Things to do in York

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

We all know York – or think we do. Yes, it is one of the UK’s most beautiful heritage cities, with its ancient city walls and medieval shopping streets. Its history is well-covered by the many museums and attractions on offer; the Gothic halls of York Minster; the Yorkshire Museum, which takes visitors as far back as the Jurassic era (and as it’s nearly Halloween, keep your eyes peeled for the museum ghost!); and the Castle Museum where you can walk down Kirkgate, a meticulously recreated Victorian street.

But York is also a vibrant and inspiring city with a wealth of contemporary culture. As the UK’s only UNESCO City of Media Arts, you’ll find events like the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (coming up in November) and the Festival of Ideas jockeying for position in the cultural calendar. The Mediale, founded in 2014 when York was designated its UNESCO status, is a huge cultural draw, platforming global artists working around the blurred edges of digital art and often commissioning brand new work.

Pay a visit to the first floor of York Art Gallery and you’ll find the beautiful gallery spaces of the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). Close by you’ll also come across the Art Of Protest Gallery, which brings together disparate pieces of urban contemporary art, from street art to tattoos and advertising.

And theatre lovers will find modern twists on the classics and inspiring new writing at York Theatre Royal. In October you can catch a bold staging of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, while you’ll find Edward II just around the corner at Theatre@41.

Where to go in York

York
Bar or Pub
The Welly

Legendary nightclub in Hull, The Welly hosts regular events, musicians and club nights – all affordable and all incredibly entertaining.

York
Gallery
Mill Bridge Gallery

Fine art, photography and sculpture – all by talented local artists – are exhibited in the Mill Bridge Gallery located in a canal-side building.

York
Restaurant
Sotano

Sotano, in York, is a divine Mediterranean tapas bar and restaurant, also serving charcuterie boards of the finest ingredients.

York
Bar or Pub
Evil Eye

Evil Eye in York is a cocktail bar focused on embracing the spiritual, and engaging with the community.

York
Restaurant
Valhalla

Valhalla is ‘a venue that paid homage to York’s Viking heritage and somewhere with purely Rock ‘n Metal music in its soul’.

York
Bar or Pub
Fossgate Social

Coffee shop by day, bar by night – Fossgate Social is a small but vibrant independent venue serving speciality coffee, craft beer and cocktails.

Restaurant stock image
York
Restaurant
Izakaya

Tasting menus and full course dining experiences are on offer, bridging relaxed and fine dining to suit every taste with Japanese cuisine.

York
Restaurant
Legacy

Legacy, in York’s iconic ‘The Grand’, offers a modern British and Yorkshire-inspired tasting menus paired with an exceptional wine list.

York
Gallery
York Fine Arts

For over 40 years, this family run art gallery has gained a reputation for sourcing some of the finest contemporary arts for viewing and sale.

York Visitor Guides

Stately Homes in the North

The North of England is blessed with countless stunning stately homes, many dating back decades and even centuries. Here are some of the very best.

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Walks in Skipton

A guide to various top walks in and around Skipton, showing where to go for the best panoramas, historical trails and town views.

The Grand York
Walks in York

With one of the largest pedestrianised zones in Europe, York’s city centre is a web of ‘footstreets’ which expand outwards from the shambles. Many are fully pedestrianised: 24 hours a...

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