Founded at the confluence of the rivers Foss and Ouse, with an eclectic mix of Georgian, Medieval and Victorian characteristics, the wonderful walled city of York, with winding quaint, narrow streets and snickleways, has been perfectly preserved making it a picturesque location which combines historical heritage with sophisticated, contemporary amenities.
Known as Eoforwick to the Saxons, Eboracum to the Romans and then invaded by the Vikings who coined the name Jorvik, York is a city steeped in history and charm, an architectural Aladdin’s cave of all things historic, but is an ever-evolving city which offers a range of exciting events, activities, museums and restaurants.
Travelling by rail to York could not be easier and the station is less than a 5-10 minute walk into the heart of all the historic action. Perhaps you already have an organised itinerary, or maybe decided on a spontaneous trip away, either way, if you have already pre-purchased your yellow York passes then you are good to go, if not just pop over to the Visit York office and the fabulous friendly team will get you on your way to exploring York.
The York Pass offers you a choice of free entry to over 30 York tours and attractions. You can buy a one, two or three-day pass, making your York Adventure fuss free, fun and cost effective. During our visit, we used the pass for JORVIK Viking centre, York Castle Museum, Clifford’s Tower, York City Cruises, York Minster and York chocolate Story.
Transported back in time, during our visit, the city was hosting the Viking festival which sees a range of exciting events taking place throughout the city, such as re-enactments, along with an array of colourful characters dressed in attire befitting of York’s historical past.
JORVIK Viking centre is now a super state of the art attraction, located on the site of the original 1976 dig, providing an interesting, imaginative and immersive experience.
Begin your journey at the epi-centre of the Coppergate dig, that unearthed and evidenced key historical moments within this bustling trading hub, such as the Viking invasion in 866AD and the Norman Conquest of 1066AD. Exciting excavations revealed a well-preserved Viking village, where over 15000 objects were recovered, including an Anglo-Saxon helmet which resides in the York Castle Museum.
Step into the shoes of the inhabitants of 10th-century York and prepare to experience the sounds, sights and smells – yes smells of the Viking-Age. With the latest in state of the art animatronics, their new ride, places you at the centre of the action using touch screen technology and interaction for you to re-discover and re-live life like a Viking. Listen out for Old Norse, Old English and even ancient Arabic and let the 22 characters, authentically presented, guide and educate you about the York way of life in the Viking ages.
Dr Kirk lived in an industrial era of change, with the introduction of steam travel, motor travel, historical traditions and ways of life could easily have just been forgotten.
Dr Kirk began collecting key artefacts and in 1935 he agreed to give his private collection to the City of York and on St Georges day 23rd April 1938 the Museum was officially opened.
Kirk remained personally invested in the museum, importantly wanting his historic objects to be displayed in their original context, as a way of transporting people back in time. His legacy lives on within the museum, by adopting Kirks approach, it has enabled visitors to authentically experience York’s past way of working and living.
Incredible displays and exhibits, that include perfectly preserved artefacts, which take you through the eras including; Kirkgate, The Victorian Street, York’s sweet historic past, 1914 when the World Changed forever, Shaping the body, The Sixties, Toy Stories and York Castle Prison. Museum staff such as the delightful Denise, are on hand to help you delve into the detail and explore the exhibits to the full.
This year also marks the 80th Anniversary of the museum where you have a chance to make your mark on history, that could see an object you provide, being on display within the museum.
Who is the king of the Castle? Well, make the climb up the steep steps to the top of the ancient mound to find out. Built by William the Conqueror in the reign of Henry II, York Castle has once been a royal mint and a prison in years past. Famous prisoners included highwayman Dick Turpin, who used the alias “Palmer”, before is execution on 7th April 1739. Also, in 1665, the Quakers founder George Fox, spent two nights imprisoned here.
Feel the bold brilliance of battle, stand where castle guards once stood looking out for enemies, by taking the self-guided wall walk tour which offers panoramic views across York with a fabulous view of the marvellous Minster and on a clear day you can see as far as the York Moors.
On the other side, there is a great vantage point to take a snap of the “Eye of York” which includes the female prison, Debtors’ prison and the Assize courts.
The two prison buildings now house the Castle museums exciting exhibits and collections. The courtyard Castle hub is the central point to begin your exciting adventure.
We boarded at the King’s Staith landing location, for a cruise down the river Ouse, with York city Cruises.
Opting to take a seat on the top deck, our Captain’s commentary entertained and educated us, about York’s famous floods, the Millennium bridge, the Clifton Bridge and much more.
Also, if things get chilly either bundle up or head down to the lower covered deck for warmth and perhaps some refreshments from the bar.
Our trip was actioned packed, highlights included seeing the York University rowing team in training and an authentic traditional Viking ship.
An iconic York landmark, the York Minster Cathedral with its Gothic architecture, is a breath-taking sight and the beating heart of York.
Marvel in the Minsters magnificence, a sanctuary of worship, a place of calm, peace and tranquillity.
However, more turbulent times at the Minster, have nearly seen the building burnt down, deliberately in 1829 by Jonathan Martin and the mysterious fire of 1984, where there was possibly a fault or a deliberate act of arson, to this day the outcome is still inconclusive.
Meticulously restored, the Minster basks in all its glory, where visitors can view key highlights including the nave, medieval stained glass, the under croft, chapter house, memorials, the kings screen and the central tower.
Seeking solitude, time to reflect or a moment of prayer, the Minster provides perfect places to pray, reflect and light a candle in memory of others.
Entertaining, educational and engaging, the exhibit enables you to embrace your inner child and get creatively chocolatey at York’s Chocolate story. Discover the origins of chocolate from cacao bean to bite and explore how York’s industrial and chocolatey historic past intertwines and evolves, with the likes of big name brands Rowntree’s and Terry’s.
Thomas our fabulous fun guide, along with historical characters from the past, brought chocolate to life with the addition of some chocolatey samples to keep things sweet.
Prepare to mix things up in the kitchen, as you get to make your own chocolate lollipop, with sprinkles and toppings galore let your imagination run wild and create your own piece of chocolate history.
Watch the experts demonstrate how it should be done, and enjoy their results – exquisite handmade chocolate loveliness.
Where to Eat
A York institution, a visit to Betty’s famous tea rooms on St Helen’s square is a must. First served in the 1920’s Betty’s have refined and evolved their exquisite Afternoon tea experience.
Lavish in the Lady Betty Afternoon tea served in the tranquil setting of the Belmont room, with interiors inspired by the Queen Mary Ocean liner, and a perfect pianist playing, you would be mistaken for stepping back in time to a bygone era of elegance and opulence.
Delightful, delicious and dainty offerings included an amazing pea, cucumber & tomato cocktail appetiser, the sensational savouries, range of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream & jam. lovely pretty pastries all perfectly presented.
Streamlined service, employees that excelled and the tastiest of offerings, book Betty’s for an unforgettable experience.
Experience the grandeur of the Grand and enjoy their signature five-star Afternoon tea served in the relaxed Rise restaurant & bar.
Let staff attend to your needs, as you catch up with friends, family & loved ones, over fabulous finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and lovely pastries & sweet treats.
Add on a glass of the fizzy stuff or a handcrafted mocktail to make your Afternoon tea super special.
Escape the hustle & bustle of York’s St Helen’s square and lavish in some lovely lunchies Italian style at Carluccio’s which was once home to the iconic Terrys chocolate shop.
Interiors mix traditional and contemporary styles and combined with the fabulous food offerings, you can grab your own slice of the dolce vita lifestyle.
The bright lights of York led me to brilliant Bill’s which offers a delicious and delightful dining experience with genuine and authentic service, home cooked food, and smiles are plentiful.
The place oozes charm with the rustic and shabby chic interiors eclectically, but tastefully mixed to create a homely relaxed feel.
The marvellous mocktails along with sensational seasonal dishes makes for a perfect dinner with friends, family or loved ones.
With its opulent and ornate Edwardian décor the Grand Opera House York, located in the centre of York, is a real gem.
Headlining that weekend was David Walliams’ Awful Auntie, an eccentric, exciting, engaging and entertaining live performance where a young girl named Stella visits London with her parents Lord and Lady Saxby, only to be in grave danger.
A creative cast that charmed and captured the audience, an imaginative, innovative and intoxicating script, and a giant owl, what more could you want from an evening out! A personal escape back to childhood, which was simply frightfully funny and fabulous.
An exciting, electric and engaging experience in the centre of York, escape room brand “canyouescape” provide you the opportunity to become a super hero legend in their new game Operation Hero.
Our game master James the Flush prepared us for battle to use our skill, strength of mind and inner super hero powers to complete our mission, save force four and grab our slice or victory.
Unlock your imagination, with escape room brand, GR8Escape in the centre of York. Do you want your very own NYPD badge and a place on the New York Police Department Force?
Well, there is only one block in your way, master diamond thief Bugsy Bronxton! Alleged to have stolen the famous Manhattan Star Diamond its up to you to find it. Issued with a rookie warrant use your detective skills to solve clues and puzzles to find the Diamond, before your one-hour countdown hits zero
Where to Stay:
Located within walking distance from York train station and a short walk to York’s major attractions and activities Premier Inn York North on blossom Street is a perfect place for families, couples and friends to stay while playing in York.
Relaxed environment, offering modern rooms with all the mod cons required to make your stay cosy and comfortable, the Premier Inn North was a homely hub and ideal for city sightseeing & exploring.
How to get to York:
By car – York is situated only 20 minutes from the M1/M62 motorway network. Frequent Park and Ride bus services operate into the city centre.
By train – York is on the East Coast mainline. It takes less than two hours to get to York from London. York is served by East Coast and Grand Central Trains. National Rail enquiries call 08457 48 49 50 (in the UK) or +44 (0) 20 7278 5240 (overseas) or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
Virgin Trains East Coast runs fast, frequent train services from stations along the London-Scotland East Coast route. VTEC operates 72 weekday services between London King’s Cross and York, including a non-stop service each hour through the day, taking as little as 1 hour 49 minutes to complete the journey. VTEC also has direct trains to York from Scotland, North East England and the East Midlands. York Station is a short walk from the city centre. Visit www.virgintrainseastcoast.com
Grand Central runs train services between the North East of England and London, calling at Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London. For information/reservations: call 0345 603 4852 or visit www.grandcentralrail.com
By coach – If you are travelling by coach, you will be able to get a direct service to York from many UK cities. National Express coach services call 08717 81 81 81 or visit www.nationalexpress.com
Car Hire –
Europcar – call 0871 384 1087 or visit www.europcar.co.uk
Sovereign Chauffeur Company – call 01937 541881 or visit www.sovereign-chauffeur.co.uk
By Air – York is served by three key international airports: Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Doncaster with superb routes across Europe and the rest of the world. A direct rail service operates from Manchester Airport into York. Leeds Bradford Airport: take a taxi to Horsforth, then direct train to York (1 hour).
By Ferry – Hull is the nearest ferry port served by P&O Ferries with daily overnight crossings from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge (www.poferries.com).
For any further information and your free guide to York, please contact: York Visitor Information Centre, Tel: 01904 550099, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.visityork.org email@example.com or visit www.yorkpass.com
Easy to get to, exciting attractions, activities, tours, excellent eateries, have your own York Adventure and, Make York your Destination for 2018.
Thank you for reading 😊