York Minster

The Student Guide to York

So, you’re thinking of studying in York?! You’ve made a good choice – York’s been named the best place to live in Britain, and once you arrive it’s easy to see why. There’s so much to explore, it can be hard to know where to start – so here’s your student guide to the city!


York Minster

If you know anything about York, you might have heard about a little building called the Minster. You can’t call yourself a local until you’ve been for a visit. With proof that you’re a York resident (York Uni student card), you can get in for free. It’s a stunning building inside and out, and mind-blowingly huge! Whenever the chaos of uni life gets overwhelming, the Minster is a great place to unwind and take a moment to yourself in the peace and quiet. Plus, it’s not far from the train station. So when your friends come to visit, you can wow them straight away and show off how pretty York is!


The Shambles, York

If the Minster’s not historic enough for you, visit the Shambles. It’s a small, narrow medieval street known as the real-life Diagon Alley, which explains why there are three shops dedicated to Harry Potter! There’s plenty of other shops too, and you could spend hours looking at all the quirky gifts on offer – just make sure not to spend all of your student loan! To make things even better, if you visit in the build-up to Christmas, there are snow machines in the evening for the ultimate festive experience. There’s also an entire Christmas Market in Parliament Square, which is the perfect way to celebrate the end of the first term with your friends!

King's Square at night, York

Don’t worry, York has bigger shops too, with all your favourite high street stores – time to take advantage of your student discount…


Clifford's Tower, York

York is jam-packed with unique attractions, like the Railway Museum or Jorvik Viking Centre. When you want to learn something new, you’ve got plenty of options. Some of the main museums in York are free to students. Plus, during the Resident’s Festival weekend in January, your student card will get you into all the major attractions for free – the perfect chance to climb Clifford’s Tower or get spooked in the Dungeons!


Beside the River Ouse, York

At first, it can be easy to overlook the riverside, but it’s well worth exploring, especially in the summer term when you need to de-stress from exams! Start out in the Museum Gardens with a picnic, then grab an ice cream from the houseboat moored up by the bridge and watch the world go by. If you want to get out into the countryside, you can walk along the river from the city centre to Millennium Bridge and beyond for some fresh air.

Ice-cream boat on the River Ouse, York


Gatehouse Coffee, Walmgate Bar, York

There’s no excuse for falling into the beans on toast stereotype with so much choice around the city! There’s a restaurant for every style of cuisine, and you’ll never run out of things to try. After all, where else but York could you eat your roast dinner out of a Yorkshire pudding wrap from the Yorkshire Roast Company?! If you’re feeling a little fancier, you can always treat yourself to afternoon tea at Betty’s (and debate the proper way to say “scone” while you’re at it). For lots of choice all in one place, Spark:York has turned old shipping containers into a venue full of amazing local food retailers. When you want a little history with your meal, try Gatehouse Coffee, a cosy cafe located inside – you guessed it – an old gatehouse on the city walls!



Rumour has it that York has a pub for every day of the year. Whether that’s true or not, there’s plenty of great bars and pubs to explore with your friends. Evil Eye is popular with students, offering tasty cocktails and fourposter beds to drink them on (yes, you read that right!). If you fancy drinks with a fun twist, Thomas’ serves drinks complete with rubber ducks or ice lollies. Come summertime, there are plenty of pubs by the river where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine.

York has so much to offer and this list is just the start. Once you’ve completed everything on it, there are plenty more hidden gems to find… so get your shoes on and start exploring! 

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Hiya, my name's Kirsten. I'm a 2nd Year Politics and International Relations student. I really love travel and exploring new places, and I've spent the last two summers working in the USA at a summer camp.

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