I recently got back from a weekend in York, England, and I was so delighted by how lovely this city is and how much it has to offer! Located 2.5 hours from London by train, York is a perfect weekend getaway for people looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. There are so many unique things to do in York, ranging from immersive Viking museums to fun markets. These #OnlyinYork experiences make this city well worth a visit. Read on to see where I stayed, what I ate, and what I did so you can plan your trip to York!
This post was written in collaboration with Visit York.
What to Do
There are so many interesting and unique attractions in York. I was able to visit all these attractions (without having to wait in long lines) by using my York Pass courtesy of Visit York. The York Pass is 42 GBP per adult and 28 GBP per child for a one day pass, and it includes all of the attractions listed below (and more)! Check out my pre-trip blog post for more things to do in York.
Clifford’s Tower: Clifford’s Tower is one of the best-preserved parts of the now-ruined York Castle. You can enter the tower and climb to the top for lovely views of the city (pictured above).
York Castle Museum: Learn all about York’s history at the York Castle Museum. This museum is built upon the ruins of the York castle, inside of the old women’s and debtors’ prisons. My favorite part of this museum is the recreated Victorian-era street. The attention to detail in this area is unreal, and it is so cool,
Barley Hall: Barley Hall was one of my favorite attractions in York because it currently has an exhibition all about witches, alchemy, and other magical things from the Middle Ages. I also thought it was great that the museum is certified as good for children with Autism! Great to know if you’re traveling with kids!
York Minster: You can’t visit York without seeing the famous church, the York Minster. This magnificent church is beautiful, and if I had more time, I would have loved to go to the top of the tower to see the city from above!
Jorvik Viking Centre: Go back in time to the Viking age at the Jorvik Viking Centre. York was settled by Vikings in the 900s, so there are lots of interesting ruins and tributes to their history. You can see all sorts of relics and more at Jorvik. My favorite part of this museum is the immersive, multimedia ride, which takes you through historically accurate models of a Viking village (and even includes the Viking era smells)! I thought this was such a great way to learn about York’s history, and I think it would be amazing for children!
The Shambles and Shambles Market: Be sure to walk through the Shambles Market and the Shambles (a street that was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter) when visiting York! This street is enchanting, and the market has lots of local goods (including local gin!).
Museum Gardens: We almost didn’t visit the Museum Gardens in York, but I’m so glad we did. This garden is magical, with lush greenery and abbey ruins sprinkled throughout (making it one of York’s most Instagrammable locations!).
Where to Eat
Shambles Market: For yummy street food, ranging from comfort food to donuts to Thai noodles, head to the Shambles Market. I had an incredible chicken gyro from the Greek stand!
Mr. P’s Curious Tavern: I had the most amazing charcuterie board and incredible halibut with risotto at Mr. P’s Curious Tavern! The menu has a range of dishes, including some traditional pub dishes and other more unique plates! The liquor menu has an impressive array of gins as well. I would totally go back to Mr. P’s whenever I come back to York!
The Rattle Owl: The Rattle Owl is a modern British restaurant that serves refined dishes in a beautiful setting. The menu is really different (and perhaps more adventurous) than your traditional pub food, but everything we had was very tasty.
House of Trembling Madness: For great pies and even better beers, you need to visit the House of Trembling Madness. This pub, which has a wall of taxidermied animal heads, is located on the second floor of a beer and liquor store. This is a great place to grab a pint while in York.
The Press Kitchen: We went to The Press Kitchen for brunch and coffee on Saturday morning. The menu isn’t your typical brunch fare, but I had a delicious deconstructed BLT.
Where to Stay
I had a lovely stay at The Grange Hotel during my weekend in York. The Grange Hotel is a beautiful, 4-star hotel located just a short walk from popular sights in the city center like the York Minster! The building dates back to the 1800s, and it’s the perfect hotel for a quiet weekend away, complete with an enchanting ivy-covered facade and regal (yet comfortable) bedrooms. The rooms are all furnished with antique touches, and the bathrooms are modern and luxurious. I highly recommend The Grange Hotel to anyone visiting York!
A Weekend in York – A Delightful English City
Thinking about heading to York sometime soon? There are so many cool festivals throughout the year worth visiting for. Every February there is the York Ice Trail, featuring lots of carvings made of pure ice, and the York Viking Festival, which celebrates York’s Viking heritage! In March, you can enjoy York Fashion Week or the York Literature Festival. I would personally love to go back for the York Food and Drink Festival, which occurs every September and highlights the amazing food available in the city! There are so many great events throughout the year that help celebrate York’s unique #OnlyinYork history and culture. For a full list of events and festivals, check out the Visit York website.
I had a really wonderful weekend in York, and I couldn’t believe how much the city had to offer. York’s rich history has provided for so many fascinating attractions, like Jorvik Viking Centre and Barley Hall. I was also really impressed by the meals that I had in York, especially at Mr. P’s Curious Tavern- that charcuterie board was amazing! Every local person I met seemed so surprised that we were visiting York, which in turn surprised me because the city is such a great destination for visitors! Let me know in the comments if you’ve visited York, and if you haven’t, let me know what you would be most excited to do!