The City of York - Tips for a Budget Holiday in York
Budget-friendly tips for holidays in York
A holiday to York is priceless but it needn't cost you a fortune
A budget holiday in York need not by any means be second best. You can spend a small fortune visiting York. The cafés and restaurants in the city centre are expensive, there are plenty of museums and exhibitions that charge high entry fees and if you are a family of five, these all add up to quite a tidy sum, but it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg to have a fabulous holiday in this ancient city. Here is more than a week's worth of ideas for things to do and see, places to eat and to stay and even to get your hair and beauty treatments done all on a budget.
** Star budget tip**
Plan an off-peak visit One general, if obvious, piece of advice; try to travel outside the peak seasons, summer and school holidays. York is a great place to visit when it's cold and not so sunny as there are lots of things to do indoors. Visiting York England, is cheaper out of season.
Where is York UK?
Take advantage of the weak pound to visit York, England
This is a fantastic time for anyone from the eurozone to visit England. Over the last three years (time of writing 25 12 10) the pound has been about 30% lower than previously. That means your money will go much further.
(Having said that, if you look at our prices in Limousin, you'll see that we offer fantastic value for money here!)
Where is York?
York is situated in the north east of England, between the east coast and the hills of the Pennines. To the north are the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire dales with their hills, rivers, quaint villages and pretty market towns.
10 Free things to do in the City of York
There are tons of excellent things to do o, York and you don't have to pay a penny. I would say that, with the possible exceptions of the Castle Museum and the Minster, you should do all the free things first and only start paying afterwards. Here goes:
- You need two or three days just to walk around the city itself - really!
- Walk around the city walls - all the way around
- Walk along the river front and pop your head in to see the most flooded pubs
- Visit the Museum Gardens, St Mary's Abbey and York Observatory
- Have a look at York Churches: The Holy Trinity, Goodramgate & St Olaves, Marygate to start with
- Take time out in Deans Park, just behind the Minster
- Visit York City Art Gallery - it's free!
- Watch the street performances in King's Square
- See fudge being made the traditional way in Fudge Kitchen in the shambles
- Have a look at the station - It's impressive and Harry Potter was filmed here
Go to York races
York horse races are famous! You won't be able to get into the stand when the races are on but you can go and have a look around when they're not running. You can also walk around the race course, (but not on the actual course) and see Terry's Chocolate factory, (sadly, no longer with us and due for development into posh apartments), which is just behind the race stands. When the races are on there's nothing to stop you watching from outside the stand area.
The race course is on the way to Bishopthorpe (see below)
What to do in York - Links
- York travel guide - Wikitravel
Open source travel guide to York, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.
- Welcome To Visit York Tourist Information - Weekend Breaks Weekday Trip
- York Churches
Historic churches to visit in York England. Part of the York Travel Guide from Britain Express.
- York Race Course
York is famous for its racecourse but you can enjoy it for free and see a Chocolate factory.
The snickleways of York
A Guide book for a DIY Tour
Organise your own DIY tour of York
Better still, organise your own tour! I can recommend the tours by York Walk, they are good value, (a walk is about two hours and combines fun and facts).
The York chocolate tour
I loved the Choccie and Sweetie walk that I took when I was last in York, but at £5 a head it can be pricey for a family, so why not DIY? Start with my article York City of Chocolate
Discover the snickelways
The snickets and secret passages that thread themselves through the centre of York are fascinating as well. York Walk do a tour of these as well, but you can buy a guide to the snickets. The original guide was written by Mark W Jones A Walk Around the Snickelways of York (see Amazon link below), and I found it quite comprehensive enough. I bought one and did manage to navigate my way around, camera in hand, but have not yet felt strong enough to embark on the herculean task of writing it up yet. Watch this space! I found guides in Amazon.com but for a Budget Trip these are way too expensive. Instead buy from Amazon.co.uk or contact the York Tourist Office where they sell guides for £5.99 on line.
Check out my article Secret things to see and do in York
Dare you to do the ghost trail?
Again there are lots of organised Ghost and Haunted York tours and, again they are good entertainment, but if you just can't stretch to one of these, then follow the route outlined here Horrible holidays in haunted York
Read these ghostly tales from York - by one who has seen
- Ghostly Halloween Tales from City of York
Is the City of York the most haunted city in the world? I would like to think so. There are certainly many ghostly tales about the city. I was brought to the city of York as a babe in arms over half a century ago and have lived here, off and on, ever
Buy your York Snickleways Guide on line
Take a picnic in York - you'll save pots of cash!
There are so many great places to picnic in York you'll be spoilt for choice and you'll certainly need a sit down after all that walking!
Don't make the mistake of thinking you can buy food in York. There are practically no real shops in the city centre, so if you are travelling into the city, then shop in supermarkets before you arrive.
If you do find yourself in the centre and don't want to splash out on expensive restaurants and cafés, then you can buy real food in Marks and Spencers Parliament Street, and the market just behind Marks and Spencers.
You can buy wholefood type snacks at The York Nut Centre, 21 Market Street
Top Picnic Spots:
- The Museum Gardens
- Deans Park
- The Riverside in the city centre
- Leeman Road Park, near the Station
- St George's Fields next to the river near the Castle Museum
Buy a take-away in York city centre
If you can't bear to make your own sandwiches or manage to buy something in the supermarket then you can grab a bite in a take-away.
There are two York Hog Roast shops, (Goodramgate and Stonegate), selling hot roast pork sandwiches which are very good, and fish and chips are always a good bet, (in my opinion!).
You could also go to the otherwise pricey Betty's, the shop and not the Restaurant, and buy a Fat Rascal. This is a giant rock bun, not a terribly well-balance lunch but one that will fill you up for quite a long time.
After that try the pubs that are not right in the town centre but are tucked away on the periphery:
York food links
- Bettys speciality foods, online shop & Caf Tea Rooms | Bettys Online
Order speciality cakes, handmade chocolates, hampers, tea & coffee from the famous Bettys Caf Tea Rooms and Craft Bakery in Yorkshire for delivery in the UK and overseas.
- The Codfather - Google Maps
- yorkhogroast.co.uk Find us
York's bargain places to eat and drink
What happens if it rains or is howling with wind or freezing cold - worse still all three and you just can't bear to sit outside? Well, here are my suggestions:
- Kings Manor Exhibition square is part of York University and the canteen is open to the public
- St Crux This church serves snacks and teas at a very reasonable rate and is situated in Stonebow next to York's shortest street, Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate
- The City Hospital I'm not sure if it's ethical to mention this, but the hospital serves good food in a nice canteen at a good price. I discovered it as a hospital visitor, but I'll leave you to decide if you're exploiting the system or helping to fill the coffers of the National Health.
- York College of Further Education Let their catering students experiment on you in their luxury restaurant for lunch or dinner.
- York University Can you pass as a student? You could join them for a beer at their famous Campus in Heslington.
- York City Library is situated right next to the Museum gardens and has a snack bar where you can get a drink and a biscuit - even a book if you join!
- Having said this, I have it on good authority that while it's possible to drink on campus and it is relatively cheap, you're probably just as well off going to Wetherspoon's, The Postern Gate Picadilly or The Punchbowl, Blossom Street.
- You could get a nice sandwich for a pound from Mr £andwich in the shambles
- Try The Golden Lion pub, 9 Church Street, which I'm told has the cheapest pub food in York.
Where to shop in the city of York
Bargain places to shop in and around the city of York
York Designer Outlet Centre Situated just outside Bishopthorpe, at the junction of the A19 (York-Doncaster road) and the A64 (Leeds-Scarborough road). Here you can access cut price designer labels from 120 stores all in a pleasant indoor centre. Snack available from several well known providers.
Charity Shops There are lots of charity shops in York, and, as York is a prosperous town, there are rich pickings!
The Pound Shops are much loved by the locals and they sell a wide range of goods for a pound; veritable cornucopias. You'll find Poundland at 70 Low Petergate and Pound World in Coney Street.
York Shopping Links
- York Designer Outlet Shopping Mall Designer Labels Reduced | Things To Do In York
Large outlet village offering designer labels at discount prices, permanently reduced by up to 60% everyday. Enjoy savings on a whole range of designer brands from fashion to footwear and homewares to handbags.
Visit a Village near York
Just one short bus ride away, there are several pretty and interesting historic villages. Two villages that I know well are Bishopthorpe and New Earswick. Bishopthorpe because my family live there now, and New Earswick because I went to school there as a child. Here are a few reasons why they are worth a visit:
- Historic village
- Site of Bishops Palace
- Lovely riverside walk and marina
- Pretty buildings
- Good, traditional pubs
- Attractive church
- Own ghost
- Near the Designer Outlet
- Near York College
- You pass Terry's chocolate factory and York Race Course on the way
Read more about Bishopthorpe
- Built by Joseph Rowntree of chocolate fame for the chocolate factory workers
- One of Englands famous model villages
- Quaint and pretty
- Nice riverside walk
- Fabulous snickets
- Large village green
- (But the Rowntree family were Quakers, so no pub - not even a nice café, so take a picnic)
- You pass Rowntrees chocolate factory on the way
Why not walk?
Bishopthorpe is a pleasant, flat, walk on and off road, (but mostly off) of about an hour. Easwick must be about the same, although I haven't walked it myself. A walk there, picnic, little tour, and a bus back would make a very nice day out;
TIP: To save even more money, buy a day pass.
Where is Bishopthorpe and New Earswick?
Links for walking around York
- York Stories
Photographs and observations from a walk to Bishopthorpe, September 2004.
Avoid York's expensive parking fees traps
Talking about walking, Amanda Severn reminded me about the expensive parking in York (see comments below). Parking is at a premium. Remember York is an ancient town and the car a recent invention, so try to avoid using it. Choose accommodation near the centre with parking and then walk into the town, or stay outside the town and use the Park and Ride transport.
On no account try to drive through the centre of York. The one way system is a killer and foils everyone. As locals we used to amuse ourselves watching the same hapless tourist go past us time and time again.
Cheap Hotels in York
There are various hotels in York that aim to offer good value for money. For example, Travel Lodge York offers double rooms from £40 in June.
Links to Travel Lodge York and other cheap hotels
- Hôtel ibis York Centre - Réservez votre hôtel pas cher à Y
L'ibis York Centre est un hôtel économique situé aux portes de la ville, à proximité de la gare, du centre-ville, du National Railway Museum et de l'hippodrome d'York. Chambre avec accès Internet et TV par satellite. Le Café et le bar vous proposent
Explore the York Central Micklegate Travelodge - View facilities, see parking information, get directions & view a map. Book a room today!
Cheap places to stay in York - alternative to the cheap hotel in York
York is not normally a cheap place to stay. A fabulous city to visit all the year round, there is never a quiet season and you can expect to pay about £60 - 80 a night for a room in a Bed and Breakfast - minimum. You can, however, try these strategies for cutting the cost:
Book a room at the University
During the academic holidays you can book rooms in the University Halls of Residence. The campus is a wonderful, wild-life reserve and it is situated just outside the centre of York, a walk or short bus ride away.
Try a Hostel
York has a Youth Hostel and some private hostel accommodation. If you don't mind sharing a room with strangers, why not?
Take hostel type accommodation in a B & B
There are some regular Bed and Breakfasts that have hostel style rooms with bunk beds and they charge you hostel type prices, £25 upwards for a room.
Bargain with the hotels and B & B's. It doesn't hurt to ask for a 'best price', especially if you are looking for a room in at a less popular time of year, of week or somewhere removed from the centre of York. Also if you are going to stay for several days, they might be willing to make a reduction. At Les Trois Chenes, for example, we offer 7 nights for the price of 6. If you were booking several rooms, for several days as one whole party, we may also be willing to give you a special price.
I have never tried house swapping, but several friends and clients have swapped homes with great success, and made life-long friends into the bargain. There are many sites on line to get both parties together, so why not just go for it?
Luxury Bed and Breakfast in Skipwith
But if you can afford to splash out on something special ...
Why not pamper yourself with a touch of luxury of times gone by?
Blackwood hall Bed and Breakfast is a beautiful Georgian country home situated between Selby and York and owned by my sister (really!). There's plenty of secure parking in the fourteen acre grounds, complete with small lake, and the house is opposite Skipwith Common where you can see wild ponies.
Save for your vacations - More tips and advice to make your money go further
You might well say that it's all well and good saving money on your vacation, but getting the cash together in the first place is the problem. Well, you can't make money from thin air, but you can have a look at your finances and see if money is draining away unnecessarily. I've gathered together a few articles below that might help to conserve and save your cash.
Links to more money saving tips
- Cut your household expenses by 50%
Living in Limousin and running a Bed and Breakfast on a tight budget is a lesson in thrift from times gone by. People here live the good life on a small income and I can help you to think twice and save 50% on...
- Cool Ways To Heat Your House: How To Save Money On Your Home Fuel Heating Costs
Pamphlets and web pages with tips on how to reduce home heating costs are filled with suggestions that are usually either obvious, time consuming or impractical. Here are some slightly less obvious suggestions.
- 40 Ways To Save Money
In these troubling financial times, it is important to keep an eye on your cashflow at all times. There are many ways to save money, but it is going to take persistance and a certain fortitude for you to stick...
- 36 Ways to Save Money and Cut Costs
When it comes to saving money, the most common complaint you hear from people is that they just don't earn enough to save. Well, we don't really have any control over how much we earn in most cases. However,...
- Budgeting -Saving Money Tips
Budgeting your money will lead to saving money, and it doesnt mean you have to give up everything your love, but it means you have to stand back and look at the big picture. If you have credit...
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