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York Tourism And Travel Guide
12.8° C / 55° F
June to August
3 to 4 Days
York is most unlike any other city in Northern England with its medieval setting and an extraordinary past of historical and cultural heritage. A glorious circuit of walls from the 13th century and a primitive web of narrow lanes, York’s ancient past and traditional legacy can be witnessed in nearly every beam and brick of every structure in the city, despite its modern-day additions of myriad restaurants, cafes, museums or pubs.
Tourism in York’s popular for its ancient structures which include the York Minster, the city walls and a wide array of cultural and sporting activities. Situated on the River Ouse, amidst the center of the Vale of York, the city enjoys a significant position in Britain’s transport system. Having evolved from a river port, the city’s located at a confluence of River Foss and River Ouse and is surrounded by an outer ring road at all side, to a distance of approx. 3 miles from York’s center. Here’s a travel guide to help you find your way in York.
How to Reach
York is connected to both Leeds Bradford and the Manchester Airports. With close proximity to Leeds Bradford Airport, York has no direct flights coming in from India. From the metros of New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai & Hyderabad, there are about five flights with one stopover en route to York, averaging nearly 10-19 hours in flight. To get to York from Leeds, you can take a train from Leeds City Centre.
York’s been a chief railway hub since its establishment in 1839. One of the best ways to reach York from Leeds is by train, with nearly 4 trains companies operational 7 days a week on the route. There’s never a delay beyond 30 minutes in the frequency of trains on the Leeds-York route with the travel time of 20-40 minutes.
If you’re a fan of road trips, then you can make the journey to York on a bus, in a cab or driving down yourself. There are 3 buses operating on the Leeds-York route, with one leaving every half hour from the Leeds City Center Bus Station and arriving at the York, Mickelgate Station in less than 50 minutes. You can also hail a cab or use the rideshare platform to travel to York.
The street plan of this ancient city isn’t appropriate for its modern traffic, as a result of which many of its routes are labeled car-free during business hours, and instead 6 bus-based park & ride sites are operational. Easily accessible from the ring road, the urban placement of these sites allow visitors from out of town to travel into the city’s core by bus. Another way of getting around in York is on foot, given the compactness of the city, it’s fairly easy to cover all ends in under 20 minutes! You can also explore the ancient city on a bike, with its several cycle tracks.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The average temperature in York varies largely based on its humidity levels and temperatures making it cold for nearly 6 months of the year. Less temperate in comparison to other tourist destinations in the world, the city accounts for 26% of pleasant weather. With June-August being the warmest part of the year, July is the best time to visit York, followed by August and then June.
Humidity and temperature make March through May in York relatively cold with the average temperature fluctuating between 9.2°C and 18°C. The city experiences rainfall 4 to 6 days in a month, making the spring season the second in line to visiting York during the most opportune weather condition.
June through August witnesses a cool climate with temperatures relatively comfortable. Summers being the busiest for York, rainfall occurs 6 to 8 days in a month, making it the best time to visit this beautiful city.
Fall season sees average temperature oscillating between 8°C and 19°C, making the weather rather chilly. September through November sees rain or snowfall amounting to 5-7 days each month, hence slowing down any tourist activity.
The winter season in York is very cold with over 5-7 days of rain or snowfall per month. With an average temperature of 6°C, incoming tourist traffic is rare during December through February.
Things To Do
Cruising through the Ouse:
By far the best picturesque attraction in York, the River Ouse has some fascinating activities you can indulge in like riverside walks post lunch or river cruising, which will take you around to experience York’s architectural marvels that include the Clifford Tower, the Millennium Bridge and the Rowntree Park. An evening cruise at the river will treat you to an amazing view of the setting sun, ideal for quiet reflection and taking some breathtaking pictures!
One of the most popular entertainment venues in York is the Grand Opera House which offers a mix of live music programs, comedy events and musicals, perfect for an evening out. Refurbished at £4 million in the 1980s, the Grand Opera House is endearingly rich with period features.
York has an annual Eboracum Roman Festival when the Rome Legions return to invade the ancient city! An exciting event where you will experience the sound, the smells and sights of the Roman Eboracum for real at the York Museum Gardens, the festival attracts both locals and tourists alike in large numbers. Some of the highlights of the festival include a live history camp, an archeological zone, guided tours, street marches, lectures & more.
One of York’s oldest streets and quite a crowd puller, Fossgate is always busy with a series of bars, shops & independent cafes. The Fossgate Festival here celebrates York’s City life with a family-centric, inland styled street atmosphere and a colorful display of street stalls, games, local charities, live music events & bars that are open throughout the festival and beyond
Visit the finest racecourse at York with its award-winning showboats, manicured lawns, local flowers and distinctive buildings, set royally for the best of York’s race days. With over 17 days of races between May and October, York Racecourse conducts a world-class experience for visitors of all age groups. Besides the usual race activities, there are other featured events apt for families - fashion and musical shows.
Where To Eat
One of the best things to do in York is to enjoy the food here, whether it’s the bistros and a line of contemporary restaurants at Castlegate, burgeoning street food centers at York and Shambles markets, lunching at Walmgate or Fossgate, or experiencing the new food epicenter at Micklegate; there’s no dearth of places to visit and gorge to your heart’s content in York.
A restaurant that makes a big impact with its swish steel bar and chefs mastering in dishes inspired by Global cuisine, at Skosh you will find delicacies from the Middle East to Japan to the US with a wide variety to feast on. One of the most popular items on the menu is the buttermilk fried chicken with a sparkling hollandaise. If you like to be surprised, then visit the Le Cochon Aveugle, where there’s no menu, but with your dietary instructions, should you need to, the restaurant will serve up an impressive 4 to 8-course meal for you!
The El Piano is popular for its healthy food with its own range of herbs and ingredients sourced from within 30 miles of its placement. The menu is personalized and you can ask for your own combination of main course, fritters and side salads with reasonable portions, to enjoy at a Mediterranean themed courtyard. Operated by Chef Michael Hjort and his wife, Melton is a warm and welcoming restaurant that serves premium European cuisine and is York’s most popular restaurant. Another place to visit is an A grade II listed eatery, the Rattle Owl, which has been refurbished with glass ceilings and the ruins of a Roman street in the cellar with an aesthetic display of edible flowers, a unique concept, in addition to its famous Yorkshire east coast crab and asparagus.
A funky care with a wooden décor behind its traditional trellis window and impressive trays of beef briskets & pulled pork on the table, Source offers a menu of cornbread (American styled), fried chicken, nachos, lentil salads, risottos and Mediterranean halloumi.
Where To Shop
York has a unique experience to offer shopping enthusiasts with its web of meandering streets with gorgeous displays of designer stores, independent boutiques and a distinct shopping area with its own specialty. While Coney Street and Parliament Street have some of the best high-street shopping joints, Coppergate, Swingate and Stonegate have a blend of Georgian and Medieval stores. Gillygate and Petergate are renowned for independent shops off the beaten track while the Shambles Market has nearly 85 street stalls with a wide range of things to choose from.
Just a few minutes on the outskirts of York is McArthurGlen's Designer outlet, which is a crowd puller and home to over 120 high street brands and discounts up to 60%. Also based on the outskirts are the Vangarde Shopping Park & Monks Cross with luxury shopping and dining offerings.