York in Two Days

With so much to see and do, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the choice of activities and succumb to the 'fear-of-missing-out' when visiting York.

Running The Bloomsbury means we are always offering recommendations for places to see and things to do in the bustling, historical city and we always have the length of our guests stay in mind.

This post is our attempt at a rough itinerary of what to see and do over two days, be it a midweek break or a weekend escape. Two days in York is just enough time to soak up the historical atmosphere and catch the main attractions, with enough time for a spot of shopping of course!  


Day 1

City Walls

After a hearty breakfast we'd recommend walking around the city walls, a great way to get your bearings and take in the historic city from up high. Take a stroll from The Bloomsbury along Bootham and you'll walk past one of the oldest schools, St. Peter's founded in 627 AD; Guy Fawkes himself is an alumni! At the end of the street you'll find Bootham Bar and the stairs to the top of the walls. You can follow the walls around the city, nipping out to catch a cup of coffee or browse a few shops, before looping back to Bootham Bar in time for a visit to the Minster.

The majestic York Minster

The majestic York Minster

York Minster

No visit to York is complete without a visit to the impressive York Minster. As Europe's largest gothic cathedral, the Minster towers over the city and offers countless photo opportunities, from ant-like perspectives from directly outside, to candid shots though alleyways and rooftops through the city.

For the daring, be sure to climb the steep spiral staircase to the top for stunning panoramic views of the city, it's certainly worth the admission. 

Not forgetting the countless examples of stained glass throughout the ancient cathedral. 

For an extra special experience, save your trip to the Minster until later in the day and visit during Evensong for an atmospheric choir performance.


Matthew's niece teaches him some tea drinking etiquette at The Countess of York

Matthew's niece teaches him some tea drinking etiquette at The Countess of York

Afternoon Tea

For lunch why not take some afternoon tea. While many opt for the opulent tourist hot-spot Betty's tea room, for something a little different, we must mention The Countess of York, nestled within the National Railway Museum; fine china and silverware are the order of the day, served in impeccable style in a converted railway carriage.

National Railway Museum

After lunch why not take a trip around the Railway Museum itself, from the age of steam to the Japanese bullet train, the whole gamut of rail based transportation is here. If that doesn't appeal, indulge in some retail therapy, stroll around The Shambles for souvenirs, Stonegate and Coney street for high street brands and Low Petergate for specialist boutiques and fine art.


Catch some zzz's before dinner

Catch some zzz's before dinner


Time for a pit-stop, head back to the guest house, put your feet up, drop your shopping bags and even catch a few zzz's before a hot shower and heading out for dinner!  


There are so many excellent restaurants in York, with new ones opening each season we struggle to sample them all! Here are just a few of our favourites.

Cafe No.8, on the trendy Gillygate, is a fantastic contemporary English bistro. With bold flavours and fresh produce it's a favourite amongst guests. 

Looking for something a little more exotic? Head to Khao San Road for fragrant Thai food or Krakatoa for perfectly spiced Indonesian curries.

Over-indulged at afternoon tea and only want something light? Ambiente offers fantastic, authentic tapas and sherry from Goodramgate and Fossgate restaurants. Make sure to try the delicious dátiles con serrano!


End the night with a pint of real ale at the Bluebell or the quirky House of Trembling Madness, a pitcher at Lucia's, or work your way through the extensive cocktail menu at Evil Eye on Stonegate. Needless to say this list is by no means exhaustive, with countless watering holes to cater for all tastes.


Day 2


Castle Museum

Home to the recreated Victorian street of Kirkgate, the always popular Castle Museum, showcases the social and military past of York and is a great way to start your second day. The museum, housed in a former 18th century prison, offers a range of exhibits including the swinging Sixties and York Castle Prison. Best of all it's all indoors so perfect for days when the weather takes a turn for the worst. 


Whilst in the Castlegate area, indulge in a bit more retail therapy at the Coppergate center, home to Fenwick's department store plus many more high street names.


Head to Rustique on Castlegate for an authentic French lunch, we heartily recommend the french onion soup! Or head to The Shambles and indulge in The Shambles Kitchen's delicious and healthy wraps. 


Drop off your souvenirs and shopping and get ready for dinner.

Dinner & Terror Trail

We'd recommend a hearty pub dinner at The Golden Fleece, York's most haunted pub. Watch out for the skeletal regular at the bar! Follow this with a historical Terror Trail. Leaving from the Golden Fleece every day at 6:45pm, you'll learn of York's most infamous inhabitants as you delve into the murky past of York as the sun sets over the ancient city.

We hope this rough itinerary has given you an idea of how to make the most of even a short trip to York. If this has whetted your appetite, or your planning a longer trip, take a look at more attractions in York at the following link or head over to Visit York for more info.