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Spend a weekend in…York

Just a short journey away, York is a great city to visit. We've found the hidden gems and pulled together our ideal weekend away, so you can explore what York has to offer, HLN style...

Written by High Life North
Published 24.01.2020

By Becky Stanton


Arrive in York about midday and head straight to your hotel The Judge’s Lodging (The Judge’s Lodging, 9 Lendal, York). The Judge’s Lodging dates back to the 18thCentury when it was privately owned and later became a residence for judges attending court sessions in York.  The rooms are cosy and beautifully decorated with classy and stylish furniture.  The Character Room is our favourite and is described as being ‘quirky with quality’. The hotel also has two bars and a restaurant if you decide to have a nightcap after spending time in the city.

After booking in and dropping your belongings off it’s time to take a short stroll back over the River Ouse to The Grand Hotel Spa (The Grand, Station Rise, York) where you can unwind from your travels and have a session in the spa.  After your treatment, you can continue to relax or make use of the spa’s swimming pool and sauna.

York has many top-quality restaurants and you’re rather spoilt for choice.  Tonight you should visit The Whippet Inn (The Whippet Inn, 15 North Street, York).  Although the speciality is steak and ales, the food on offer is delicious and where else would you want to eat British food than in one of the oldest cities!  We recommend the pan-fried king scallops or fermented Kohlrabi carpaccio to start, fillet steak or tandoori marinated cauliflower steak for the main (try a side sriracha mac ‘n’ cheese if you’re feeling naughty) then finish with dark beer doughnuts or toffee apple cheesecake.  The restaurant also has a fabulous selection of British sparkling wines.

When you’ve finished your dinner, head to The Fossgate Social (The Fossgate Social, 25 Fossgate, York), little sister to The Micklegate Social (The Micklegate Social, 148 Micklegate, York).  The bar is cosy and serves tasty cocktails and beers.  It has outdoor seating on the street so you can enjoy your evening watching revellers pass.


Once you’ve woken from your super comfy slumber, make your way out into the city and take a short walk around the corner for breakfast.  Brew and Brownie (Brew and Brownie, 5 Museum Street, York) does a fantastic breakfast made from local produce.  You can’t go wrong with the smashed avo, poached egg and streaky bacon, or the classic American stacked pancakes with banana and Nutella.  Salivating!

Once you’re fed and good to go, head into the city centre for a spot of shopping. York has a plethora of boutiques to shop in but you must visit the Shambles (the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter),  Stonegate, High Petergate and the little cobbled streets off them.  It is also highly recommended that you visit the Yorkshire institution of Browns department store.  Browns is one of the last remaining small, regional department stores in the UK.  Another essential visit is Betty’s Tea Room (Betty’s Tea Room, 6-8 St Helen’s Square, York). It’s a bit early to stop for a brew (or is it?) but there are plenty of irresistible gifts and you could always head back there in the afternoon!

Catch your breath and stop for some lunch at the lovely The Star Inn The City (The Star Inn The City, Museum Street, York), a bright and airy pub-like restaurant situated in the old Engine House.  It’s also situated next to the River Ouse and gives you beautiful views over the river and into the York Museum Gardens.  The menu is seasonal and the produce is selected from all over Yorkshire so you can be sure you’ll be eating very fresh and delicious local ingredients.

Once you’ve refuelled yourself and enjoyed the riverside views take a short walk to the York Museum and Gardens (York Museum, Museum Street, York).  The gardens are set in the beautiful ruins of St Mary’s Abbey and home to 40 species of birds.  York is a city with an extensive history that goes back to the Romans and Vikings; the museum has a deep collection of artefacts that covers York’s thoroughly interesting history.  When you’ve finished taking in the artefacts head over to the imposing York Minster (York Minster, Deangate, York).  The minster can trace its history back to the 7thCentury but the minster we see now is from around the 15thCentury.  Head inside and stand in awe at the sheer size of the building and interior.

Continue your history lesson and next head to York’s Chocolate Story (York’s Chocolate Story, 3-4 Kings Square, York).  York is home to the Nestle factory and was once the home to Rowntree’s (of Fruit Pastilles fame) and Terry’s (and his chocolate oranges).  Chocolate has a lot of history in York and you’d be mad not to take advantage of that and have some chocolate!

As you’ll have done quite a bit of walking today, head back to the River Ouse and stop for an early evening drink at Dyls (Dyls, Skeldergate Bridge, York).  The bar is family-run and situated in the Motor House on Skeldergate Bridge.  Enjoy your drinks while you sit on the river bank. 

Dinner tonight is in Sotano (Sotano, 1 Little Stonegate, York), a fantastic charcuterie and tapas bar.  Order some olives and Spanish pork scratchings to start then choose either the sharing boards of meat and cheese, or go for the tapas.  We recommend the croquetas, chorizo con vino tinto, calamares, patatas bravas sol y sombre and the espinacas can garbanzos. 

The bar has live music from 10.00pm so you can either stay put here or head to The Botanist (The Botanist, 15-19 Stonegate, York).  There a drink for everybody here and live music to accompany.  If you fancy staying out into the early hours you can always head onto The Drawing Board (The Drawing Board, 10-10A New Street, York) for a few more drinks as the sun comes up.


This morning head over to Café No8 Bistro (Café No8 Bistro, 8 Gillygate, York) and treat yourself to a hearty Full Yorkshire breakfast.  As you’ll have come to expect, all the ingredients are locally sourced in this award-winning café. If you don’t fancy something quite as big we recommend the baked egg and soldiers.

Take some time to peruse the artwork in the York Art Gallery (York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York) and jump onto the York City Walls at Bootham Bar, following the wall around to Walmgate Bar.  This is a great opportunity to see York in all it’s splendour whilst taking in the views. 

At Walmgate Bar step down and visit Spark York (Spark, 17-21 Piccadilly, York). Spark York is a community project where you can shop for vintage clothes, homewares and other items or eat tasty street food or taste locally brewed beers.  We recommend visiting Clucking Oinks and tasting some of their delicious buttermilk chicken!  Once you’re fed again, get back on the wall walk and go through Micklegate Bar and then onto Bootham Bar.  If you get thirsty at any point you can always visit one of the many pubs situated below the walls.

Time to head home, fed, watered and content! 

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