This strikingly beautiful walled medieval city straddling the River Ouse is one of Britain’s top sights, with great shopping areas, many museums, and plenty of things to do. Much of York’s compact heart is pedestrianised, so it’s great to explore on foot. Don’t miss The Shambles, a street of overhanging, jettied, timber-framed buildings which was originally a street of butchers’ shops. There’s also Stonegate, where shop signs and frontages span several centuries. A circuit of the medieval walls gives great views over the city and beyond – it’s a walk of about two and a half miles.
You can’t miss the wonderful York Minster, of course – dating from 1080, it’s the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, and many would say the most beautiful. Look out, too, for York’s distinguished clutch of medieval churches.
You could easily build a whole week around the attractions in and around York – covering everything from the ancient history to railway history, religion to chocolate. Catch it in Festival time if you can, to see the extraordinary cycle of medieval mystery plays performed by a local cast around the city.