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A snapshot guide to York


Boasting centuries of history and breath-taking surrounding landscapes, York, the county town of Yorkshire, is one of Britain’s most charming cities. In the Middle Ages, it grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, as it remains today, with York Minster standing proudly in the city centre.

York is enclosed by Medieval city walls, which offer a popular walk, while The Shambles provide plenty of distractions for visitors, with a host of shops, boutiques and tea rooms lining the narrow streets (be sure to pay a visit to the world-famous Betty’s Café). As well as the Castle Museum, the city also contains many museums and historic buildings such as the Yorkshire Museum, Jorvik Viking Centre and York Art Gallery. The National Railway Museum is situated just beyond the station, and is home to the largest collection of railway locomotives in the world. But, it’s not just the city’s history that makes it a haven for tourists – York is noted for its numerous pubs and rich gastronomy scene. Each September, York runs its annual Festival of Food and Drink, promoting local Yorkshire food production and attracting around 150,000 visitors, while York Racecourse hosts Yorkshire’s largest beer festival every year, offering over 450 real ales and over 100 ciders. In fact, the city is home to some of the world’s oldest pubs, such as the Golden Fleece, Ye Olde Starre Inne and The Kings Arms.

The Theatre Royal was established in 1744, together with The Grand Opera House and Joseph Rowntree Theatre, serving the city’s culture vultures. The National Centre for Early Music provides a varied programme of concerts, broadcasts and events, including the York Early Music Festival. There is always lots going on in this vibrant city, with the university music departments regularly performing lunchtime concerts at various locations.

York is known for its railway connections and history as a major confectionery manufacturing centre. Today, however, the economy is largely dominated by the services sector, with the University of York, the National Health Service and tourism providing additional employment opportunities. The city’s biggest employer is the City of York Council, with over 7,500 employees, followed by Aviva, Network Rail, BT, CPP Group, Nestlé and NFU Mutual to name a few. York’s economy has been developing in the areas of science, technology and the creative industries, becoming a founding National Science City when its science park first opened on the outskirts of the city.

York’s location on the River Ouse and in the centre of the Vale of York means that it has always occupied a significant position in the nation’s transport system. It lies at the intersection of the A19 road from Doncaster to Tyneside, the A59 from Liverpool to York, the A64 from Leeds to Scarborough, and the A1079 from York to Hill, with links to both the A1(M) and M1 motorways. Five bus-based park and ride sites operate in the city, while York Railway Station is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line from London to Newcastle and Edinburgh. It takes less than two hours to get to York from London by rail, with at least 25 direct trains each weekday. York is linked to Manchester Airport by an hourly direct TransPennine Express service, although Leeds Bradford Airport is closer to York as the crow flies. Within the city itself, First York operates the majority of local bus services, while rural services linking nearby towns and villages are provided by a number of other smaller companies.

The University of York was York’s only institution with university status until 2006, when York St John University attained full university status. The city has two major further education institutions, York College and Askham Bryan College. The former offers a wide range of academic and vocational courses, while the latter specialises in more vocational subjects such as horticulture, agriculture, animal management and golf course management. There are 70 local council schools in the city, along with several private schools including St Peter’s School, which was attended by Guy Fawkes no less!

Property-wise, the average price for York is £295,849, with flats selling for an average of £209,848 and terraced houses for £250,630. Houses tend to sell quite speedily, York being a popular place to live for both families and professional people alike.