With a wealth of ancient history, an array of medieval architecture, and oodles of culture, York's a big glistening jewel in Northern England's crown. Brimming with performers juggling multi-coloured balls and artists expertly putting pencil to paper, the city's web of quaint cobbled streets are always bustling with an energy that will sweep you along. The well-preserved 13th Century walls wrap themselves around the city, and looming large in the center of things is the gothic splendour of York Minster. The many museums, galleries, and brassieres give the city a modern edge.
Things to see
One of the world's most celebrated cathedrals, York Minister is a treasure trove of Roman relics, Saxon silver, and Chinese silks. Its gothic exterior can be seen from all around the city, and visitors flock to this place of worship to marvel at its magnificent stained glass, weathered stone façade, and awe-inspiring architecture. A tour of its underground chambers fills you in on its 2,000 year history, while the futuristic Orb installation allows you to get up close to preserved painted glass panels taken from the Great East Window. Built on the site of one of the most important archeological finds in recent times, the Jorvik Viking Centre is a fascinating museum that re-creates the sights, sounds, and smells of the daily life of 10th Century York. There are 1,000 year-old timber houses, excavated relics and preserved privies to explore as well as interactive displays and re-enactments to enjoy. Actor-led shows can be had in the dark and dingy York Dungeon, while the National Railway Museum tells the story of Britain's rail transport.
Hotels in York
Like any big city, York's got its fair share of hotels and offers everything from contemporary complexes to historic townhouse hotels. There are the big major chain names here offering indoor pools, 24-hour room service, and swanky restaurants as well a budget chain hotels catering well to family stays, groups of friends and couples, and offering convenient amenities like WiFi and tea and coffee making facilities. Outside of the city center, there are country mansion hotels set in lush landscaped grounds too.
Where to stay
If you want to stay in the very heart of this historic city, a hotel within the city walls will make an ideal base. This area is pedestrianized between 8am and 4pm making it handy for families who want to potter around without having to negotiate traffic. You'll also find most of York's sites are within easy walking distance from here too. If your budget won't stretch to a stay in the Old City, outside of the city walls you'll find plenty of hotels that make convenient bases (York's pretty compact) or you could head to the surrounding countryside and book a York hotel that sits on the outskirts.
How to get to
The closest airport to York is Leeds Bradford which is located around 31 miles from the city center. There's no direct public transport link but you can catch a local bus to Leeds' main bus station and then another bus to York. If you're arriving from abroad, you may find one of the London airports, or even Manchester Airport, more convenient as all have a much wider choice of airlines and services. York Station, an attraction in itself thanks to its Victorian grandeur, is a main transport hub in the UK and offers regular services to locations all over the UK. If you plan to drive to the city, make sure you book a hotel in York that has a car park (especially important if you're planning a stay in the very heart of the city) as parking can be difficult and expensive.