With its ‘A Christmas Carol’ looks and array of independent shops, York may well be the best place in the UK for a pre-Christmas break. Come the festive period, this ceaselessly-charming city takes Christmas to a whole other level; think spruces suspended above shop fronts; whole streets hung with lanterns aglow; carols soaring from the historic Minster; and the scent of cinnamon, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts drifting from the Shambles to Clifford’s Tower.
If that isn’t reason enough to book a short break in York this Christmas, read on for further inspiration.
Festive fun around every cobbled corner
Feeling festive or notably ‘humbug’? No matter, a trip to York will raise your spirits. At Christmastime, York is transformed into a veritable grotto; an enchanting place for both children and adults alike. From the 28th November, Christmas markets line the streets, carol concerts raise the rafters, and Father Christmas is on hand to grant little’uns their Christmas wish. For an unforgettable festive treat, head to Fairfax House, where you can experience Christmas from days gone-by.
Christmas shopping in one place
Want to get the shopping done in one fell swoop? There’s nowhere better than York. The city is home to a mix of both designer and high streets stores, as well as a multitude of independent gift stores. There are markets aplenty too, including St Nicholas Fair – famed for its speciality foods and craft. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in town, try one of the city’s retail parks; the McArthur Glen design outlet is crammed with lovely – albeit, pricey – gifts, or if you’re on budget, Monks Cross may have what you’re looking for.
Cosy pubs and restaurants
If shopping is the last thing on your mind, York boasts a fabulous array of restaurants, cafes and pubs where you can relax and indulge on a chilly winter’s day. From the roaring fires and oak-beams of its 15th century pubs, to its contemporary riverside café bars, York is the perfect place for a romantic evening or festive shindig. If it’s eating you’re interested in, you’ll find all manner of cuisine across the city, from Thai, Japanese and Spanish to Indian, Italian and English – take your pick.
No trip to York would be complete without finding out about the city’s eminent past. Whatever time of year, the history of this unique city always comes to the fore. From the moment you enter the imposing city walls, pass Clifford’s Tower and take a stroll down the Shambles, York’s legendary history is evident. A trip to the York Castle Museum is a must for anyone interested in the city’s history, whilst those with a penchant for the macabre will love the grisly York Dungeons.
Beyond the city walls
Grow tired of the crowds and it’s well worth going beyond York’s limits to explore North Yorkshire. You don’t need to travel far to encounter some wonderfully peaceful pockets of countryside; the Ryedale Valley, Vale of Pickering and Howardian Hills are miles from the city, and offer spectacular opportunities for walking. There are lots of charming towns and villages around York too where you can enjoy a country pub lunch, including Stamford Bridge, Helston, Malton and Ampleforth.
Book a winter short break in York
Convinced by a pre-Christmas break? Check out our holiday accommodation in York that’s available for short breaks. There are some real bargains to be had in the run up to Christmas, so browse our collection of winter short break holiday homes today.