Enjoying York For Less Than $25 A Day

York is a charming little city in the north east of England, full of history and culture. If you’re heading to the UK on your travels it’s a great place to stop for a day or two, ideally situated between London and Edinburgh. Unfortunately it is one of the most expensive cities in the north of the country, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed on a budget. Here are some top tips to help you enjoy York for less than $25 a day.

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Getting There

The closest airport is Leeds Bradford (LBA), a fifty minute drive away, but if you’re already in the country it’s best to get a train or bus. There are direct trains from London and most other major cities across Great Britain, and if you book a week or two in advance you can get a great deal. If it’s more of a last minute decision to head to York, getting a bus will probably work out cheaper, though it will be a little more time consuming.

Accommodation

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As I have lived in York for nearly my whole life, I have never had to worry too much about finding a place to stay. Having looked in to accommodation options for this post, I have discovered it is unfortunately rather expensive. The cheapest hostel I’ve been able to find comes in at £15 ($25.15), so if you really want to do this for less than $25 a day it’s going to have to be Couchsurfing.

Getting Around

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Once you’ve made it to York everything you could need is within easy walking distance. Most trains and buses will take you straight to the railway station, and from there all the major attractions are within a fifteen minute walk at most. If you do want to get out into the suburbs though, I would recommend getting your hands on a bicycle. York is a very flat town making it one of the best places in the country to enjoy a bike ride, so much so that it has even won awards for being a cycling city.

Food

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If you’re after a small bite for lunch the place to be is Mr Sandwich on The Shambles. While I was a little saddened to find that the prices had recently shot up from £1 ($1.70) to £1.25 ($2.10), it is still one of the best deals you can get in town. You can literally have any sandwich on the expansive menu, or even create your own combo of ingredients, for just £1.25. That should keep you going for a little while.

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When it comes to dinner, you’re best to eat early, with a number of restaurants offering ‘early bird’ discounts. Rustique, a French bistro that actually has two premises in York on Castlegate and Lendal, offers two courses for £13 ($21.80) if you eat before 7pm. Another of my favourites is Il Paradiso Del Cibo, an authentic little Itallian on Walmgate, where pizzas start from £7 ($11.80). This price is available all day, but to guarantee a table you will need to book in advance.

Activities

The beauty of York comes from the array of historical buildings and architectural wonders which you can wander around and enjoy for free. Despite the number of years I’ve lived in York and the number of times I’ve walked down the same streets, I can still spend hours just walking around the town and admiring the architecture and views. Some of the best spots for this are Stonegate, Petergate and The Shambles, but I’m sure whichever street you wander down you’ll discover something beautiful.

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Another great way to pass the time and soak up the city’s atmosphere for free is to check out the green spaces. Head to the Museum Gardens to discover the ruins of an old abbey, Rowntree’s Park to admire the lake and watch the ducks swimming by, or simply take a walk along the banks of one of the city’s two rivers.

York also has an abundance of museums to explore, including Clifford’s Tower, The Jorvik Centre, The Castle Museum and The National Railway Museum. Only the last of these is free for visitors, but all are free or heavily discounted for locals. If you’re staying with a Couchsurfing host it’s always worth asking if they have a resident’s card you could borrow for the day.

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 About the author:

Profile PictureCatherine has lived in York for most of her life, but is currently making preparations to leave the city and travel the world indefinitely. You can follow her journey from the workplace to the world on Ever Changing Scenery. As well as tips and tricks for preparing for long term travel, you can find out more about her hometown and read stories from different destinations she has visited in the past. You can also follow Catherine on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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46 thoughts on “Enjoying York For Less Than $25 A Day”

  1. I loved York! It’s one of my favorite cities in the UK. The atmosphere with all those old buildings is incredible and even though I’ve been there twice with very bad English weather, I fell in love with this city. Great that it’s possible to stay there for less than 25$.

    1. It’s one of my favourite cities too :) Unfortunately it’s not possible to escape the English weather here though!

  2. York is such a beautiful and elegant city, I’ve visited a few times now and would definitely recommend a visit :-)

  3. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown

    I had a guess just from the title that Couchsurfing would be involved… accommodation can be so expensive in the UK! York looks like such a lovely place to visit though.

  4. So true, anywhere in the UK it would be near impossible to stay in a hotel or hostel on this budget! Glad we’ve got Couchsurfing though :)

  5. Hey Catherine!

    What a terrific guest post! What nice hotels would you recommend in York?
    Mr Sandwich on The Shambles and Rustique sound just great to me for some foodie locales to check out. I saw the title of the post and immediately thought of you then realized it was a guest post FROM my friend! So proud of you :)

    1. Thanks Mike :) I have never actually stayed in a hotel in the city – always had my own house or my parent’s house to stay at – so would not know about the hotels! We’ve recently (okay, it’s been at least a couple of years now!) got our first five star hotel in the city though, so if money were no object I would love to stay there for a night or two!

    2. Agness Walewinder

      Mike, long time no see. I am just about to catch up with your blog. Sorry, but uni has been too much for me recently and I didn’t have much time :).

  6. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam

    What a lovely town, and very beautiful photos, Catherine! The church architecture reminds me of the one we have in Denmark. So idyllic.

    1. Thanks Miriam :) Have never been to Denmark, but would love to, especially if the architecture is anything list as beautiful as York!

    1. So true – I guess it’s the same for a lot of countries though, the capital city always seems to be the most popular!

  7. Great tips. I have a couple of acquaintances in York. I think I should share this post with them. More than anything else, I like the fact that York has so many green spaces and architectural beauty, which one can admire for free!

    1. Would definitely encourage sharing the post :) Are they living in York at the moment? Could be someone I know – it’s a small place! If any of them are in the blogosphere as well I’d love to be introduced – would love the opportunity to meet up with local bloggers!

  8. I went to York some years ago when I was still living in the UK, it was just for a day, I didn’t even stay for the night which is a shame because I really liked the city. I’d definitely like to go back at some point and take Dale that, even if he is British, has never been there, these tips will be useful then, thanks! :)

    1. It is a loveable city :) You should definitely head back here one day – I’m sure there’ll still be lots of parts of the city for you to discover!

  9. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    So dang pretty. The UK has so much to do and see, but I was one of those bad travelers that never left London, mostly because I couldn’t afford to do so. Wish I knew about you guys back then, I would have got my couch surf on. :) So will have to get back to the UK to experience it for real. Great post, great pics too.

  10. This is lovely! York is one of my absolute favourite places and isn’t far from my original hometown – Manchester. It’s been years since I’ve been there and last year I was strongly contemplating going to Yorkshire for a few weeks, but hubby had never been to Scotland, so to Scotland we went.

    York is billiant though. :)

    1. It’s one of my favourite places too :) I’m a little ashamed to admit that, despite living so close, I’ve never ‘properly’ been to Manchester. I’ve had a job interview there and had a business workshop there once, but I’ve never been shopping, been for a night out or seen any of the tourist attractions in Manchester. My sister has just started at uni there though, so will definitely be going over to visit her soon!

  11. certainly can be expensive. I loved York though, plenty of free things to do, I spend loads of time walking around the walls and streets taking photos of the walled city and beautiful quirky things I would find

  12. It’s great to hear from people who’ve been to York and loved it :) There certainly is a lot of free things to do, more so if you know where to look!

  13. Sammi Wanderlustin'

    York is my favourite city in the UK :) I stayed at Safestay Hostel on Micklegate and it was pretty costly as far as hostels go! Especially considering the bathroom situation ;)

    1. I used to live just round the corner from that hostel! Never been in, but it does look rather nice from the outside!

  14. Deb at Headout

    It is hard to believe that a city like York can be done under $25. Though this was 2 years back, I am hoping it won’t be too bad now. Can’t wait to explore this beautiful city.

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