With history awaiting you at every turn, York is a beautiful and romantic city to discover with a loved one. There are the well-known attractions, such as the gorgeous Gothic cathedral, York Minster, the Roman period bathhouses, and the Snickleways, where you can get lost wandering the winding medieval alleys. There are also some more modern must-dos, such as a sunset river cruise, shopping in Stonegate and dining at any of York’s award-winning restaurants.
If you really want to make a good impression, treat your special someone to a weekend in this dreamy medieval town.
Float along the River Ouse
One of the most romantic things to do in York is hire a boat and make your way up the River Ouse. It’s a great way to get your bearings when you first arrive and gives you a taste of all the history that awaits you. From the river, you’ll pass under the famous nine Bridges of York, including the charming Lendal Bridge which was the setting in the cult ‘80s Brookside spin-off Damon and Debbie. If you don’t fancy doing the hard work yourself, there are several boat tours that you can take that include commentary, dinner and drinks.
Take a look around York Minster
You can’t come to York without visiting its star attraction, York Minster. It’s one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe and is believed to date back to the 8th century (at least!). The architecture is stunningly beautiful, especially the Chapter House and the Kings’ Screen. It’s known in particular for its huge stained glass windows, most notably the 23m-tall Great East Window, created by John Thornton in the early 15th century. Come at sunset to see the dazzling light display in the cathedral and stay for the Evensong service with the Minster Choir.
Have a picnic in the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey
There’s something so romantic about an old-fashioned picnic, and you couldn’t pick a more spectacular location than among the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in the Yorkshire Museum Gardens. Built in 1055, this ancient Benedictine church was once the richest abbey in the north of England but all that remains today are a few walls, the West Gate and the 14th century timber-framed Abbot’s House. Grab a blanket, detour past a nearby supermarket and enjoy a cosy picnic sitting on centuries of history.
Visit a vineyard
Just outside of York is the picturesque village of Nun Monkton, where you’ll find Yorkshire Heart, a family-run vineyard and brewery. Yorkshire Heart has won many awards for its fine English wines produced on site in their modern winery. They also make their own craft beers in their microbrewery, brewed in front of you with top Yorkshire grains. The winery offers guided tours and tastings, but if you really want to up the romance stakes, you can spend an evening amongst the grapes with canapés and their Gold Medal sparkling wine, before sitting down to a 3-course dinner and wine degustation.
Tickets for two, please!
York has a thriving theatre scene and boasts several world-class venues. You can catch a musical at the Grand Opera House and see a live music concert at the York Barbican, but you simply have to get tickets to a show at the Theatre Royal in St Leonard’s Place. It has a rather bittersweet story behind it – built in 1744 on the site of the medieval St Leonard’s Hospital, it was once run by nuns, one of whom fell in love with a local nobleman. Alas, the lovers were not meant to be and the girl was banished to one of the rooms. Like all great tragedies, the ghost of the Grey Lady now lives in the dress circle, waiting to be reunited with her love.