48 Hours in York by Girl About York

By Laura Shepherd – 23rd May 2020

A Weekend in York:

Few places can rival York for its character, culture and cocktails. York has always been a popular city break destination and offers some of the best places to stay, eat, shop and explore.

Where ancient and modern meet, York is a snapshot of British history in one city. A great place to visit all year round, you will definitely be kept busy for a full weekend here. Voted ‘Best Place to Live’ by the Sunday Times and landing the top spot in Cosmopolitan’s Best Place to Visit, York offers everything from Viking history to designer shopping.

Only two hours on the train from London and with more attractions per square mile than any other UK city, you will be charmed by York’s cobbled streets, cosy pubs and its ancient city walls.

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Friday Lunchtime in York:

As soon as you arrive in York you will probably want to ditch the bags and get checked in to your hotel for the weekend. Only a stone’s throw away from the train station and with impressive views of the city, I would recommend to book in at the Principal Hotel for at least a night’s stay. Comfortably mixing traditionality with modernity, they have a range of beautiful rooms and suites to suit your needs. With a newly refurbished hotel and recently creating 155 new bedrooms, you are guaranteed a night of luxury at The Principal. https://www.phcompany.com/principal/york-hotel/


Serving classic British dishes, The Refectory restaurant is the perfect place to unwind if you don’t fancy the walk into the city. Once checked-in, the York Museum Gardens are a great space to unwind after your journey. They are free to visit and are open every day. Set in the stunning surroundings of the medieval ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, it is the perfect place to enjoy in the heart of the city. https://www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk/


Friday Afternoon in York:

Start your weekend with York Minster and definitely a must-see during your time here. It is one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals and one of the largest in Europe. A beautiful gothic building crafted in stone and stained glass, follow in the footsteps of Roman soldiers through underground chambers transformed with audiovisual and interactive galleries to discover the stories and facts from the 1000-year history of this stunning building. https://yorkminster.org/

See the most beautiful sights of York as you climb 275 steps to the top of the Minster, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and over the city. Definitely a must for that perfect picture on your Instagram grid!

Once you have finished at the Minster, you should head down to The Shambles which is a very popular tourist destination. One of York’s most famous shopping streets and with buildings within touching distance of each other, the Shambles houses some lovely boutiques, quirky shops and cafés and is one of the most photographed streets in York. If you are a Harry Potter fan, it is believed that the Shambles was the inspiration behind Diagon Alley and has become a bit of a hotspot with fans. Make sure you check it out for making some amazing memories.


Friday Evening in York:

I would definitely recommend dining out at the Star Inn the City, or at least enjoy a drink and brunch out on their open plan oustide terrace, which is beautiful for its riverside setting. Positioned on the River Ouse and alongside Lendal Bridge it is the perfect location for food and drinks with your loved ones. Established by Chef Andrew Pern, who is also the Executive Chef at the Star Inn at Harome near Helmsley and the Star Inn the Harbour, in Whitby.  http://www.starinnthecity.co.uk/

Another one of my favourite places to dine is The Ivy, York  located on St Helen’s Square and we are fortunate enough to have one in York – it’s every bit as glam as London’s landmark restaurant and a real treat, especially if you’re with your girlfriends. If you want a sophisticated, yet cosy backdrop to your meal then only The Ivy will do. You can read my review here.


Saturday Morning in York:

Are you a chocolate lover? Head to York’s Chocolate Story and unwrap the history of chocolate in one of their 90-minute guided tours. Hear the delicious stories of York’s famous sweet making families – Terry’s, Craven’s and Rowntree’s and how they made York the UK’s home of chocolate. You even get to create your very own chocolate lolly and taste some of the chocolate along the way. You will learn a wide variety of fun facts around the creation of York’s greatest chocolate products from the Chocolate Orange to the Kit Kat. Located in the heart of York, it is entertaining and informative! https://www.yorkschocolatestory.com/

Saturday Lunchtime in York:

Over on Coppergate and one of York’s must-see attractions is the Jorvik Viking Centre. You will travel back in time to the Viking age – literally! Take a chairlift style ride on a journey through the reconstruction of Viking age streets and experience how life would have been in York in the 10th century. Discover what it was like to live in the city; the sights, the sounds – and even the smells as you travel back 1000 years. https://www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk/


Saturday Afternoon in York:

Within the city walls, York serves up some great spots for afternoon tea. Betty’s is always a treat and probably advisable to book to avoid the queues! Betty’s serve traditional afternoon tea all day every day, whereas their bookable afternoon tea offers a truly magical experience in a beautiful setting. Served in the Belmont Room in their beautiful York cafe, indulge in a selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes. For a special occasion, why not upgrade to the Champagne Afternoon Tea? Betty’s also serve some pretty irresistible treats in their bakery, so you will definitely have to have a look on your way out. I’d recommend trying one of their Fat Rascals! https://www.bettys.co.uk/

Saturday Evening in York:

Wine and dine at The Rise Restaurant in the cities only five star hotel, The Grand, York. You can expect modern British cuisine in a spacious and luxurious setting. Complete with an open kitchen and a heated garden terrace, The Rise is one of the best restaurants in York.


If you’re a fan of your cocktails, make sure you head to the Evil Eye Lounge over on Stonegate. With an impressive 1,028 different gins to choose from, this quirky bar has a Guinness World Record for the “Most Varieties of Gin Commercially Available”. You can also buy gifts to take home from their shop. https://www.evileyelounge.com/


Sunday Morning in York:

Named one of the “best breakfast places in the UK”, enjoy a leisurely morning at the Pig and Pastry on Bishopthorpe Road. With a fantastic choice of breakfast bowls, brunches and sandwiches to choose from, your breakfast will be made with high quality regional ingredients. Their breakfast offerings are packed full of excellent morning treats, from eggs benedict, a breakfast burger and their take on The B.A.F.T.A (Bacon, Avocado, Feta, Tomato and Aioli). Known as “Bishy Road”, this popular parade has a variety of independent shops and cafes and is definitely worth a visit! http://thepigandpastry.com/

Or if you would prefer something a bit closer to the centre, the Brew and Brownie on Museum Street https://www.brewandbrownie.co.uk/ would also be a fabulous choice. Also serving up delicious breakfasts with some of the best of Yorkshire’s produce, they offer a relaxing environment within a stylish and modern interior. They also have a Bake Shop a couple of doors down, where you can pick up a tasty treat for your journey home.

Before setting off on your journey, walk the city walls for the perfect end to your weekend in York. A fantastic and one of the most recognized attractions in York, they stretch 2.75 miles and provide amazing views over the city. If you are planning on walking the walls in their entirety, you will need to leave at least 2 hours in order to fulfil this. You can start wherever you wish and go in either direction. You will be able to see where you are on the trail on a map and even on your smartphone.

Have you visited York recently? Where would you recommend to sleep, eat and drink? Please share your stories, I would love to hear your thoughts!

5 amazing places to stay in York:


The Principal – https://www.phcompany.com/principal/york-hotel/

The Grand, York – https://www.thegrandyork.co.uk/

Gray’s Court – https://www.grayscourtyork.com/

The Grange Hotel – https://www.grangehotel.co.uk/

Middlethorpe Hall – https://www.middlethorpe.com/

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