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Reviewed on 24 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 26 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 20 Mar 2020
York packs a serious historical punch and, though small, it once stood as the most important city in England, after the capital. The towering Gothic York Minster, with its buttresses, shrines and impressive stained-glass windows, rises in the city centre. It's the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. From here, a spider's web of narrow winding streets lead away, flanked by slanting 14th- and 15th-century houses and shops. It's hard not to feel like you've just arrived on the latest set of a Harry Potter movie when you wander along the Shambles, undoubtedly the most well-preserved of medieval streets with origins so old it was mentioned in the Domesday Book of William the Conqueror, almost 1,000 years ago. The city is best absorbed by staying in one of the York bed and breakfasts, where you'll have the history leading right away from your doorstep.
Whether you're coming for a romantic little break or bringing the family on a historical getaway, a bed and breakfast in York has got you covered. If you nab yourself one of the guestrooms in a 700-year-old wattle and daub B&B, you'll experience a slice of old England in its creaky atmospheric interior, which oozes historical charm. If that's not your thing, fear not. Bed and breakfasts in York are varied and you can find newer properties outside of the historical core, with larger contemporary guestrooms that have all the amenities of a modern hotel.
Guestrooms will come with everything you will need for a comfortable stay. You can typically expect in-room amenities like free WiFi, flat-screen TVs and facilities for making hot drinks. You'll have a comfortable bed to rest in after a day of sightseeing and most have ensuite private bathrooms. These are bed and breakfasts, so the day will always start with a hearty English breakfast, a plate piled high with bacon, eggs, sausages and toast, though many are now offering more healthy alternatives, like granola, yogurts and juices. Planning to bring your car? Look out for properties that offer free parking.
Either way, York's a small city and wherever you decide to lay your head at night, when you wake in the morning you won't be far from the city's attractions. Here, you'll find some of the country's top-rated things to do, like the Jorvik Viking Centre, the excavated site of Viking houses and workshops, seen through a glass floor. At the York Dungeon, you can delve into England's bloodthirsty past and see torture chambers and execution racks brought to life by a troupe of actors. If you visit York Castle, you can walk though Victorian England in a reconstructed street or see the cells that once kept the highwayman, Dick Turpin, captive, while York Art Gallery houses the largest collection of British-made ceramics in the country.
You shouldn't be put off staying in a York bed and breakfast if you're on a budget, as there are plenty of things to do that won't cost you a penny. The National Railway Museum chronicles over 200 years of British railway history, including the world's fastest steam train – affectionately named "Mallard". Alternatively, you could take a walk along the beautifully preserved York City Walls, the longest in England and stretching for 2 miles. It's unlikely, but if you tire of York, you could always consider taking a side trip to nearby Manchester.