York in 12 hours

So you’re a fan of traveling with a schedule? If you want an authentic taste of England, head for York. Founded by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago, this cathedral city is rich in historic architecture, railways, cask ale, teashops, and more quintessentially English delights. The best part is that you can explore it all in a day.

10:00 England is the birthplace of railways, and there’s nowhere better to experience that heritage than in York—bonus points if you arrived by train! Walk down to the National Railway Museum to appreciate their remarkable collection of nearly 300 rail vehicles and thousands of other train-related items from posters and fittings to carriage furniture. Don’t miss the magnificent Mallard, which broke the world speed record for steam engines in 1938. They actually have luggage storage facilities here—they really know their audience!

Photos by @Megcpie

12:00 Head over to The Hairy Fig, a delicatessen and café close to the city centre for excellent pies, pasties, quiches, and salads. Make sure to book a table, as the café is tiny! In good weather, enjoy a table outside.

13:00 York Minster is England’s largest medieval cathedral. Look out for the remarkable stained-glass windows: the great east window, which dates from 1408, contains over 1,600 square feet of medieval glass. There’s also the Undercroft, where you can uncover 2,000 years of York’s history, and the tower, where you can admire an unrivalled view of the city.

14:00 Britons are obsessed with chocolate and many of the nation’s favourite brands originated in York from the Kit Kat to the Chocolate Orange. Learn the history and enjoy a taste or two, at York’s Chocolate Story.


Photos by @Megcpie

15:00 Head across the River Foss to check-in to your room at Hotel Indigo York, recently voted the best boutique hotel in North Yorkshire by the Luxury Travel Guide Awards. Freshen up and put on your afternoon best

15:30 It’s tea time, and few names are better associated with this most British meal than Betty’s. Established in 1919 in nearby Harrogate, it’s cherished by locals and visitors alike. Enjoy the classic treats—sandwiches, scones, cakes—and, of course, a steaming pot of delicious tea.

16:30 York is famous for many traditional English features, so it would be a crime to miss out on its pubs. It’s said that there are more pubs within the city walls than there are days in the year…there’s only one way to find out for sure. For excellent cask ale, cross the Ouse for Maltings or York Tap, which is housed in a stunning Edwardian station building. A short walk from either will take you to The Tap Room at York Brewery, where you can try cask ales that are brewed on-site.


Photos by @Megcpie

18:30 Stroll along one of England’s most historic streets, the Shambles, which was named for its primary trade: butchery. Today, it’s full of trendy cafés and quirky independent shops, but the old world atmosphere remains. With overhanging half-timbered buildings on either side and exposed meat-hooks and shelves, this is among Europe’s best-preserved medieval streets. It’s an unbeatable taste of old England, particularly at dusk.

20:00 Skosh, which opened just months ago, has quickly become one of York’s most highly-rated restaurants. Chef and owner Neil Bentinck has composed a menu of small plates that runs the gamut from traditional British to Italian to modern Indian: who could resist roast partridge ‘tandoor’ style with smoked tomato jam, onion, and mint? York may be historic but it’s certainly not stuck in the past.


Photos by @Megcpie

21:00 Enjoy a nightcap at No. 88 Walmgate, the on-site bar at Hotel Indigo York and salute a day well-spent.

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