Welcome to our York Guide, a useful guide that provides you with a glimpse into the unique sights, shopping, and nightlife available in this beautiful city. With an array of world class attractions, medieval architecture and a vibrant city centre the historic city of York has plenty for you to discover on your short break.
From the iconic York Minster, one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Europe, to the award winning Jorvik Viking centre, the world famous National Railway Museum and the striking medieval walls that surround the centre you’ll be amazed at all this city has to offer.
Stuck for ideas? Our York Guide offers a wealth of ideas for all seasons no matter what you love to do! Steeped in history York blends together a rich heritage with a lively modern day culture providing you with the best of both worlds on your break. With a host of high street favourites, independent boutiques and quirky shops York offers a superb shopping selection. The charming medieval shambles are a must see and offer an assortment of gift shops in all shapes and sizes. While the city’s thriving cafe culture offers a great selection of coffee shops and hidden away tea rooms to stop and relax before continuing on your way. Not to mention the renowned Betty’s tearooms a hallmark Yorkshire institution.
In the evenings enjoy York’s eclectic nightlife. Whether it’s a boat cruise on the picturesque river, a discovery of haunted York on one of the city’s many ghost walks or enjoying live music in one of York’s many pubs. York has a fabulous selection of restaurants ranging a variety of cuisines so there really is something to suit all tastes. Browse through our York Guide to get an insight into this wonderful city and all it has to offer you on your York break.
Set in the heart of Yorkshire the historic city of York is accessible from all directions. Whether travelling to York via road, air or rail you’ll find this wonderful city is easy to get to. With several roads running into the city, and good connections to the A1 and M1 travelling to York by road is simple and direct. If you are travelling by air then Leeds/Bradford Airport is under an hour from York and connects to the city via the A658 and A59. York railway station is minutes from the city centre and has direct links to London Edinburgh, Manchester and more.
Getting around York is simple, with a compact city centre, dedicated pedestrian areas, superb cycle routes and plentiful bus services in and out of the city you’ll find it easy to navigate. Whether hopping on a Coastliner to Whitby, jumping on the Park and Ride to the Designer Outlet or catching the First Bus No 6 service to enjoy bowling at Clifton Moor, there are plenty of ways to get around this beautiful city. Why not hire a bike and head down the river or explore the hidden solar system of the route 66 to Selby.
You are spoilt for choice when shopping in York, from the main city centre shopping on Davygate, Parliament Street and Coney Street to an array of quirky shops in The Shambles and designer styles on Stonegate, York has a great selection of shops to explore. Whether searching for hot fashion, the latest chart music, an old paperback book, or seeking a treasure in the antique centres you are sure to find your perfect prize. For something a little bit different York has a great selection of independent jewellers, gift shops and delicatessens, plus with daily and seasonal markets there is plenty to browse through. Clifton Moore, Monks Cross and the Designer Outlet all offer great shopping outside the centre and with direct bus links from the train station and Stonebow you can easily discover the shops out of town.
York is home to a great choice of restaurants, cafes and pubs for you to stop and enjoy. From historic homes to modern bars you’re sure to find your ideal restaurant for eating out in York. With an eclectic mix of international flavours, locally sourced food and delicious tea rooms there is something new to discover every day of your short break. Whether it’s a romantic meal, a night out with the kids or somewhere to rest after a days shopping there is plenty to choose from. Plus with all the favourite chain restaurants too you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding where to eat.
Home to a great selection of pubs, clubs, theatres and bars, York nightlife is simply thriving. From live music and comedy to the best touring musicals, and an array of pubs and bars in all shapes and sizes there is really something for all tastes in this great city. Why not spend an evening discovering all about York’s former residents with one of York’s many ghost walks, where you can explore the many haunted corners of the city or simply relax in one of the city centres great bars. For live entertainment there’s plenty going on with music, shows and comedy at the York Barbican Centre, Grand Opera House and York Theatre Royal, while Fibbers and The Duchess offer a late night alternative for live music. York’s nightlife also extends to a range of pubs offering late licenses, including popular chain bars, and a selection of clubs to choose from you can stay out until the sun comes up – if that’s what you want. York also offers three cinemas, showing the latest films, and has a bowling alley easily accessible from the city centre so there is something for the whole family to enjoy.
Famed for its array of pubs and bars York has a great range of places to choose from on your evening out. Whether it’s an exotic cocktail that whets your appetite, a local draught beer, or a dark beer from Belgium there is something for all tastes in this great city. With over 300 York bars and pubs to choose from, you are sure to find your ideal place to stop for a drink, be it a cosy drink in front of an open fire or a glass of wine in a cosmopolitan bar, York has it all.
The capital of Yorkshire and once capital of Roman Britain York is a superb city with plenty for you to see and do. From the renowned York Minster to the celebrated National Railway Museum there is a huge selection of attractions in York to choose from. The compact city centre makes it easy to get from one attraction to another and with regular buses, trains and boat trips out and about in the area you can explore all of York and the surrounding area.
York has excellent rail and motorway networks making it one of the most easily accessible cities in the UK. London, Edinburgh & Manchester are only about 2 hours away by train. Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds/Bradford airports are also within easy reach. York Rail Station puts you just a short stroll from the centre and is an excellent way to reach the city from all over the UK. York Rail has regular and direct connections to Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and London King’s Cross. The A1 (M) offers a great link to York from both Scotland and the South of England. Running along the West side of the city, drivers from the South should head along the A1 (M) until reaching the A64 whilst visitors from the North should pull of the A1 (M) onto the A59. The closest airport to York is Leeds/Bradford International Airport, which is just over 50 minutes’ drive away and has many nearby hotels with parking. Other reachable airports include Doncaster which is just over 1 hour away and Manchester International Airport which is 1 hour 40 minutes. The First Bus Service runs multiple lines across the city, with some running as late as midnight. York has a Park & Ride service from five different spots around the city and a hop on hop off Sightseeing Bus that does a 60 minute loop of all the major landmarks.
York is compact and easy to explore on foot. However if you want to get around a bit quicker and see even more find out more about buses, taxis and bike hire. Get Cycling, Scoot Cycling Hire and Bob Trotters Cycling Hire all offer an alternative way to get around the city on your short break. With cycle lanes all around the city and the centre being quite compact, this is an easy, fun and convenient way to get around York. There are multiple taxi firms around the city of York, but the major service is provided by a company called Streamline Taxis. For those arriving by train, you will find taxis just outside the front entrance of York Station.
Get spooked on a Ghost Walk, treat yourself to afternoon tea in Bettys Tea Rooms, marvel at York Minster beautifully lit up at night, step back in time at Jorvik Viking Centre, Enjoy a drink in one of the City’s 200 pubs, or walk the City walls- the longest medieval town walls in England!
With Leeds/Bradford Airport close by and Manchester Airport just a short train journey away York is superbly connected for those travelling by air.
Leeds/ Bradford Airport: The 757 bus from Leeds-Bradford Airport takes you to Leeds train station, where there are regular train connections to York. Bus fares are £2 per adult. A train from Leeds to York costs £11 for adults, £5.50 for children. A taxi from Leeds Airport to York city centre costs around £50.
Manchester Airport: with a direct train from the airport getting to York in less than 2 hours Manchester Airport offers easy connections to York. Single train ticket costs £28. York benefits from an extensive road network with the A19, A59, A64, A1079 and A166 all offering routes into the city.
Travelling from the North: Join the A1 and take either the A19 or A59 into York.
Travelling from the South: Join the M1 and merge onto the A1 (M), take the A64 for York.
Travelling from the East Coast: The A64 is the main road from the coast, but you can also travel via the A166 and the A1079.
Travelling from the West: From the M62 continue onto M1 and merge onto the A1 (M), take the A64 and follow the A19 into the centre.
York sits directly on the East Coast line and has excellent rail links throughout the country. Facilities: York train station has both long and short term parking, visitor information centre, car hire, shops and eateries. There are 11 platforms at the station. Outside the train station there are regular bus services and a taxi rank to help you continue on your journey. Journey Times:
To Leeds – 25mins
To Newcastle – 1 hour
To Manchester – 1 hour 20 mins
To Birmingham – 2 hours
To London – 2 hours
To Edinburgh – 2 hours 30 mins
York was awarded Cycling City status in 2008. With cycle lanes on the road and off road cycle routes York is a great city to hop on a bike. Whether you have your own bike with you or want to hire one there are plenty of facilities in the city centre, including ample parking available for your bike. Head out of the city and join up with the national cycle network or the Trans Pennine trail. Past the Millennium Bridge you’ll find the picturesque Solar System route, taking you all the way through to Selby.
Bob Trotters, 13 Lord Mayor’s Walk, York, 01904 622868
Cycle Heaven, 2 Bishopthorpe Road, York, 01904 636578
York has plenty of taxi services to take you where you want to go. From the taxis outside the train station to city centre ranks there are plenty of cars when you need them, with many 6 seater vehicles and more available.
Taxi Phone Numbers:
Station Taxis: 01904 656565 659
Taxis: 01904 659659
Getaway Cars: 01904 622228
Streamline Taxis: 01904 623737
D & P Cars: 01904 765557
Fleetway Taxis: 01904 645333.
If you haven’t booked a taxi then there is a taxi pickup point on Clifford Street, Colliergate and St Leonard’s place in the city centre.
There are plenty of bus services throughout the city centre. From the Park and Ride facilities to the numerous local buses that service York and it’s areas. If you want to venture further afield then the Coastliner offers services to the beautiful beaches of the East Coast.
Key bus providers:
First York main bus company provides frequent bus services throughout the city, running every 10mins during the day and half hour to hourly in the evening.
Coastliner getaway from the city and explore further afield from Filey Brigg, to Whitby Abbey and the picturesque Goathland – it’s all waiting to be discovered.
Top 5 Home Stores
Top 5 Gift Shops
Top 5 Fashion Shops
Top 5 Cafes
Top 5 Evening Restaurants
Top 5 Family Friendly Restaurants
With a great selection of Christmas decorations, traditional and modern toys, unusual gifts and an extensive Teddy Bear collection Christmas Angels is a must see.
The incomparable Scottish brand, Ness York offers a great selection of woman’s clothing and accessories with a decidedly different tartan feel.
A relaxed and contemporary restaurant and wine bar, Oscars have a fantastic menu of firm family favourites and high quality vegetarian dishes too.
The renowned Betty’s tea room is a must for all tea lovers. With superb surroundings, sumptuous cakes and elegant settings there is no place quiet like it.
If using the First Bus services throughout the day buy a Day Rover – it’s cheaper than buying multiple single or return tickets.
With a range of various Ghost Walks and Ghost Hunts throughout the city this is a great way to entertain the whole family and lasts up to 2 and a half hours.
A landmark restaurant of York, the Blue Bicycle serves award winning food in welcoming surroundings, rich in a colourful history.
With a huge selection of pubs, bars and clubs Micklegate is a vibrant part of York’s nightlife. It is ideal for a lively night out, though avoid if you enjoy the quieter side of life.
At peak travel times avoid the A64 and take smaller B-roads to your destination, especially at weekends and bank holidays.
York’s iconic Minster is the largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe, with stunning stained glass windows, outstanding architecture and rich history it is not to be missed.
Set over 3 floors, Fenwick’s is a landmark York store offering fashion, cosmetics, homeware and the city centres only toy department.
A fashion boutique selling a superb range of clothing, accessories, shoes, jewellery and gifts from ethical sources.
Set in the beautiful Georgian Assembly Rooms, Ask is ideal for the whole family, with a children’s menu from £6.10, including starter, salad, main and dessert it doesn’t break the bank. Settle into the warm atmosphere of this award winning café and enjoy
the best local food and a superb selection of cakes.
Sample some of the local tipple in one of the wonderful old-world Brewery Pubs throughout the city centre, we recommend The Last Drop Inn or Yorkshire Terrier.
York city centre has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe so check the pedestrian times before you travel into the centre.
On Race Days a shuttle bus service (197) runs from the race course to the train station, there may also be temporary road closures so if you’re in your own car please follow the signposted routes.
Evil Eye is a favoured York haunt, with a huge range of cocktails, shots and spirits from around the world and a great selection of Malaysian food it’s always busy.
York’s historic City Wall’s are some of the most complete city walls in the UK. Stretching over 2 miles the Walls offer some spectacular views of the city, include historic museums and can be accessed from around the city.
An independent family owned department store, providing the best in fashion, furniture, jewellery and more. With a relaxing café it’s the ideal place to do your shopping.
Cosy bistro just minutes from the Bar Walls, Café No 8 perfectly blends its period features with contemporary decor and modern dishes, made with fresh local ingredients.
From Retro toys to distinctive home items and quirky gifts Give the Dog a Bone is a great shop for that unexpected gift. Beware you could find yourself losing time here.
For retro chic and gorgeous vintage style, there’s no finer place in York than this to pick up something fabulous and give it new life.
Mediterranean restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating serving a great range of meals from pasta and burgers to steak and skewers there is something for everyone.
Grays Court is a beautiful and historic country house in the heart of York, with spectacular views of the Minster and City walls.
Dating back to 1644, this pub is one of the oldest in York. With a selection of quaint rooms, fireplace and outside courtyard it is a great place to stop for a drink or even some food.
York has plenty of city centre car parks to choose from and after 6pm in the evening many have reduced rates.
Use the Park and Ride service, with five sites outside the city centre it offers great value and with return tickets just under £3 it’s cheaper than parking in town.
With authentic flavours and attentive staff the Old Siam on Micklegate offers a superb Thai experience, not to mention the delicious coconut ice cream.
Set over 3 floors and with a roof top terrace Kennedys offers a relaxed atmosphere, with live music, delicious food and a basement with dance floor.
With its beautiful old buildings, medieval street and quirky gift shops the Shambles is York’s oldest Street. Once home to the English martyr Margaret Clitherow the Shambles has a shrine to her.
Enjoy designer shopping at 22 Interiors with 2 floors of modern furniture, contemporary household gifts, lighting and home accessories.
A great range of decorated glass, ornaments, and contemporary jewellery hand-made by innovative British designers are on offer at this unique shop.
Another of York’s fabulous vintage shops, a great place to dig around and find a bargain.
An excellent retail park with stores such as John Lewis, Next and Marks & Spencer – a one-stop shop for beautiful furnishings.
Set on an incredibly pretty spot by the river, a short walk from York Minster and Museum Gardens, this fine dining restaurant is one of York’s most vibrant.
Family friendly American themed bar and restaurant, serving a range of nachos, sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, steaks and more.
A superb vegetarian café and deli serving a delicious range of mouth watering meals, snacks cakes and a rich variety of teas and coffees.
See York from a different angle with a trip on the River Ouse, sailing to Bishopthorpe Palace, home to the Archbishop of York. Evening cruise available Apr – Oct.
A striking feature of York, Cliffords Tower was originally built by William the Conquer. Now an English Heritage property the Tower is steeped in a rich and varied history.
Set in a beautiful timber framed building Pivni offers over 80 different bottled beers, 17 draught beers and 14 varieties of wine. Plus there is a selection of Panini’s and homemade cakes.
An inspired selection of special occasion gifts and cards are available in this welcoming shop. With a floor dedicated to wedding and christenings it’s a great place to find the ideal present.
For gorgeous clothes and designer labels at a discount price, look no further than the terrific York Designer Outlet – home to brands such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Lacoste and Ted Baker.
Set in a stunning 15th Century building Mulberry Hall offers a superb selection of fine china, crystal, cutlery and cookware.
A York treasure since it opened in 1995, the Go Down restaurant offers a superb atmosphere in unique surroundings.
Within this 12th Century church is a relaxing café open to the whole family, with great food and great prices it’s the ideal place to stop and replenish yourselves.
Georgina’s is ideally located close to York Minster and offers a traditional tea room menu, with a modern twist.
Experience this superb service at one of the largest Gothic Cathedrals in Europe. Evensong is performed at 5.15pm on weekdays and 4pm on Sundays (subject to change).The award winning Castle Museum is great for the whole family. With its Victorian Street, prison cells including Dick Turpin’s and fascinating look at social history you’ll struggle to leave.
With a spacious outdoor area, three floors, restaurant and cinema 1331 is a great choice for a night out. With 2-4-1 cocktails, karaoke and comedy it’s a thriving bar.
Set in a Grade II listed building the Red House Antique centre displays over 30,000 items of antiques and collectables across 10 showrooms.
Built on 13th century foundations, the Red Lion competes for the title of oldest pub, with rumours that Dick Turpin stayed here it is one not to be missed.
The National Railway Museum is one of York’s finest attractions. With free entry, superb exhibitions and a host of activities it offers a great day out. With over 300 years of history there is plenty to keep you entertained
Latin themed Bobo Lobo serves a range of cocktails, beers and wines. With a dance floor, live DJ and a restaurant area it is a bar that buzzes with atmosphere.
Having undergone a £1.5 million refurbishment the York Barbican centre is reopened, with a great selection of one night events from music to snooker and more…Once the former Elim Pentecostal church, Biltmore Bar And Grill is one of York’s most stylish bars and restaurants. With champagne cocktails, delicious food and a great atmosphere.
Set amidst the beautiful Museum Gardens the Yorkshire Museum is home to a fascinating collection of archaeological finds. From Roman artefacts to stained glass and the famed York Helmet there is plenty to discover.
Dating back to the 1800s the Grand Opera House provides superb live entertainment, with the best West End shows, comedians, musicians and family entertainment.
A cosy bar set across two floors, serving 2-4-1 cocktails Mon- Fri, it often has local acoustic nights and dance nights taking place.
Running for over 25 years the Jorvik Viking Centre is one of York’s most popular attractions. With over 800 items and special child friendly commentary discover what life was like in Viking York.
York’s oldest theatre the Theatre Royal produces a great range of shows for the whole family, from striking drama and Shakespeare to children’s shows and the renowned pantomime.
Family friendly during the day and with a late licence until 2am Plonkers is a firm favourite in York. With an outdoor area by the river it’s great day or night.
Not for the faint hearted the York Dungeons explore the gruesome side of York. From deadly torture, to witch burnings and plague victims there are a host of gruesome shows waiting inside. July to September, for Halloween and Bonfire night the York Maze is a truly unique attraction. Find your way through the corn field and visit all the towers in order. The Maze also has crazy golf, Quad Bike and many more activities.
With 3 screens, riverside café and basement bar, York City Screen is a great place to relax. Whether seeing the latest blockbuster, catching up on foreign film or simply enjoying the views.
Open until late, Club and Bar Salvation provide a great venue for your night out, with a mix of music, dance floors and selection of bars it’s the perfect place to party.
Offering a superb selection of quality sausages with exciting flavours including the Boozy banger made with local ale, chilli sausages, pork and stilton and many more. A great treat to take home after your break in the city.
We love everything about this new 5* spa hotel! Formerly the North Eastern Railways Headquarters. The buildings historical atmosphere is blended with modern design. This hotel is slap bang in the centre of the city and only a few minutes walk from the train station.
Set in Lady Rows, a listed building in the heart of York, the Happy Valley serves a delicious array of Taiwanese food in what was once home to a traditional tearoom.
Celebrate York’s heritage in this city-wide Viking Festival
As well as all the normal high-street shops, York has an outstanding array of one-off, independent shops where you are guaranteed to find something unique.
Watch teams battle it out for the prestigious Challenge Trophy
York has an amazing selection of places to eat from traditional and homely local dishes, to every cuisine under the sun – Indian, Italian, Mexican and Thai to name but a few!
Fun-filled day out for all the family at this award-winning attraction
York’s liveliest nightlife is centered around Micklegate which is a street lined with bars. For live entertainment take a trip to the Theatre Royal or Grand Opera House.
Visit Castle Howard this summer for a truly British celebrationYork has at least 200 places to enjoy a drink or two. With traditional pubs and trendy bars there is something for everyone.
Get e festive spirit with a great range of fun events within the city centre
York Guide – A City Guide to York – SuperbreakBrowse our York Guide and make the most out of your break. You’ll find tips and inspiration on the best attractions, events, restaurants and hotels in York.