The Complete Guide To York, England

To the outsider, England and London are often synonymous but we forget that there are also countless incredible offerings to see elsewhere in the country and York is definitely one of them. This gem in the north is located in Yorkshire’s North Riding. This is personally my favourite city in England. Appearing to have been torn straight from a Harry Potter novel, York is filled with medieval and Tudor styled architecture, cobble stoned streets, charming pubs and even the world’s oldest and best preserved chain of streets, the shambles. 

The city centre remains enclosed by its original stone walls and is still heavily influenced by it’s Celtic, Roman, Viking, Norman and British occupants that have all left their signature and contributed to the stunning, historic city that is presented today!

how to get to York

As with most secondary cities in England, York is served by a nearby international airport. The closest being Leeds-Bradford airport, a 50km drive. The airport also runs buses half hourly which go through York. York is also highly accessible via train, being ideally situated halfway between London and Edinburgh, journey time is approximately 2 hours from either city.

When to visit York

York is pleasant to visit year round with each season offering a plethora of different festivals, events and colours. In autumn the city is filled with orange hues of falling leaves and halloween festivities. York is also famous for its German Christmas market stalls where there is mulled cider and wine aplenty to keep you warm whilst you peruse the market delicacies and light displays. Spring and Summer in York is always a treat as you can expect the picturesque streets to be filled an abundance of fresh blooms and greenery, pubs tariffs to be filled to the brim and parks chirping with birdsong. 

highlights of york

The shambles: This charming maze of twisted streets that are made up of rustic cobble streets, overhanging Tudor buildings and an eclectic array of boutique shops that range from Harry Potter themed stores to Tweed clothing. Arguably one of the best preserved streets in the whole world, this 13th century chain of streets once lined with butcher shops that were used as meat markets in its hey day. You can find market stalls filled with goods around the open squares of this area of ‘ye olde’ York. 

York Minster: This 15th century gothic cathedral rivals any European behemoth and its pristine facade will instantly take your breath away. Although the exterior is magnificent, the interior is a masterpiece that could make time stand still whilst you wonder on how this was constructed. Supported by gigantic carved stone pillars that arch into England’s largest Nave, walls textured with beams adorned with gold flake and roofing that transforms into domes of glass, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of York Minster. 

Cliffords tower: Also known as York Castle, The 12th century Norman tower once stood within the walls of fortified York surrounded by Motte and Bailey. It was originally built by William the Conquerer to dominate the Viking settlers of his power and reign. It has also since stood through a number of famous historic events and wars.Today you can explore within the tower walls and learn about its history. 

The city walls: The original walls of York were originally erected almost two millennia ago. Over centuries of battles and maintenance the walls have been carefully preserved and are the longest and most intact city walls in all of England. The walls encompass four gates; Monk Bar, Bootham Bar, Walmgate Bar and Micklegate Bar. You can access the walls freely or even walk the 3.4km wall trail. 

Museums: With over two thousand years of invasions and technological breakthroughs; York is an absolute gold mine for history lovers! One wouldn’t expect such a compact city to boast so many monuments and museums that welcome such a variety of artefacts, topics and civilisations. Whether you’re wanting to go back in time with a simulated experience, dig archeological remains or gaze upon the birth of the industrial revolution, there is something to inspire everyone.

Where to eat and drink

The York Roast Co: As my husband will testify, it is a sin to visit Yorkshire and not try a Yorkshire pudding. Established in 2004, this quirky offering is the home of the Yorky pud wrap – imagine a Sunday roast burrito if you will, an absolute must!

Fossgate social: An adorable and intimate bar that radiates and indie ambiance with its low lit and cosy interior. Whether you’re wanting a quick morning coffee on the outdoor patio or have an ale in front of the warming stone fireplace, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pay this quirky nook a visit.

Kennedys bar and grill: This stylish and contemporary venue who knows how to whip up a delicious Sunday roast. Here is a perfect place to sit back with your friends and indulge in some comfort food and a cocktail or two. 

Sotano: Located in the heart of the city centre, this gorgeous bar welcomes you with its dimly lit, snug and warming atmosphere. Here you can expect some of the best tapas in York with an extensive gin list. 

Pivini: This 16th century, tudor styled town house is nestled within the heart of York. Known for its candle lit bar and award winning craft beer, Pivini is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the intimate atmosphere. 

Meltons restraraunt: This upmarket gem which has a menu in dedication to Yorkshires produce, prizes itself on its beautifully presented, exquisite fine dining experience! 

Where to stay

Tower guest house: Located just minutes from the shambles, this award winning boutique- styled B&B offers luxurious victorian decor and friendly hosts that provide a hearty and delicious breakfast. 

Middlestones hotel: If you’re looking for affordable and convenient accomodation, then look no further! Middlestones hotel is conveniently located minutes from York railway station and York Minster. The accomodation provides its own terraces and courtyard. It’s also pet friendly.

Serenity Inn the city: This beautifully decorated and contemporary and luxurious apartment is located just outside of York city centre! 

Middlethrope hall and spa: If you’re wanting to visit York but also have enjoy the iconic beautiful Yorkshire countryside, than this is the place to stay! The victorian country house and grand accomodation is located on twenty acres of bucolic green gardens. With attentive service, a relaxing spa and award winning restaurant, what else more could you ask for?

Goodramgate apartments: Minutes from York Minster, this accomodation is defined by its rustic exposed beams and homely decor. Here you can relax in the bathtub or pour a presseco from the open balcony. 

I’m an Australian blogger based in Central West NSW who has spent the last few years exploring the four corners of the globe, living as an expat and falling in love with the world just a little bit more everyday. Here you can find my tips, guides and experiences to help inspire you for your next trip!

Looking for destination guides and inspiration for


Related posts

5 most picturesque villages and towns of England’s Peak District

A day in Robin Hood’s Bay

Have you seen these yet?


Subscribe for the latest posts, travel updates and newsletters

Keep up with my journey


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: