York, England in 48 Hours

Explore a true medieval town when you visit York, located just a little over 200 miles north of London. Easy to get to by rental car or by rail, it’s a popular romantic weekend getaway thanks to its well-preserved ruins dating back to the Roman era. York is also a festival city, always bustling with activities suitable for everyone in the family. Here are some suggestions on how to make the best out of your 48 hours in York, England.

48 Hours in York, England

How to Get There from London

What makes York one of the ideal cities to visit is its accessibility. Not only is it halfway between London and Edinburgh, it’s also one of the National Rail’s main transport hubs. There’s a train departing London’s Kings Cross station every half an hour with tickets as low as £19 each way.

48 Hours in York, England: Kings Cross Station, London
Kings Cross Station, London: Photo David Skinner / CC BY 2.0

Another option is renting a car and driving. A straight shot north on either the M1 or the A1 will get you to York from London in three and half hours, not accounting for traffic. If you plan to stay only for the weekend, take the train to York and leave the option for renting a vehicle once there.

What Attractions to See

Some travelers say that for a city to be a proper English town, it needs to have a castle or castle ruins, a prominent place of worship, and a thriving main town center. If that is the case, then one can argue that York, the medieval capital of the North, is as English as it gets. The city is well known for having some of the best Roman wall ruins in the United Kingdom outside of London, its imposing church, the York Minster, and its pedestrian-friendly 14th century thoroughfare known locally as The Shambles.

48 Hours in York, England: York Minster
York Minster: Photo C & N / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Some visitors who try to spend 48 hours in York also manage to squeeze in a trip to Clifford’s Tower, the oldest remaining part of York Castle where you’ll get lovely views of York and the surrounding area, the National Railway Museum, and the Jorvik Viking Centre where you’ll get to know the city’s Viking heritage.

48 Hours in York, England: Clifford's Tower
Clifford’s Tower, York Castle: Photo DncnH / CC BY 2.0

What to Eat and Drink

Another reason why York is such a popular weekend getaway is its numerous food options. The city boasts Michelin-starred chefs, some of the most inventive and quite frankly, welcomed pub food, and a range of eclectic budget-friendly eateries. Head over to Spring Espresso and start your day at this coffee shop decorated in 17th century furniture that serves artisan coffee, teas, and homemade cakes or if craving a full-on English breakfast, stop by Bennett’s Café and Bistro and get their signature Yorkshire breakfast that comes with local bacon, sausage, black pudding with free range scrambled eggs, chestnut mushrooms and toast. The Shambles Kitchen, located right in the heart medieval York, is a perfect lunch stop. It offers a range of affordable healthy sandwiches and smoothies that are available for pick up. You can also stop by the popular House of Trembling Madness, which serves traditional pub food in a building originally built in the 12th century. The décor is somewhat of an acquired taste as well, with mounted stuffed animal heads, beams of timber, and communal seating. It does however have one of the best selections of beers in the city.

Your 48 hours in York wouldn’t be complete without visiting its pubs. Come nighttime, check out some of York’s haunted pubs starting with the oldest licensed one, Ye Olde Starre Inne and The Golden Fleece, which many consider the most haunted in the city. Finally, a visit to York is not complete without paying homage to Guy Fawkes, the city’s most famous son, at the inn that bears his name. Located right by the York Minster, this historic pub has a full bar and serves a selection of local and regional real ales.

48 Hours in York, England: The Golden Fleece Pub
The Golden Fleece Pub, York: Phto Joey Ramone / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Have you been to York? Share with us how you spent 48 hours in York. Tell us what attractions you enjoyed the most, other recommendations you might have for first-time visitors, and what you’ll like to spend more time on your next visit.

About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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  1. 3 Stunning UK Summer Spots to Spend Your Vacation - Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] The capital of Yorkshire, York is an ideal spot for history lovers to spend a summer day or two. The city was founded by the ancient Romans, and boasts a number of historical buildings and attractions. Take York Minster, for example, the 13th Century Gothic cathedral in the city centre. This is possibly one of the most beautiful historical landmarks in Northern England. And not forgetting York Castle, which has been around for over nine centuries, and has a rich history full of bloody battles. […]


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