City of York

City of York

Packed with Medieval charm and family-friendly amenities, it's clear why the capital of Yorkshire is a hit with families and older couples looking for a safe, serene city. So what's it really like to live in York?

“York is a thriving urban centre with a  population of 207,000, many of whom flock here to enjoy the cobbled streets, time-warm ambience and high quality of living”

Moving to York

Once the major trading city of Jorvik under the Vikings (including the fearsomely named Eric Bloodaxe), this beautiful, historic walled city sits in the heart of North Yorkshire and was traditionally the county town of the area. Now possessing city status, York is a thriving urban centre with a  population of 207,000, many of whom flock here to enjoy the cobbled streets, time-warm ambience and high quality of living.

Known for its winding Medieval alleyways, York is a tourist favourite with visitors from all over the world coming to explore the city’s Viking past at the Jorvik Centre. But as well as offering a fascinating glimpse into the olden days, York is full of modern, family-friendly amenities including good schools, low crime levels, and close proximity to plenty of rugged countyside. Travel links are also excellent, with both the capitals and England and Scotland easily accessible by train.

The city does suffer from a lack of diversity, with just over 5% of residents born outside the UK and a higher than average proportion of elderly residents. For young professionals and students the city can often feel a little too quiet and quaint, while for families seeking peace and tranquility you’d be hard pressed to find a better option in this part of the country.

House prices in York

A sought-after city, house prices in York are around £264,000 on average as of 2017, significantly higher than average for North Yorkshire, and for the UK. Prices are also climbing rapidly, at around 9-10% per year. The suburb of Bishopthorp in the south of the city is one of the most coveted areas, although prices are higher here than in most of the city, while Acomb is one of the most affordable family-friendly neighbourhoods. Other recommended areas include Bootham and Heworth, where you’ll find properties ranging from smart city flats to generous detached properties.

“For young professionals and students the city can often feel a little too quiet and quaint, while for families seeking peace and tranquility you’d be hard pressed to find a better option in this part of the country”

Travel

Formerly a river port, the River Ouse may no longer be the main port of call for travellers to York, but transport links are still excellent. For drivers, there’s a fast ring road and good links to the A1 (M) and M62 via A-roads for those looking to get out of the city, and York station is a major stop of various cross-country routes, with speedy connections to London, Newcastle, Edinburgh and more – a trip to the capital takes less than 2 hours. Within the city there’s a network of bus routes to transport locals and visitors around, although walking and cycling are also popular due to the small size and slow traffic on  the many narrow streets.

For international travel, the nearest large airport is Leeds-Bradford, around 30 miles away.

Lifestyle

It may be small, but shopping in York puts many cities in England to shame for its range of independent shops on cobbled streets, contemporary shopping centres packed with high street brand and even a designer outlet nearby. Fashion fans can enjoy two shopping centres, the Coppergate Shopping Centre and Monks Cross Shopping Centre, which offer everything from Topshop and Primark to post-shop dinner options such as Carluccio’s. If you’d prefer something a little quirkier, why not explore the Snickelways and the Shambles, York’s tightly-knit maze of historic lanes where you’ll discover everything from a German Christmas shop and various antiques centres, to specialist haberdasheries. Meanwhile, residents with an eye on the latest designer trends can be found making regular visits to the York Designer Outlet, located a short distance away from the centre and home to brands including Lacoste, LK Bennett and The Kooples.

York’s dining scene is also very respectable, with both popular chain restaurants and independent gems to be found serving up all sorts of international cuisines. Local favourites can be found dotted around the city, such as Ambient Tapas, Rustique and Khao Sarn Thai, while the York Cocoa Rooms are a must-visit for any chocaholics, and for those wanting a side of history with their afternoon tea, Yorkshire’s beloved Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms has a famous mirror signed by World War Two airmen. If that’s not enough, the city also holds an annual Festival of Food and Drink, and Leeds is just 21 miles away if you ever find yourself tired of what York’s retail and dining scene has to offer.

Groceries

The city is mostly served by small branches of major supermarket chains, such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and two large Morrisons, as well as a number of good Asian supermarkets including Oriental Express and Chi Yip Supermarket. For a great range of fresh produce and deli products, head to Gillygate for the likes of Love Cheese York and Bakes & Co Delicatessen, or try the Farmer’s Market for farm-fresh goods.

Health & Sport

Despite a lack of major gym chains – aside from a Bannatyne’s Health close to Rawcliffe – residents looking to get in shape have a respectable selection of studios to choose from, ranging from City Yoga to Crossfit Jorvik. Looking to try something new? The Red Goat Climbing Wall is a popular weekend spot for fitness-loving locals, while Energi Trampoline Park is a hit with families.

Culture

History fans couldn’t pick a better place to setting – this ancient city is teeming with interesting sites, including York Minster, York Castle, the Medieval City Walls and even the Jorvik Viking Centre, where visitors can take a tour through a recreation of York as it might have looked (and smelled) over a thousand years ago. If you’d prefer something more lively, there are a number of excellent venues across the City such as the Theatre Royal and Grand Opera House, while just outside York there’s the option to explore the Yorkshire Air Museum or Castle Howard, where Brideshead Revisited was filmed among others.

“History fans couldn’t pick a better place to setting – this ancient city is teeming with interesting sites, including York Minster, York Castle, the Medieval City Walls and even the Jorvik Viking Centre”

Schools and Education

Home of the University of York, the city has a reputation for esteemed learning with the Oxbridge-style collegiate university regularly ranking among the top 20 universities in the UK.

For children, on the other hand, Rufforth Primary School, Naburn CofE Primary School and Knavesmire Primary School all come highly recommended, with over 97% of pupils achieving expected levels of Maths and English. Independent schools such as Bootham School, St Peter’s School (including St Olaves and Clifton Pre-Prep) and the Mount School offer the leading results for secondary aged children, while Manor CofE Voluntary Aided School, Fulford School and All Saints RC School are among the best state secondary schools in York.

Safety

Crime levels in York are lower than the UK average, with around 55 crimes per 1000 residents  – correlating with North Yorkshire’s reputation for having the lowest crime rates in England, according to research in 2016. Crime is higher in central York due to tourist crimes such as pickpocketing, and lower on the edges of the city.

Green Space

Some of York’s finest green spaces can actually be found close to the city centre, such as Knavesmire, Walmgate Stray and Hob Moor. The city’s educational establishments and cultural venues also provide a number of picturesque green spaces perfect for picnic, including the Yorkshire Museum Gardens, Dean’s Park and the Treasurer’s House Garden . For something a little wilder, on the other hand, both the North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park are a short drive away, so you’re never too far from a real trip to the countryside.

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