Principal visitor's guide: York

Continuing our Principal vistor's guides, we sent our Edinburgh blogger Sheri Scott to explore the city of York.

Sheri Scott

As it turns out, you can see a lot of York in 24 hours! Most likely one of the most picturesque cities I've visited, York is brimming with almost two thousand years of history. From the cobbled streets to the surrounding walls, it’s hard to not feel a touch of magic in the air as you wander around. I could have easily spent a week doused in tasty food and times gone by, but if like me you only have 24 hours, here are some of my top tips of what you can do while staying at the gorgeous Principal York.

What to see

York city walls
York City Walls - the perfect way to see the city


York Minster
Not surprisingly one of Yorks top attractions, the York Minister can be seen in its many magnificent angles around the city. Whether up close and personal, from the City Walls or inside, 'The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter' is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. And you bet it's worth the trip to York alone! 

Walk the City Walls
Want to see York the way the Romans would have? Walk along the famous City Walls that circle the entire city, popping on and off as you please, getting the perfect birds-eye view of the York rooftops. If you want to walk the entire walls in one go, it will take approximately two hours but even if you’re pushed for time, it’s worth climbing those stairs at least once.

Bird spot in the York museum gardens
Playing host to the Yorkshire Museum, York Museum Gardens are a lovely break from the bustling streets, and are also home to the medieval ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. Not to mention the plethora of birds just hanging around, from geese to incredible birds of prey. 

Where to eat and drink

Refectory Short rib mac 'n' Swaledale cheese
Short rib mac 'n' Swaledale cheese in The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace


Bettys tea rooms
Tea anyone? Really, you need no excuse to go to Bettys! Probably just as famous for it’s stretched out queues as it’s afternoon tea, Bettys is a Yorkshire institution. Here you can treat yourself to a quintessentially British afternoon tea as you relax in elegant surroundings. 

York Roast Co.
Forget Sunday roast as you know it. Three words: Yorkshire. Pudding. Wrap. While you let that tasty concept settle, you may have reached the front of the queue to try one! The ultimate of all comfort food, The Yorkie Wrap is one of those things that once you try it, you can't understand why it’s not always been in your life. With the choice of turkey, ham, beef or veggie, once you wrap, you can’t go back! 

The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace
Celebrating all things British, The Refectory is Principal York's in-house restaurant and uses some of the finest and freshest ingredients Yorkshire has to offer. From Short rib mac 'n' Swaledale cheese (with meat from their local butcher and cheese from The Dales) to Yorkshire Parkin (the classic sticky ginger cake, which the chefs) it's perfect introduction to the county's food traditions.

Where to shop

The Imaginarium, York
Let your imagination run wild in The Imaginarium


Believe me when I say, that the name describes exactly what it looks like inside. With every nook and cranny filled with some sort of delightful object, The Imaginarium is one half shop other half wonderland with a Christmas back shop to boot! I couldn’t help fall for their (rather vast) ceramic animal collection...

Not just your average Mulberry shop, this outlet is home to some of the best bargains you'll ever find - if you are on the market for a designer handbag that is. With shoes and clothes too, the Mulberry store is a must for all fashion lovers. 

The Shambles
You can’t help but fall in love with York’s short, narrow streets that form The Shambles. With cobbles and timber-framed shops that lean over the streets, it’s a sight that any Harry Potter fan would die for. Lined with restaurants, pubs, shops and tea rooms, no trip to York would be complete without getting lost down those winding lanes.