About this project
I wrote a series of UK city guides for megabus via a content agency client. This one is for York...
Visit York with megabus
One of England’s best-preserved and best-loved cities, no trip to Yorkshire would be complete without a day or two exploring York. Compact enough to explore on foot – the easiest way to get around its maze of streets – York sure packs a lot into a small space. From historic landmarks to apparently haunted buildings and some of the best shopping in the north east, there’s plenty to love about the place, and York stands ready to welcome visitors to its wealth of attractions. Start planning your trip today, and get a bus to York with megabus.
Culture & Heritage
This is one area where York is hard to beat. The huge Gothic cathedral, York Minster, ranks no. 1 on the list of top attractions. The ticket price includes a guided tour of the building, and you can climb the Central Tower to enjoy the finest views of the city around. Other local sights you may want to add to your list are St Mary’s Abbey, found in the beautiful York Museum Gardens, and the popular York Castle Museum, which takes you back to the Victorian era, the First World War and the 1960s – a collection sure to fascinate those with a nostalgic love of modern cultural history.
A different take on the period can be found at York’s Cold War Bunker – book up for a guided tour on a chilling but fascinating subject. If stately homes are more your style, take a trip out of town to Castle Howard. Around 25 minutes from the city centre, in the stunning Howardian Hills, this magnificent house in 1000 acres of grounds is inspiring both inside and out.
So Many Free Things
As well as the paid attractions, there’s lots to see and do in York for precisely no pence at all. A great start is a meander around the Roman city walls. There’s 4.5 miles of them so this could keep you busy for a while, but even a shorter stroll will reward you with fine views and a sense of the city’s past – the gates at Walmgate Bar and Monk Bar are worth heading to, the latter being home to the Richard III Experience attraction. The medieval lanes of The Shambles, where precarious-looking houses dangle over narrow cobbled streets, are another must-see for visitors, and a picture-postcard example of York’s historic charm.
Even in the city centre, there’s no shortage of attractive green space to enjoy – next to York Library, you’ll find the Museum Gardens, while Dean’s Park and the much-loved Rowntree Park (down by the River Ouse) both make for idyllic spots to take time out.
Want more for free? York Art Gallery is bound to captivate with impressive collections from the 14th century to the present day, and don’t forget the National Railway Museum – the biggest of its kind in the UK, this trainspotter’s paradise is surprisingly ungeeky.
A Diverse Array of Attractions
Big numbers of visitors means a big range of attractions in York. Whatever you’re looking for, York is likely to be prepared.
Among the city’s big hitters is the Jorvik Centre, a recreation of York’s Viking past built around the discovered remains of a real Viking street, while Dig aims to give visitors a hands-on archeological insight into York’s past. If you prefer something more recent – and indulgent – York’s Chocolate Story tells the tale of the city’s confectionery making history.
Fancy seeing a Quilt Museum? York has one. At the other end of the scale, it also has the York Dungeon, a theatrical recreation of the city’s unseemly goings on back in the day. In addition, you won’t need to go far before finding an actor-led tour of York’s allegedly haunted hotspots.
For something a little less dramatic, numerous walking tours (some of them free), will show you the city’s sights. Alternatively, take a cruise down the Ouse on a Yorkboat. Guided cycle tours can also be arranged, and you don’t need to bring your own.
If you don’t fancy climbing the tower at York Minster, you can get just as impressive panoramic views from Clifford’s Tower – the oldest remnant of York Castle – at a considerably lower price.
A Shopping Paradise
There’s not much you won’t find to buy in York – big name stores flock here, but the city is also home to a plethora of boutiques and speciality retailers. Explore the snickelways – as the narrow lanes around town are known – for must-have finds in fashion, homeware, toys, books and much more.
When you’ve pottered around the likes of Gillygate, Goodramgate and even Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, you could head for more familiar shopping territory at the Coppergate Shopping Centre or to the city outskirts for the York Designer Outlet, where more than 100 top brands are on offer at knock-down prices.
Once you’re back in town, it would be a shame not to experience the wonders of the Shambles Market, where local produce and arts and crafts sit side by side with exotic fashions and delicacies, whilst York’s street musicians provide the soundtrack.
The city centre is largely pedestrianised, and can get crowded during summer, especially at weekends. However, York is particularly charming during the winter, when chilly dark evenings and Christmas markets add a real festive atmosphere.
Food for Thought
It’s no surprise that York is packed with traditional, friendly venues to enjoy a meal and a drink. Inns like Ye Olde Starre and The Black Swan date back centuries, while Gibson’s on Micklegate is just one city centre pub rated for good value food and cocktails.
Elsewhere, dining options range from bright and bold Tex-Mex at Fiesta Latina to old-school afternoon tea at the iconic Bettys, and the wonderfully named House of Trembling Madness supplements a vast choice of world beers with hearty pies, stews and platters to share.
There’s no need to rely on the ubiquitous coffee chains when the Perky Peacock offers fine drinks and homemade snacks in a wonderful riverside location under Lendal Bridge, while vegans and vegetarians might like to check out the Mediterranean-themed delights of El Piano or irresistible sweets and savouries at Goji… even life-long meat-eaters could be converted.
A Buzzing Nightlife
York isn’t renowned as a club capital, but you’ll still find several around the often lively Micklegate area, and the more subdued Swinegate. It’s just 10 minutes’ walk between the two should you fancy a change of pace. The Basement on Coney Street offers eclectic live entertainment including comedy, music and cabaret, and is definitely worth checking out in advance, while film lovers will want to stop off at City Screen at the same address, home of arthouse screenings by the riverside.
Traditional theatre can be found at the Grand Opera House, which lines up TV comedians, touring productions and musical nostalgia on Cumberland Street, moments away from many of the city’s top attractions, while the York Barbican does likewise a short walk away.
You might be happiest simply pitching up at one of York’s numerous pubs – it’s said there is one for every day of the year, and you shouldn’t have trouble finding one serving up locally brewed ales and a no-nonsenseYorkshire attitude… classic ‘old man’ pubs will beat the bland chain bars every time.
Get a Bus to York with megabus
With all this right in the heart of the UK, isn’t it time you discovered York? Book a bus to York with megabus today by using the search and buy tool, or call us on the phone, and get your trip started.