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8 Reasons to Visit York, England

Until recently, I’ve never had any real inclination to explore more of Britain, always preferring to jet off overseas. However, I’ve been exposed to more and more of this wonderful island through other people’s adventures on Instagram and stories from new friends who have lived and studied all over the country. I’m now filled with a sudden urge to explore as much of Great Britain that I can, bumping British cities up my bucket list alongside those that lie overseas. 

That’s why I was super excited when I was invited to participate in a campaign with Visit York, offering me the opportunity to come and visit this Northern city. On Friday, I’ll be hopping on a train to York for three day weekend with Visit York and I couldn’t be more excited.

Obviously I’ve been researching and pinning lots of inspiration for what to do, places to eat and things to see. I’ve discovered so many wonderful and quirky things about this city and I can’t wait for my visit. I get the impression that most people wouldn’t rank York particularly highly on their list of top places to visit, which is a crying shame! So let me tell you about some of the highlights York has to offer and the places to visit in York that have got me so excited:

The Food

One of my friends studied at York University for three years and being a massive foodie he’s eaten at just about every restaurant and food stall in York. He’s sending me a huge list of places to eat in York to cover every single meal whilst I’m there and I’m so hyped!

York is a great place to go for afternoon tea and is home to Visit England’s best afternoon tea experience. You can have tea onboard the dining car in the Countess of York at the National Railway Museum, which is a decadent location for a special afternoon tea.

One of the top places to visit in York, as recommended by anyone who’s ever visited York, is Betty’s Tea Room. They’ve been serving afternoon tea since the 1920s so it’s safe to say they know a little something about it. Here you’ll find a traditional and delicious selection of goodies from scones to macarons. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Of course I’ll also be on the hunt for the best Yorkshire pudding in York, rumoured to be found at Walmgate Ale House. This is a listed building dating back to the seventeenth century so there’s lots of history to the place too!

Find out more about Betty’s Tea Room here.
Find out more about The Countess of York here.
Find out more about Walmgate Ale House here.

The Shopping

There’s a diverse range of places to shop in York from designer outlets at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York to The Shambles. York Designer Outlet houses over 120 designer and luxury brands offering up to 60% off all year round! I haven’t been shopping properly in so long and I can’t wait to see what deals are on at shops from The Body Shop to Mulberry.

The thing I’m probably most excited about on this list, however, is The Shambles. As you all know, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and The Shambles inspired a special wizarding shopping street: Diagon Alley. I can’t wait to wander through these little stores of different shapes and colours, pretending to be shopping for my first day at Hogwarts!

Find out more about York Designer Outlet here.
Find out more about The Shambles here.

The History

York is a city with a rich history dating back thousands of years. The city walls are the longest medieval town walls in England and it’s a great idea to go on a walking tour around the city to appreciate these. You can also turn back time and step into the Viking Age at JORVIK, York’s Viking Centre, and one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Find out more about York city walls here.
Find out more about JORVIK Viking Centre here.

The Museums

York is home to numerous world famous museums, including the world’s largest railway museum. Here you can explore numerous impressive locomotives and vehicles including: a ‘Palace on Wheels’, Queen Victoria’s favourite carriage, ‘Mallard’, the world’s fastest steam locomotive and even a Japanese bullet train.

You can also explore York’s Chocolate Story, a museum dedicated to the history of chocolate in York. Did you know that Terry’s, Rowntree’s and Craven’s were all born in York? 

Of course there’s also York Castle Museum where you can explore the old York prison as numerous modern exhibitions about toys, dress codes and more. 

Find out more about the National Railway Museum in York here.

Find out more about York’s Chocolate Story here.

Find out more about York Castle Museum here.

The Architecture

York Minster is the tallest and most impressive building in the city, boasting the largest expanse of stained glass in the UK. It is one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals and has been around since the 7th century!

Another impressive building is Castle Howard, one of Britain’s finest stately homes. It’s well worth making a day trip from York to visit this site as it is a popular filming location. Classic British television series and films including Brideshead Revisited and ITV’s Victoria were filmed at Castle Howard.

Find out more about York Minster here.
Find out more about Castle Howard here.

The Literature

The Yorkshire Moors, a two hour train ride from the city centre, have been the setting for numerous infamous works of English literature. From Jane Eyre to The Secret Garden, countless famous works have been inspired by this expanse of beautiful, and haunting, Moors. Top of my list of things to do in the Yorkshire Moors is visit Whitby Abbey, which was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula!

Find out more about Whitby Abbey here.

The Thrills

Thrills? In York? It might not match up with your idea of this quaint English city but did you know York was actually named the most haunted town in Europe in 2002? As such, you’ll find loads of ghost tours and The York Dungeon, which are just some highlights of the city. If you’re interested in witches and magic then Barley Hall has a wonderful exhibition about the history of magic in the area too. 

Find out more about The York Dungeon here.

The Scenery

One of the best ways to appreciate the magnificent scenery in York is to take a cruise down the Ouse with City Cruises York. The Ouse is the longest river to flow in one county and you can sit back and relax whilst you’re taken through the whole city.

Find out more about City Cruises York.

I hope I’ve inspired you to add York to your bucket list! However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to places to visit in York. For more information on the amazing events and festivals going on this year, check out this video from Visit York:

*This post was written in collaboration with Visit York. All photographs used belong to Visit York. However, the excitement is all mine!

If you liked this post, check out these:

48 Hours in York: Things to Do and What to Eat
Guide to Harry Potter in York
10 Things to Know About Visiting the Sky Garden
10 Things to Do Near the Sky Garden
Sheep on Sheep Street Hotel Review

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