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A city guide to York – get to know York for its history, architecture and friendly faces

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York is the perfect destination for a cultural day trip or a romantic weekend away. With an endless amount of attractions and exquisite architecture you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding how to spend your time. With cobbled streets hiding cafes, boutiques and weekend markets you can discover the city from the inside before moving outwards along the riverbanks. Boat trips, Minster tours and a variety of museums will give you an exciting insight to York’s history, dating back over 2,000 years.

Elaine Aldous

My Destination local expert on


Discovering York


It’s no secret that the city is enriched with history, founded in AD 71 by the Romans and inhabited by the Vikings, Tudors and Victorians. York can be discovered through a seemingly endless amount of tours and exhibitions. The York Dungeon consists of 11 shows designed to take you on a journey through history with a bit of excitement. Clifford’s Tower was built in 1233 and where many people took refuge, explore the stories behind it and see the breath-taking view from the top. The York Ghost Walk takes place every night at 7pm, from outside the Roman Column and introduces you to York’s most haunted sites.


Gently down the stream – York by river


Thanks to the Rivers Ouse and Foss, York was the perfect defensive site for the Romans and since then has been a major part of York’s history. Why not take one of the YorkBoat cruises or visit Yorkshire River Adventures activity center, where you can paddle down the rivers in an ‘Old Town’ Canadian canoe. Throughout the summer months there are plenty of events and activities for all ages to celebrate the rivers, and try your hand at something new like sailing or kayaking.


Something different!


York’s longest name, but shortest street, Whipmawhopmagate Street is easily missed as its only 32 meters long. While a great tourist attraction no one really knows the real origin of the name. Try a variety of real ales in Ye Olde Starre, once used as a morgue and licensed since 1744, this is York’s oldest pub. For something completely unusual, visit Britain’s best roundabout! Holgate Windmill lies on the famous roundabout and is the last one in York, built in 1770 and recently restored; it certainly makes for an interesting trip.


Fun for all the family


Not everyone wants to wander around museums or listen to a guided walk, especially with little ones. Why not keep them happy with York’s Chocolate Story? Whilst discovering how chocolate is made you’ll be able to taste the treats and even shop for some at the end. Whether you’re a wonderful painter or can’t even draw a stick man, Rainbows Ceramics Painting Studio allows you to design and keep your own item and with the help of stencils and stamps you’ll be occupied for hours. Piglets Adventure Farm Park introduces your little ones to goats, rabbits, piglets and lambs, tractor rides and more! With passionate chefs, have a bite to eat in their award-winning café or take home a range of cheeses or freshly baked pies.