Day Out In York

By Adele Sharman

1 March 2023

As a cherished childhood destination, York holds a special place in my heart. My family and I  live in Leeds which is only 22 miles from York, so we often made day trips to the city. Having visited the place thousands of times, I have got to know its streets and culture and it is still a favorite of mine. So, here I am to share with you a portion of the warming memories and tips on how to make the most of your trip to York.

Places to Visit

One of the main attractions for me was the Jorvik Viking Centre, which brought the history of the Vikings to life through interactive exhibits and fascinating artifacts. The York Dungeons was another favorite location, providing a thrilling and spooky adventure through the dark and eerie past of the city. It has always been a pleasure to stroll through the cobbled streets of The Shambles, observing its charming medieval architecture and quaint shops. The towering York Minster, with its stunning Gothic façade and intricate stained-glass windows, was a sight to behold.

When I had children of my own, I eagerly took them to York to share the experiences that had brought me so much joy. It was heartening to see them enjoy the same attractions that I had loved as a child. As an adult, my appreciation for York has only grown.

York is a city that has something for everyone. There are so many bars, restaurants, and shops to choose from, you’ll never be bored. Whether you want to relax at a cozy pub or treat yourself to a fancy meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, you’ll have a blast exploring all the delicious food options. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you gotta check out York Races! It’s such an exciting experience to bet on the horses and feel the energy of the crowd. 

Take a break from York’s city vibe to walk along the River Ouse. Just remember to bring an umbrella, as the weather can be unpredictable. If you’re looking for something more exciting, hop on a boat with York Sightseeing Cruises. They offer a range of cruises to suit everyone, from afternoon tea to floodlit evening cruises. On your tour, you’ll see all the famous sights like the Minster, Clifford’s Tower, and the Museum Gardens.

Next, head to the National Railway Museum to discover the fascinating history of trains. It’s free to visit, and you can see the fastest steam train in the world! Don’t worry if you’re not a train enthusiast, there are exhibitions and demonstrations for everyone to enjoy.

If you’re interested in history, check out Clifford’s Tower, the remaining part of York Castle built by William the Conqueror. It’s a popular attraction that offers breathtaking views of the city and countryside. Just make sure to check the opening hours before you go.

Don’t miss York Minster, a stunning Church of England from medieval times with amazing 14th and 15th-century glass, stonework, and elaborate tombs. If you’re there during the winter, check out the colorful light show illuminating the Minster in the evenings.

While in the city center, take a stroll down The Shambles, a historic street dating back to medieval times. You’ll find charming shops, boutiques, cobbled streets, and cozy pubs. And don’t forget to grab a souvenir like an “I Love York” sweatshirt or mug.

Another place definitely worth visiting is Jorvik Viking Centre. This is an updated historical interpretation showcasing the cultural “melting pot” of 10th Century York. Let the ride transport you back in time.

Among other must-visit places, there are:

York City Walls – 2 miles of historic walls that have protected the city center for nearly 2000 years. Free entrance.

York Castle Museum – is famous for its collection of costumes, textiles, military, and social history. You will be fascinated to see how it livens up history.

York Races – get your best hat ready and indulge in your most exhilarating ride ever!

No visit to York is complete without a trip to Betty’s Tearoom be prepared to queue or probably advisable to book. Betty’s serves traditional afternoon tea daily. Their bookable afternoon tea offers a truly magical experience in a beautiful setting. Served in the Belmont Room in their beautiful York cafe, one plunges into a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes. You can also upgrade to the Champagne Afternoon Tea for a special occasion.

Places to Eat & Drink

Similarly to most city centers, York has great bars and dining establishments in abundance.

You can stop by some regular eateries like Turtle Bay, Las Iguanas, The botanist, and many other high-street restaurants and bars. Try Nola with a jazz band on a Tuesday school night. If you have a liking for Mediterranean food, go for Lucia and D’Vine. But the cherry on the cake is The Rise restaurant in the beautiful Grand Hotel, or the Michelin-star restaurant called Roots, situated alongside the River Ouse. Give them a try, you won’t regret it!

Places to stay 

I didn’t stay in York very often because it’s not too far from Leeds. It took me a short journey in  a car, minibus, train, or taxi, so I didn’t bother to look for places to stay overnight. Still, I have some reputable hotels on my list:

  • From the Hilton/ Double Tree 
  • The Grand 
  • Travel Lodge 
  • Minster Walk Guesthouse 
  • The Principal 
  • Malmaison 
  • Park Inn by Radisson 
  • Moxy 
  • Other Guesthouses 

Overall, York is a great place to visit regardless of your age, budget, or travel preferences. 

However often I have been to the city, it still makes me want to go back and immerse into the atmosphere of childhood, thrill, and food paradise. Do you have such a place you feel a deep emotional connection with? Share in the comments below!

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