York Minster seen from city walls under a blood red sky behing a red brick building

York, England ()

Historically known as the white rose part of the War of the Roses, York is a wonderful English city to escape to for a weekend. With beautiful architecture, great food and family attractions, there is something for everyone in York.

York Minster: History buffs, architecture lovers and royal family followers will all want to flock to the Minster. I marveled at the beautiful organ and was giddy looking at the artifacts from the Tudor era. Younger visitors can borrow a “little explorer backpack” for free and use tools such as a tape measure and pencil, a magnifying glass and a mirror to explore the Minster and its interior museums. The Minster is open daily, but the different museums and areas inside have different operating hours, so check the website before going to ensure you get the most out of your visit.

York Minster lit up at dusk under a cloudy sky.

York Minster (Tamala Malerk)

Brew York Tap Room: Beer lovers rejoice, there is a brewery in York featuring not only 40 beers on tap but also the Yuzi Street Food open kitchen. My spouse enjoyed the beer flights, while I enjoyed the two-for-one margaritas; however, for me, the food was the star of the show. My spouse ate bao buns for the first time and told me if he could marry the bao buns we’d be in trouble (I’m about 70 percent sure he was joking). I chose the chicken yaki udon noodles and was not disappointed. The tap room is dog-friendly and is also kid-friendly until 8 p.m.

York Castle Museum: Travel throughout time at the York Castle Museum. Learn about the history of York as you walk through the Victorian-era exhibitions. Cut through the gift shop to the other side of this large museum where you can learn all about World War I and its lasting impact. My personal favorite exhibitions were the last two which included a room all about the 1960s featuring pop culture and cultural information about the sixties in York and the U.K. including information and artifacts about the Beatles and Dr. Who. The last exhibition was the York Castle Prison where you walk through an old prison and walk through different jail cells where you learn about a variety of inmates.

The Perky Peacock: This was one of the coolest experiences I had in York; I drank a chai latte in a castle tower. The 700-year-old Barker Tower is home to The Perky Peacock: a bar and café that contains additional seating further down in a dungeon. The Perky Peacock is open daily until 4 p.m. and serves your favorite coffee and tea drinks, hot chocolate, wine, sandwiches, pastries and more.

Entrance to the Perky Peacock: a cafe inside of a castle tower. The black and white sign for the cafe sits perched on the beige castle wall.

Entrance to the Perky Peacock (Tamala Malerk)

JORVIK Viking Centre: Travel back to 975 CE at this family-friendly encounter. I felt like I was at Disney World as I waited in line to hop on a slow ride on a cable car through a Medieval Viking village. The ride ends in a room of Viking-era objects and artifacts where multiple workers are performing demonstrations, and you can walk away with your own Viking-pressed coin for only two pounds.

The Hole in Wand: Directly across the street from JORVIK, is The Hole in Wand, a “wizarding world” themed indoor mini-golf experience and pub. This is another family-friendly experience, especially for Harry Potter fans. Experience nine magical holes where you use magic to illuminate the dark hole and enjoy a potion drink.

The Red Lion: This pub dates back to the 16th century and is where I tried Christmas pudding for the first time. It features traditional pub fare and plenty of beers on tap. Dogs are most welcome here and the fireplace was quite enjoyable to escape from the cold.

Christmas pudding in black bowl with cream-colored Brandy sauce on the side

Christmas Pudding ()

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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