Chic boutique hotels set right in the heart of historic York

With its bounty of historic attractions like the impressive York Minster and its cobbled streets lined with quaint Elizabethan era buildings, York is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most picturesque cities.

Whether you arrive by train or by car, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options for a staycation both within its historic walls or just beyond them.

From inns with links to infamous historic figures to guest houses with décor that plays on the city’s Viking past, here’s our round up of some of the best boutique hotel options in York.

An historic inn named after an infamous conspirator

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As you might suspect from its name, this former medieval inn pays homage to the notorious gunpowder plotter who was born and raised in York during the late 1500s. Guy Fawkes Inn handily sits in the shadow of the stunning York Minster and it makes the perfect base for a cultural weekend away in the Yorkshire capital.

Spending a night or two in the Guy Fawkes Inn really is like stepping back in time thanks to its impeccably preserved features and rustic ambience. Its comfortable rooms and suites are accessed via rickety (although perfectly safe!) stairwells and each comes individually decorated. Charming beamed ceilings and four poster beds are memorable touches, and the large sash windows in the Belfry Suite offer photo-worthy views of some of York’s most iconic landmarks.

While the streets surrounding the inn aren’t short of some great eateries (the famous Betty’s Café Tea Room is a five minute stroll away), you’ll find the Guy Fawkes Inn’s offering worthy of a try, too. Dine on traditional, locally sourced British fare in the candlelit restaurant area and look out for the appropriately named Conspirator’s set menu. If you just fancy a cool beverage, you can order up a pint of regional real ale at the handsome wood-panelled bar that’s lit by authentic gas lamps.

Guy Fawkes Inn

York, 21.3 km to Castle Howard
8.0 Very good (587 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

A former judges’ lodge in a Georgian townhouse

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Situated in a beautifully restored Georgian townhouse just minutes from York Station, the Judges Lodgings is a city centre oasis with an intriguing history. Originally constructed as a private home in the early 1700s, the building was then used to lodge judges attending sessions in the nearby Assize Courts. Nowadays, it’s a luxurious retreat that forms part of the House of Daniel Thwaites collection of unique, homely and historic hotels dotted around the UK.

While the Judges Lodgings’ lower floor is taken up by a range of eating and drinking options, the upstairs has been transformed into a handful of cosy rooms with cherry-picked décor and stunning garden views. High-quality mattresses come laden with soft blankets and luxurious bedding, and you’ll also find subtle retro touches like old-fashioned telephones and open fireplaces.

If this boutique B&B’s rooms are capable of delivering a perfect night’s sleep, you’ll find its three bars and in-house restaurant are definitely up to the job of satisfying your taste buds. The outdoor beer terrace (the largest in the city) is the perfect place to park yourself in the summer months, while the rustic Cellar Bar is wonderful for a tipple on a cooler day.

When it comes to food, you’ll find the Judges Lodgings’ stylish restaurant, with its unusual artwork and intimate booths, serves up a mix of hearty British classics as well as an extensive cooked breakfast spread – the bacon butties are particularly moreish.

Hotel The Judge's Lodging

Top rated
York, 21.5 km to Castle Howard
8.9 Excellent (1505 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Hotel bar
WiFi in lobby
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A hygge haven that plays on York’s Viking roots

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If you take a stroll around York, its Viking past is difficult to miss thanks to attractions like the Jorvik Viking Centre (brilliant for kids) and several aptly named streets. Situated across the street from the city’s Museum Gardens, Jorvik House is a hotel that’s embraced one of York’s most exciting periods of history not just with its name (Jorvik is the Viking name for York) but with its décor, too.

Each of its deluxe rooms are tastefully decorated in a Scandi-chic style with a few stag motifs and faux-fur blankets thrown in for good measure. The hotel additionally makes use of plenty of natural materials and the odd potted plant in an effort to — successfully— create a sense of hygge.

At the top end of the range you’ll find Jorvik House’s suites, including the Deluxe Bay Suite that features a roll top bath in the bedroom for an added touch of indulgence. It’s a sublime spot for a rejuvenating soak after a long day of exploring, and the aromatic Cowshed toiletries are an appreciated bonus.

This Nordic-inspired hotel sadly lacks an onsite restaurant but the rooms do come with impressive mini-bars, plus a simple pack up of pastries, juice and coffee can be ordered in advance if you need a quick breakfast. For a good restaurant or pub recommendation nearby, Jorvik House’s friendly staff members are very helpful or you could just walk the short distance to Stonegate and take your pick.

 

Jorvik House

York, 21.4 km to Castle Howard
7.8 Good (1202 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

A lavish Victorian bachelor pad on the edge of the city centre

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The Victorian façade of Marmadukes Town House Hotel is located down a street in Clifton, a leafy suburb that’s about 15 minutes from York’s main attractions. It’s the former home of a Victorian gentleman, a fact that’s reflected in the original tiling and the mish-mash of antique furnishings which have been lovingly collected by its current owners.

Despite its eclectic interiors, Marmadukes is undoubtedly a four-star hotel with plenty of contemporary (and luxurious) features to boot. Modern bathrooms come stocked with high end, complimentary toiletries, plus many of the bedrooms feature four poster beds as their focal points. Marmaduke’s grand Loft Suite even has a mini wooden sauna in the bathroom as well as an inviting claw foot tub.

For those who like the option of self-catering while on a getaway, you’ll also find the hotel’s York Suite is fitted with a well-equipped kitchenette in a separate living area to the bedroom. If you’d rather leave the cooking to the experts though, Marmadukes’ award-winning, sun-drenched restaurant is deserving of a visit. Named The Park, its kitchen is overseen by daring chef, Adam Jackson, who takes tasting menus to new heights with multiple courses of global dishes that change seasonally to keep things fresh.

Marmadukes Town House Hotel

York, 21 km to Castle Howard
8.4 Very good (1739 reviews)
Excellent Service 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

A secluded stately home in the very heart of York

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Another option seconds from the Minster is Grays Court, one of York’s oldest residential buildings that’s easy to overlook thanks to its sheltered location alongside the city walls. Built for the Archbishop of York’s Treasurer before becoming the seat of the noble Gray family, it’s played host to royalty and politicians over the centuries and was turned into a charming boutique hotel back in 2005.

Despite its size, Grays Court has just eleven rooms that are all elegantly kitted out with exquisite antique furnishings. A muted colour palette and lack of artwork allow the building’s period features to do all the talking, although you will find the odd coat of arms or framed vintage photograph in the communal areas. This includes the hotel’s library, which is a wonderfully cosy spot to get lost in a good book (either your own or from one of the bookshelves).

The impressive Jacobean Long Gallery, with its warm wooden interiors and squashy armchairs, is also perfect for an afternoon tea or coffee break, while The Bow Restaurant serves up seasonal British dishes with creative flair (think beef tartare served with blue cheese and pear or sweet potato paired with dark chocolate and pecan). Grays Court’s sumptuous afternoon tea is also not to be missed — there’s even a ‘Gentleman’s’ version that features black pudding sausage rolls and pork pies.  

Grays Court’s pretty gardens are a real bonus if you’re staying in the warmer months as nests of tables and chairs are laid out on the lawn for drinks and nibbles. It’s also home to a thriving organic veggie patch (that’s used by the hotel’s restaurant) as well as having direct access to York’s city walls if you fancy a stroll.

Grays Court

Top rated
York, 21.1 km to Castle Howard
8.9 Excellent (220 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

A contemporary pick with chocolate themed rooms in trendy Walmgate

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The most modern of our boutique picks is the Hotel Indigo that’s a relatively new addition to York’s hotel scene. It’s found in the up-and-coming Walmgate neighbourhood that’s a short 10 minute walk from Clifford’s Tower and surrounded by great local shops, cafes and bars.

Despite its contemporary red brick building, Hotel Indigo’s interiors evoke York’s industrial and religious history with exposed brick walls and carved wooden room numbers inspired by the architecture of York Minster. You’ll also find many of the rooms contain subtle nods towards the city’s chocolate heritage in the form of quirky cake mould lampshades, Smarties print cushion covers and complimentary chocolate bars.   

Hotel Indigo is one of York’s largest boutique hotels and yet each of its rooms manages to feel exclusive thanks to homely touches like plush throws, squashy footstools and framed photographs of the local area from decades gone by. The modern bathrooms differ in size depending on your room choice, with the bigger suites featuring large bathtubs as well as spa showers with fantastic water pressure. Interconnecting rooms are also an option if you’re visiting with kids in tow.  

For the more health-conscious visitor, Hotel Indigo has its own gym, however, it’s fairly small and a bit limited on equipment. If you’d rather focus your energy on York’s amazing culinary scene, you’ll find Walmgate is dotted with amazing options including the hotel’s own restaurant, 88 Walmgate. Perfect for a more relaxed meal, the chefs try to only use regionally sourced ingredients, from Yorkshire cheeses through to freshly baked bread from local bakeries. You’ll also find a decent selection of local craft beers as well as a generous breakfast spread that extends beyond your standard continental options.

Hotel Indigo York

Top rated
York, 21.4 km to Castle Howard
9.1 Excellent (1843 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA