Explore Old York on a city break

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Discover more than 2,000 years of rich history and culture on a city break to York. From cultural sights to historic attractions, York is packed with a diverse mix of wonders; between Georgian mansions, Viking settlements, Gothic masterpieces and Roman walls, there’s plenty to discover as you explore along the cobbled streets. 

From a luxury long weekend to short budget holiday, a city break in York is an excellent way to explore and get a feel for what a city is all about. The small city is easily explored on foot and in a few days you can sample the best of its bars and restaurants, shops, world-class museums, stunning architecture and unique points of interest.

Things to see and do 

The walled city of York has one of the most unique histories of anywhere in Britain; in the course of its existence its been ravaged by Vikings, invaded by Saxons, attacked by Scottish armies and been a powerhouse of middle age Christianity. Today you can find remnants of each period in its history as well as beautiful gardens, waterside hideaways and modern luxuries.

If you’re planning a weekend away to explore the area, start your planning at Visit York – the website has plenty of useful information about things to see and do. From the website you can also purchase a York Pass, which entitles you to discounted entry to some of the city’s most popular attractions. For further inspiration, Visit Britain  has also put together a detailed travel guide of all the best attractions, restaurants, and places to stay in York. While you’re there, don’t miss:

  • JORVIK Viking Centre – This interactive Viking museum is as much an attraction as it is a piece of history. More than 30 years ago archaeologists excavated the site and uncovered more than 40,000 artefacts which served as the inspiration for this imaginative museum. Inside you can see the layout of a Viking village and learn more about what its residents would have got up to more than 1000 years ago.
  • York Minster – York Minster is one to marvel at even before you step inside what’s knows as one of northern Europe’s largest gothic cathedrals. The site was first used in 637 AD, and inside you can see stunning works of stained glass art, explore the famous underground chambers, attend a mass or climb the Central Tower and enjoy panoramic views from the top.
  • Clifford’s Tower – Built by William the Conqueror to guard against rebels of the north, the medieval fortress was twice burned down before being rebuilt in its current form by Henry III in the 13th century and in its time has served as both a prison and a royal mint.
  • National Rail Museum – This award-winning attraction is a favourite of all ages and offers free admission to visitors. Inside you can discover more than 200 years of railway history, see engineers and work and come up close to life-size models and replicas of famous trains through the ages.
  • Betty’s Tearoom – An institution in York for nearly 100 years, this family business is a great place to enjoy a famous Afternoon Tea or stock up on local Yorkshire favourites. Visit and see why it regularly has line ups out the door.

Booking your adventure 

You can book your stay in York online before you leave and take advantage of great deals and promotions through popular travel websites. Late Rooms and lastminute.com make it easy to compare hotel rooms by price and location as you begin your search. For more tailored recommendations, the Telegraph has also put together a York travel guide with suggestions for some of the best hotels in the area.

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