A visit to York would be incomplete without a visit to York Minster. York's Minster is renowned all around the world and is the largest medieval gothic cathedral in northern Europe. This is religious architecture on the very grandest scales: over 500 feet in length, 100 feet wide and with a central tower 200 feet high. The cathedral took over 250 years to complete and is the most visited cathedral in Britain. The Minster contains some of the country's oldest and finest stained glass, has the city's best views from the Tower and is rich in historical artefacts, dating back to the Roman age.
Thirteen historic interiors reveal four hundred years of period dseign, recreated by a remarkable Yorkshire collector, Frank Green. Visit York’s famous Roman Ghost cellar or go up into the attics where the servants lived – both tours take you to quite extraordinary places and reveal an unexpected history. The Tea Room & Art Sales are free entry.
At 3.4 kilometres long, the beautifully preserved walls are the longest medieval town walls in England. About 2.5 million people walk along all or part of the City walls each year, enjoying some amazing views. The completion of the entire circuit will take approximately 2 hours. There are five main bars or gateways, one Victorian gateway, one postern (a small gateway) and 45 towers. The walls weigh approximately 100,000 metric tonnes. York Tourism has launched 4 self-guided walking trails for York - the City Walls Trail, Medieval Churches Trail, New Walk, York's Georgian Riverside Trail and Time Team, an archaeological tour.
The City is honeycombed by a maze of hidden alleyways, all with colourful stories. The Snickelways enable you to travel back in time through some of York's most picturesque backwaters. Mark Jones coined the word "Snickelway" in 1983 to describe all the picturesque alleys in his book, which is beautifully illustrated with fine line drawings. The word is made up of three existing words:
Snicket - passage between walls or fences; Ginnel - passage through building;
Alleyway - narrow street or lane. (You will find a copy of Mark’s book in the Apartment, please take a look and maybe try out one or two. There are copies of some of the shorter walks to take with you)
ApparentlyYork has more ghosts than any other European city and lots of gory stories to go with them. Every night of the week there are guided walks around the city in search of the supernatural and the unexplained. One of the many York pubs said to be haunted - and one of the oldest - is the Black Swan in Peasholme Green. Various ghost tours start at 7.30pm/8.00pm, no need to book in advance. The nearest Ghost Tour meets every night at the West Door of the Minster or in The Shambles - both @ 7:30pm.
Even though it’s very famous you should visit Bettys. Founded in 1919, Bettys mouth watering cakes, refreshing teas and friendly smiles have made it world famous. Bettys in St Helen's Square is open from 9am to 9pm, making it perfect for everything from brunch to a three course meal. There's also 'Little Betty's' on Stonegate.
The Jorvik Viking Centre is a dynamic vision of York in the 10th century. This attraction should not be missed when visiting York as the visitor travels back in time to experience the sounds, smells and images of the city of Jorvik in AD975. State-of-the-art flying capsules fly the visitor over and through the city. Visitors even travel through the houses and bedrooms of the people of Jorvik.
Dig opened in March 2006, offering a unique and exciting archaeological experience. St Saviours Church (formerly the Archaeological Resource Centre), has been transformed into a simulated archaeological investigation including site huts, a science laboratory and research library. Visitors can try their hand at excavating parts of a Roman fortress, Viking City, Medieval burial site and Victorian workers cottages. Your can discover real artefacts that have been discovered by archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust in York over the last twenty-five years.
The Cold War Bunker opened in 15 May 2006 offering visitors the chance to take a guided tour of a semi-submerged secret bunker on the outskirts of York. At the height of the Cold War, Britain had a total of 1,561 nuclear shelters, designed to withstand severe bombardment. The shelter is one of the best surviving examples of its type in the UK and the first to be designated a Scheduled Monument. Complete with the original fixtures and fittings, visitors can experience an atmosphere, which is as authentic as that found in films such as the Ipress File or the serial Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy.
The National Railway Museum is home to a wide range of railway icons and millions of artefacts, from Mallard - the world's fastest steam engine - to the only Shinkansen Bullet train to be displayed outside Japan, to a lock of Robert Stephenson's hair, to the Flying Scotsman. The Museum's archives include 1.4 million photographs, 15,000 books and 7,000 historic posters. Whether you're interested in the social history of the railways, the design of the Eurostar, the Japanese bullet train or Thomas the Tank Engine, you will find it here. Entrance to the museum is free for everyone.
York Castle Museum is famous for its collections of costumes, military and social history, with over 100,000 items to show. The collection of this museum was the brainchild of John Kirk, a country doctor and antiquarian, who between 1890 and 1920 rescued a variety of everyday items he realised were part of a vanishing way of life. In 1935, his collection was donated to the City of York. Everything you see is real; no item is replicated or fabricated. Many exhibits are displayed in a reconstructed Victorian ‘street' where you can wander in and out of workshops, where saddlers, weavers and candle-makers plied their trade. The museum also contains a series of period rooms that reveal domestic interiors from various times, Jacobean, Georgian and Victorian.
York owes its existence to rivers Ouse and Foss. The island they created made York an ideal defensive site and the River Ouse has remained an important trading highway. The rivers are no longer for defence and trade has dwindled away, but much pleasure can still be had. Guided River Trips lasting approximately one hour sail regularly throughout the day, from 10.30am, from city centre landings at King's Staith and Lendal Bridge. Boats have open sun-decks and comfortable lounges with panoramic windows to ensure views of the riverside landmarks. The captain tells stories of York past and present. There is a bar on board for tea - or something a little stronger. Tickets are available on boarding the boat at King's Staith or Lendal Bridge landing.
A scary adventure through York's darker past - certainly not for the faint hearted. Man's inhumanity to his fellow men over the last 2,000 years is illustrated in a succession of grisly tableaux. The visitor is taken on a spine-tingling tour around plague ravaged streets of 14th century York, meets the ghostly roman legionnaires who march silently through the wall of a cellar and follows Dick Turpin on his way to the gallows.
Occupying one side of Exhibition Square is the city's premier gallery, housing more than 600 paintings - from lustrous Italian altarpieces to the northern millscapes of Lowry. There are also a number of works by York born William Etty, whose statue stands outside. The museum runs temporary programmes next to its permanent exhibition. York Art Gallery underwent a £360,000 refurbishment project in 2005. Entrance is free to everyone.
This entertaining tour not only covers the development of the city through its 2000 years of existence, it also enables the visitor to understand the York of the 21st century. Lasting approximately two hours, you can experience the incredible variety of history, heritage, culture, shopping, eating & drinking and entertainment that York has to offer. It enables the visitor to carefully plan the rest of their stay in the city and thereby enhance their experience. Tours leave St Helens Square at 11am and 2pm every Friday and Saturday (February 6th to December 19th). No need to book in advance.
The Shambles is one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. Although none of the original shop-fronts have survived from medieval times, some properties still have exterior wooden shelves, reminders of when cuts of meat were served from the open windows. The street was made narrow by design to keep the meat out of direct sunlight. But you can readily imagine the Shambles thronged with people and awash with offal and discarded bones. The outbreaks of the plague that periodically erupted in the city may be blamed on such unsanitary practices. It is easy to picture the noisy, chaotic jumble the street once was. Today the beautiful old buildings have been restored and now house cheerful cafes and quirky boutiques.
In the city centre itself you will find shops with character, with everything from high street stores to unusual boutiques, cafes and restaurants and a plethora of antiques shops. Take a walk around Stonegate, The Quarter & The Shambles.
The market offers something for everyone, every day, with a diverse selection of stalls across the week, with potters, artists, designers, artisan breads, and a vast array of other crafts filling the stalls. The market also offers a fantastic selection of fresh meat and fish, fruit, vegetables, cheese and preserves for your every day shopping needs. Not forgetting the day-to-day lines, handbags, mobile phones, pet foods, hats, gloves, and scarves and army surplus.
Castle Howard is a spectacular eighteenth-century palace, which has been home to the Howard family for 300 years. The construction of this magnificent palace took more than 100 years and spanned the lifetime of three Earls and numerous architects and craftsmen. As the house was built and decorated, the grounds were filled with lakes, temples, monuments and a grand mausoleum. Indoors, furniture, paintings, sculptures and a host of other treasures were assembled by successive generations after their tours of the Continent. Castle Howard is today still home to the Howard family
This fascinating museum is authentically based on a World War Two Bomber Command Station. The unique displays include the original Control Tower, Air Gunners' Collection, Barnes Wallis' 'bouncing bomb' and a superb Airborne Forces Display. The expanding collection of historical aircraft depicts aviation from its earliest days through to the World War Two. Items on display also include uniforms, logbooks, photographs and many other rare artefacts from WWI & WWII.
If you want to pick up a designer bargain then pay a visit to the York Designer Outlet. The outlet, which is known as the "designer destination of the north" - has a wealth of quality labels and top names, all under the one roof. It has 120 stores including Gap Outlet, Marks & Spencer Outlet, Coast, Karen Millen, Armani Collections, Paul Smith, Reebok, Calvin Klein Jeans, Burberry, and The Professional Cookware Company. With wide selection of food outlets and cafes, an award winning safety- approved children's play area and over 2,700 free car parking spaces and various activities and events taking place, the outlet is a perfect location for a family day out.
York has over 30 museums, galleries and tours to choose from, contact Visit York for further details. The Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors national parks are right on York's doorstep, making the city an excellent touring base for Yorkshire. For the out of town fact sheet visit www.visityork.org/media
There are numerous attractions surrounding the city of York for the visitor to explore, including Beningbrough Hall & Gardens, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Estate, Harewood House (near Leeds), North Yorkshire Moors Railway (Pickering), The Royal Armouries (Leeds), and the World of James Herriot (Thirsk).
For further information and a free guide to York, please contact: York Visitor Information Centre, Tel: 01904 550099, by email or visit the VisitYork website
York is one of the best cities for food. There are many local specialty food shops, delicatessens and, of course, York Market where you can buy lots of local produce including fresh meat, fish, cheese, fruit and vegetables etc. Throughout the year there are also many Food Festivals, Farmers Markets & Continental Markets.
High Petergate – Tel: 01904 637722
A good part of our menu is based on food originating in Mexico and the American South west. Fresh chilli plays an important role but it is the distinctive colour and variety which make the taste buds tingle. The food sizzles with flavour, colour and texture.
01904 679888 6 - 8 George Hudson Street, York, YO1 6LP
Akbar's specialises in sizzling pan - cooked Baltis from Baltistan, an extreme mountainous region North of Pakistan. Akbars were nominated as finalists in the 2012 Visit York Awards
Fossgate - 01904 654155
Offers Indian & Bangladeshi Cuisine in York. Established in 2010 Mumbai has an unrivalled reputation for both quality and customer care. Whether you’re looking for quality cuisine or a fun night out for all the family you’ll always find a fast, friendly service waiting for you.
01904 610676- 15-17 Grape Lane
Vegetarian and gluten free award wining spanish food. The food is served tapas-style and comprises a range of international influences
Fossgate – Tel: 01904 673990
Understandably one of York’s most talked about eateries, serving award winning food in a relaxed dining atmosphere. Highly commended for fresh fish dishes, home made desserts and a seemingly endless selection of fine wines.
Duncombe Place - Tel: 01904 625082
Traditional menu, strong on local produce
On the corner of Ogleforth and Goodramgate
Our Guests say "Fab fab fab"...!
13 Fossgate, York, YO1 9TA - Tel: 01904 611919
Relaxed atmosphere. Open throughout the day, serving drinks, brunch, lunch and dinner.
25 Walmgate, York, YO1 9TX - Tel: 01904 629222
Modern bistro, featuring homemade Yorkshire produce in a charming 17th century building.
28 Castlegate, York, YO1 9RP - Tel: 01904 612744
A warm welcome awaits you at Rustique, where we strive to produce a good dining experience. As our restaurant specialises in French Cuisine, you might even feel you are eating in the heart of Paris!
We're so excited to tell you about all the things to see and do, that we don't know where to start.
We've made a few suggestions - mainly because they are our favourites, or recommended by our Guests.
Our best advice is - explore and have fun. Be sure to tell us your discoveries in the Visitor's Book.
Ogleforth is one of York’s most unspoilt streets and history breathes from every house and mews, unchanged in decades perhaps centuries.
Many of the properties on Ogleforth belonged, or still belong, to York Minster and are used as lodgings for various staff. Some date from the 17th century, including the Old Brewery and the Dutch House, on the left as you walk down from Goodramgate, both Grade II listed buildings.
And how little Ogleforth has changed over the years is demonstrated by its use in the TV show Heartbeat, as the setting for a 1960s car chase and most recently Robinson Crusoe with little or no alteration needed to the present building facades.