's Lane (off Micklegate).
- Bar 38 (Besides City Screen off Coney Street).
- The Bedroom, Micklegate.
- Biltmore, 29 Swinegate, YO1 8AZ, . Probably the plushest upmarket bar in York and this is reflected in the clientele who don't mind paying extra for the scenery. Huge bar drinks menu comprising cocktails, premium spirits, bottled beers and wine. Usual mass produced beer brands on draught.
- The Blue Bell, 53 Fossgate. Tiny but unforgettable. Real beer. A locals' favourite.
- The Brigantes, 114 Micklegate. Part of the small chain Market Town Taverns.
- The Charles XII, Main Street, Heslington, YO10 5EA (right next to the University). Cheap beer and full of students. Belongs to the Stonegate Pubs chain.
- Dusk, New Street (off Coney Street). another great place for cocktails, with 2-for-1 Monday through Thursday.
- Evil Eye, 42 Stonegate. the best place in York for cocktails, and the south east asian food is out of this world, too! Limited capacity due to fire regulations so you may have to queue to gain entry.
- The Hansom Cab. A Samuel Smith's pub right in the centre of town, with cheap local ales.
- The Keystones. A Yellow Card pub beneath Monkgate Bar.
- Vahe Bar (formerly: KoKo International Bar), Goodramgate. Lovely relaxed bar overlooking York Minster serving 10 draught rare imported lagers & UK ales, over 200 bottled continental beers & 300 Spirits.
- The King's Arms (located beneath the River Ouse bridge). AnotherSamuel Smith's pub but a few pence dearer than the Hansom Cab. It's traditionally flooded every winter.
- Lendal Cellars, off St. Helen's Square. Yes, it is underground.
- The Living Room (on the East side of the Ouse bridge).
- The Lowther. Overlooking (and occasionally in) the River Ouse; highly recommended - try the diesel.
- The Maltings, Tanner's Moat, YO1 1HU, .Food: Mon-Fri 12:00-14:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-16:00 (no dinner). Absolutely cracking real-ale pub close to the train station.
- The Micklegate (just beneath Micklegate Bar.).
- The Minster Inn, Marygate (close to the northern entrance to Museum Gardens). Confusingly not that near the Minster at all. As it's slightly off the tourist trail, most of the people in there are local regulars, but you're guaranteed a warm welcome, some local colour and an excellent pint.
- The Nags Head, Heworth.
- Orgasmic (Besides City Screen off Coney Street).
- The Postern Gate (beside the Travelodge on Piccadilly, overlooking the River Foss.). a J.D. Wetherspoon franchise (otherwise known as The Wetherspoon's, or simply "Spooooooooons")
- The Priory, 103 Micklegate, . Often to be found serving a well-known Irish stout at a very reasonable price. Part of the Wear Inns chain. Dinner mains around £7.
- The Punch Bowl, 2 locations: Stonegate and beside Micklegate Bar.. a Wetherspoons franchise
- Roman Baths Inn, in St. Sampson's Square, in the middle of town, on top of the remains of a real Roman bath that you can visit.. Frequently has open-mic nights.
- The Rook and Gaskill, 12 Lawrence Street. A Tynemill pub just outside Walmgate Bar. 12 ever-rotating cask ales available.
- The Rose and Crown, 13 Lawrence Street, YO10 3BP. an Australian-run pub just outside Walmgate Bar, home of the Auzzie Burger.
- The Three Legged Mare, 15 High Petergate, YO1 7EN (just a stone's throw from the Minster), . A York Brewery pub.
- The Winning Post, 127-129 Bishopthorpe Road, YO23 1NZ, . Voted the pint best Lager York 2009 (keeps Head and Effervescent longer than other pubs in the City). Free event venue for new bands
- The Windmill, 14-16 Blossom Street, YO24 1AJ (opposite Micklegate Bar), .
- The York Tap, York Station. Newish pub in the old station tea-room, a perfect place for a decent (if not cheap) pint while waiting for a train.
- Ye Olde Starre Inn, 40 Stonegate, . Believed to be the oldest pub in York, nice and cosy, with a beer garden that, just, overlooks the Minster. Belongs to the Taylor Walker pub chain.
- Brew York, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, YO1 9TT, . Brewery: Mon-Thu 13:00-18:00, Fri-Sun closed. Tap room: Fri-Sat 12:00-23:00, Sun-Thu closed. Craft brewery. The tap room (bar) is located in the brewery premises and they also have a nice small open-air seating area in the back facing the river Foss.
Safety in York
Just like in every town and city York has its bad parts that are best avoided: areas that seem to keep appearing in newspaper reports! These are the outlying suburbs of Tang Hall, Bell Farm, and parts of Foxwood and Clifton but even these are relatively tame compared to similar areas in cities like Manchester or Leeds. Also try to avoid secluded cycle paths at night as it is not unknown (but still fairly rare) for robberies to take place in these parts, however this tends to be away from the main city centre.
The centre of town, however, is as civilised as everywhere else in Britain.
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 over the river in the Micklegate area. If you are approached just keep on walking and they will find another victim to pester. Aim for our recommended pubs, though, and you'll find that safe socialising in the company of affable locals is still possible!