I found out today that York has been voted the best small city by Rough Guides readers, which is fantastic news for our York hotels – woohoo!
Obviously living in York I already knew this, but for those of you who disagree tell me in the comments why your town or city should win next year. In the meantime here are 7 reasons why York has been crowned with the title this year!
1. York Minster
Probably one of the most iconic buildings in York and one of the great Cathedrals of the world, York Minster is a must see while you are visiting. From free guided tours and an up close and personal peek at medieval stained glass restoration to hidden minster tours you really could spend ages locked up inside this magnificent Cathedral, but don’t because there’s plenty more to see!
2. The Shambles
If it’s living history you want, then head down to the oldest street in York – The Shambles. Back in the 1800’s this narrow cobbled street was lined with butchers shops selling their produce from the wide window ledges that you can still see today. I must admit I think you will appreciate the Shambles a lot more today than you would have back then as domestic waste was thrown out of the windows above and left to stagnate in the street below (they obviously weren’t up on their health and safety back then!). A visit to the Shambles is full of amazing historical architecture and some fantastic boutique shops, so go and have a look.
3. National Railway Museum
York’s National Railway Museum is the largest railway museum in the world and is absolutely free to visit, which is a right treat in this day and age! You can take a look around train carriages old and new, find out how a steam engine works and even keep the kids entertained in the outdoor play area. And, if you visit on a weekend you can catch the road train for an unusual approach to sightseeing around York.
4. York City Walls
If you fancy taking a more energetic approach to sightseeing; a walk around the walls would be perfect for you (there is also one pub at every stairwell so you can pop in for a beverage or two!). The City walls were originally built in Roman times as a form of defence, but have been altered over time to what exists today. This 2.5 mile walk will let you see all the parts of York you can’t get to by bus with a museum located in one of the Bars (the gatehouse type, not the drinking type) along the way.
5. Ghost Walk
With York being one of the most haunted cities in the world you may well have guessed that it also has numerous ghost tours where you can hear stories from its chequered past. With tales of the Roman soldiers seen only from above the knee to the ghost of Queen Catherine Howard there are plenty of ghostly tales to keep you entertained and maybe up all night wondering what the shadow in the corner of your room is!
6. York Races
Throw on your gladrags or pull on your shorts and t-shirt (wishful thinking)!Wwhether you go to the ‘cheap side’ for a picnic and a sunbathe or the ‘posh side’ for Champagne and Pimms, York Races is a fantastic day out for all. If, like me, you are more of a £1 each way better then you won’t make big bucks, but will have a fantastic time.
7. Jorvik Centre
The Jorvik Centre is built on the spot where the York Archaeological Trust uncovered houses, workshops and backyards of the Viking-age city of Jorvik as it stood 1,000 years ago! The Jorvik Centre takes you on a tour around Jorvik aboard a pretty exciting time capsule, peeking inside houses and backyards and piecing together where the Vikings came from, why they came, how they lived and how they died. Pretty fascinating stuff for anyone with a love of history!
If after all this you still aren’t convinced, then I may have done a bad job of picking out the best York attractions so you will just have to come and see for yourself! If you still disagree then let me know which city you think should have won the title of best small city.