York:  A melting pot of history, shopping and food  

York is a true melting pot - where Viking and Roman history collide with bohemian cafes, and a Gothic Minster sits alongside charming independent shops.  

Here are our suggestions for the top places for sightseeing, eating, drinking and shopping.

Whether grabbing some grub, sinking a pint, taking in the sights o​r shopping ’til you drop - here are our top picks for visiting the historic North Yorkshire city of York.

York is a true melting pot - where Viking and Roman history collide with bohemian cafes, and a Gothic Minster sits alongside charming independent shops. 

Things to do in York 

The Tour De France is the world’s largest annual sporting event – and the 2014 edition of the cycling race gets under way in Yorkshire. 

The Grand Depart Stage One will see cyclists including former world champion Mark Cavendish race from York to Sheffield on 6 July.

The race finishes nearly 20 stages later in Paris at the Champs-Elysees. 

The Yorkshire Festival 2014 will offer “100 days of art and culture” across the county to celebrate the arrival of the Grand Depart.

No trip to York is complete without seeing the magnificent Minster. The site on which it stands has been central to the history of York since Roman times.

The current Gothic cathedral dates back 800 years, and is among York’s most popular visitor attractions.  

The Leaning Tower of Pisa could sit inside the vast central tower – climb the 275 steps to the top of it and take in York from every direction.  
York Minster is open daily, from 10.00 to 17.00. 

More than one thousand years ago York was ruled by Vikings – don’t leave the city without investigating this savage past. 

Back then York was known as Jorvik, and at the Jorvik Viking Centre you can journey through time to authentically experience the sights, sounds and smells of Viking York.

Food and drink in York 
York is a foodie’s dream, with something for everyone. 

Don’t miss Cafe Concerto, a Parisian-style bistro which sits in the shadow of the Minster. Take a seat at its rickety, mismatched chairs and tables and tuck into a sumptuous deli ciabatta such as the Concerto Caesar Club as 1940s jazz plays in the background.

Betty’s too will leave you swooning. A true North Yorkshire institution, the tea rooms have been doing business in York since 1936.

Enjoy posh sandwiches (smoked salmon and prawn or goats’ cheese and beetroot) and sweet treats served by waitresses who could have stepped off the set of Downton Abbey. 

The VisitYork website says “few visitors to York fail to visit Betty’s” and you’ll soon see why.

Shopping in York  
Whether you’re after quirky, independent shops, designer brands or high street favourites, York has the lot. 

Find the perfect quirky gift for a cat lover at the Cat Gallery, and be spoilt for shabby chic homeware at Cath Kidston on Stonegate. 

Deserve a treat? Check out leather handbags favoured by the A-listers at Mulberry on Swinegate, browse everything from Paul Smith to Vivienne Westwood at Van Mildert on Blake Street and have a pluck on a banjo at folkies' favourite Red Cow Music

Hidden York

Here are three spots in York you might not have heard of…

Evil Eye Cocktail lounge 
Build your own cocktail and enjoy it while lounging around on a Moroccan-style wooden bed at the Evil Eye Cocktail Bar and Restaurant on Stonegate. 

With nods to Brazil, Morocco and Haiti, Evil Eye “takes you into the colourful world of mysticism and travel” – what are you waiting for?

Oscar’s Wine Bar and Bistro 
Much loved by locals, Oscar’s Wine Bar and Bistro is one of York’s best-kept secrets. With exposed brickwork and scrubbed wooden tables, Oscar’s is perfect for a family get together. Find a comfy spot and tuck into a legendary Oscar’s burger or wrap.

All Saints Church 
So you’ve seen the Minster, what’s next? Telegraph Travel says “All Saints Church is arguably the finest mediaeval church in York”.

Check out stained glass from the 15th century and the distinctive angel roof at the historic site tucked out of the way on North Street. 

Upcoming events in York 
York Farmers' Market (until 30 September) – Enjoy locally grown and sourced fruit, vegetables and more at the farmers’ market held in the city centre on the last Friday of the month.

Richard III: Rumour and Reality (1 June – 24 June) - A year-long programme of events to acknowledge the reign of Richard III.

The Orb at York Minster (until May 2016) - Step inside the dome of discovery at York Minster to see a masterpiece in stained glass.

Toy Stories (until December 2016) – Step back in time with the toys of yesteryear at York Castle Museum.

Enjoy your trip to York.