I’m delighted to introduce guest blogger and York local, Chloe Dickenson of I’m Just A Girl who’s produced this amazing guide to York! One of my favourite UK cities, this guide has me wanting to book a trip ASAP. Take it away, Chloe…
York is one of the UK’s most visited cities. With an abundance of history, incredible places to eat and a pub for everyday of the year (true story!), York is absolutely teeming with things to do, see and eat.
If you’re looking for a local’s perspective on how to visit York at any time of year, be sure to check out the guide below!
Top things to do in York
Here are the top things to do in York! Whether you plan on spending just a couple of hours in the city, or a full weekend, these top activities in York are sure to add a lot of fun to your itinerary!
The York Minster is arguably the most famous thing to see/do in York. It originally opened all the way back in 637 AD and while it’s had a lot of restoration work done to it since then, the Minster’s original charm still remains.
It’s well worth a look inside, especially if you climb to the top of the towers for 360° views of the city, but even just a mooch around outside the grounds is sure to be enough to sate your cathedral needs.
The Shambles are yet another incredibly famous part of the city of York. Thought to be one of the inspirations behind Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter franchise, The Shambles attracts millions of visitors every year to see its quaint cobblestones.
Down The Shambles, you’ll also find plenty of local businesses such as sweet shops, cafes, and even local boutiques selling authentic coins and stamps.
Thanks to the Harry Potter fame, there are also multiple merchandise shops along The Shambles selling authentic memorabilia from the beloved books and films.
York’s Chocolate Story
York’s Chocolate Story is one of the city’s more recent tourist attractions, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t gained a wealth of popularity since its inception in 2012.
Here, you’ll find a museum-like establishment that takes you on a journey through the city’s chocolatey past. It’s not just for kids either; both children and adults alike can enjoy learning about the rich chocolate history of York and you’ll even get the chance to make your own chocolate product at the end!
York’s City Walls, or the ‘Bar Walls’ as they’re often referred to by the locals, run all the way through the city, covering a total distance of 3.4km (just over 2 miles).
You can walk along the top of most of the walls, and enjoy views of the city as you go. Alternatively, you can just admire them from the ground and appreciate the vibrant historic tales that they’ve experienced.
Similar to its cousins in both London and Edinburgh, the York Dungeon takes you through over 2000 years of the city’s enigmatic history.
There are 9 live-actor shows to enjoy as you’re taken on a journey through York’s dark past, with stories from the Viking era, the Plague, Guy Fawkes and more.
Jorvik Viking Centre
If the York Dungeon didn’t quite sate your historic appetite, then the Jorvik Viking Centre is on hand to provide you with a museum and attraction centre that details what Viking life was like in York.
It’s a great attraction for the whole family and the immersive exhibitions and performances are not only great fun to watch, but immensely educational too!
The Museum Gardens are one of the most beautiful open spaces in York. Home to the remnants of St. Mary’s Abbey, as well as the Yorkshire Museum, the gardens are a wonderful place to escape the hecticness of the city.
On a summer’s day, you’ll find the Museum Gardens teeming with picnic-goers, families playing games and couples relaxing in the sun. Even in the colder months, the Museum Gardens feel like a truly magical place in York with the twinkling fairy lights that light the path through the garden areas.
Bonus things to do in York
- National Railway Museum
- York Races
- Ghost Tour
Best places to eat in York
I could happily write an entire essay on the best places to eat in York, but for now, I’ve included just a few of my absolute favourites.
While it might be a bit of a cliché to include Betty’s in a list of the best places to eat in York, it genuinely is one of my favourites.
Everything from the afternoon tea, to the decadent desserts, to the savoury dishes such as omelettes, salads, soups and sandwiches, there’s just so much delicious food to choose from.
The interior of Betty’s Tea Rooms is also so beautiful and it’s a great place to eat in York if you’re looking for something slightly more indulgent and luxurious.
Cosy Club is in fact a chain of restaurants with branches all over the UK and while I’m usually not the biggest fan of including chain restaurants in guides like this, I really can’t rave about Cosy Club enough.
It’s actually probably my favourite restaurant in York and definitely one that I’ve eaten at the most so I really can’t recommend it enough.
The breakfast options here are wonderful, the tapas dishes are perfect for sharing and so tasty and dishes such as The Cosy Club Sandwich, the pork belly and the buttermilk chicken are just some of my favourites.
Brew and Brownie
Brew and Brownie is a lovely breakfast/brunch place to eat in York. Just a 5-minute walk from the train station, you’ll want to arrive at Brew and Brownie as early as possible, or at an unconventional meal time as there are always queues out of the door here.
The Oreo brownies are a definite must-eat, as are pretty much all the egg dishes and the pancakes too. They also offer a few vegan and veggie options too that are well worth tucking into!
The York Roast Company
Famed for their giant Yorkshire pudding and roast dinner meals, the York Roast Company is definitely a place you need to eat at in York if you’re fancying something hearty and truly delicious.
Source is by far the best place in York to get vegan and veggie food. Their vegan fried chicken is out of this world, as is the Shakshuka breakfast option.
Stam and Maria Greek Street Food
If you’re in the mood for Greek food while in York, there’s really no better place than Stam and Maria Greek Street Food.
Located in the Shambles Market, you’ll find this little food stall that sells the most incredible Greek food, with absolutely enormous portion sizes!
Where to stay in York
Despite being renowned for being a relatively expensive city, you’ll be pleased to know that York has plenty of places to stay to suit every budget.
If you’re looking for a very affordable place to stay in York, then the Safestay Hostel on Micklegate is my personal favourite. Decked out in bright pink interiors, this hostel boasts dorms, bunk-bed rooms and private double rooms too. It’s also in a great location for accessing pretty much everything in the city.
If you’re looking for a much fancier place to stay in York, then The Grand York will be well suited to your needs. It’s definitely not a cheap place to stay, but the rooms here are phenomenal and it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the city, so it’s a great option if you’re visiting York for a special occasion.
I could happily write about York all day long, but I think I’ll leave this guide there for now!
Thanks, Chloe, for the great city guide to York! Be sure to check out Chloe’s guide to the best Instagram spots in York too.