The Great York Staycation

What a crazy year its been so far. Normally by this time i’ve either been, or am about to head, on a holiday but not this year. It’s fair to say that 2020 is going to be the year of the  ‘Staycation’ and, when allowed, exploring the locations on our own doorsteps. I am so so lucky (and a bit bias) to live in York, one of the prettiest and most historic cities in the UK (ok quite a lot bias). According to a quick bit of googling, 6.9million people visit York each year, and I am probably in the background of 3 million of those visitors photos. And in case you are wondering about the other 3.9 million, I am likely to have directed them to the station, the bar walls or the hotel just around the corner from me!!

All jokes aside, I am a big fan of a weekend away and as many of you know from my insta stories, I like to cram a lot into a weekend getaway. So before I start planing some weekends away of my own, I thought I would put together some tips on places to visit, eat, stay and play in York.

Where to lay your head?

If there is one thing York is not lacking in it is hotels (and a hell of a lot of B&Bs!). So for those of you who may be lost in a long list of options I have picked out just a few options at a range of different price points, whilst also highlighting some of York’s quirky accommodation offerings. One caveat – I have tried to cover a range of prices points but please remember Saturday night is notoriously the most expensive night of the week in tourist locations so these show the highest weekday prices – Midweek stays and Sunday stopovers are likely to be cheaper.

Pocket friendly places…
York Marriott Hotel

The York Marriott Hotel gives you bang for your buck! This hotel is a little out of the city centre but no more than a healthy 15 min stroll (and there are  lots of bus links into the City or many taxi options too). Another plus point for this hotel is that it’s situated to the side of York Racecourse with views over the Knavesmire stray. (Click For Hotel Details)

Rooms start from – £127.00 per night for a double room or £146.00 per night for Bed & Breakfast (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September)

Hotel Ibis

Hotel Ibis is a clean, practical and no frills stay! Whats more, its got a great location close to the train station and the city centre. If you are all about getting out and about and making the most of your time away then this is the perfect option to crash after a long day and is friendly on your wallet too! (Click Here For Hotel Details)

Rooms start from – £79.80 per night for a double room (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September)

Somewhere a bit different…

The Enchantment Chamber

Some of you may remember I did a giveaway with The Enchantment Chamber earlier in the year. This studio apartment has been fully renovated to create the feeling that you are living in the world of Harry Potter. This accommodation isn’t about the Harry Potter merchandise but focuses more on authenticity and leaves you feeling as though you were really in the film! In fact the Enchantment Chamber is so good it has won numerous awards for ‘Best place to stay’ and ‘Quirkiest Place to Stay’. (Click Here for details)

Stay costs start from – £191.00 per night for a studio apartment (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September) 

The Parisi Hotel

The Parisi Hotel is a small, family run, boutique hotel, in a former rectory. The rooms are so airy but cosy and, like the rest of the hotel, are filled with eclectic and quintessentially British pieces including work by local artists. I always walk past this hotel on my wander into town and its in the perfect location – without being in the noisy centre. (Click Here For Hotel)

Rooms start from – £189.00 per night for a double room (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September) 

Lendal Tower

This place really is historic York for you! Located on the bank of the River Ouse its a quirky stay for sure! But you might need to gather together a group of you to justify the pricetag! However, who doesn’t want to stay in a 700-year-old Ancient Scheduled Monument which played a major role in York’s defence system haha! I mean I would stay here just for the panelling and the copper bath! (Click Here For Details)

Stay costs start from – £1215.00 for a 3 night stay for 6 people! £67.50 per person per night  (Price is based on a 3 night Friday -Monday stay in September) 

The Golden Fleece

The Golden Fleece is said to be one of Yorks most haunted places with people often allegedly seeing ghostly figures in their room. Do you think you have what it takes to stay the night here? I mean its worth it for the location haha (Click For Hotel Details)-

Rooms start from – £100.00 per night for a double room (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September) 

A bit of luxury…

Principal York

The Principal underwent an extensive renovation a few years ago and is stunningly beautiful. I have stayed at a couple of their other hotels (Edinburgh) and have a number of friends who have enjoyed their stay here whilst visiting. The Principal has a great cocktail bar (The Chapter House) which I can vouch for as well as a fine dining restaurant (The Refectory Kitchen). The biggest bonus of this luxury option is you can stroll in straight from the train station with it being the old Station Hotel! (Click Here For Hotel)

Rooms start from – £160.00 per night for a double room (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September) 

The Grand – York

Talking of Railways, my second recommendation for a luxury stay in York is The Grand which is located in the beautiful former railway offices. This breathtaking hotel is Yorks 5 star hotel complete with luxury Spa. They also have their own cookery school if you fancy brushing up on your culinary skills whilst you stay. (Click Here For Hotel)

Rooms start from – £189.00 per night for a double room (Price is based on a Saturday evening stay for two in September) 

Food & Drinks

There is so many bars and restaurants in York it’s tough to narrow it down, but here are just a few of my tried and tested favourites.

Time to brunch…

One of my favourite weekend treats is a stroll to Bettys for breakfast/ brunch! Nothing beats their bacon muffin and cinnamon toast (or Eggs Benedict if you are Dave!). (Click Here)


This cute little independent is so homely and a real instagrammer hotspot! Their french toast with smoked streaky bacon is my top pick! (Click Here)

The Pig & Pastry

A homely independent on the “UK’s most cosmopolitan” street (yes, it’s award winning!)/ This family run affair is one of my real faves for a weekend brunch with friends! We can often be found here for a early brunch which extends into the afternoon with some of their ever varying cakes. (Click Here)

Where I Lunch…

Spark York

Spark York has a Box Park type of vibe and is made up of old storage containers, but it has a amazing selection of street food traders. My current favourite is Sloppy’s Burgers – delicious! (Click Here)

Shambles Kitchen

Talking of street food, the famous Shambles is home to the aptly named Shambles Kitchen. They specialise in all things from sandwiches, toasted sandwiches and burritos – I recommend the Shamble Reuben Sandwich …. mmmm beef brisket (Click Here)


Plonkers is my usual Tuesday night haunt for quiz night, but when I asked my friends about the best place for a Sunday lunch it was resounding! Plonkers Sunday lunch is a firm fave in York. (Click Here)

Time for dinner?…


An absolute favourite of mine has it be the French cuisine Rustique. The original on Castlegate is my go to, but their second venue on Lendal is equally as great. I recommend that you try the tiger prawns for starter – just perfect! (Click Here)

The Ivy St. Helens Square

It might be a chain, but its another of my favourites in York. I have written a blog on it which you can check out (The Ivy – St. Helens Square, York). If you go with Dave you can guarantee he will be ordering the chocolate bombe for dessert. (Click Here)


Lucia is a great choice for families as the menu has something for everyone. I went here for my birthday in February and I can vouch not only for the food and the stunning restaurant makeover, but also the cocktails! Be careful though, the cocktails are very easy to drink and often you can find a 2 for 1 promo offer – hangovers all round! (Click Here).

Somewhere a bit special …


Small tapas style shared plates of contemporary British cuisine. You’ll find it difficult to narrow down your selections as it all sounds and tastes so great! (Click Here)

Le Cochon Aveugle

This is an initiate bistro setting where you’re guaranteed to experience some taste sensations from the blind tasting menu. Book well in advance to avoid disappointment. (Click Here)

Roots York

Created by Tommy Banks, Roots York uses a variety of innovative techniques to create some amazing sharer plates, using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. I was fortunate enough to check it out in the opening week and you can read all about my experience (here). Their site is (Click Here)

Afternoon Tea…


No trip to York would be complete without a Bettys trip and if you didn’t make it to breakfast then I recommend that you head here for tea and cake! I have a blog on it (here). Afternoon tea is available in the main tearoom but Lady Bettys afternoon tea can be pre-booked in the Belmont Room. (Click Here)

Mount Royale

A classic family run hotel in York, the Mount Royale (situated near the racecourse) is one of the best afternoon teas I have had! I loved it so much I hosted a baby shower there! In fact, the pics on their site are from that said baby shower (Click Here)

Countess of York

Something a bit different is the Countess of York restaurant within the National Railway museum. Because who doesn’t want to soak up the atmosphere of a lovingly restored train carriage while they devour afternoon tea. (Click Here)

Pit stops & Coffee spots…


This is a small independent cafe with a mouthwatering selection of cakes, brunch and lunch items. We often stop off here for a coffee and a cake as, to Hectors delight, they are dog friendly! (Click Here)

Drift In

Another of our (and Hectors!) favourites for a snack and a cuppa whilst wandering around town. It offers a large selection of sweet treats (or more substantial dishes if you’re feeling peckish!) to choose from (Click Here)

Gatehouse Coffee

This is the perfect pit stop for those wanting to wander the Bar Walls as its situated in Walmgate bar – one of the main gates into the city centre (Click Here)

Time for drink yet? …

Bobo Lobo

I have had many a misspent night dancing to Gloria Estefan with a cocktail in Bobo Lobo. If you want a quiet drink and a chat this one is not one for you, but if you want great cocktails and a cheeky dance then get yourself here! (Click Here)


This is a perfect riverside spot to watch the sun go down with a great cocktail! A cute little bar/restaurant which is located in the tower of Skeldergate bridge – only in York right haha (Click Here)


Sotano is a cosy but cute bar which serves classic cocktails alongside tapas plates. I would say keep your eyes peeled as this venue is downstairs below street level so look out for the sign. (Click Here)

House of Trembling Madness

Now with two locations (Lendal & Stonegate), House of Trembling Madness specialise in Craft Beers as well as a great selection of gins. (Click Here)


I love a Saturday night in Biltmore! They have great music and a great atmosphere, but the best part is if you’re there at Christmas you might just get the Saturday night ticker tape explosion to Mariah Careys All I Want For Christmas – its ICONIC! (Click Here)

 Chapter House – The Principal

As mentioned in the places to stay section, the Principal have a great bar in Chapter House. Their level of mixology is top notch, and their quiet and cosy surrounding is the perfect spot for a drink and chat. (Click Here)

So there you have it – my round up of places to stay, eat and drink for anyone who is planning a staycation in York in 2020 – and who knows, you may bump into me in one of these places! Watch this space in the coming weeks as I will add in some of my top picks on things to do whilst your in town too!




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