A charming medieval city that gives its namesake to England’s largest historical county (Yorkshire). York is home to around 150,000 people with many charming villages surrounding it.
Founded in Roman times, York was conquered by Vikings acquiring the name Jorvik. The medieval times saw Norman conquest, a peasant’s revolt and an infamous massacre of the Jewish community.
With the advent of railway production, York became the affluent regional city that we see today. Visitors are spoilt for choice with cool riverside bars, contemporary culture, great shopping opportunities and exquisite fine dining.
Compared to other cities, there isn’t much of a gay scene in York (only one known gay bar). Do not let that put you off, as many gay tourists come to the city every year and experience warm Yorkshire hospitality.
There is also a modest gay Pride festival in June.
York is connected by rail to destinations throughout the North and the UK. Its main station is situated on the East Coast Main Line which offers services from London all the way up to Edinburgh. The best deals on rail travel are found well in advance.
York does not have an airport of its own, although Leeds Bradford airport is about an hour’s drive. You can get a direct taxi from Leeds Bradford, although this can be expensive. To save money, take the bus into Leeds and get a local train service to York.
York also has a direct, hourly rail connection to Manchester Airport, the North’s main hub airport. Journey times take around 2 hours but again, it is advisable to book well in advance.
York is served by motorways, should you choose to drive here, with a park and ride scheme outside the city if visiting for the day. York is also served by National Express and Megabus coach services. While costs are likely to be cheap, journey times can be long.
Realistically, this is the main way you will be getting around York. Large parts of the city are pedestrianised and the city centre is compact. Plus how else are you going to really appreciate the gorgeous medieval architecture around you?
By Public Transport
You will only need to use public transport if you’re exploring villages and towns further afield. From York’s bus station you can get inexpensive buses to Whitby and Scarborough on the coast to James Herriot Country in North Yorkshire.
There is a wide range of accommodation in and around the city centre. Our Gay York Hotels page highlights some of the best-rated and most popular hotels in the city.
York is one of the most visited cites in the UK and it’s easy to see why. Get lost on the winding cobbled streets or stop by York’s riverfront for a relaxing evening drink (or 3).
York Minster – a stunning example of gothic religious architecture. Visitors flock to see the Great East Window, the largest example of medieval stained glass in the world. Be prepared to pay a (mandatory) donation.
Jorvik Viking Centre – travel back in time to the age of Vikings! The Jorvik centre is dedicated to the time of Viking occupation and takes you for a ride through the recreated sights (and smells) of Jorvik of time ago.
York Castle/Clifford’s Tower – the site of an infamous medieval massacre, Clifford’s Tower is an imposing reminder of York’s medieval history. The castle grounds have been used as a prison and you can find out more at the castle museum.
National Railway Museum – one for the trainspotters. The National Railway Museum has examples of some of the most important developments in railway history on display for all to see.
The Shambles – a quirky medieval street with timber framed buildings. Here, you will find a wide selection of independent shops selling a variety of quirky souvenirs.
Betty’s Tea Rooms – a Yorkshire institution with branches across the region. Betty’s offers one of the best cream teas in York (with prices to match). Be prepared to queue out the door as reservations are limited.
Ghost Walks – a popular and alternative way to get the history of York. Ghost walks are exceptionally popular around Halloween, so book in advance and do your research beforehand (they are of varying quality).
Whitby – just a short journey out of York is this picturesque seaside town. According to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Whitby was where Count Dracula landed in Britain which goes some way to explain why the Whitby Goth Weekend is held here twice a year.
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