York consistently appears in lists of ‘Best Destinations’ and ‘Most Romantic Cities’, and it’s no surprise…it really is as great as everyone makes out! But, there’s only so much that a travel guide can tell you, and only so much that you can see in a short space of time. So, seeing as I’ve lived here for my entire life I thought I’d share some of my favourite parts about the city that, unless you’re a local, you might miss out on. From where to dine and what to do, hopefully you’ll discover something new on your next short break to York!
Things to Do…
The usual ideas of the Jorvik Centre and Roman Walls are great things to do when you visit York, but once you’ve done them you probably won’t want to do them again. If you’re paying a visit in summer, be sure to grab a picnic (or even a disposable BBQ!) and head to Rowntree Park, about 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre. As a Green Flag park it’s one of the best in the region, offering woodland walks, an ornamental lake, tennis courts and more – there’s nowhere better to be on a sunny day.
If you’re coming in the colder months then wrap up warm and embrace the atmosphere. Visit the roasted chestnut stand on High Ousegate for a taste of winter, then wander through the streets enjoying the abundance of buskers. On the evening, make sure you get your hands on tickets to the annual pantomime at The Theatre Royal to see Berwick Kaler (the UK’s longest standing panto dame!) at his best.
Where to Eat and Drink…
You’re spoilt for choice in York, literally. I’m still managing to find brand new places to eat every month. One place that really stands out for an evening meal though is The Whippet Inn, just five minutes’ walk from the station and surrounded by great bars, too. As York’s newest Steak & Alehouse it’s definitely caught the attention of the food-lovers that frequent the city…quirky and unique in its interior, the food is delicious, fresh and local. What more could you want? I’ve dined there twice now, enjoying two incredible meals while my other half tucked into ‘the best steak he’s ever had’. The best part for me? The incredible playlist!
The Whippet Inn is a great place for a drink too, serving up ales, lagers, wines and spirits from around the UK to complement the food perfectly. If you fancy somewhere a little bit more ‘rough and ready’, Gibson’s at the top of Micklegate is well-renowned for its tasty cocktails and iconic rock soundtrack. Keep an eye out for Ambiente, too…a great little tapas place settled just within the Monkgate Bar Walls.
Where to go if you’re a Night Owl…
For a small-ish city, there’s something for everyone on a night out in York. If you like a night of chatting and trying new drinks then you’re in the right place. For ales, check out the York Tap and Pivni, both offering a wide array of beverages that you won’t find in your local. For cocktail-lovers, you could spend every weekend for the rest of the year in Evil Eye Lounge and still not have tried the full menu…don’t miss it, it’s hidden behind the street-view of its world beer and spirits shop.
For memories of white sandy beaches and the biggest chart hits of the year, stay around Swinegate, Stonegate and Grape Lane. Here you’ll find one summery cocktail bar after another, from Bora Bora to Bobo Lobo and a little visit to 1331 thrown in for good measure.
York’s shopping scene is gradually expanding outside of the city centre thanks to the likes of plazas such as McArthur Glen Designer Outlet and the brand new Vangarde Centre. However, there are still plenty of gems to be discovered in the centre that lots of people ignore.
For as long as I can remember, Silverado has been the place to go for great value, handmade jewellery…the ideal stocking filler. For window shopping, make sure you hit Stonegate – one of Europe’s oldest shopping streets and one of the most picturesque in York. From high brand homewares to luxury apparel, topped off with a stunning view of York Minster at the end of the street. And my new favourite shop, where you could easily lose hours discovering new and intriguing products is The Imaginuarium. A truly magical little place.
Get some top tips on what to do and where to go during the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire right here!
Hopefully you’re filled with new ideas for what to do on your next short break in York! I’d happily sit here and write for hours about where I’d go and what I’d do if I was visiting for the weekend, but the reality is that York is somewhere you could visit a couple of times a year and still discover something new. So…I’ll leave the rest of it up to you!