York train travel
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Description: Open source travel guide to York, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.
York is an ancient cathedral city with a history that dates back to before Roman times. A county in its own right for hundreds of years, York is now in North Yorkshire. England with some of the best preserved historical buildings and structures in Europe. As of the 2001 census, the population of York was 181,000.
York is frequently ranked with Manchester as the second most visited city in England after London and is, of course famous, for giving its name to the city and state of New York in the United States.
York is a fairly small city - four days is enough to see the major sights although York is a city that reveals its charms to explorers with curiosity and patience.
York is known as England's "City of Festivals" as there are regular cultural festivals every year. The official festivals are the Viking Festival, the Festival of Angels, Early Music, Late Music, Horse Racing (the "Ebor Race Meeting"), Multicultural Food and Arts, Chinese New Year, Mystery Plays, Christmas St Nicholas' Fair, and the Food and Drink Festival. It's a romantic city for a weekend break. York is full of magic and a wonderful place to bring children!
York was known as Eboracum by the Romans, who founded the fortress city on the River Ouse in the year 71. York was home first to the Ninth Legion and later the Sixth. York quickly became one of the most important cities in Roman Britain, and after 211 became the capital of the province Britannia Inferior. Constantine the Great—later responsible for making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire—was first proclaimed Emperor in the city.
Captured by the Vikings 866, the city quickly took on a new identity as Jorvik (pronounced "Yor-vik") and experienced a major urban revival as a centre of Viking trade and settlement in northern England. The Coppergate excavations of the 1970s revealed much of this Viking past.
After the Norman Conquest, York became the second city of England, and kings often moved their court here while campaigning against Scotland. King Richard III had a special connection with the city and although portrayed as a villain by Shakespeare, many locals will tell you that it's all Tudor Propaganda. During the Georgian era, York's racecourse attracted the rich and influential from around the country, which meant in turn that the city was saved from the worst ravages of the industrial revolution - the factory and mill owners didn't want to pollute their "playground".
Industry finally came to York with the arrival of the railways in the 1830s, and owing to its strategic position approximately halfway between London and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line, the city became a major headquarters, junction and works for the railways, a role which it continues to this day. The other major industry of the city was confectionery; the Rowntree's works, now owned by Nestlé, is the only one still producing but a delicious chocolatey smell still wafts through the city when the wind is in the right direction.
Although York is not directly on any of the main north-south motorways, the connections are reasonably good. From the south, the quickest route is probably to take the M1 northbound to junction 32, the M18 eastbound to junction 2, the A1(M) northbound to junction 44 and then the A64 eastbound to the York Outer Ring Road (A1237). Alternatively, you can take the M1 all the way to the A64, but the upper reaches of the M1 around Sheffield and Leeds can get very congested, especially at rush hour. From the west, the A59 and the M62 provide connections from Liverpool and Manchester. From the north, the A1 and the A19 link York with Tyneside, Northumberland and southeastern Scotland.
Driving into the city centre itself is something to avoid. Traffic congestion on the main arterial roads serving the city (especially the A19 on Bootham and the Inner Ring Road) can get very bad, especially during the rush hours and on Saturday mornings. The remodeling of some roads near bottleneck junctions to accommodate bicycle lanes has made traffic jams even worse still in recent years, and parking in the city centre is very expensive.
If you are just visiting York for the day, using a Park and Ride costs a lot less than trying to park in or near the city centre, and there are six sites dotted around the Outer Ring Road. However, the last buses from the city centre leave at around 20:00 in the evenings, and you are not allowed to leave your car in a Park and Ride overnight. Therefore, if you are staying overnight in York and arriving by car, make sure that your hotel offers parking before you book your room. If you are visiting only for the day but will be staying until late evening, you will need to use a city centre car park.
York is one of the main hubs of the UK rail network. with a large range of services and destinations to choose from. The station itself is an attraction and was voted the 'nicest' station in the UK in 2007. Because of the number of lines that pass through the city, services tend to be frequent. Indeed, it was the largest train station in the world when it was first built. While intercity trains can be expensive, regional services are relatively affordable. Buying tickets online a few weeks in advance can provide substantial savings on long distance tickets.
National Rail  operates several services from York. York is situated halfway between Edinburgh and London on the East Coast Main Line. East Coast Trains run services along this route approximately every half hour between King's Cross station in London and Edinburgh Waverley. The journey time from London is typically about 2 hours and 15 minutes, while Edinburgh is 2 hours and 30 minutes away.
First Transpennine Express  operates service to and from Manchester. Manchester Airport, Leeds. and Huddersfield. The service runs 24 h, making it possible to have a late night out elsewhere in North England while still being able to get back to York. It runs every 30 minutes during the daytime and early evening but has a fewer trains in the evenings and even after midnight.
Train times can be found on the National Rail Planner  or by calling 0845 748 49 50 from anywhere in the UK.
National Express  operates coach service to/from York. Tickets can be purchased online, at the station, or from the Tourist Information Centre at 1 Museum Street in the city centre. The coach stops near the railway station. They is a bus every 20 minutes from Leeds and Malton and every 1-2 hours from Whitby and Scarborough run by Transdev Yorkshire Coasltiner and frequent buses from Hull, Market Weighton, Pocklington, Driffield and Bridlington run by East Yorkshire. They is also buses to Harrogate at every 2 hours and frequent buses to Easingwold, Thirsk and Helmsley. For all of York's bus routes Click Here.
- Enter the UK at one of the London airports and travel onwards to York overland, either by road or by rail. If your itinerary includes other parts of the UK besides the northeast, this may be the best option, as the five London airports have a wider range of flight options and usually lower prices than are available for direct routings into an airport closer to York.
- Enter the UK at Manchester Airport and travel onwards to York overland either by road or by rail. Manchester Airport has a train station within easy walking distance of all terminals that has regular direct trains to York with a journey time of less than 2 hours.
- If Yorkshire and/or the northeast is the main destination of your visit to the UK, fly directly into the northeast using an airport with good road connections to York if you will be renting a car and/or are being picked up from the airport.
- If Yorkshire and/or the northeast is the main destination of your visit to the UK, fly directly into the north-east using an airport with good public transport connections to York if you will not have access to a car.
If you are arriving in the UK at one of the London airports (Heathrow (IATA. LHR ), Gatwick (IATA. LGW ), London City (IATA. LCY ), Luton (IATA. LTN ) or Stansted (IATA. STN )), your best bet is to travel to York either by road in a rental car or by train. If you take into account the time it takes to get from a London airport to King's Cross station, either way will normally take you 4-5 h from the arrivals hall to York city centre. The airports within a significantly shorter overland travelling time to York are as follows.
Leeds-Bradford International Airport (IATA. LBA ) is the geographically closest airport to York, located 31 mi from the city by road, but it is also arguably the least convenient and most expensive for visitors to the city. The low-cost carriers (LCCs) Jet2  and Ryanair  operate extensive services throughout Europe. KLM is currently the only legacy airline offering hub-and-spoke connections worldwide via its three daily flights to and from Amsterdam. In light traffic, it takes about 1 h by road to York using the A658 and the A59, but often the journey takes 2 h. This route can get very congested around the outskirts of Harrogate during the rush hours, and there are several villages with 30mph speed limits along the way. York residents collecting arriving passengers should note that it costs £12/h if you need to park and go into the terminal building (for example, if the flight is delayed): you are allowed to wait at the pick-up and drop-off area for only 10min. There is no direct public transport to York. The best way is to take the 757 bus outside the airport to Leeds City Bus Station, the last stop, and then any bus at stand 25 to York.
Manchester Airport (IATA. MAN ), 84 mi by road from York, is the UK's largest airport outside London and offers a wider choice of LCC and legacy airline services worldwide. These include direct flights from the USA operated by American, Continental and Delta. By road, the journey using the M62 and the A64 takes about an hour and a half in average traffic, but if you get caught in the rush hours around Leeds and Bradford it can take a lot longer. The train station in the airport provides direct connections to York throughout the day and night (see by train above), with a typical journey time of 2 h. It is worth booking tickets for rail connections online in advance, because tickets bought on the day are often a lot more expensive, and, if you are travelling at peak times without a reserved seat, you may have to stand for most, if not all, of the journey (these trains also serve commuters to Manchester and Leeds, getting very crowded).
Doncaster-Sheffield (IATA. DSA ), 41 mi by road from York - mainly serving European holiday destinations. This airport is not easily accessible by public transport. You have to take a bus to the Doncaster station.
Humberside (IATA. HUY. 48 mi) - KLM from Amsterdam and thence worldwide. Using the A1079 and the A15, the journey time to and from York is around an hour in typical traffic. This route takes you across the Humber Bridge, which is a spectacular sight in itself, but it can get congested in the rush hours. This airport is not easily accessible by public transport. You can take a bus to Hull or Grimsby stations. If KLM is offering a particularly attractive deal to Humberside, you will have access to a car and you are staying in a southern part of York, Humberside is worth considering.
Durham-Tees Valley IATA. MME. 47 mi from York - LCCs to UK and European destinations, plus KLM to Amsterdam and thence worldwide. The airport was formally called Teesside International until it was renamed in 2004, and the name "Teesside", "Tees-side" or "Teesside Airport" still appears on many local road signs and on tickets and boarding passes issued outside the UK. Although air fares to Durham-Tees Valley can cost a lot, it is well worth considering as a starting point for visiting northeastern England; as an underused regional airport, waiting and queuing times are very short. However, to recoup the lost revenue from falling passenger numbers in recent years, the airport introduced a facility fee of £6 per departing passenger (which must be paid before you are allowed through the security check). If you take the A67 eastbound from the airport through Yarm and Kirklevington and join the A19 southbound to York, this route is hardly ever congested, even during weekday rush hours. Using public transport, you can take a bus to Darlington. From there, York is a 30 min train ride on the East Coast Main Line, with frequent services throughout the day.
Newcastle (IATA. NCL. 79 mi), offers a wider range of legacy services than LBA, HUY or MME, with British Airways and Emirates providing long-haul connections as well as KLM. Air Transat also operate direct flights from Toronto during the summer months. The journey to York by road using the A1 and the A59 takes just under two hours. Using public transport, a Newcastle Metro  train takes about 45 mi from NCL to Central Station, from which York is a 70 mi ride on the East Coast Main Line.