York Guide

York’s history is deep. So deep that some archeological evidence dates it back to roughly 7000 BC. The actual city however, dates to 71AD when the Roman’s occupied the area. The city was the capital of the Roman Britain colonies and many great emperors like Hadrian, Septimius Severus, and Constantius I all held court here.

By 866 the city was captured by Vikings who renamed it Jorvik. About 100 years later rule Eric Bloodaxe was run out of the city by King Edred and the city was once again unified with England. The violence continued when William the Conqueror raided the city and later again in 1190 when pogrom against the town’s Jewish community led to a mass suicide. During Henry VIII in the Tudor era, things were not much better and there was a large dissolution and decline.

In 1644, the Civil War led to the restoration of the monarchy some years later (1660). By the 18th century, the city was no longer a place of bloodshed but rather a place of noblemen and aristocracy. It did not make its living off of commerce the way nearby city’s like Leeds did. It simply became wealthy because of the pivotal societal and cultural role it played. During these times many notable building like the townhomes, Assembly Rooms, Theatre Royal, and Racecourse were constructed.

York remained a place of pleasure and by the 20th century, tourism was a major industry here where the rich heritage played a huge role.

When to go 

York has weather typical to England; either lots of sunshine or lots of rain. January’s temperatures are about 65F while July’s are about 68F. Not much change, which makes it easy to visit here any time of year.

The city pays homage to its past with the Viking Festival in February and the Medieval Mystery Plays throughout the year. Other notable events are the York Early Music Festival in July, York Festival of Food and Drink in September, and the St. Nicholas Fair and Christmas events in November and December which includes the Festival of Angels, Food Festival, and music at the Minster and Early Music Center.

Getting there

By Road: York is well linked to the rest of the UK by motorway. It sits half way between Edinburgh and London and is just a 20 minute trip down M1/M62 from each city.

By Bus: Many bus services operate direct routes to York from places like Selby, Hull, Beverley, Pocklington, Harrogate, Leeds, Scarbourgh, Filey, Bridlington, and Whitby.

By Air: York has easy access to three international airports – Leeds/Bradford, Humberside, and Manchester. Manchester is the most frequently used because of the TransPennine trains they provide 24/7 to York. Leeds/Bradford also just added an hourly coach service to York as well.

By Coach: National Express provides service to and from York from nearly any major UK city.

By Train: A journey from London or Edinburgh is approximately 2 – 2 ½ hours. Many other trains from Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and the Southwest also have direct routes to York by way of National Rail, National Express East Coast, Northern Rail, Virgin, and TransPennine.

By Sea: York is just a one hour ride from the  P&O Ferries station at Kingston-upon-Hull which provides short rides to Belgium and Holland.

Getting around

Board: The best way to get around York is by bus. The main system in York is First York which goes to nearly every bus stop in the city and to the park and rides on the outskirts too. Veolia Transport also operates locally. Look for a new modernized tramline which has been proposed and should be coming soon at a very affordable price.

See: There are also many sightseeing buses operated by York Pulman and Topline Travel. It’s a great way to enjoy the city.

Drive: There are a number of secure car parks located around York including the main ones at Jaipur Spice Restaurant on Haxby Road and Tanner Row.

Walk: Many narrow streets from the Middle Ages are only accessible by walking including the Shambles and the Snickelways.


York Web Sites

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