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York Location

Hotels in York

York was founded by the Romans as early as 71 AD. After the end of Roman rule it was taken over by the Angles, soon becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Northumbria. However it was captured by the Vikings in 866 and remained under Viking rule until it was incorporated into the Kingdom of England in 954. The Viking name for the city, Jorvik, is thought to be the source of how the city eventually came to be known as York. During medieval times York was primarily a wool trading and ecclesiastical centre, but because of its location roughly halfway between London and Edinburgh it was transformed into a major transportation hub during the 19th century. Although it still serves this purpose, it has in recent decades shifted focus from railway-based industries to a service-based economy. Its rich cultural heritage makes tourism a particularly prominent feature thereof, for which the city was branded the European Tourism City of the Year in 2007.

York has its many historical remnants to thank for its success as a tourist destination. The walled inner city is a sight in itself, but the York Minster within attracts a far greater number of people. Dated back as far as 1472, it is the second largest Gothic Cathedral in northern Europe. The narrow medieval street “the Shambles” with its boutiques and tea rooms is also worth a visit, as is one of the many medieval churches of the city. York also hosts many museums. The Castle Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre and the National Railway Museum are those that primarily emphasize local history, whereas others adopt a broader perspective.

Pubs, of which there are many, are the main form of nightlife to be found in the city of York. These are the best bet for live music performances, alongside Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall of York at St. John’s University, the National Centre for Early Music and St. Olave’s Church, Marygate for classical performances by one of the local orchestras. The Grand Opera House and the Joseph Rowntree Theatre are the places to go for other performing arts. Moreover every fourth year plays are enacted from wagons at various locations all over the city. These are the York Mystery Plays, a tradition which has been going on for ages. Another aspect of York that attracts visitors aplenty is the many annual festivals that are hosted in the city. July features the York Early Music Festival, during which mainly classical music from the 18th century and earlier is played at various venues in the city. September, in turn, hosts the Festival of Food and Drink, which highlights food culture particular to York and Yorkshire in order to promote local food production.