Discover York: The iconic city full of wonder and history

24 February 2022

Most of us think of the Tudor Rose when we think of York.

York is well known for its rich Tudor history and one of England's most infamous monarchs, Henry VII.

But the city has so much more historical roots to explore.

York’s history began with the Romans who lived and ruled in the city for the three centuries. The invasion of the Vikings has also greatly shaped the York we all know and love today.

Not to mention York’s contributions to astrology, archaeology and technology.

The city is the home of great innovators and scientists like Dr. John Snow, the founder of epidemiology.

Here at Love to Visit, we have listed the top places to visit in York. The trip can be done in one day if you start of your day bright and early.

Bettys Tea Room

The independent family-owned business has been running since 1919. Bettys served food and beverages that reflect their Swiss roots and Yorkshire heritage.

Indulge in Betty’s burger, a Yorkshire beef burger in a caramelised red onion roll, served with Swiss raclette cheese.

Or opt for a traditional delicious crispy haddock served with crushed peas, chips and tartare sauce.

There are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options and a children’s menu.

The tearoom also offers a delectable afternoon tea which includes a selection of Betty’s best cakes and patisseries so you don’t have to miss out on anything.

Bettys has upstairs and downstairs seating. Upstairs is most suited to the daytime when you are visiting for an afternoon meal, afternoon tea or breakfast. The light shines through the windows and is near to their shop on this floor.

Downstairs is dimly lit and cosy, it is perfect in the evenings to unwind and enjoy the company of friends and family.

You can buy Bettys tasty treats to enjoy at home from their shop located inside of the tearoom.

They sell everything from teas and coffees, freshly baked bread and macaroons to some of the locals’ favourites like Yorkshire cobble and Yorkshire pikelet.

Bettys treats its customers with fancy and exciting teas most other tea rooms do not offer, from Himalayan Golden Valley Darjeeling tea to Chinese Pi Lo Chun Green Tea.

The tearoom is open 9am-5pm daily.

York Cruises

York cruises was awarded TripAdvisor's Traveller's Choice Award last year and it is no mystery as to why!

The cruise across the River Ouse lasts 45 minutes and includes an entertaining live commentary on the sights of York. Beverages and snacks are also served on board.

You can opt for a relaxing evening cruise or board during the day for an action-packed exploration of the city.

The boats land at Lendal Bridge or King's Staith Landing. The times are:

King's Staith Landing: 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00.

Lendal Bridge Landing: 10:40, 12:10, 13:40, 15:10.

However, many more trips generally run every 30-45 minutes. It is recommended to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Tickets for adults ages 16+ cost £12.95 and children ages 5-15 cost £7.25.

Museum Gardens and York Museum

Yorkshire Museum is situated in York Museum Gardens which is approximately a 15-minute walk from York Railway Station.

The garden, established in the 1830s, is filled with a variety of beautiful plant life and wildlife against the backdrop of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey and the York Observatory, the oldest working observatory in Yorkshire.

The gardens are wheelchair friendly and there is a ramp to the left-hand side of the museum’s main entrance.

The museum has amassed a collection of nearly one million archaeological finds from prehistoric times right up until the twentieth century.

Meet Alan, the oldest sauropod dinosaur that once roamed the United Kingdom and discover sea dragon fossils as you plunge into the deep sea of history at Yorkshire’s Jurassic Park exhibition.

Learn about the hidden treasures of the Roman Empire and prepare to be transported back in time to the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages as you learn about the pottery, tools and weapons our ancestors crafted in Yorkshire.

Museum staff are trained in welcoming and communicating with deaf and hearing-impaired visitors.

Entry is free and they are open daily.

York Museum opens in the spring 2022.

Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s Tower is a two-minute walk from York Castle Museum.

The tower is all that remains of York Castle built by William the Conqueror and was used as a prison and a royal mint.

Climb to the top of the tower to see the best panoramic views York has to offer of the city.

Assistance dogs are welcome and there is a parking area and picnic area that visitors can use.

At the moment Clifford's Tower is closed due to conservation work to protect the tower. For more updates visit the English Heritage website.

Booking in advance will be require when the tower opens. Adult tickets cost £7.90 and children ages 5-17 cost £4.70. Family and concessionary tickets are also available.

York Minster

One of the finest medieval buildings in Europe, York Minster, is a ten-minute walk from York Railway Station.

York Minster's history began in 627AD when King Edwin of Northumbria was baptised in a wooden church in the city.

It has a rich history surrounding Reformation and the Civil War.

You can visit the gothic style church Mon & Wed to Sat: 9.30am - 4.30pm, Sun: 12.45pm – 3.15pm.

The Norman cathedral’s Great West Window is famous among the locals and it has been nicknamed ‘the Heart of Yorkshire’ due to its heart design at the top of the window.

The cathedral is full of elaborate windows with intricate designs that make the interior of the building bathe in a pool of magnificent colours when the sun peers through.

York residents and students can enter free of charge, and up to four children aged 16 or under go free with one paying adult.

Adults cost £12 for the Minster ticket and £17 for the Minster and tower ticket.

Tickets must be booked in advance online.

The Shop That Must Not Be Named

Harry Potter fans will be spell-bounded by this spectacular gift shop.

The Shop That Must Not Be Named sells all of the magical items from the wizarding world on your wish list, from Hermione’s wand and the Marauder's Map, to toys, stationary and games and other collectors’ items.

The shop is located in York’s very own Diagon Alley, known as The Shambles.

It’s open every day 10am-6pm.

The store is very popular among locals and tourists alike and can get very busy in the afternoon. We recommend visiting in the morning.