York is a city in England famed for its many great attractions from York Minster to the Shambles and the Jorvik Viking Centre. But where to stay in York to get the most out of a trip to this wonderful city? Below, you’ll discover the best places to stay in York with some great hotels and guesthouses.
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I’ve been visiting the city since childhood and can recommend the best neighborhoods in York, which areas are best for attractions, amazing restaurants, excellent pubs and bars, first-time visitors, and more.
York is one of the best places to go in England – there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an apartment, B&B, or a hotel, you’ll find something to fit your budget with plenty to see and do nearby.
Where to Stay in York, England
There are lots of peaceful and leafy neighborhoods just outside the city center from convenient Heworth to the hip South Bank, the food-tastic Micklegate, and of course the city center itself. One thing’s for sure, you won’t have a problem finding accommodation in York, England.
City Center: Best Area in York for First-Time Visitors
If you want to experience the top tourist attractions then you’ll want to know where to stay in York city center. With all the major attractions like York Minster and the Shambles within walking distance, this is the perfect place to stay for first-time visitors and those looking to visit the main points of interest.
There are also lots of boutique shops, pubs, and restaurants in the city center and it’s one of my favorite places in England to spend time. The area around the river is especially nice in summer and the King’s Arms is one of my favorite pubs in the city to enjoy a few beers down by the river – particularly on a sunny afternoon.
Best Places to Stay in the City Center
The question of where to stay in York center is easily answered as there are so many wonderful options. There are lots of great hotels and apartments conveniently located within a short walk of all the top attractions in York.
1. The Grand York: The Grand is arguably the best hotel in York City Center thanks to its excellent location, five-star accommodation with breakfast, and modern, spacious rooms. The onsite Rise Terrace Bar and Restaurant is a great place to while away an evening after a day’s sightseeing. Click here to book.
2. The Queens Hotel: The Queens Hotel is located right on the banks of the River Ouse and is within easy reach of all the top attractions in the city. The en-suite rooms are spacious and comfortable with free WiFi throughout. Click here to check prices.
3. The Dean Court: The Dean Court is just a few hundred yards from York Minster and is situated in a beautiful old building. There’s an onsite restaurant overlooking the cathedral and all the major attractions are just a short walk away. Click here to book.
5 Top Things To Do in the City Center
There are lots of fantastic things to do in the center of York from the famous cathedral to shopping, cafes, and activities for the whole family.
1. York Minster Cathedral: The large medieval gothic cathedral of York Minster is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Its spires can be seen from across the city and it’s one of the top things to do in York.
2. Merchant Adventurer’s Hall: The gorgeous Merchant Adventurer’s Hall is a 14th Century building in the center of the city which was once the meeting place for merchants. There’s now a museum and exhibition center and an onsite cafe. It’s definitely worth visiting to take a look at the architecture alone.
3. DIG: An Archeological Adventure: This fun archaeology-themed activity is a great family day out where kids (and grown-ups) can unearth their own historical treasures. Trawl through 2,000 years of York’s history as you learn the finer points of archaeology (having studied archaeology myself, I love this pastime).
4. Shop at the Shambles Market: The market and shops around the Shambles are a great place to pick up souvenirs, locally made foods, books, antiques, and crafts. This is also a great place to grab a coffee (I recommend the Earl Grey Tea Rooms for afternoon tea with plenty of old-world charm).
5. See Barley Hall: Barley Hall is an old 14th Century Priory in the center of the city and one of York’s hidden gems. The medieval townhouse hosts a series of exhibitions charting the history of the city and has regular events and activities throughout the year.
Where to Eat and Drink in the City Center
There are plenty of places to eat and drink around the city center with some of York’s most famous eateries such as Betty’s Cafe and the Cut and Craft to choose from.
1. Betty’s Cafe and Tea Room: Betty’s Tea Room is one of the most famous cafes in Yorkshire and is the place to go for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon tea. Betty’s uses fresh, seasonal produce and also has a comprehensive vegetarian menu.
2. Tomahawk Steak House: If you’re looking for the ultimate steak in York then head to the Tomahawk Steak House down by the river. In addition to the best steaks in York (and I speak from experience), the menu also includes fish and vegetarian dishes and has some excellent cocktails (try the Hugo).
3. The Cut and Craft: If you like to enjoy a craft beer or two with your meal head along to the Cut and Craft. With an extensive menu including steaks, mouthwatering burgers, fish and chips, and pasta dishes there’s something for everyone. The Cut and Craft signature IPA is a must-try.
Heworth: Best Place to Stay in York for Families
Heworth is a quiet suburb one mile north of the city center and was once its own distinct village (Heworth Village). This neighborhood is typified by large, Victorian houses and still retains some of the old village charms with a large church and village green.
However, with all the top sights of York on its doorstep, it’s a great base for those looking to explore the city and is the best neighborhood for families looking to stay in York. You can walk into the city center in around fifteen minutes or there are regular buses (No 11).
Best Places to Stay in Heworth
Below, you’ll find some great hotels and inns in Heworth, all within walking distance or a short bus ride from the city center.
1. The Heworth Inn: This hotel and restaurant is a ten-minute walk from York Minster. The property has free parking and a garden and offers sumptuous full-English breakfasts. Check the price on Booking.com.
2. Ascot House: This four-star hotel inside a period building offers rooms with four poster beds, an excellent breakfast, and is just a fifteen-minute walk from the city center. Click here to find out more.
3. York Boutique House: This stylish three-bedroom house in Heworth has everything you need for your stay in York including a fully fitted kitchen, bath, shower, and washing machine. The perfect place for large families. Check the price on Booking.
5 Top Things To Do around Heworth
There isn’t much to see in Heworth itself (unless you’re a golfer), but it’s just a one-mile walk into the city center where you can find the following attractions.
1. Walk the York City Walls: York has over two miles of Roman walls surrounding the city which date back over 2,000 years. The city wall walk passes just a few hundred yards from Heworth and is one of the best nearby attractions (especially for lovers of Roman history like me). Click here to book a private walking tour with Viator.
2. Jorvik Viking Centre: For those interested in England’s Viking history a trip to the Jorvik Viking Centre is a must. This is one of my favorite attractions in York and I’ve been visiting since childhood. You’ll get to take an interactive trip through time with all the sights and smells of Viking England.
3. York City Walking Tour: This 90-minute small group walking tour is one of the best ways to get to know the city. Explore the top sights like York Minster, the Shambles, and the Roman walls. Book this tour with Get Your Guide.
4. The York Dungeon: The York Dungeon is a fun, interactive experience charting the dark history of the city from medieval executions to highwaymen and other unsavory characters. This was another of my childhood favorites, and an attraction I still enjoy today. Book tickets online with Get Your Guide.
5. See the Shambles: The Shambles is a medieval cobbled street that’s one of the most picturesque in the country. This area was used as inspiration for Diagon Ally in the Harry Potter films and is full of interesting art and craft shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants.
Where to Eat and Drink in Heworth
Heworth is home to some excellent dining options including several pubs, a fish and chip chop, a Chinese takeaway, and a bakery. I’ve listed three of the top places to eat in Heworth below.
1. The Walnut Tree: This traditional British pub serves pub classics including burgers, fish and chips, pasta, and salads. Food is served from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm every day and there’s a beer garden and a large conservatory for dining.
2. The Nags Head: This old inn and restaurant has a menu of classic and contemporary European cuisine from pasta and salads to steaks and more, all at reasonable prices. Inside and outside dining is available.
3. Heworth Plaice: If you’re looking for a traditional fish ‘n chip supper then grab yourself some fish and chips from Heworth Plaice, one of the top-rated chippys in York. I like to pick up a snack here to enjoy down by the river a short walk away.
Micklegate: Best for Foodies
The area around Micklegate to the west of the city center and River Ouse is a haven for foodies. With lots of top eateries from Italian to British, cafes to pubs, vegan and more, this is the best area to stay in York if you want to treat your tastebuds.
In addition to all the great eateries around Micklegate, it’s just a short walk to the river, York Minster, the Shambles, and other top York tourist attractions.
If you want to know more about the food scene in Yorkshire, check out this guide to traditional Yorkshire foods.
Best Places to Stay in Micklegate
Micklegate runs west of the River Ouse, and thanks to its central location, has some of the best accommodations in York. This is one of many great places to stay in York with so much to see and do within easy reach.
1. The Bar Convent: This three-star hotel in a converted convent is ideally situated for Micklegate’s restaurants and is just a 15-minute walk into the city center. Rooms come with WiFi, tea and coffee-making facilities, and there’s an onsite cafe. Click here to check prices.
2. The Lawrence: The Lawrence is a luxury “aparthotel” made up of serviced apartments surrounding a quaint courtyard. Apartments come with a fully fitted kitchen and washing machine and are located a short walk from all the cafes and restaurants on Micklegate. Click here to find out more.
3. Micklegate Residence: This stylish two-bedroom loft conversion is one of the more unique places to stay in York. It’s centrally located with everything you need in close proximity and benefits from two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. Click here to book.
5 Top Things To Do in Micklegate
Micklegate is very central so there are countless wonderful attractions and places to visit within walking distance. Below are five of the top picks.
1. River Ouse Cruise: With the Rover Ouse just a few minutes’ walk from Micklegate, heading out on a cruise is a great way to see the city sights from a unique perspective. You’ll be treated to a live commentary detailing the history of the places you pass while sipping drinks from the onboard bar.
2. York Chocolate Bar Workshop: York has a long association with the confectionary industry so foodies should definitely try one of the many chocolate tours on offer. This workshop will teach you about the chocolate-making process and give you the opportunity to even create your own chocolate bars. Click here to find out more.
3. York Food Tour: Foodies will love this small-group tasting tour of York. You’ll take in five independent food venues across the city and also get to see some of the top city sights including York Minster.
4. Clifford’s Tower: The famous Clifford’s Tower is a short walk from Micklegate and is one of the top landmarks in the city. I remember climbing the embankment as a kid and there’s an interesting museum inside. The views across the city rooftops from the top of the tower are the best to be had in the city.
5. York Army Museum: Fans of military history like myself should definitely check out the York Army Museum. The museum houses a collection of the King’s Own Regiment with over 300 years of artifacts, weapons, and other interesting displays.
Where to Eat and Drink in Micklegate
Micklegate is the place to be for food and drink in York. The “culinary strip” just to the west of the river has a huge assortment of cafes, bistros, Michelin-starred restaurants, and pubs.
1. The Rattle Owl: This sumptuous eatery is housed in a gorgeous 17th Century Listed Building and specializes in locally sourced meats, fish, and fresh produce. This a great option for a date night or that special occasion as the food and ambiance are top-notch.
2. Skosh: The Michelin-starred Skosh boats a menu of “contemporary British cooking with an international influence” and its exciting menu is a must-try for foodies. The restaurant boasts an impressive wine list and also offers seasonal cocktails.
3. Fish and Forest: This small bistro in the heart of Micklegate is renowned for its fresh, local fish, game, and forest foods. The restaurant prides itself on its sustainability and is one of the top places to eat in York.
South Bank: Coolest Place to Stay in York
The South Bank and area colloquially known as “Bishy Road”, or Bishopthorpe Road, is definitely the hippest place to stay in York. It’s home to many of the city’s independent cafes, boutique shops, and interesting eateries.
Bishy Road was voted the best High Street in Britain in 2015 and it’s easy to see why this quirky area just south of the city walls is so popular. Bishy Road is just a couple of miles from the city center so all the major tourist attractions are within easy reach.
Best Places to Stay Around South Bank
If you’re looking for where to stay near York in one of the coolest neighborhoods then South Bank is definitely the answer. There are some excellent accommodation options nearby including a wellness spa and the York Marriot.
1. Middlethorpe Hall and Spa: If you’re looking for a little bit of pampering then head to the Middlethorpe Hall and Spa at the bottom of Bishopthorpe Road. With award-winning dining, scenic country views, and an indoor pool, spa, and sauna, this is one of the best accommodations available in York, England.
2. York Marriot: Another great option close to Bishopthorpe is the York Marriot. This four-star hotel overlooks York Racecourse and includes spacious rooms with a balcony, free WiFi, ensuite bathrooms, and the Cast Iron Bar and Grill. Click here to find out more.
3. Middlethorpe Manor: This two-broom holiday home has a living room with a large flat-screen TV, and a fully equipped kitchen, and is situated in stunning countryside to the south of the city. Click here to check the prices.
5 Top Things To Do in South Bank
South Bank is around 3 miles south of the city center so there’s plenty to do within a short drive or bus journey. The main attraction is the shopping parade on Bishopthorpe Road where you’ll find all the independent and boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
1. Bishopthorpe Road: Exploring the shops on Bishy Road is one of the highlights of this hip area. From Frankie and Johnny’s Cookshop to the Pig and Pastry cafe, this is the place to while away a morning or afternoon exploring the interesting selection of shops and eateries.
2. Rowntree Park: Rowntree Park is named after the local confectioner Henry Rowntree and is a pleasant place for a stroll and a picnic. The River Ouse runs through the park, which can be crossed via the Millenium Bridge. There’s also a children’s playground, tennis courts, a large lake, and a cafe.
3. York Castle Museum: The period York Castle and Museum is located a short walk from the top end of Bishopthorpe. This recreation of a Victorian castle and street makes a great day out for the whole family.
4. City Sightseeing Tour: The York City Sightseeing Tour and Hop on, Hop Off bus is a great way to explore the top sights around the city. You’ll get to enjoy panoramic views from the open-topped bus and there are 13 stops at various attractions from Clifford’s Tower to the York Chocolate Experience.
5. Yorkshire Dales Full Day Tour: One of my favorite reasons to be in York is to discover the gorgeous countryside right on its doorstep. The Yorkshire Dales National Park comprises quaint villages and rolling hills and valleys with stone cottages, narrow lanes, and acres of farmland.
Where to Eat and Drink in South Bank
After Micklegate, Bishopthorpe Road on the city’s South Bank is the next best place for food in York. There are many independent cafes and restaurants serving everything from Italian to contemporary British and more here.
1. The Angel on the Green: This excellent pub and restaurant on Bishy Road is the place to go for beers, wines, and the best pizza in York. This cozy, rustic pub on the green has outside seating perfect for al-fresco dining on warm, summer evenings.
2. The Pig and Pastry: This local neighborhood cafe serves some of the best breakfasts and brunches in the city from classics like eggs benedict to sourdough toasties, organic porridge, and chorizo and scrambled eggs (one of my favorites).
3. Melton’s Restaurant: If you’re looking for a fine dining experience around South Bank then seek no further than Melton’s. From beef tartare to East Coast cod, Venison loin, and Jerusalem artichoke, this is a great place for a special dinner. There’s an eight-course tasting menu from £90 available for lunch and dinner.
Where to Stay in York, England: FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about where to stay in York.
The areas around the city center such as the center itself, Micklegate, and Heworth are great places to stay in York for tourists as there’s so much to see and do nearby.
There aren’t any “no-go” areas of York, but as a general rule avoid the suburbs and council estates further out of the city. The area behind York Railway Station is also best avoided at night.
York is generally a very safe city (in fact it was named the third safest place to live in England in 2022). Neighborhoods such as Heworth, Fulford, and the city center are all safe for visitors. Take usual precautions when traveling and don’t leave valuables on display or cars unlocked.
The city center, South Bank, and especially the area around Bishopthorpe Road (Bishy) are the best places to stay in York for shopping.
York is an excellent place for a holiday thanks to the many sights and attractions in the city. It’s also a great base for day trips, exploring the North Yorkshire Moors, and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.
Now you know where to stay in York, UK it’s time to book that trip to one of the country’s most charming cities. With plenty to do for families, history lovers, foodies, and more, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to one of my favorite places in the UK.
Yorkshire folk are known for their friendliness and you’ll be sure to receive a warm welcome. With so many quality places to stay in York you really are spoiled for choice (I highly recommend Micklegate as one of the best places to stay in York).