York was recently voted as the UK's most beautiful city and it's clear why. The city truly does have something for everyone.
Whether you’re on a romantic getaway or have bundled the children into the car,
York has a versatility that allows you to tailor your vacation to what suits you.
One activity that everyone enjoys is sightseeing – so charge your camera and pack your walking shoes as York has a lot of sights for you to see.
York Minster is considered one of the UK’s most magnificent cathedrals and is well worth a
visit. Over 2000 years old, the exterior and interior design is simply unrivalled.
The cathedral has more medieval stained glass than anywhere else in the country and is home to York Minster’s Central Tower which is the highest point in York and offers unbeatable, panoramic views of the city.
You can also take a look at medieval stonework and gothic grotesques as you climb the 275 steps to the top. If you have children in tow, York Minster offers a range of activities to keep them entertained as you take in the beauty around you.
The Bar Walls of York
The Bar Walls of York are one of a kind and you must see them to really appreciate the history behind them.
At 3.4 kilometres long, these beautifully preserved walls protected and
defended the city for nearly 2000 years. If you want to walk around the whole wall, it will
take you around 2 hours, but there are multiple points in which you can stop.
As you can imagine, the views are spectacular and is the perfect way to see a lot of York in one afternoon. Although this is a free activity, the guided tour is highly regarded!
Read more: 7 ways to see Britain like a local
Clifford’s Tower is a picture-perfect attraction that has beautiful scenic views and allows you
to gaze over Old York.
As the only remnants of York Castle, there is plenty of history to learn and enjoy. The castle also hosts games and costume play for children (and adults can participate too!)
Pause for a moment and contemplate the history that surrounds you – then have ice cream to celebrate.
JORVIK Viking Center
The world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre is a ‘must-see’ for visitors to the city of York and is
one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK, welcoming over 18 million people in
the past 30 years. Journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets and experience
life as it would have been in 10th century York. Fun for all the family!
York and the magic of Harry Potter
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you may (or may not!) know that York has strong connections to
the story that shaped a generation. York is often cited as a huge inspiration to the franchise
and once you’ve explored, it’s not hard to see why.
The Shambles bears a strong resemblance to Diagon Alley and is now filled with Harry Potter
inspired shops, such as The Shop That Must Not be Named, The Boy Wizard and World of
Wizardry. Step onto the busy, cobbled streets and you’ll feel like you’re shopping for
Nearby Malham Cove, Dalby Forest, York Station, and Brimham Rocks were also used as
filming locations in the Harry Potter films. Malham Cove was famously featured in Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 back in November 2009, whilst Goathland Railway Station was the setting for Hogsmeade Station.
Read more: Revisiting the Sutton Hoo
Places to stay
There’s plenty of accommodation options in York city that are sure to impress, from The
Grand hotel, complete with spa and overlooking York’s bar walls, to a more boutique
experience such as a stay in the Judges Court Hotel, hidden away in its own courtyard just
off of Coney Street – the city’s main parade of high street shops.
Getting to York
A visit to Yorkshire is easy by car or train.
For those travelling by train from Scotland, the North, West or the South, York train station provides a central drop off point from where you can explore the whole of Yorkshire, be it the pretty market town of Northallerton in the North, iconic Scarborough to the East, the steel capital Sheffield to the South or the historic markets of Leeds to the west.
For those looking to explore the North and East of Yorkshire, driving is recommended. The
county is easily accessed by the A1 or M1 from the North or South, and from the West can
be reached via the M62. The A64 also runs across the county from Leeds to Scarborough,
skirting past York in-between.
For more information about Britain's best locations, make sure to visit the CEWE website.
* Originally published in August 2019.