If you are looking for a weekend city break in the UK, then York should definitely be on your radar. It is absolutely my favourite place to visit in the UK for a weekend! There are just so many things to do in York and it can be daunting to try and tackle such a historic city with only 48 hours. However we can help you maximise your 48 hours in York with our perfect weekend in York Itinerary!
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How to Get to York
York is a well located city and easy to reach whether you are using public transport, car or air!
York by Train
York has a centrally located train station with regular trains from London and other parts of the UK. The train station is walkable from all the major attractions and frequent trains which means it is easy to reach.
York by Car
York is easy to reach by car however be warned car parking is a premium in York and not all hotels have car parking facilities so be sure to check before you visit!
Hotels we have stayed at with car parking facilities include:
York by Air
York is well connected for international travellers with the nearby Leeds-Bradford Airport!
How to spend the perfect weekend in York (48 hour York Itinerary)
Arrive in York and check into your desired hotel! There are plenty of options for hotels in York whatever your budget. If you are looking for a romantic weekend then I definitely recommend the Grand Hotel and Spa however the Premier Inn in Micklegate is an excellent budget accommodation with on site parking and easy access to the main attractions.
As you arriving in the evening, we recommend heading straight out for dinner. There are lots of places that we an recommend from when we lived in York however as you only have a weekend then I recommend doing something special therefore we suggest booking a table at one of the most historical inns in all of York – The Guy Fawkes Inn.
The Guy Hawkes Inn is on the spot where the infamous 5th November plotter was born and offers an excellent a a la carte menu and special plotters menu for those wishing to push the boat out!
To check out the current mess and to book a table online click here!
After dinner, head down the river for a romantic stroll.
Or head to some of our favourite York Bars or Pub for a post dinner drink:
- Pivni – a heaven for beer lovers
- House of Trembling Madness
Wake up early ready to get a jump start on the day. Either enjoy breakfast at your hotel otherwise head to our favourite breakfast spot in the city – Brew and Brownie which is also very conveniently located for the day’s first stop!
Start your day at the icon of the city – York Minster which towers over the city skyline and can be seen for miles around! In my opinion York Minster is the most beautiful Gothic Cathedral in the world.
Inside the church I recommend viewing the beautiful stained glass windows, taking a tour of the undercroft and for the more adventurous of you climb the almost 300 steps up to the top of the tower for some of the most amazing views of the city! Not suitable for children under 7!
Admission to the Minster – 11GBP or included in your York Pass.
Once you have finished at York Minister you should head to the most iconic street in York – The Shambles
Full Disclosure: I took this photo at 8:45am when it was pouring down with rain! It is not usually this quiet. If you want to get a shot like this be sure to get up very early and head here first!
The Shambles has over 900 years of history being the oldest shopping street in York! Originally The Shambles was a row of butchers shops. It is believed to have coined the term “It’s a shambles” in reference to the blood and offal that would run down the street from all of the butchers ships!
Today The Shambles is a bit more touristy but more than worth a visit!
The shop that gets busiest is the Harry Potter Shop – The Shop that Shall not be named that is full of wands and other memorabilia from the Harry Potter Films! This is a true Diagon Alley Experience!
For lunch we recommend heading to the iconic Betty’s for afternoon tea! Be warned: the queues for this place can get long but are worth the wait! It is definitely a must for your York bucket list!
For the afternoon we recommend taking a brisk stroll around the city walls! There are over 3km of intact city walls and is a good way to burn off your afternoon tea and see the sites of the city from a unique perspective!
End your day with a boat cruise down the river! Another great way to see the city and learn more about the city’s history!
Enjoy an early evening dinner then head to the King’s Arms Pub, the famous pub that floods, the meeting point for in my opinion the original and best York Ghost Tour!
On your last day in York, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before heading to my favourite museum in York, the beautiful York Castle Museum! One of the biggest attractions in York Castle Museum is the recreation Victorian Street! Other highlights in the museum exhibitions are: the toys exhibit, and the cells which are believed to have once held Dick Turpin!
Admission to the museum at time of writing was 11GBP per adult with children under 16 going free with every paying adult!
Once you have finished at the museum, head to the museum’s neighbour
Cliffords Tower is run by English Heritage and is one of the most poignant monuments in York.
Clifford’s Tower was once part of the castle but it’s most famous and also York’s darkest moment was in 1190 when 150 were massacred on the site!
After a morning of exploration it is time to head to lunch!
Now no visit to Yorkshire would be complete without having a proper sudsy Roast complete with Yorkshire Pudding. Our favourite place to have a Sunday Roast – and the place with the best Yorkshire Pudding in York is the Chopping Block on Walmgate!
Depending on what time you need to leave York, we recommend your last stop being the National Railway Museum which is adjacent to York Railway Station! This is one of the best things to do in York with kids!
There are four main areas to the museum – The Station Hall, The North Hall, The South yard and the open storage area! I would recommend first heading to the Station Hall as this is closest to the city entrance but also my favourite area! The Station Hall is home of the Royal Carriages and are so interesting to get a sneak peek into! Other highlights at the museum include:
- The Shinkansen Bullet Train
- The Stephenson’s Rocket Replica
- The Mallard
After this, it is time for home after what for me is the perfect weekend in York Itinerary!
For those with more time in York than just a weekend why not check out our ideas for the best day trips to take from York!
Where to Stay In York
GRAND HOTEL YORK
We love this place because they have family friendly suites and also has parking, is close to the train station and all the main sites! You can read our full review here!
For mid-range options we recommend:
For budget hotels we recommend:
The Premier Inn York
Have you done a weekend in York? What did your York itinerary look like?