When you think of England, what do you think of? Narrow streets? Medieval Architecture? Dreaming spires? Whatever it is, you should visit York – you’ll see a taste of it all, and so much more.
From the moment you step inside the city walls, despite all the signs of modern life, the shops, the traffic, you’re unmistakably somewhere else, somewhere older, wiser even.
One of the first things to do in York is to find yourself a place to stay – York hotels are many and varied, but you’ll want to be placed in the centre to make the most of your time.
Things To Do In York England
Here is a list of great things to do in York this summer, and also a few great things to do in York during the up-coming winter months.
Walk Along The City Walls
One of the most popular things to do in York, and a good way to orient yourself when you arrive, is to take a stroll along the city walls. Dating back (in parts) to the Romans, these walls are the best remaining example of city walls in the UK, and encircle parts of the city centre.
As well as getting a taste for the landscape in days gone by, you’ll get a feel for the dimensions of the city, and how modern York has developed. It’s also just a great walk – the wind in your hair and the sun (sometimes) on your face, there are fewer more enjoyable places to kill some time.
Discover York’s History
Popping in to one of York’s many museums, you begin to appreciate why a city like York would need such impressive walls.
First the Romans, then the Vikings, then it was the centre of the War of the Roses, York has been attacked, and attacking, for most of its history.
And you can see that heritage all around you. There’s the Jorvick Centre, the Castle Museum, the Dungeon. When you visit York, a whole other historic world suddenly open ups. Every nook and every cranny of this city seems to throw up a little vignette about the city’s history.
Party With The Students
But of course let’s not forget its future – York is after all, a university town, with a student population of approximately 15,000.
And of course those students need catered for, so around the university, you’ll therefore find a range of bars and clubs to ensure that, after an day exploring the sites, there’s plenty of things to do in York once the sun goes down.
Tour The City
But of course not everything about York requires you to be on your feet. Explore the city by boat with a tour on the River Ouse, or pop on a tour bus and watch the city from the comfort on a double-decker bus.
In fact, the boutique hotel scene in York is enjoying something of a renaissance recently, so why not pop down to one of them and have yourself a little spa?
York was once the centre of the national rail network (as explored in the city’s railway museum) so it’s fantastically easy to get to.
Just a few hours from London on the East Coast mainline, it also has regular, fast and direct connections to Leeds, Manchester, and Newcastle so wherever you are, there’s really no excuse – just go and enjoy the many things to do in York.
Things To Do In York – Nightlife Guide
There are many things to do in York, a city which can certainly be a captivating place to visit whether on a weekend city break or as part of a longer vacation. However, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that once the sun goes down that means the fun is over for the day.
In fact, York can be an even more illuminating destination at night-time and you will certainly not find yourself short of things to do and places to visit in the North Yorkshire city during the evening.
And if you’re keen to start off your evening with a few drinks and something to eat, York will certainly not disappoint.
Just outside the city is the Black Swan at Oldstead restaurant, which was awarded three AA Rosettes in January 2011. As the only eatery in Yorkshire to be given such an accolade, this could be the perfect place for a spot of dinner before heading into York and checking out its various night-time attractions.
Most York hotels have a restaurant, however if you’re looking for a place where most of the tables in the bistro offer views of the stunning York Minster and have been given two AA Rosettes then you should try the Dean Court Hotel’s dining establishment.
Alternatively, the Biltmore provides a choice of two restaurants – one that serves contemporary French and English cuisine and the other that specialises in pizzas and seafood.
Should you be keen to check out some of York’s public houses, why not visit the Judges Cellar Bar? Thought to be one of the oldest beer and wine dispensing cellars in the city, not to mention one of its last independent pubs, here you will be able to sample a variety of locally-brewed ales and hearty British cuisine.
Judges Cellar Bar is situated in an 18th-century grade one Georgian townhouse, built on the site of St Wilfrid’s Church, so a visit here means you may not only get to try some fantastic food and drink but also have something of a history lesson!
For an equally historic drinking experience, you might also wish to visit the Old White Swan pub. Situated in a 16th-century building, the public house not only provides a range of cask ales for you to sup but also has regular live music and quiz nights. As with many other drinking spots in the city, you can be sure of receiving that warm, friendly welcoming atmosphere that Yorkshire pubs are famous for.
But if you wish to really make a night of it, you can dance into the early hours of the morning in York’s numerous bars and clubs. Many of these are open during the week as well as at the weekends, so whenever you decide to go on a holiday to York you can certainly have a great evening out.
If you prefer spending a night watching some live bands than you might wish to make Fibbers your first port of call. Situated in Stonebow House, the venue regularly puts on gigs and club nights encompassing all kinds of genres of music.
The Duchess and Stereo are just two of the city’s other live music venues, so whatever your tastes there should be plenty of opportunity for you to get to a gig. Meanwhile, a trip to The Basement on Sunday will give you the chance to take in some stand-up comedy.
If you’re something of a culture vulture, and would like to find some cultural things to do in York, you could be well advised to spend at least one evening watching a performance at the York Theatre Royal. A range of theatrical, comedic, musical and dance shows – as well as children’s events – are held here all year round. The building consists of two venues, the 100-seat capacity Studio and the Main Auditorium – which seats 847 people and is said to have a resident ghost.
The Grand Opera House – which is situated a ten-minute walk from the train station – also showcases a wide variety of performances throughout the year. Morecambe and Wise, Charlie Chaplin and Vera Lynn are among the big names to have trodden the boards over the years with many of the largest stars in the UK entertainment circuit regularly performing at the opera house to this day.
With so many things to do in York during the evening, you will certainly not find that you are bored during a holiday to York. In fact, the range of attractions and activities on offer means that you may want to spend a few more city breaks in York just to take everything in!