York may have a reputation as a stag and hen do destination, and while yes, you will see single-sex packs of costume-cladded people roaming about the place, the city has far more to offer than just pre-wedding booze-ups.

Sprawling across the River Ouse, with Georgean townhouses and more pubs than you could possibly consider visiting, this former Viking bolthole of the North is a gleaming pearl of a city that has the balance between cosmopolitan living and bucolic charm just right.

The Resident: Straddling the banks of the Ouse, York strikes a great balance between city life and bucolic charmStraddling the banks of the Ouse, York strikes a great balance between city life and bucolic charm (Image: visityork.org)

Only two hours from King’s Cross, York is easily reached for a weekend break. Spring and summer time travellers will be rewarded with days spent strolling through picturesque verdant green spaces, sunny park hangs and beer garden pit stops in between taking in the sights, before dinner at the top-notch restaurant of your choice and hitting a bar or two for a nightcap.

Discover York’s loveliness for yourself with The Resident’s pick of what to do when paying this very likable city a visit.

The Resident: Get your bearings while walking York's medieval wallsGet your bearings while walking York's medieval walls (Image: visityork.org)


Things to do

Walk the city walls

These medieval walls that once enclosed York now encircle the city centre and are a novel way to discover the city and get your bearings. Although it is segmented, finding your way to the next section offers many interesting detours into the local neighbourhood. If you pass The Pheonix Inn, a compact 18th century pub in the shadow of one part of the wall, its well worth detour into here.

Website: visityork.org


York Minster

Whether you just bask in the York Minster’s glory on the outside, or stroll inside to soak up its full magnificence, the 7th century cathedral is very impressive – its panels of medieval stained glass are awe-inspiring. More than 1,300 years-old and still a working place of worship, the Minster’s history dates back even further to the birth of modern Christianity in Roman times as it is built on the site of an important Roman Basilica.

Address: Deangate, York YO1 7HH

Website: yorkminster.org


York Art Gallery

A small art gallery with swagger, you’ll spot works by L.S. Lowry, Paul Nash, David Hockney and Ben Nicholson here. the York Art Gallery is also home to the Centre of Ceramic Art, which is home to one of the UK’s most significant collections of twentieth century ceramics. When you’re done here, pop over to the Castle Museum and the Museum Gardens.

Address: Exhibition Square, York YO1 7EW

Website: yorkartgallery.org.uk

The Resident: The dramatic York Minster is as striking on the inside as it is on the outsideThe dramatic York Minster is as striking on the inside as it is on the outside (Image: visityork.org)


Places to eat & drink

2 Many Wines

A little way out of the town centre and away from the tourist riff raff, 2 Many Wines forms part of a compact strip of bars and shops that are well worth the walk to discover. Hip and with laid back indie vibes, wines can be tried by the glass or the bottle.  If you fancy one more drink, head across the road to The Angel on the Green, a pubby-bar serving casually hip vibes and DJ spun tunes.

Address: 3 Bishopthorpe Road, York YO23 1NA

Website: instagram.com


The Fat Badger

This pub’s leafy and inviting courtyard beer garden is an ideal place for an afternoon pit stop. With views of the Minster and filled with locals catching up over a meal or some drinks, it comes with a hefty dose of York charm. On a sunny day, it can fill up pretty quickly, so get in early to nab the best spot.

Address: 2-4 High Petergate, York YO1 7EH

Website: thefatbadgeryork.com


The Orchid

A fully plant-based pan Asian restaurant, meat is not missed at this welcomed addition to York’s foodie scene, which opened in 2020. Good quality meat substitutes - some come gluten free – replace beef, chicken, pork and seafood in classic dishes such as lemon chicken, tom yum soup and shredded duck pancakes.

Address: 16 George Hudson Street, York YO1 6LP

Website: orchidvegan.com

The Resident: Dining inside or alfresco, you're spoilt for dining and drinking options in YorkDining inside or alfresco, you're spoilt for dining and drinking options in York (Image: visityork.org)

Where to shop

The Little Apple Bookshop

Independent bookshops are always a treat to peruse, and this one is a particularly good one. Running for 26 years, it has as great selection of latest releases including popular and lesser-known titles, as well as a kids section even adults will find hard to leave. There’s also a choice range of things that aren’t books, but somehow connected.

Address: 13 High Petergate, York YO1 7EN

Website: littleapplebookshop.co.uk


Shambles Market

For those who like to have a look around at nothing in particular but everything all at once, Shambles Market is great for a look-see. Fresh produce, local crafts, clothing and gifts as well as plants and a little bit of tourist tat, it’s the kind of market where you’ll walk away with something you never knew you needed but now really glad you own. Pubs, bakeries and places to eat enclose the market as well.

Address: 5 Silver Street, York YO1 8RY

The Resident: No. 1 York by Guesthouse is just a 10 minute stroll from the mighty York MinsterNo. 1 York by Guesthouse is just a 10 minute stroll from the mighty York Minster (Image: No. 1 York by Guesthouse)


Where to stay in York

No.1 York by Guesthouse

A smart boutique hotel with the warmth and feel of a hotel, No. 1 York by Guesthouse is just a short stroll away from York Minster and housed in a handsome, Grade-II listed Georgian townhouse.

With only 38 rooms, a stay here is homely and personal. Cosy rooms are light and airy and styled out with a timeless yet modern flair. The beds are comfy and the bath is deep, and some rooms with French windows that open up onto a private Juliette balcony for added appeal.

The Resident: Rooms come with little details and finishes to help you relax Rooms come with little details and finishes to help you relax (Image: No. 1 York by Guesthouse)

Rooms have been designed with relaxation in mind, and there are plenty of aides to help you unwind - the small comforts in life have not been overlooked.

Find a selection of vinyl (find more at reception), a record player, radio and the charming Georgian dolls house containing the espresso machine and tea in the bedroom, and relaxation bath salts and oils waiting for you on the bed.

The hotel’s complimentary self-service pantry filled with fruit, crisps and sweeties makes for perfect sight-seeing supplies, while the hotel’s train station bag collection service means you can meander through the city unencumbered as soon as you arrive.

The Resident: The boutique hotel comes with the feel and warmth of a BnBThe boutique hotel comes with the feel and warmth of a BnB (Image: visityork.org)

The hotel’s restaurant Pearly Cow is busy with guests and diners alike. While premium UK meat and fish are the modern British menu’s stars, the kitchen also prepares perhaps one of the best vegetarian Wellingtons around.

The restaurant’s wholesome breakfast spread has heft and comes with just-brewed coffee, yoghurt jars, smoothies, fresh juice and a selection of pastries as well as a hot dish ordered a la carte.

The Resident: Find the tranquil spa in the building's original cellarsFind the tranquil spa in the building's original cellars (Image: No. 1 York by Guesthouse)

For a nurturing yet indulgent treat, the hotel’s spa is a tranquil place and a calming note to start or end your break on. Found in the buildings’ original arched cellars, the spa uses Soil Association-approved products made with natures’ fragrances and nourishment for all facials, massages and treatments which will send you into dreamy, relaxed lull within minutes.

Address: 1 Clifton, York YO30 6AA

Website: guesthousehotels.co.uk