Insider York – what to see and do, where to eat and shop

Dungeons with spooky secrets, the world’s most famous trains and more history than you can shake a stick at. York will win you over. Be inspired with Virgin’s pick of the shops, museums, galleries and grub.

Need inspiration? What to see

Gory history. History is truly horrible at York Dungeon. Come face to face with York’s grisliest characters: the likes of highwayman Dick Turpin and gunpowder plotter Guy Fawkes.

With those guys around you best keep your hands on your train tickets to York, though.

Arty types. The newly reopened York Art Gallery is a real bobby dazzler. And what else would you expect after an £8 million facelift? It’s now home to 3 L.S Lowry paintings (he of matchstick men fame). Each of these paintings are of York – and this is the first time they’re being shown together.

Trains really did change the world. Ordinary folk could travel for work and holidays. Fresh food could reach markets before going bad. Step from one of many trains to York into the history of the railways at the National Railway Museum a hop, skip and a jump from the station.

You’ll find everything from the world’s fastest steam train – Mallard – to trains that carried royals.

Feeling hungry? Where to eat

An intimate dinner: Café No8 is a lovely little place; tables nestled together, quiet chatter, a laidback, arty feel. Yorkshire grub is the realstar though. Locally-sought ingredients are transformed into unfussy, but get-in-my-belly dishes. Think slow-cooked pork belly with pig trotter and black pudding croquette.

A light lunch: Veggie food that’s all kinds of tasty while still being healthy - there’s no wonder locals are all over Goji. Plunge warm pita bread into a pile of homemade homous. Or plump for a vegan fish and chips. This tiny Goodramgate café is one of York’s best-kept secrets – well worth booking cheap train tickets to York.

International: Krakow bistro culture comes to the backstreets of York at Barbakan. Locals are loving its heady selection of Eastern European tastes. We’re all about szaszlyk (marinated chicken skewers with veg and salsa). Dinner with a difference.

Street food: Los Moros is a street food stall serving up North African and Middle-Eastern grub to punters at Shambles Market. We love Merguez – the sausage butty redefined. Lamb sausages are spiced with cumin, paprika, coriander and more, then slapped in a baguette with north African sauces.

Feeling hungry? Book train tickets to York

Retail therapy - where to shop

High street heaven

If you like the high street, you’ll love Coney Street. All the usual suspects are present and correct, from Next and Mango to Boots and Waterstones. Save more cash for splashing by booking cheap train tickets to York.

Vintage shops, one-off boutiques and homewares

Vintage lovers, trinket hoarders and foodie types will love Fossgate – which was a way out of the city in Roman times. Nowadays, it’s packed with great restaurants, delis and vintage clothes shops

Check out the The Hairy Fig for foodies. Its shelves groan with decadent artisan grub: aged balsamic vinegar on tap, posh cheeses, truffle oil and incredibly naughty chocolate.

Label lovers - designer shopping

York Designer Outlet: Find Paul Smith suits, Hobbs dresses, old-school Adidas trainers, Ralph Lauren sweaters and a whole heap more designer gear just a short bus ride from York city centre.

Stonegate: Girls about town will love the preppy fashions in Whistles. More into shabby-chic? Head to Joules and Cath Kidston. 

Hidden York

Bishy Rd: Make like a hipster on Bishy (or Bishopthorpe) Road. This trendy area throngs with vintage shops, delis and such like. It’s recently been voted best high street in Britain in the Great British High Street Awards 2015 

Need trains to York? We’ll get you sorted….