Are you planning a weekend getaway and looking for a charming city with a rich history and plenty of activities? Look no further than York, the ancient capital of northern England. Here are some tips on how to spend a weekend in this beautiful city.
Where to stay
During our trip we stayed at Guest House No. 1 York, which is a beautiful Regency townhouse that has been lovingly restored and converted into a luxurious guest house, with elegant decor and modern amenities.
The rooms at Guest House No. 1 York are individually designed, with each one featuring unique furnishings and decor. My absolute FAVE thing about the Guest House hotels is that all guests have access to a pantry where you can grab unlimited snacks and drinks! Amazing!!
Check out the map below to find other hotels around the area:
What to do
While visiting York I’d whole heartedly recommend purchasing a York Pass as tonnes of the best York attractions are included in the pass and you’ll save yourself some money! Most (if not all) of the places we visited were included in the York Pass and you could pre-book your time slot to guarantee – which is so handy on a busy weekend.
Explore York’s Historical Sites
York has a rich history that spans over 2,000 years, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of historical sites to explore:
- Start with a visit to the iconic York Minster, one of the largest and most magnificent cathedrals in Europe. The cathedral’s soaring architecture and stunning stained-glass windows will leave you in awe.
- Head over to the York Castle Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into York’s past and features a victorian era street reconstruction that you can walk along.
- You can also take a stroll along the city’s ancient walls, which offer a unique perspective on the city’s history and architecture – also the best spot to take photos from in my opinion!
Take a Walk Through the City’s Charming Streets
York’s narrow, winding streets are a delight to explore on foot. Head to the Shambles, a picturesque street lined with medieval buildings and quirky shops selling everything from artisanal chocolates to Harry Potter merchandise. A pre-warning that the Shambles are EXTREMELY touristic, so to save you some stress try and head there first thing in the morning!
You can also head to Stonegate, a charming cobbled street lined with boutiques and cafes. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Betty’s Tea Rooms, a York institution that’s been serving up tea and cakes since 1919.
A trip to York wouldn’t be complete without a small (literally) visit to Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, one of the smallest streets in England with probably one of the best names!
Visit the City’s Museums and Galleries
York has a thriving arts scene, with plenty of museums and galleries to explore. Definitely don’t miss the Jorvik Viking Centre, which offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the Vikings who once lived in the city. I’d also really recommend the York Dungeons which is a really fun way to learn about the city’s varied past (although be warned, it’s a little scary… but very funny!). There’s also the immersive Van Gogh Experience set in St Mary’s Abbey which was a lovely place to sit and relax after a day of walking, and it’s included in the York Pass like everything else I’ve mentioned here!
Where to eat (…and drink)
- Guy Fawkes Inn: This historic pub is named after the infamous York resident who plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The Guy Fawkes Inn is famous for its homemade pies which are WELL worth the hype.
- Ambiente Tapas: If you’re looking for something a little different, head to Ambiente Tapas for some delicious Spanish small plates and sherry.
- York Roast Co.: No trip to Yorkshire would be complete without trying a traditional Yorkshire pudding, enough said!
- Shambles Market: The absolute ideal lunch place, Shambles Market is full of stalls from local vendors with plenty of outdoor seating. I had a paneer wrap from Nukkad which was absolutely lovely!
- Valhalla Pub: A nod to York’s Viking past, the Valhalla pub is an ideal place to sit and sample a selection of mead. They do also serve sharing platters which looked very tasty, but we didn’t try them so can’t comment.
York has fast become one of my favourite cities in the UK, with so much to see and do I just know you’ll love it!