Travel inspiration: Ideas for visiting York

One of the most historic cities in the UK, York has more things to do than you can shake a stick at; and below is our comprehensive guide to the best bits of the wonderful city of York.

For those looking for inspiration for their next trip, look no further – not only is it easy and relatively cheap place to get to via train; York really does have something for everyone (excuse the age old cliché), so read on…


Castles, Vikings, a railway museum, tea rooms and a racecourse: just some of the things to check out when in York.

Of course, the ‘must see’ place is York Minster – one of the biggest Gothic Cathedrals on the planet, York Minster attracts thousands of visitors who marvel at the stunning architecture on show. Admission to the masterpiece costs £9 for adults, while those under 16 get in for free.

The Jorvik Viking Centre is a great venue to head to for a family fun day out – an educational yet fun looking at the history of Vikings, with recreated battles including weapons used by Vikings, and a museum featuring many items uncovered from an archaeological discovery in the area. It’s £9.25 for adults, and £6.25 for kids

The National Railway museum in York is free for everyone, with over 100 trains on display. There are also special events and exhibitions throughout the year to add to the interactive zones which help keep the kids entertained.

Betty’s team rooms have a branch in York, where you can stop off and try some of the speciality drinks and cakes on offer, with the Yorkshire Parkin being a particular favourite.

If you fancy a punt on the horses, York racecourse hosts 7 meetings a year including the Ebor Festival which attracts thousands of race goers each year.

The last remains of York Castle can be seen at Clifford’s Tower, while there’s also York Castle museum with exhibitions telling the history of the Castle.

No visit to York would be complete without heading to The Shambles – the famous street in York which gets narrower as you wander down it; however there are numerous shops down there selling any York related memorabilia you can think of.

Eating out

As with anywhere else; there’s an abundance of pubs, cafes and restaurants to get something to eat, however if you want to visit the best of the best, the following 5 should satisfy your appetite:

• The Burlington – Michelin star rated, and awarded 4 AA Rosettes, The Burlington offers fine dining for around £35 a head – not bad from a Michelin star rated chef.
• Melton’s – specialising in traditional homemade food, Melton’s has been accredited with an AA Rosette for its food.
• The Drum and Monkey – specialising in seafood dishes, the Drum and Monkey restaurant has been going for over 30 years, serving some of the finest fish available, and has also been labelled as of one the 50 best restaurants outside London.
• Hotel du Vin Bistro – French style dishes using locally supplied fresh ingredients. The restaurant is decorated in an authentic French style.
• The Yorke Arms – Another Michelin star rated restaurant, The Yorke Arms has it’s own in-house leading chef in Frances Atkins; one of the top female chefs in the country.

Alternative things to do

It is not all sightseeing and walking round aimlessly in York; instead there’s loads of unusual things you wouldn’t be able to do everywhere else, so why not take part in something different?

There’s F1 indoor karting near the Monks Cross shopping centre, where you can race against friends, family or other visitors to the circuit. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, head to the North of England Activity Centre; where you can go quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, off road racing or even have archery lessons.

York is also home to one of the Go Ape! facilities, where you can go through assault courses, fly down zip lines, swing across ponds on rope swings or climb trees. For the less adventurous; York Maze is the largest maze in the world and also has crazy golf, a small petting zoo with farm animals and special events hosted there throughout the year.

In the evening, there are many different ghost tours of York available, starting from various points around the city. There’s The Original Ghost Walk, The Ghost Hunt of York, York’s Premier Ghost Walk, The Ghost Trail of York and even a ‘ghost boat’ cruise down the river. All the tours are hosted by actors in costume, who will try and frighten you and make you laugh in the same evening.


York has a thriving music scene, with plenty of clubs in the city offering live music pretty much every night of the week. Some of the best places to see live bands include:

• York Barbican – hosts a variety of bands including rock, pop, jazz, classical and even brass bands.
• Kennedy’s Bar – often used for album launch parties, Kennedy’s hosts local bands to give them a platform to showcase their talent.
• Fibbers – Coldplay, Kasabian and the Arctic Monkeys have all performed here in their early days, and have gone on to superstardom, so you may see the next big thing here.
• The Basement – home to a huge variety, from 60s pop to dance and techno music, and even reggae music on every 3rd Saturday of the month.


We’ve only scratched the surface of the things on offer in the city of York – at Christmas there’s the huge Christmas markets that line the streets; selling items from all over the world.

Your best bet is to visit York yourself, just remember to take a camera!