York’s one of those cities that just seems to have so many things to do, and it can be difficult to know where to begin your short break. So to help you make the most of your limited time there, we’ve put together a 2-day itinerary, highlighting the activities we’d suggest you incorporate into your short break in York.
Morning – Walk the Walls
It’s a must do when visiting York and an ideal way to enjoy some incredible views out over the city and the surrounding areas. The route usually taken lasts around 90 minutes, but set aside a little more time just in case you get distracted by the many interesting tourist hotspots. You’ll pass the Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower before ending up near the impressive Minster. Tourist Tracks offer audio tours of the walls which are great at filling you in on the history of the city!
Time Spent – 90 Minutes
After Lunch – Visit The Minster
Grab a bite to eat at any of the cafes and coffee shops along Museum Street before heading up to the main attraction in the city – York Minster. Born and bred in York, I’m still in complete awe of this magnificent building every time I walk by, particularly on a sunny day. Built in 1338, it’s the largest gothic cathedral of its kind in Northern Europe and is a true feat of architecture and engineering – it also boasts the biggest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.
Time Spent – 1 hour
Afternoon – Stroll around The Shambles
The famous cobbled streets of The Shambles are hard to resist, with boutiques galore and unique, local wares that’ll keep you walking around in circles until you decide what to buy! Although the streets have a less than glamourous past – the name comes from the old Flesh Shambles, where butchers would hang their meat for display! – it’s now renowned as a haven for those looking to enjoy some quality shopping time.
Time Spent – 2 Hours
In the Evening – Dine at The Whippet Inn & Meet the Locals
As far as quality, local produce goes, a meal at The Whippet Inn is as good as it gets. York’s home to some of the finest eateries in the North, but of late The Whippet has risen to the top of the pile and sends many satisfied diners on their way each night (you’ll need to book in advance). After the best steak you’re ever likely to have, grab a pint at the Golden Fleece… one of the most haunted sites in the UK!
Time Spent – As long as it takes!
Morning – Take a River Cruise
If it’s a sunny morning, then this is one brilliant way to get your day started (if it’s a little grey, maybe leave this until later on.) York Boat cruises run regularly though the day and give you the chance to see this fabulous city from another perspective. Setting off from the city centre, you’ll travel up the River Ouse and discover scenes of great historical importance, as described by the knowledgeable skipper. If it’s a nice day, you can even catch some rays up on the sun deck.
Time Spent – 1 Hour
For Lunch – Tea and Cake at Bettys
It has to be on your list! Make sure you book in advance to avoid queuing out of the door and around the corner…it really is that popular. There’s no better way to relax after a busy first day of sightseeing than with a traditional afternoon tea at Bettys. Watch the world go by from the corner of St Helen’s Square in true Yorkshire style.
Time Spent – 1 Hour
Afternoon – Take a Walk around Museum Gardens
A luscious heaven in the middle of a bustling city, York’s Museum Gardens is a welcome retreat from the hordes of shoppers and tourists. Treat yourself to an ice cream (the ones on entry to the gardens are really delicious!) and simply wander until your heart’s content. You’ll stumble upon the Yorkshire Museum which displays fabulous exhibitions, it’s a wonderful way to spend a relaxing couple of hours.
Time Spent – 2 Hours
Evening – Dine at The Star Inn The City
Settled beside the river, The Star Inn the City is one of the newest additions to York’s vast restaurant portfolio, and has quickly become the go-to place for a special meal. Serving up the best of Yorkshire’s produce and catch-of-the-day fish specials, you’re sure to enjoy one of the best meals you’ll ever eat. It’s also ideally located for a pre-theatre dinner should you wish to take in the latest showing at the Theatre Royal.
Time Spent – If the sun’s out, you’ll be on the terrace all evening!
Hopefully this itinerary to 2 days in York has given you a better idea of how to make the most of your short break in the city. You won’t be able to see absolutely everything in a couple of days, but you can definitely see the best bits! You’ll just have to come back again and see the rest…we’d recommend winter for the Christmas markets.