Take part in a Viking dig, take cream tea and shop antique jewellery in this well preserved, busy city

Take part in a Viking dig, take cream tea and shop antique jewellery in this well preserved, busy city

The city of York is rich with historic significance and beautiful architecture that lend it a rich and welcoming atmosphere. Once a Roman city, the population grew and thrived thanks to a rich wool trade in the surrounding areas. Today, the city has become a hub for cultural activity in Yorkshire and a fantastic example of beautifully preserved Olde England. You’ll never be short of things to do in York.

York tourist attractions
The main tourist attraction is without doubt the York Minster Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Observe the beautiful exterior and then step inside to view gem-toned stained glass and a large collection of historic books and artefacts. York is also well known for its Viking history, celebrated at the Jorvik Viking Centre. Jorvik was the name of a Viking city that stood on the same spot, and today you can view more than 800 artefacts that have been found on the site. There are also interactive displays that use technology and sensory stimuli, including smell and sound, to help young people ‘discover’ their own Viking finds. Everyone will enjoy a visit to the small cobbled street known as the Shambles. In the 15th century it was a bustling strip, home to 36 butcher shops, and it’s still rich with Old World charm. For a different view of the city, jump on a Yorkboat and travel along the River Ouse. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even hire a boat and drive yourself.
Local tips
There are so many historic buildings in York that it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller ones. Fairfax House is one of the finest examples of a preserved Georgian townhouse in the UK. It was designed by architect John Carr in the 18th century, a period when York was a fashionable place for the wealthy to spend time. The beautifully restored Barley Hall is also easy to miss amidst the wealth of historic houses. Restored in immaculate detail to how it might have looked around 1483, this is a great place to learn more about day-to-day life for local residents during Medieval times. Locals also enjoy a peaceful walk along the walls of the ancient city. It will give you a hard-to-beat view across the area, and you will see some stunning gardens and green spaces.
Shopping
York is a great place for some retail therapy. If you’re looking for bargains, pay a visit to the York Designer Outlet. To pick up some local history, stop at the Antiques Centre, which houses over 100 different dealers selling everything from fine jewellery to decorative home furnishings.
York transport
The city provides a number of Park & Ride options for travelling into the centre and the train station is conveniently located for most hotels in York, and for arrivals from across the UK. Thanks to its compact Roman layout, York is easy to explore on foot. First bus runs a comprehensive service around the city and fares start at £1 for a single trip or £3.80 for a day pass. There are also plenty of minicab options for longer journeys.
Eating & drinking
Over in Little Stonegate, a fashionable area of the city, Stonegate Yard offers family-friendly dining with high-quality locally sourced dishes. They also offer a tasty children’s menu that includes vegetarian options. Melton’s Restaurant serves fine food at reasonable prices in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. In summer, the terrace overlooking the water is stunning. For great value, head to Il Paradiso del Cibo, a student favourite thanks to the fantastic prices and mouth-watering Sicilian flavours.
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