York was once the capital of the country, and boasts a breathtaking history and wealth of restored medieval buildings and streets. The city gave its name to the county in which it resides, and is home to 13,000 people. But York is much more than a beautiful, ancient city, and is home to a vibrant cafe culture and array of fine dining restaurants. The shopping facilities are plentiful, and there are more independent retailers represented here than in any other modern city in the country. The city even boasts a busy nightlife, with a wide selection of pubs, clubs and live music venues.
York's creative spaces and venues are another good reason to visit, and the art installations housed in St Mary's Church are a unique tourist attraction in themselves.
With dozens of museums, sporting venues and restaurants, hundreds of shops, and quality hotels and B'n'Bs on every street, York attracts thousands of tourists every year and rewards every one of them!
History The ancient city of York has a more exciting history than any other area of the UK. The city was founded in AD71, and was the site of Constantine the Great's coronation as Roman Emperor. The city's decline in importance during the Industrial Revolution meant that ancient buildings were not raised to make room for factories and mills, and an abundance of medieval structures still exist today.
The Jorvik Museum is one of fifty museums and heritage centres in the city, and explores the Viking history of the area. Viking streets have been reconstructed for an underground tour, and there are masses of archaeological finds and exhibits.
The National Railway Museum, The Castle Museum, The York Dungeon and The Richard III Museum are just some of the others.
The city is also home to the largest Gothic church in the country, a thirteenth century church and numerous other medieval ruins.
Art Galleries York Art Gallery is home to oil and canvas artwork, watercolours and ceramics from the fourteenth century to the present day. The collection is separated into six themed areas: Morality, Devotion, Places, People, Stories and Modern Aproaches; and there are regular temporary exhibitions.
York St Mary's is a desanctified medieval church that is used to house a different art installation each year. The installations are inspired by the building, and each adds something different to its ambience. The installation for 2007 will explore the relationship between the viewer, the artist and the natural world, and is being developed by Keiko Mukaide.
The Artspace is a studio and art gallery, with new exhibitions every six weeks.
Theatres The Grand Opera House is an elegant, restored, nineteenth century building, hosting performances of drama, dance, comedy and music. The theatre is said to be the largest in Yorkshire.
The York Theatre Royal seats almost 1000 people and presents a programme of drama, comedy, musicals, live music and stand-up comedy. The theatre is currently being renovated but is still open for business.
Friargate Theatre is home to a Christian theatre company, and regularly showcases small-scale touring productions.
Restaurants The Biltmore Bar and Grill is located in a desanctified church, serves grills and drinks in its bistro, and traditional dishes on its mezzanine. The interior is modern and chic, and prices are a little above the average.
Rarity offers meat and fish dishes, and a wide selection of red, white and rose wines, champagnes and vintage ports.
The Mogul has received glowing reviews from customers and critics for its Bengali cuisine and warm atmosphere. The restaurant has been trading for fourteen years, and offers a catering service.
For high quality Italian food in traditional, upmarket surroundings, and with a view of York Minster, La Vecchia Scuola is the ideal choice.
Pubs/Bars York is known for an abundance of pubs, and many are interesting historical buildings. Ye Old Starre Inn has a tenth century cellar and numerous ghost stories. The pub trades in a range of beers and ales, with regularly alternating guest beers.
The Lighthorseman is a bar and 4* B'n'B, which is apparently the single remaining Victorian bar in the city. Real ale, food and bar snacks are available.
CAMRA awarded the eighteenth century, The Blue Bell Inn, an award for its 'outstanding pub interior', including restored nineteenth century fixtures and fittings.
Montey's Rock Café is a rock-themed bar; and Harkers is a nineteenth century ex-bank, popular with young and old professionals.
Nightclubs The Gallery presents pop and party anthems, hip-hop and r'n'b, soul, funk, indie and rock'n'roll seven nights a week. The club comprises four areas and a food stand.
Ziggy's is the city's main alternative club, and popular with students. Drinks are cheap and the dress code is smart-casual.
Music is largely nu-metal, indie and rock, and there are 70s and 80s nights.
Toffs comprises a large, open dancefloor in one room, and a cafe-bar in the other, with York's largest VIP lounge upstairs. Music is mostly chart, party and drum'n'bass.
Fibbers is a cafe, restaurant, bar, nightclub and music shop, with live music every night.
Shopping York city centre is a pedestrianised network of backstreets, cobbled walkways and medieval streets, lined with curiosity shops and unique stores. Coppergate is the place to find the major high street chains, and Swinegate is home to designer boutiques and restaurants.
Monk's Cross is the city's newest shopping centre, and comprises all the leading retailers, an interactive play feature for children and 1000 free parking spaces. Clifton Moor Shopping Centre is home to 34 stores and 3000 parking spaces.
The McArthur Glen Designer Outlet trades in surplus stock, and designer goods retail at 50-75% of the RRP. Current retailers include Dolce and Gabbana, Paul Smith and Armani.
Sports Emperors Gym boasts state of the art cardio-vascular equipment and fitness facilities, athletics classes, a large pool and private parking. Thirsk Squash Club and Abbey Leisure Centre are just two more of the city's many sports and leisure centres.
There are three go-karting tracks in the city, but F1 Racing is the only one with indoor facilities. The venue has a capacity of 200 people, a licensed bar and lounge, and TV, pool table and amusements.
Fulford Golf Club is one of nine courses in the city, and has hosted tournaments such as The Benson and Hedges International and the Murphys Cup. The club asks that players are members of clubs affiliated to the Golfers' Union.
Author: Leisha Greenfield
Having spent 10 years working as a visitor guide at various top London tourist attractions, Leisha Greenfield has now writes articles on UK tourism. http://www.ukcityguide.info.