Travel Guide to York, England

By Rachael Funk

Get ready for a trip full of medieval architecture, riveting museums, and friendly people. The city which inspired its namesake of New York in the United States is a popular destination for those traveling locally and abroad. Bursting with interactive history, a booming foodie scene, and energetic nightlife, York is sure to please travelers of all ages.

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What to know

A gem of Northern England, York has the longest intact city wall in the country. The three-mile circumference encloses the extraordinary city and its rich heritage. You’ll be spoiled for choice with its many museums, restaurants, pubs, and sights. Find the oldest shopping street in Europe on The Shambles, a narrow passageway between shops and teahouses. Don’t forget to stop for some chocolate; this is the city that gave the world the Kit Kat bar, among other delicious chocolate treats.

When to Go

The most popular month to visit York is July, when the weather is warmest, closely followed by August and June. Known as the “City of Festivals,” York has regular events and festivals year-round, making it an outstanding destination year-round.

How to Get Around

The roads in York’s old city are pedestrian precincts, closed to cars between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Since the city is easily walkable and the sights are located close to each other, a sturdy pair of walking shoes is a practical plan for visiting. Bus service connects many points of interest, and a one-day bus pass allows unlimited rides for the day.

Where to Eat

What to See

York Minster

York Minster is an extravagant cathedral that has been a paragon of York since the 7th century. Boasting Roman roots, magnificent stained glass, and an imposing stone structure, the Minster is an unparalleled beauty.

Jorvik Viking Centre

This museum and visitor center is a trip back to the age of the Vikings. Restored as it stood 1,000 years ago, this village is a reconstruction of the streets, buildings, and lives which once existed there. Stroll through the excavation site to find a museum, historical interpretations, and interactive exhibitions!

Yorkshire Museum

Enjoy a day perusing the Yorkshire Museum. With four permanent collections showcasing everything from biology, geology, archaeology, and astronomy, this is a stop that offers more than can be squeezed into a single day! Be sure to save time to walk the botanic gardens which surround the museum, they are a must-see stop even if you don’t enter the museum!

Tips and Tricks

  • York is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly destinations in England, providing extensive routes in and around the city. If you choose to bike the city, be sure to carefully review the local laws – even visitors are subject to hefty fines if they forget to use a light after dusk or cycle through pedestrianized areas before 4:00 pm.

  • The emerging foodie scene in York is picking up along Fossgate and Walmgate. Head that way for incredible options for craft beer and local treats.

  • For some spooky fun, join in on one of the city’s many ghost tours! In a city with such a long history, you’re sure to encounter some interesting characters.

Day Trips

North York Moors

This national park is not only the place to find peaceful landscapes and market towns, it’s full of activities that they whole family will love! Choose from walking, biking, or horseback riding trails to see the gorgeous surroundings or relax on the coast. Take a ride on the steam train through the countryside, or pop over to Flamingo Land, a nearby theme park and zoo!


This city is known for its laid back atmosphere and friendly locals. Manchester has the distinction of being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution as well as two of the world’s largest football (soccer) teams. It is very easy to navigate the city, so you’ll have no trouble exploring the renowned food, music, and art cultures of the city.

Castle Howard

Accessible from York by bus, car, or train, Castle Howard is a popular excursion for people visiting the area. Known for its magnificent beauty, lively events, and stunning gardens, the property has more than 300 years of history. Surround yourself in immaculate grounds, see the breathtaking architecture and interiors of the property, and enjoy afternoon tea in an unforgettable location.

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