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Best hotels in York: Where to stay in England’s stunning Northern city

Matt Breen
12 Mar 2021
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This picturesque and historical city is full of beautiful hotels for all budgets. Here’s our list of the best

York is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK. With a long and rich history that stretches back to the days of Roman Britain, this picturesque and quintessentially English city attracts millions of visitors each year.

As is to be expected from a city with - in better times - such a high tourist footfall, York is positively saturated with hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and other places to stay. But, with such an overwhelming choice, where should you start looking? Scroll down for our pick of the best hotels in York. Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat or family-sized room, something affordable or something rather luxurious, you’ll find a suitable place to stay further down the page.

Keep in mind that under current government guidelines, hotels and other kinds of indoor hospitality will not reopen until 17 May at the earliest. Non-essential retail, public buildings and outdoor hospitality will not reopen until 12 April at the earliest. These plans are subject to change, so be sure to check the latest information on Covid restrictions before booking anything. Our recommendations assume that attractions and hospitality are safely open.

Things to do in York

If the weather’s good, climb up to the City’s walls. These are divided across four sections, and offer sweeping views of inside and outside the city. Alternatively, you can take to the water, and go on a river cruise tour along the Ouse – there are many riverboat tours available.

The Shambles, a winding network of medieval streets, are full of cafes, tearooms and boutiques to explore. Unmissable is the city’s staggeringly beautiful thirteenth-century cathedral York Minster - if you time your visit around Evensong each evening, you’ll have a truly magical experience. Kids will love the Jorvik Viking Centre, an immersive recreation of life in Dark Age, Dane-occupied York. If you fancy a more leftfield historical experience, then the Cold War Bunker on the outskirts of town is a perfectly preserved subterranean nuclear bunker that dates back to days of the ticking Doomsday Clock – unfortunately, though, this is temporarily closed, but make sure to check whether it has re-opened before making a visit.

How to get to York

Londoners can get to York’s train station from King’s Cross in the space of just two hours - although be warned: prices can be steep, and upwards of £100 if you’re booking at short notice. A cheaper option would be to travel by National Express from Victoria Coach Station. Although travelling by coach takes anywhere between five and seven hours, tickets can cost as little as £10 one-way. Direct trains also run from Manchester Victoria, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Those planning to get to York by car should bear in mind that many hotels don’t offer parking – you’ll find spots in long-stay car parks throughout the city, but of course they will come at an extra cost.

Should you be visiting the UK from overseas, once international travel has resumed, the nearest major airports to York are Manchester International and Leeds Bradford. Of course, lots of tourists from abroad have London at the very top of their to-visit list – and it might seem hard to fit in the 200-odd mile journey north to York. There are actually tour operators who offer day-long trips from London to York and back - although these whistlestop schedules really won’t do York sufficient justice. Our advice to international visitors? Make your stay in York an overnight one.

READ NEXT: Best weekend getaways from London

The best hotels in York

1. The Grand: Experience York in true five-star style

Prices: From £126 per night for two | Book now at Booking.com

Once York’s railway headquarters, The Grand is now enjoying a second life as a sumptuous, five-star hotel that ranks among the very finest in the city. This grandiose, Grade II-listed building has much to offer to visitors with an eye for style and luxury: rooms are furnished with a spare, acutely tasteful decor, each with a flatscreen TV and an evening turn-down service.

Should you wish to pamper yourself, The Grand’s on-site spa has a 20-yard swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and fitness centre; and the contemporary restaurant has an outdoor terrace that looks out onto the city walls. The Grand’s location beside the train station should tell you how well placed it is – the majority of York’s sights are just a short stroll away on the other side of the river.

Key specs — Parking? Yes; Wi-Fi? Yes; Family-friendly? Yes; Disabled facilities? Yes

Book now at Booking.com


2. Moxy York: Funky and stylish

Price: From £79 per night for two | Book now on Booking.com

With its glass face and neon signage, the York outpost of the Moxy chain does feel a little out of place among York’s centuries-old streets. But it perfectly sums up the appeal of the Moxy chain (a subset of the Marriott brand) – fun, laidback and decidedly aimed at younger, adults who are looking for affordability but want more than a beige, boring hotel room.

The Moxy’s rooms might be small, but they’re also stylishly decorated and each comes with a desk, TV and a private bathroom. There is a choice of continental or buffet breakfast options in the morning. More of a draw is the bar, which stocks beers from local breweries, of which York has many. It’s the perfect spot for a nightcap after dinner at a local restaurant.

Key specs — Parking? No; Wi-Fi? Yes; Family-friendly? Yes; Disabled facilities? Yes

Book now on Booking.com

READ NEXT: Best hotels in Blackpool: From beach getaways to seaside grandeur


3. Judge's Lodging: Grandeur and quirkiness alike

Price: £120 for two people | Book now on Booking.com

Another repurposed building, The Judge’s Lodging is a Grade I-listed Georgian townhouse which in its former life was, well - it’s all in the name, isn’t it? The imposing red brick exterior of this former home now gives way to an eccentrically stylish high-end hotel.

Where The Grand does classical five-star grandeur, the Judge’s Lodging offers a kind of quirky, opulent, nudge-wink decor - as you can see in the bar’s judge-themed wallpaper. This won’t appeal to everyone, but those who appreciate leftfield luxury should definitely give this place consideration. Previous guests have repeatedly emphasised the quality of the staff service, and the cosiness of the vaulted-ceiling bar.

Key specs — Parking? No; Wi-Fi? Yes; Family-friendly? Yes; Disabled facilities? Yes

Book now on Booking.com


4. Mickelgate Travelodge: The ideal budget choice

Prices: From £40 per night for two | Book now at Travelodge

It might not always be a hotel brand that’s spoken of in the warmest of tones, but there are actually three different Travelodge branches doing a roaring trade in York – and the Mickelgate outpost has recently undergone a £1m makeover. It’s a good pick if you’d prefer to spend money on something other than accommodation.

Located in a new build, the rooms here are somewhat cookie-cutter, as is to be expected – but all beds are king-size, and if you upgrade to the SuperRoom, you’ll have a Lavazza coffee machine too. But the location can’t be beaten: families will find themselves at the Jorvik Viking centre and the York Castle Museum within the space of a five minutes’ walk.

Key specs — Parking? No; Wi-Fi? Yes; Family-friendly? Yes; Disabled facilities? Yes

Book now at Travelodge


5. Guy Fawkes Inn: A B&B with history

Price: From £50 for two people | Book now on Booking.com

If you appreciate the homeliness of a B&B, and like a bit of history to go along with it, take a look at the thirteen-room Guy Fawkes Inn. Lying in the shadow of York Minster, the Inn is the birthplace of the eponymous Gunpowder Plot conspirator. And as you might expect, the Guy Fawkes Inn isn’t so much steeped as utterly drenched in history, from the gas lighting to the suit of armour in one corner of the downstairs pub.

Said pub serves real ales, while its restaurant does an a la carte menu alongside simpler bar food. We suggest, if and when you book, that you request a room that overlooks the beautiful cathedral.

Key specs — Parking? No; Wi-Fi? Yes; Family-friendly? Yes; Disabled facilities? Yes

Book now on Booking.com

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