York is a fascinating city with Roman roots and a Viking past. Ancient walls, winding streets and beautiful buildings surround contemporary shopping facilities and vibrant restaurants. There is also a festival for every month of the year, making it a great place to both live and visit. York lives to pride itself on being the original city adventure in the north.
Ideally situated roughly halfway between the capitals of London and Edinburgh, with the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Wolds right on the doorstep, York is a unique place with a unique feel. There are around thirty museums to explore, arguably the best racecourse in the country and a thriving sense of culture and the arts. For many years York has been regularly voted by readers of the Sunday Times to be one of the best places to live in the UK.
Providing a feeling of stepping back right into the Middle Ages, the timber-framed houses and traditional shopfronts of The Shambles make it one of Britain’s most picturesque streets. It is said to be the inspiration for Ankh-Morpork, the iconic setting of many of Terry Pratchett’s beloved Discworld novels.
The cathedral city was originally founded as a settlement in 71AD by occupying Roman forces. Then known as Eboracum, it was the predominant town in the north of the Roman province of Britannia and was the place where two emperors died – Septimus Severus in 211AD during a campaign in Scotland and Consantinus I in 306AD.
After the Romans left Britain, the name of the town became Eoforwic, though there is much historical discussion about the etymology of the name. However, when Danish invaders settled in the city in the 9th century, it was renamed again to Jorvik, from which the city’s modernised name of York comes.
The JORVIK Viking Centre is an incredibly popular tourist attraction in the centre of the city it is named after this historic part of York’s history and contains unspoiled archaeological excavations of timber buildings from the Danish occupation. The story of York’s development is carried on with dioramas and innovative audio-visual techniques designed to bring the era back to life.
The arrival of the railway in York in 1839 helped raise the burgeoning city’s profile again, with railway promoter George Hudson making it a major railway centre, prioritising the more attractive city for tourism over its more sizeable neighbour of Leeds.
The arrival of the railway brought engineering to York, particularly the development of mass-produced confectionary. Rowntree’s was formed in York by Henry Isaac Rowntree in 1862, and Terry’s, best known for its Chocolate Orange and All Gold, was started by Robert Berry and William Bayldon in 1767, with Joseph Terry joining the firm in 1821, the man who would go on to give his name to the chocolatier and confectioner. A fantastic read
Located on the banks of the River Ouse, the waterway that leads into the Humber, York is not directly accessible via motorway, with the nearest being the A1(M), roughly halfway between York and Leeds, with the A64 via Tadcaster providing good road access to the city.
Founded in 1963, the University of York includes more than thirty departments and research centres, making it an important part of academic research in Britain. Some of the university’s famous alumni include comedian Harry Enfield, Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Sara Davies, Labour MP Harriet Harman and Christine Hamilton, the TV personality and wife of disgraced former politician Neil Hamilton. Learn more.