One of the country’s most picturesque and historic cities, York was one of medieval England’s most cosmopolitan centres. Think medieval lanes with cute shops and boutiques, 13th century city walls and a Gothic cathedral considered to be one of the most magnificent in Northern Europe.
We’ve picked our favourites of York’s historic hotels each completely unique and with their own story to tell. From boutique countryside hotels, to converted Victorian town houses right in the centre of York, there’s something for everyone, even the dog!
The Lamb & Lion Inn
Ravaged by fire in the 17th century and subsequently rebuilt, the Lamb and Lion is now a relaxing Victorian retreat, which from the moment you step through the door is like going back in time. Quaint rooms linked by narrow passages and oak paneled walls, the Lamb and Lion preserves the history of the building whilst offering a luxury experience.
The hotel hosts 12, four-star, en-suite rooms each with plush fabrics, and iron railed beds making for a Victorian country feel with all the modern amenities you need.
The restaurant at the Lamb and Lion is the proud owner of two AA Rosettes, for its tasty and uncomplicated gourmet food. All the food is based around traditional British pub food, but with locally sourced ingredients, clean flavours, attention to detail and sense of finesse that elevates the food to the next level. If you need a mid-week pick-me-up go for brunch and enjoy the extensive menu that varies from pancakes to an exquisite full english.
During your stay don’t miss the Botanical Gardens at the Yorkshire Museum. Located in the centre of York, they are open year-round and offer a relaxing place away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Old Rectory Guest House
A Grade II listed building, this former religious building was built in 1737 and is now the charming Old Rectory Guest House. The house is located outside of York, in a rural village in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
Offering a warm welcome and genuine country living, the house even has its own clutch of hens for the fresh eggs cooked in the Yorkshire breakfast. The rooms are all decorated in a pastel palette that lends itself to a country style with antique furniture, four poster beds, and modern marble-clad bathrooms.
To see the North York Moors in all their glory, why not take a heritage rail journey through the dramatic hills. It’s a great day out for all the family and you’ll definitely recognise some of the scenery from the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.
The Bar Convent
England’s oldest convent, The Bar Convent was founded in 1686 today is a Grade I listed building. The hotel is home to an award winning B&B, café and exhibition centre, plus spacious gardens for relaxing. Perfect for any history buff visiting York or for a city break with a little more substance.
The rooms are newly refurbished and homely, featuring modern amenities and modest décor that offers peace and quiet – plus excellent old-fashioned style service. In fact, the cooked and continental breakfasts are so good they were awarded the Visit England Breakfast Award in 2014.
The state-of-the-art exhibition space tells the story of the convent’s rich history, in a way that brings the last three centuries of history to life through interactive experiences.
The Grange Hotel
Featuring 42 individually designed rooms, The Grange Hotel is a classic regency townhouse built in 1829. The luxury hotel is perfectly situated in the centre of York, with access to the shops and restaurants that make this city such a popular weekend destination.
Each of the rooms follow a different colour scheme and theme, but all are luxurious in their own way. Every room is equipped with a welcoming Hypnos double, king size or twin bed for extra comfort. There are six types of room to choose from, with varying levels of luxury: from four-poster beds to full suites. As you would expect from a cosmopolitan city like York, the rooms are equipped for both business and leisure travel.
The hotel’s restaurant, The Ivy Brasserie, uses local produce to create delicious dining experiences under Head Chef Will Nicol. Treat yourself to a decadent Afternoon Tea with all the trimmings, after a day of exploring.
The Hazelwood Guest House
A warm and welcoming hotel within the setting of two restored Victorian Town Houses, The Hazelwood dates back to 1862. Situated in a quiet residential street in the centre of York, the hotel is the ideal walking distance from all of York’s top attractions.
All fourteen rooms are individually styled and feature comfortable, cosy decoration. The large superior rooms are spacious and decorated with period wooden furniture and plush fabrics.
The Hazelwood Guest House breakfast experience is a feast! Starting with fruit juices, yoghurt, fresh fruit and porridge, next comes a full cooked English breakfast or full vegetarian English breakfast depending on your preference, or a lighter option of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
To discover more about the history of York we recommend a visit to the York Castle Museum which has been voted one of the top museums in York. Filled with interactive exhibitions, live actors that bring the story of York to life and events such as the V&A Undressed event as part of the Shaping the Body exhibition.
The York Priory Guest House
The York Priory was a grand Victorian house that was converted in the 1930s to a hotel which is still owned by the same family. Many of the house’s original features are still intact, such as the twin gothic arches in the gardens and the William Morris wall hangings.
The pet-friendly hotel is just a short walk from the city centre and the riverside promenade, and has accommodation to suit all. Whether this be large adjoining family rooms, or rooms to suit just one person such as a single en-suite room overlooking the gardens.
Recent rennovations have been completed and a brand new Bar and Orangery has opened with an adjoining terrace onto the gardens. The Orangery is a space that can be booked for private functions, meetings or small weddings for which the guesthouse can cater small snacks and refreshments throughout the day.
Be sure to spend some time exploring The Shambles, York’s maze of narrow, twisting lanes that are filled with boutique shops, pubs and cafes.
A 1699 country house estate, Middlethorpe Hall was bought in the 1980s and transformed into a luxury hotel. The restoration was completed to exacting and historically accurate standards with the 20 acres of parkland surrounding the house developed into manicured and elegant gardens. The history of the house goes back centuries and among its more interesting occupants is the Lady Mary Wortley Montague whose wit and beauty made her a darling of the London court.
The award winning spa at Middlethorpe Hall is a reason in itself to visit York. The inviting indoor swimming pool, relaxing steam room, sauna, gymnasium and club room are all at your disposal after a day of exploring the streets of York and the surrounding attractions.
The rooms are all cosy and feature traditional decoration and furniture. Choose from a selection of suites, double bedrooms, four-poster bedrooms, or opt for one of the cottages dotted around the estate that make perfect family accommodation.
Yorkshire is a hot-bed of National Trust properties and Middlethorpe Hall is also part of this organisation with all profits benefiting the charity. We recommend a trip to nearby Harewood House for a day out filled with fascinating history and incredible design.
Looking for more weekend destination inspiration? Why not check out Brighton?