In March 2018 York was named the UK’s best place to live by The Sunday Times and, having lived here myself for a little under two years now, I can’t say I’m surprised! But what makes York such a great place to live and study as a PhD student?
For me, York is a perfect balance. Despite being a fairly small city, the centre of York is packed with a huge choice of shops, restaurants, bars and museums. It also thoroughly earns its reputation as a city of festivals with something new going on almost every other week, from Christmas markets and pop-up food stalls to the yearly Viking festival.
With so much going on, it’s not a sleepy place to live by any means, but life in York is far more relaxed and friendly than in a larger city which comes in handy on those days when research gets a bit stressful.
There are so many options for socialising in York, whether you’re celebrating with friends or meeting people after a conference. Cosy old pubs, independent coffee shops, fancy cocktail bars and award-winning restaurants – York has them all.
As a postgraduate researcher in literature, the sheer number of second-hand bookshops is a massive bonus (although not so good for my bank balance!) The wealth of history in York also means there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with culture and heritage. The dozens of museums, galleries and historic houses are brilliant both for research and for days out, while beautiful historical sites like York Minster and the city walls make for great pictures on Instagram.
Another reason that I love living in York is the location. Campus is just a short walk, cycle or bus ride away from the centre of town. Within half an hour on the train, I can be in stunning countryside or, alternatively, in Leeds, one of the biggest cities in the country. It’s also only two hours by train away from London, making PhD trips to the British Library (or, more recently, to go see a play) easily achievable.
With such good transport links, York is the perfect base to go just about anywhere, making it ideal for travelling to conferences or just exploring. But with so much on offer, there aren’t too many reasons to leave!