The de facto capital of northern England, the glorious city of York has burgeoned in recent years: top-quality museums exploring the city’s weighty history are getting better and better, the restaurant scene is fast developing and quirky and independent boutique shops and hotels are popping up all the time. Add to this the city’s sublime backdrop of medieval streets lined with timbered houses, the magnificent, cream-coloured Minster and an impressive riverbank lined with cafés and pubs and you have the ultimate UK destination. There’s so much to do, however, that a weekend here will barely scratch the surface. The city has a lot of visitors and a lot of places to stay, which means you need to pick and choose carefully if you want something special among the many hotels in York. Whole streets and outlying suburbs are packed with B&Bs, but even on a tight budget you should be able to find something reasonable only a short walk from all the city-centre sights.
Best Places to Stay in Hotels, B&Bs & Self-Catering in York - Cool Places to Stay in the UK
Best Places to Stay in York
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Eat and Drink
English cities don't come much more traditional, historic and touristy than York, so no surprise that the eating and drinking choices often reflect these characteristics. If it's not chintzy café capital of England it's not far off, but at least in the form of Betty's, York has the probably the UK's quintessential tea room, not to be missed. Café-bars and coffee houses are everywhere, and there are some excellent independents, so there's no need to put up with a ropey brew. Pubs and inns are firmly on the traditional side, at least in looks – some of the buildings are centuries old and there have been boozers in them for almost as long. But there's a growing artisan beer movement, reflected in the number of pubs that champion real ale, microbrews and local drink producers. Locally sourced food and ingredients are also at the heart of York's best restaurants, from funky bistros to fine-dining establishments. In short, if you can't find a decent coffee house or restaurant you're not trying – though it does pay to pick and choose, since the sheer number of visitors means that there are some very average places making a living too.
There's no pretending that York is the UKs shopping capital, but it is home to a very eclectic mix of independent stores and is a fantastic place to have a casual browse. Don't be surprised if you're led around the city by your nose, whether its the award winning pie shop or the sweet smell of fudge, there are some delightful little food shops selling locally made produce. Quirky vintage clothes shops are also popular in York and, with quite a wide range, you may find yourself stuck for a while as you search around for a unique bargain to suit your style.
Things to Do
York has a lot to offer in terms of attractions, and it's a fair bet to say the main draw for the city is it's outstanding sightseeing value for tourists. Firstly there's the splendor of the Minister itself, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. The city streets themselves are full of sights enough, and for the kids attractions such as the York Dungeon or the Jorvik Viking Centre will prove unforgettable.
Walks and tours around the city are available, centered mainly on the ancient Roman walls. There is also an assortment of museums on offer, though the entire city is rich with its long history. There's also a good amount of night life avaialble, for those wanting a bit more to do in the evening other than drop from a long day of exploring.
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