With its labyrinth of rambling cobblestone streets, ancient stone-brick houses and a city center encircled by defense walls dating back to the 13th century; few places in England so perfectly embody the word ‘quaint’, as the northern city of York.
With a sizable chunk of its center pedestrianized, York is a city best explored on foot, where you can soak up the centuries old ambiance of the historic streets, traditional pubs and renowned northern hospitality. First stop has to be the York Minster Cathedral, an awe-inspiring feat of Gothic architecture that presides over the city skyline. The exquisite building dates back to the 8th century and one of the largest and most renowned in the entire country. Next, take a trip back to the city’s medieval times with a visit to the Clifford’s Tower, the remnants of William the Conqueror’s York Castle, which offers the best panoramic views in city.
The city’s rich history is brought to life in some of the country’s finest museums. Delve into the city’s Viking roots at the Jorvik Viking Centre; marvel over Roman remains at the Yorkshire Museum or experience England’s love affair with the locomotive at the fascinating National Railway Museum. Best of all is the York Castle Museum, next door to the Clifford’s Tower, where entire streets from the Victorian and Edwardian eras have been recreated.
For all its historic heritage, you’d be forgiven for writing York off as a mere town of museums, but the city’s real charm is its ability to effortlessly blend the old and the new. A maze of shops, world-class restaurants and trendy bars hide out beneath the ancient façades of the town center, and after hours the cobblestones are flashing with neon. With a sizable student population (most of which are attending the famous York University), the city’s nightlife is vibrant and varied, with dance clubs, live music venues and prestigious concert halls offering a myriad of after-hours options.