Stressed out, done in? Wound up, run down? You need a break, and York is just the place to help you unwind, relax and refresh your mind, body and soul. Pamper yourself with spa treatments, good food and fresh air. Enrich your mind with beautiful architecture and inspirational landscapes. Lift your spirits with magical music in serene surroundings.
Where to Stay
With 3 AA Red Stars and an RAC Gold Ribbon award, Middlethorpe Hall and Spa is a distinguished William III house in 20 acres of peaceful gardens just 5 minutes outside the city centre. Built in 1699, this was the home of the famous diarist Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. High ceilings, huge windows, spacious rooms, elegant and uncluttered furnishings all create a serene feel to Middlethorpe, and the luxurious Spa is available to all residents, with pool, steam rooms, beauty treatments and gymnasium. Once youve settled in here, it would be very easy not to go anywhere else at all for a few days!
Alternatively, choose a city centre hotel that will make you feel cosseted and cared-for, like the luxurious Blue Rooms at the Blue Bicycle restaurant, complete with Villeroy and Bosch bathrooms, steam showers, luxury kitchens, Bang & Olufsen hi-fi systems, goose-down quilts and pillows. Whats more, breakfast is provided in the rooms by the award-winning BB chef; or One3Two, a 5-diamond boutique B&B with stunning marble bathrooms, huge Indonesian teak beds, and champagne hamper breakfasts served in your room.
Spend the day at the Spa. If your hotel doesnt have one, book yourself in to Alquimia Spa on Stonegate for a proper pampering. Wrap yourself in a huge soft robe, enjoy a samarium spa session, join in with yoga and meditation, have a beauty treatment, even a haircut and here you are even allowed a glass of wine with your lunch! Also in the city centre, the Lotus Clinic offers acupuncture and Chinese herval medicine, incorporating lifestyle advice and holistic treatments for physical and emotional conditions.
New Moon is an alternative treatment and therapy centre with specialist consultants trained in stress management, massage, Swedish body massage, reiki, hypnotherapy, reflexology, Indian head massage, counselling and fortune readings. The York Human Givens Centre, in St Saviours Place near the Minster, offers a new approach to emotional health and clear thinking, with weekend courses and workshops as well as individual consultations.
Immerse yourself in the historic architecture of York city centre. You can spend the whole day walking in York. The medieval heart of the city is largely traffic-free so exploring on foot is peaceful, relaxing and refreshing. Take time for reflection as you sit and absorb the atmosphere within the cavernous spaces of York Minster, Europes largest Gothic cathedral. Explore the elegant and gentile Fairfax House, one of the countrys finest 18th century townhouses, or 17th century Treasurers House and Garden, a National Trust property tucked away behind the Minster.
Take a city stroll through the lovely Museum Gardens, Deans Park or along the tree-lined avenue of New Walk, on the banks of the River Ouse.
Stop for refreshment at Bettys Tearooms, the Juice Place in the Shambles, Caf Concerto or El Piano in the Swinegate Quarter.
To complete your restorative programme, spend a day in the magnificent Yorkshire countryside. Go walking amid the stunning scenery of the North York Moors or Yorkshire Dales National Parks, or along the cliff tops and sandy bays of Yorkshires Heritage Coastline, for a blast of invigorating sea air. Or visit nearby historic houses and gardens such as Castle Howard, Harewood House or Duncombe Park. You could even take a silent flight over the Vale of York in a 2-seater glider, with York Gliding Centre.
In the Evenings
Evenings in York consist of beautiful music in settings such as York Minster, the medieval churches of St Olaves or St Michael le Belfrey, or at the National Centre for Early Music, in the historic St Margarets Church on Walmgate; of fine, fresh food in mellow surroundings, such as St Williams College Restaurant among the Minster buildings, the Blue Bicycle, Rish, Meltons or the Sangthai restaurant at Escrick; of moonlit cruises along the River Ouse to the gardens of Bishopthorpe Palace, home of the Archbishop of York.
And if you know you need a break but you just cant find the excuse to get around to organising it, check Yorks cultural event calendar and come for the Jorvik Viking Festival in February, Early Music Festival in July, the Festival of Food and Drink in September or York Races, between May and October.