10 reasons to visit York

Posted August 1, 2018

by Jay – Astor York

The small Quirky town of York, besides being amazingly beautiful is packed with plenty of fun and interesting things to see and do. Being founded by the Romans in 71AD, and being home to one of the oldest shopping streets in Europe, there’s no shortage of history, and of course, the great stories to accompany the many still standing relics.

As times have changed and society has developed York hasn’t been left behind, although has preserved many of the great historical landmarks, which makes it one of the most action packed interesting places to visit in the United Kingdom! Whether it’s climbing the York Minster, walking the shambles, or having a pint at one of the oldest pubs in the country, York has something to cater for everyone! Below are 10 great reasons to visit York!

York Minster

Being one of the biggest and most well-known of Minster of its type in the world, there is no denying the York Minster (also known as Saint Peters) is a truly amazing piece of architecture from its time, attracting tourists from all over the world to experience its sheer size and beauty. Being the focal point of York’s skyline, reaching far above all other development it can be viewed from most parts of the city, as well as offering the best views of the city from its tower. This 13th Century masterpiece which took over 250 years to build has a string of fascinating stories throughout the years, which can be enjoyed on one of the minster tours, or a free walking tour through York.

“The Shambles”

Fancy taking a trip through time and walking down one of the most preserved medieval streets in the world? Getting a photo on this years “Googles most picturesque street in Britain”? Well, the Shambles is a certain must! The well kept, beautiful cobblestone street once serving as a butchers lane in the 15th century, is a hot spot amongst all travellers visiting the area. Now home to many boutique shops, cafes, bars & restaurants, it has not lost its charm, with butchers hooks still hanging from many of the buildings, and unique architecture with the buildings almost touching in the middle of the street. weather your after a spot of shopping, a lazy meal or the best Instagram picture ever the shambles has you covered!

National Rail Museum

Previously a winner of the “European Museum of the year” award, there’s absolutely no doubting the York Railway Museum is one of the best of its kind in the world. Featuring over 100 locomotives, all fully restored to their original condition, ranging from some of the earliest means of transport used to service England, up to fully restored first class carriages from every decade. Along with the breath-taking train display, there are also hundreds of props, to really make you feel like you are in a British station from the 50’s! Regardless of your interest in the rail industry of Britain, there truly is something for everyone in this free exhibition! (Donations are accepted).

The York Walls

Originally erected by the Romans in 71AD, the majority of the York cicty walls are amazingly still intact! This makes the walls a real drawcard to the area, having more intact walls than any other city in England. Featuring 4 bars (Entries to the city)  and approximately 2.5 miles of the walls still remaining, walking the length of the walls is a truly amazing and unique experience. This free activity is open to the public until 5 pm daily and offers great views across the city, as well as the York Minster.  Tours of the walls are available, although strolling the walls, and befriending the many squirrels at your own leisure is a great way to spend a couple of hours.

Jorvik Viking Centre

Being one of the most visited tourist attractions in England, as well as one of the most unique experiences in history in the world, the Jorvik Viking center cements itself as a must do in York! Recently having a multi-million pound re-imagining, the journey through the recreation of a Viking village found on the site of an old York chocolate factory, as well as original artifacts found during the excavations you will not be disappointed. Complete with very informative, passionate Viking staff and a great gift shop for all your Viking souvenirs, it’s arguably the best way to spend 11 pounds in England!

Ghosts!

Yes, u read right! Ghosts! Whether you’re a believer or a sceptic, the many ghost tours and alleged sightings attract many tourists to the city. Being crowned the most haunted city in England, and the most haunted place in the world by the GRFI (Ghost Research Foundation International) (yep that’s a thing!) many believe this place to be riddled with ghosts with a staggering 140 alleged sightings last year! With a number of haunted houses, hotels, bars and churches in the area, a ghost tour is the best way to experience the haunted York. If you’re still sceptical at the end of the tour, the great humour by the guides and a gloomy look at the city will have everyone taking something away from the experience.

Betty’s Tea Room.

After a fulfilling day of exploring the sights of York, you’re probably a bit hungry and thirsty! How’s one of the most famous tea rooms, and afternoon tea in the country sound? Originally founded in 1919 by Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont, this very English experience still remains as one of York’s top attractions. With decor inspired by The “Queen Mary Liner”, an offering of mouth-watering treats, Yorkshire tea and the fantastic staff there’s no better place to take a break from the busy day. Just don’t forget to check in on Facebook, and get your picture up on Instagram, otherwise, how’s anyone going to know you experienced Betty’s afternoon tea!

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The York Races

Attracting crowds from all corners of the country, ranking as the 3rd richest racecourse in England, the York Races fuel the city with racegoers trying their luck in punting and fashion! If odds on races and fascinators don’t have you booking a ticket now maybe the star studded line up of performers will. Previously hosting the likes of Paloma Faith, Olly Murs, Little Mix, The Beachboys & Jess Glynne, and soon to be showcasing Tom Jones & Boyzone, along with the horse racing an action packed day at the York racecourse will have you talking about it for years to come! With the races concluding early evening racegoers make the small walk into town for one of the biggest nights in York’s nightlife calendar.

Bars

One of the first things I was amazed by when arriving in York was the amount of amazing bars!! 364 to be exact! It is thought there is to be a bar for every day of the year except Christmas, so you’re not going to have a hard time finding somewhere to wet the whistle. Ranging from a number of heritage listed pubs, the oldest being “Ye Olde Starre Inn” which was established in 1644, and still in very original condition. If that doesn’t get you excited maybe the cheapest pint by the river Ouse, or a cocktail at the many chain bars (often offering 2 for 1 deals) will. Whatever it is you look for in a bar York has you covered. Many of which offer fantastic food, live entertainment, and very competitive prices!

The People

One of the first things I noticed when getting to York was the friendly folk! With a small town feel packed with generations of locals, it’s a breath of fresh air whilst travelling to be in an environment where local knowledge is just a question away, and some good York yarns are heard at any of the many bars daily! The diversity of locals ranging from the born and raised, to the may university students who call York home, as a solo traveller it’s very easy to befriend many of them and get a good insight into York as well as England. A very refreshing a great experience which is a definite stand out in this beautiful city!

A mug, a Roman and I

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