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Why York Should Be Your Next Weekend Escape

Are you planning your next staycation and seeking a charming weekend escape?

If so, York should be at the top of your list! Nestled in the heart of North Yorkshire, York is one of the UK’s oldest cities and feels like stepping into a real-life movie set. With its quaint cobbled streets, cosy tea rooms, and ancient landmarks scattered throughout the city, it’s a charming destination. Did you know the bustling streets of The Shambles even inspired Diagon Alley from Harry Potter?

This vibrant city is easy to explore over a weekend and is jam-packed with things to do and areas to explore. With its compact size, pretty much everything can be reached on foot, making it ideal for a short weekend escape.

The No Fuss Travel team has curated the ideal weekend itinerary. Take a look at our Couples Weekends Away UK guidebook to find out more about the city, and discover even more exciting getaways in the UK!

Firstly, Planning Where to Stay…

When it comes to choosing your hotel, the options are abundant – making it a tough decision! Whether you’re aiming for budget-friendly accommodations or indulging in luxury, York offers a range of hotels to suit every preference. Positioned conveniently near key attractions, these hotels ensure you can maximise your time exploring and enjoying the city. Here are some top picks from the No Fuss Travel team to kick off your search:

Clementine’s Town House Hotel: This chic and newly refurbished boutique hotel combines the best of both worlds. Situated just a stone’s throw away from York’s central tourist attractions yet nestled in a leafy district, it seamlessly blends peace and tranquillity with easy access to city exploration.

The Grand: Renowned as one of York’s top luxury hotels, this hotel is perfect for couples who want to experience unparalleled elegance. The Grand has an award-winning cookery school, with lots of dining options and luxurious spa to relax after a busy day of sight-seeing.

Middle Thorpe Hall & Spa: A William III country house located just two miles from York’s city centre, nestled within 20 acres of its own stunning gardens and parkland. Along with its boutique spa, this hotel offering the perfect blend of luxury and countryside charm.

York City Walls
York City Walls

Next, let’s get planning your weekend in York

Before planning your trip, one of our top tips would be to purchase a York Pass, which offers savings across multiple attractions including JORVIK Viking Centre, York Minster, the National Railway Museum, and Clifford’s Tower.

Day 1: Uncovering York’s Fascinating History

Morning: Arrive In York

Afternoon: Step Back in Time at the JORVIK Viking Centre

Immerse yourself in York’s Viking heritage at the JORVIK Viking Centre! This interactive museum transports you back to the Viking Age with its amazing reconstructions and archaeological finds. It’s an experience both adults and kids will love.

Evening: Get Spooked on a Late-Night Ghost Tour

As night creeps in, brace yourself for one of York’s famous ghost tours! Known as one of Europe’s most haunted cities, York’s ghost tours blend history with spine-chilling tales that will have you checking over your shoulder. However, if seeking a lighter touch of spooky fun without the sleepless nights, consider the Ghost Bus Tour. This comedy-horror theatrical tour on wheels lasts approximately 60-75 minutes. You’ll visit York’s top attractions while delving into the city’s eerie past.

Day 2: Embracing York’s Modern Charm

Morning: Stroll Around the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens

Start your second day at the Yorkshire Museum, set within the beautiful Museum Gardens. Here, you can explore collections spanning from prehistoric times to the present day. The gardens themselves are a delight to wander through, with the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey providing a picturesque backdrop.

Lunch: Treat Yourself to Bettys Café Tea Rooms

A visit to York wouldn’t be complete without stopping by Bettys Café Tea Rooms. This iconic establishment has been serving exquisite cakes, pastries, and traditional afternoon teas since 1936. Be prepared for a wait, but it’s well worth it!

Afternoon: Relax on a River Cruise Down the Ouse

See York from a different angle with a relaxing river cruise on the Ouse. Several operators offer guided tours, providing insights into the city’s history and landmarks as you drift along the water. This is a perfect way to rest your feet and take in the scenery. The cruise lasts for around 45 minutes and make sure pre-book! A free trip can also be redeemed if you buy a York Pass.

Evening: Embark on a Thrilling Adventure at York Dungeon

Not for the easily spooked, this thrilling attraction combines story-telling, horror and humour. You’ll be guided through immersive sets as live actors take you back in time through York’s darkest history – see, hear and smell the cities murky past! The tour lasts for an hour and pre-booking is essential.

River Ouse
River Ouse

Day 3: Discovering York’s Rich History

Morning: Explore York Minster

Kick-off your final day with a visit to York Minster, one of the largest and most magnificent cathedrals in Northern Europe. Marvel at its stunning Gothic architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and climb the Central Tower for a breathtaking view of the city.

Insider Tip: Arrive early to avoid the crowds and take advantage of the guided tours to learn fascinating stories about the Minster’s history.

Midday: Walk the City Walls

Next, take a leisurely stroll along York’s medieval city walls. These ancient fortifications offer a unique perspective of the city’s layout and its historic landmarks. As you walk, you’ll encounter four main gateways known as ‘Bars,’ each with its own story.

Lunch: Shambles Market

By now, you’ll be ready for a bite to eat. Take a visit to the Shambles Market before heading home, where you’ll find a variety of food stalls offering everything from artisanal cheeses to international cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to wander down The Shambles, a picturesque street lined with timber-framed buildings and independent shops.

Evening: Get ready to go home after a wonderful weekend away!

York Minster
York Minster

Whether you’re uncovering history, indulging in culinary delights, or simply soaking in the ambiance, a trip to York is sure to leave lasting memories. When looking to plan your next weekend getaway take a look at our Couples Weekends Away UK Guide. Or, if you’re the dog-friendly type like us, and don’t want to leave your furry friend behind, our Dog-friendly Guide has 52 UK destinations to choose from!


Find easy to follow itineraries, must-see locations, and the very best places to eat, drink and stay!

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