York is essentially a small city. Its city center is a hive of activity surrounded by the safety of its ancient walls and looked over by the watchful spire of the giant Minster. The following are descriptions of some key areas in and around York and the kind of attractions, shops and businesses you are likely to find in each of them.
Located on the outskirts of the city is this pleasant little village, home to the Archbishop of York's Palace. Just a short walk away is the Selby cycle track, built on top of the old railway line. As such, this is a superb flat, straight path, great for cycling and marvelous scenery to boot. Those with a keen eye will notice that every few meters there are curious metal globes. These are in fact scale models of the planets in our solar system and the ten miles between York and Selby have been mapped out accurately so that the distance between these models is relative to that of the real planets in space.
Despite being known by locals for its hospital, this is a predominantly residential area which is also home to Bootham Crescent, the playing grounds of The Minster Men, York City F.C. Only a short distance away from the city center,
Where else to start but with St. Peter's Cathedral, or as it is known to most people,
The most famous street in York has to be
This large area in York toward the northern edge of the city is home to the
A quiet village on the edge of the city. It is, for the most part, residential and although there are only a few small shops here, you will find some fine, traditional English pubs like
York Racecourse/Tadcaster Road
Horse racing is one thing that York is especially famous for. Head to the York Racecourse to get your fill of betting and horses. Tadcaster Road is usually most peoples' entrance (or exit) to York, and is host to many pubs such as
Micklegate is possibly the most famous street in York with the exception of
This is a small area of York on the edge of the city center whose main feature is the
About ten minutes drive from York is this small village, known to many as the home of the Bass Brewery, John Smith's Brewery and Samuel Smith's Brewery. It's a wonder the locals aren't pickled.
Located on the edge of the city, this area of York contains an ever growing shopping area as well as numerous places to eat and drink.
There is something quite magical about York, once visited, never forgotten. York maybe a relatively small city but it has much to offer the visitor in the way of entertainment. Experience it all; everything from cinemas to art galleries; from ghost walks to themed cruises.
STAGE & SCREEN
Theatre and Opera - Why not start with a performance at the Theatre Royal, which is the venue for regular productions of plays by Shakespeare and other popular classics. The Joseph Rowntree Theatre hosts performances by York's own Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, and for the full range of concerts, comedy, theater and dance visit the Grand Opera House.
Cinema — York has an excellent art-house cinema in City Screen that, unique to its genre, boasts three screens and luxury seating. Here you can catch screenings of independent, mainstream and world cinema as well as educational events, talks and previews. To see the blockbusters visit the Odeon in the city center, or the giant and modern Vue Cinema north of the city in Clifton Moor Retail Park, where the choice is much greater.
Fancy a flutter? York's racecourse is affectionately known as the Ascot of the north. This sterling venue hosts many of Britain's top meetings on the racing calendar. Its proximity to the city center is ideal. THE MUSIC SCENE
Classical Music — If you just want to close your eyes and listen to sweet music, York is the perfect place to experience classical concerts in the most tranquil of settings. Lunchtime recitals are held at York Minster and include performances by the York Musical Society Chorus & Orchestra. Similar religious and historical venues for classical events include the St. Michael le Belfry Church, just opposite the Minster, home to the Yorkshire Bach Choir, the Central Methodist Church and the Guildhall. Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, located in the University of York in nearby Heslington, holds many unique musical events with performers such as the Hilliard Ensemble.
Live Pub Music — If you want to stay local then all is redeemed by the dynamism of York's live music scene. Venues such as Fibbers have been host to some top names through the years and continue to promote local talent alongside popular gigs. York pubs often provide space for evenings of live music, spanning the taste spectrum from folk to rock, punk and pop. For years the Northern Wall, the Black Swan and the First Hussar have attracted punters wishing to make more of their time down the boozer.
Jazz—Jazz lovers can catch regular gigs at The Maltings and Borders Books, while the Red House café and antiques center has a resident pianist providing a swing to Thursday evenings.
Nightclubs — Those caught with the desire to move those feet and swing those hips are probably wondering why there's been no mention of nightclubs so far. The simple fact is York is not blessed with the crop of the clubbing scene. Of the city's few clubs, Toffs, Ziggys and Ikon & Diva (the names give them away somewhat) and the Gallery appeal to mainstream and student tastes. Most serious boppers head off to Leeds, not far by train, but they may wish to sample one of York's many pre-club venues first to get them started.
York hosts a variety of cultural events from the Mystery Plays to the York Carnival. There are always buskers about in York, particularly in the summer along Parliament Street and in the squares. So if you just fancy wandering and taking in the evening in this most intriguing, historical city, York's narrow streets, packed with restaurants, bars and cafes will do more than to suffice. You could even take in a Ghost Hunt on your evening travels, a novel and humorous experience of the city's dramatic past.
York is a remarkable city. Rich in history itself, it also boasts many hotels with histories of their own. When looking for somewhere to stay in York, visitors will discover individuality and a wide variety of accommodation on offer. Whether you require a simple B&B, or are looking for a superior hotel to celebrate a special occasion, there really is something for everyone. The majority of accommodation is within easy reach of the city centrer, with its many shops, restaurants, pubs and tourist attractions. Many of the hotels and B&B's are situated in clusters along the main roads leading into the city center.
Gillygate, Haxby, Bootham, Bishopthorpe, Fulford, Holgate Roads and Heworth village all offer a number of reasonably priced B&B's and hotels. Ideal for those on a budget, good basic accommodation is available with the added bonus of being within walking distance of the city centre. Try the Cornmill Lodge Vegetarian Guest House or Mowbray House, both on Haxby Road. Ascot House is situated in a delightful residential part of York, close to Heworth village with its parade of shops and gardens. The family run Heworth Court Hotel is popular with visitors and locals alike as it has a friendly atmosphere and also offers superior rooms in a Victorian house nearby. The Jorvik Hotel in Bootham has its own garden restaurant, and also overlooks the Museum Gardens, so is in a prime location for shopping and sightseeing. There are a number of hostels to choose from such as the York Backpackers Hostel in Micklegate and The York International Youth Hostel in Clifton. Both provide basic accommodation. Self catering accommodation is also available, for example try the Bootham Park View Holiday Apartments.
Bootham provides visitors with a selection of accommodation moderately priced, such as the Abbots Mews Hotel, formerly a coachman's cottage dating back to Victorian times, it is set in its own beautiful mature gardens and has a first class restaurant. The Newington on the Mount is another well-priced hotel, offering good accommodation, an indoor pool, morning papers and a theatre ticket booking service. The Posthouse York on Tadcaster Road, as part of a well known chain, is renowned for providing good accommodation and services. It also has a weekend play room for the children as well as a baby listening service. The Galtres Lodge Hotel could not be better placed, standing as it does in Low Petergate, one of York's best known medieval streets.
Expensive: The Mount and Tadcaster Road are host to some of York's finest hotels. With the city centre close by and the racecourse even closer, it is not only location that makes these superior hotels so special. The Mount Royale has many unique features such as garden rooms with semi-tropical plants and a heated open air pool. The Marriott Hotel has amazing views of the racecourse from its 'Grandstand Rooms' as well as its own leisure club. The Elmbank Hotel displays art nouveau style throughout and its elegant surroundings are ideal for wedding receptions, for which it provides comprehensive packages.
The Novotel is in a desirable location alongside the River Foss and is a popular hotel offering an indoor pool, a play area and a baby listening service. Most of the hotels in York welcome families and provide family rooms upon request. Also try The Churchill, which is a converted Georgian building set in its own grounds and has a pianist playing in the lounge most evenings. The York Moat House by Ouse bridge overlooks the river and has its own restaurant and gym, for race fans this is just one of many hotels which offer special packages for race meetings. For a touch of York history The Monkbar Hotel is located opposite one of the gateways into the ancient city center and has the added attraction of offering excellent conference facilities. But for something a little different, Lady Anne Middleton's Hotel in Skeldergate consists of a former organ factory, a former sawmill and three distinct houses, one named after a well known visitor—Charlie Chaplin. Ultimately, for the most spectacular of locations, look no further than the Dean Court Hotel. With an award-winning restaurant, this hotel stands literally in the shadow of the city's crowning glory—the breathtaking York Minster.
York has a number of exquisite deluxe hotels for those wishing to be truly spoiled. The Mount boasts The Ambassador Hotel, which offers elegantly furnished, individually designed rooms as well as an excellent restaurant. Set in its own grounds, this Georgian town house is the perfect setting for weddings and conferences. The Judges Lodging Hotel is ideally situated in the heart of the city center. This Grade 1 listed Georgian town house is bursting with historical interest. Tastefully furnished, it provides excellent accommodation and displays many original features. The Hilton York, close to Clifford's Tower and the Castle Museum, is a modern hotel offering first class business and leisure facilities. It also boasts the popular Henry J. Bean's restaurant. The Royal York is adjacent to York railway station. This large Victorian hotel has 158 rooms and a state-of-the-art business center. Many of the other larger hotels in York, offer impressive conference facilities, some with purpose built business centers, most with individual packages to suit all requirements. The Middlethorpe Hall on Bishopthorpe Road is a truly special place to stay. Built in 1699 it is a very stylish and grand country house offering the very best of facilities including a health and fitness spa and beautiful mature gardens.
Wherever you end up you are bound to have a comfortable stay in this most welcoming of cities.
York is not only a place of infinite historical interest but also a bustling metropolitan city. This is a duality reflected in the many and varied places to eat and drink in the city. By day there are a multitude of cafés and old fashioned tea rooms which shoppers and tourists flock to and by night there are bars and pubs galore. Dining in York is a particularly rich experience due to the sheer variety of restaurants on offer. The majority of York's pubs and restaurants are located in the winding Snickelways and lanes of the ancient city centre, although such places as Frankie & Benny's Italian/American diner and The Flying Legends pub can be found at the out of town Clifton Moor Retail Park.
Probably the most vibrant part of York is its ever growing coffee shop culture. In the city centre there are such places as the colorful Cappuccinos, popular amongst students and young people, as is Victor J's with its notably laid back, trendy atmosphere. Close to York's most famous landmark, The Minster, is Coffee Culture, another fashionably small café with an excellent range of baguettes and light snacks for those on the go. Harking back to more traditional times are the splendid tea rooms found throughout the city, such as the Earl Grey Tea Rooms, James' Tea Rooms or the ever popular Betty's Tea Rooms. This elegant establishment offers a wide range of teas from around the world, all served up in 1920s style. For those who prefer a more European flavour, there is Café Rouge, which serves continental food as well as fine tea and coffee, all within easy reach of the city centre.
Ask any local and they will tell you that there are 365 pubs in York, one for every day of the year. Although in reality the actual number may vary from year to year, this figure is never far from the truth. From traditional English-style pubs like The Five Lions, The Golden Ball and The Three Tuns, to the more modern, clubber-orientated bars like McMillan's and Harry's Bar. For the real ale aficionado, York has a wealth of watering holes, such as The Ackhorne, The Bluebell and The Maltings.
The city is also host to several annual beer festivals, which as well as showcasing the nation's lesser known breweries, often gives beer drinkers a chance to sample international ales. The most popular pubs in York are found along the famous student pub-crawl known as the Micklegate Run, which runs down the middle of the city center; local favorites like The Windmill and The Punch Bowl are joined by popular chain pubs like The Phalanx & Firkin. Although many have attempted to drink a pint in every pub on "The Run," few have succeeded. In fact as the chain has grown over the years, most tend to skip a couple along the way. Having run the gauntlet of Micklegate, some people may manage to venture in to one of York's nightclubs while others may find they've built up a hearty appetite.
Those who enjoy international cuisine will be well suited in York. For the Italian food lover, there are places like, Bella Pasta, La Piazza and La Romantica. South American and Mexican meals are served in establishments such as El Piano, Fiesta Mehicana and Plunketts. As curry is one of Britain's most popular dishes, it is only fitting that York should have plenty of top class Indian restaurants for those that like their food with a little spice. The Jinnah Balti House and Akash Tandoori both serve authentic Indian meals which will satisfy newcomers and old hands alike. The Jade Garden, The Phoenix and The Willow will satisfy those with a taste for Cantonese. As well as all this, people who like more traditional English fare will be well catered for and the likes of 19 Grape Lane, The Patio and Oscar's have varied menus that will have plenty to satiate most tastes. Some of the finest seafood can be found at The Blue Bicycle and the fish and chips specialists at The Wetherby Whaler serve the old favorite par excellence.
It's fair to say that York has something to offer for just about every taste and has enough places to eat and drink to satisfy the most diverse of appetites. Though its roots may be in the distant past, its eyes are set on the future, ensuring an enjoyable gastronomic experience for anyone visiting York.