York and Yorkshire: The UK Road Less Traveled

So, you’ve been to London, you’ve been to the Cotswolds, maybe you’ve seen Edinburgh already too. Where do you go next in the UK that isn’t overrun by tourists and is filled with history, cute villages, and fun things for your whole family? Yorkshire, of course!

Halfway between London and Edinburgh is the historic town of York and the nearby countryside of North Yorkshire. York is a great base for seeing the area and has some nice hotels, including the Virtuoso Grand York Hotel and the charming Gray’s Court.  The stately Grantley Hall is an excellent choice for stays outside the city as well.

Exceedingly walkable and full of historic sites like York Minster, fun shops in the historic center, and excellent museums that are great for kids and interesting for parents too, York is worth a few days.  With the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors nearby, you can be as active (think hiking, biking, bird hunting) as you want to be. Many quaint villages are dotted around the countryside (some you may recognize from the many movies and tv shows filmed here). Some favorites from my recent trip include:

York:

National Rail Museum – Kids love it for the trains, adults love it for peeks into Queen Victoria’s own rail car

Jorvik Viking Center – I promise it’s much more interesting than you expect as it’s built on the archeological remains of an actual Viking settlement.  Buy tickets ahead on their website.

York Castle Museum – like stepping back in time to a real Victorian street including the castle prison.

Guy Fawkes Tavern – great for lunch but for a real conspiratorial atmosphere stop by in the evening when it’s candle lit. 

Star Inn the City – Excellent cuisine (the venison is incredible) and cocktails. The best place to go for a table by the river on a sunny day or nice evening. 

1906 Bar at Grand York – well-crafted cocktails that are perfect either before or after dinner.  Don’t forget to check out the fireplace, it’s not what it seems! 

Yorkshire:

Hovingham Village – try the bakery which has some Swedish specialties

Helmsley – Market town with lots of local shops 

Crown & Cushion pub in Welburn does a fabulous Sunday roast

Castle Howard – about 30 minutes from York with beautiful grounds & known lately as the location of a memorable Bridgerton scene. If you’re a bird hunter, this is a great place for private hunts followed by lunch at the castle. 

Morgan, August 2022

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