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  • The very impressive York Minster Cathedral

York City Guide

York history

The City of York has a rich history dating back to 71AD when it was built by the Romans and some of the city walls date back to this period. The Vikings captured the city in 866 AD and also left their mark including many of their possessions! Over 800 of these items discovered can be seen at the famous Jorvik Viking Centre where you'll get a real taste of what life was like during that period at the Viking village . During the middle ages the city grew and its importance becomes clear by viewing the magnificent York Minster Cathedral, built at this time and still one of the largest in northern Europe. Treat yourself to a trip back in time.

York's importance continued during the 1800s and it became an vital railway hub for the North of England - an exciting period in Britain's history which can be relived at the National Railway Museum in York.

york today

The York of today is a fashionable city that successfully combines its heritage and superb historic architecture with sophisticated designer shops, smart restaurants, bars and cafes, to attract tourists from all over the world. Visitors soon discover that every aspect of York’s modern life is inextricably linked with its past. Even their evening entertainment includes ghost walks through the city’s shadowy snickleways and ginnels to find haunted pubs.

York Leisure

Just two hours from London by train, York is renowned for its old world charm with quaint cobbled streets and the iconic York Minster cathedral dominating the city's skyline. Don't be fooled though as York also has a treasure trove of lesser known historical sites, outdoor activities, stylish bars and restaurants, shops and boutiques and world class museums and galleries, with enough attractions to keep even the most avid tourist busy. The modern city of York offers so many things to do there is certain to be something for everyone. If history is not your thing then you can still enjoy the café culture and watch the world go by whilst sipping a cup of tea (or more likely something a tad stronger) at a stylish riverside bar. 

For the more outdoorsy types there are some very pleasant boating trips to be taken on the River Ouse and with York being one of the UK's premier cycling cities and a fantastic base for exploring the surrounding Yorkshire countryside there really is no excuse not to come to the fantastic city of York!

York top 5 eats

El Piano
Award winning and friendly this small, family-run restaurant delivers fabulous food for almost anyone to share and enjoy. The menu is wholly plant-based, wholly gluten-free. Main course or tapas style eating with a range of international influences, all dishes made on the premises from locally sourced, fresh produce. Their Hispanic approach to service, opening hours and food, together with a vibrant interior of Spanish rugs, ceramics and general bazaar, creates a warm and relaxed atmosphere.

The Rattle Owl
The Rattle Owl is an independent 42 seat casual dining restaurant housed in a restored listed building.Head Chef Vicki Younger has created a seasonal menu that draws from Yorkshire’s abundance of produce. While the daytime and evening menu differ in price and content, they are closely related and underpinned by an unswerving adherence to quality and value, using the best local produce and crucially ensuring most of it is used. Restaurant Manager and wine lover Lucy Fotheringham has developed a wine list that complements our menu, introducing mostly organic and smaller producer wines.

Yorkshire Meatball Co
Their menu offers six different meat, fish and veggie Balls, all gluten-free and all hand-rolled in our kitchen using only the freshest and tastiest of locally-sourced produce. You’ll have the chance to mix ‘n’ match your Balls with different sides and sauces or have them served as any one of six different meatball subs. The restaurant's hearty menu is then rounded off with a selection of simple sides and ‘while you wait’ nibbles. If you’re still hungry,you can even top it off with some of our Sweet Balls – our take on classic desserts and all round, of course!

Owner and founder Michael trained with Roux Restaurants, who in the 1980s dominated the restaurant scene. He returned to his native York, in the 1990s, to open Melton's Restaurant with his wife Lucy. Melton's is a fine dining restaurant serving modern British food and it is Michael's position as Chef Proprietor, which has made it one of York's leading restaurants. Melton's is featured in all the major food guides winning two 'AA' rosettes and has a rating of five in the Good Food Guide. Melton's is renowned for serving high quality food in a relaxed and informal atmosphere

Cafe No8
At Cafe No8 the emphasis is on Yorkshire ingredients, sensitively treated. Whether you're just dropping in for a bowl of soup - a warming, gently fiery Indian spiced tomato and ginger, say - or a 21-day aged steak with chips and a Yorkshire blue sauce, expect cooking shot through with a quiet, self-confident flare. Look out for the guest beers, like Rudgate's Camra champion, Ruby mild 

York Trasport Tips

  • By plane

    The nearest airport to York is Leeds Interntional Airport which is approximately just over an hour away from Yowk by car or one and a half hour by train.
  • By train

    From York station you can catch trains up north to Aberdeen, west to Manchester and Liverpool as well as head south down to London.
  • By car

    For parking in and around York please have a look at Parkopedia in order to fins on-street parking and car parks in your specific area.
  • By bike

    If you want to get around by bike in York we can recommend having a look at iTravelYork for valuable and good information about different cycle routes and maps as well as cycle training, cycle parking and bike maintenance.
  • By bus

    iTravelYork bus page is great to gain information about local buses, timetables as well mobile journey planner and will be very helpful for you in case you need to get somewhere in the city.

What to do in York

Listed below are some of the great places to visit in York. Click one to find out more.

Getting around - York transport tips

York lies right in the centre of the United Kingdom, equidistant from London and Edinburgh, and is therefore handily positioned on the main east-coast rail line. Enjoying the benefits of excellent rail and motorway networks enables York to be undoubtedly one of the most easily accessible cities in the UK. Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds/Bradford airports are all within easy reach and the ports of Hull and Newcastle are both within a two-hour drive.

York is one of the easiest cities in the UK to explore on foot with the city centre being very compact and it'is possible to cross the city on foot in just 20 minutes!  However if you don't want to walk then there are regular bus services around York. Click here for full information and timetables with First Bus

York is also a great city for cycling and there are many cycle hire centres which will suit any requirements from city sightseeing tours by bike to comprehensive self-guided cycling holidays of York and the surrounding countryside. 
For more information visit: http://bit.ly/WBRkjp

National Railway Museum

For a fantastic day out for the whole family in York, visit the award winning National Railway Museum - the largest railway museum in the world.

Get up close to over 300 years of fascinating history in York's National Museum. Explore the giant halls full of trains and railway legends including the majestic Duchess of Hamilton. Step on to the futuristic Japanese Bullet Train or marvel at the stunning opulence onboard the Royal Trains. Hop on some awe inspiring locomotives, watch the engineers at work in The Workshop, uncover hidden treasures in The Warehouse and make tracks to the outdoor area.

The children can let off some steam in the outdoor play area, take miniature railway rides and enjoy a host of interactive exhibits. Every weekend and throughout the school holidays, the kids can enjoy a lively programme of events, including science shows, story telling, steam rides, craft activities and special events too so check the website below to plan your visit.

Here it is: www.nrm.org.uk

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Goodramgate has the air of a hidden treasure. It stands in a small, secluded, leafy churchyard, with the Minster towering behind, tucked away behind Goodramgate - one of York's busiest shopping streets. To visit, you pass through an 18th-century archway tacked on to buildings that served as artisans' workshops in the 14th century.

The church itself is full of character. The floors and arcades are charmingly uneven. Light filters through the windows, illuminating honey-coloured stone. The east window especially has marvellous stained glass that was donated in the early 1470s by the Reverend John Walker, rector of the church. On sunny days, transient gems of coloured light are scattered on the walls, and medieval faces stare out from the windows.

The building dates chiefly from the 15th century, but has features from its foundation in the 12th century right up to the 19th century. The box pews, unique in York, are exceptionally fine, and an interesting collection of monuments and memorials paint a picture of life in this busy city throughout the ages.
Two boards, with heads shaped like grandfather clocks, record the names of Lord Mayors of the city, including George Hudson, 'The Railway King', who made York a major railway centre in the 19th century.

Outdoor benches make the churchyard the perfect place for reflection, offering a welcome retreat from the hectic world outside.

For more information visit: www.holytrinityyork.org

York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum is one of Britain's leading museums of everyday life. Opened in 1938, it was named after the former York Castle, which stood on the site. Remains of the former Castle walls can be seen outside the museum next to the River Foss.

York Castle Museum shows how people used to live by displaying thousands of household objects and by recreating rooms, shops, streets - and even prison cells. The museum's room settings include a Victorian parlour, an 1850s Moorland cottage, Jacobean and Georgian dining rooms, a 1940s kitchen and a 1950s front room.

The museum is best known for its recreated Victorian street, Kirgate Victorian Street. The street was named after the museum's founder, Dr John L. Kirk, a North Yorkshire country doctor who collected everyday objects and wanted to keep them safe for future generations. Visitors can wander down the cobbles, pick up a copy of the Traders' Review newspaper, enter several of the shops and meet costumed shopkeepers full of stories about the businesses on the street. New research means that every single shop is now based on a real York business, from the period 1870-1901. Some, like Banks Music, Sessions Printers and Terry's sweet shop are still operating today.

The museum's historic past as two prison buildings is explored in York Castle Prison, where visitors can come face to face with ex-prisoners including the most infamous highwayman of them all, Dick Turpin, who was hanged in 1739 for horse theft.

For more information visit: www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

Castle Howard, York

Billed as 'One of the World's Top Ten Greatest Mansions and Grand Houses' - Lonely Planet's 1,000 Ultimate Sights

Castle Howard, located approximately 15 miles to the north east of York, is well known as one of England's finest historic houses, but the landscape in which it sits is equally worth exploring, with the approach to Castle Howard being as impressive as the arrival. The estate is situated within the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and features over 200 listed buildings and monuments

Set on more than 1,000 acres of scenic parkland, this historic structure was built in 1699 and features a splendid collection of furniture, paintings, porcelain and statuary. Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle 300 years ago its centre is crowned by a dramatic masonry dome (the first in a private residence in England), very much in the school of classic European baroque.

The landscaped gardens were designed to show off the house to its best advantage and are well worth a visit on their own. With extensive woodland walks, terraces and lakeside paths, the monumental landscape, which features statues, temples, lakes and fountains, offers breath-taking views at every turn. As well as the dramatic landscape, visitors will also delight in the seasonal colour. Castle Howard is well known for its annual displays of daffodils, rhododendrons, delphiniums and roses. The 18th-century walled garden also shelters an attractive Ornamental Vegetable Garden.

There's always plenty to do and enjoy at Castle Howard with lots of popular annual events and concerts - and many new ones - to look out for.

You can discover them here: www.castlehoward.co.uk

The York Dungeon

Join in the ultimate thrill-filled journey through York's murky past.

With 11 different shows, and 70 minutes of laughter, screaming, theatre, history and special effects, you'll see and hear from (amongst others) Dick Turpin, Eric Bloodaxe, Guy Fawkes and The Judge. Not forgetting of course The Executiioner and those pesky troublesome witches!

Billed as the black comedy of York attractions; This show is dark, ironic and very funny.

For more informaton visit: www.thedungeons.com/york

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