Area of the week: York

There’s far more to York than its iconic landmarks, historic buildings and quaint cobbled lanes. A vibrant cultural scene and a stunning surrounding countryside – not to mention its friendly vibe – also play a huge part in this northern city’s appeal. To top it all off, a healthy housing market with some surprisingly moderate property values might just be the crowing feature for many potential buyers.

 

Heritage in every brick and beam

York’s compact nature and winding streets filled to the brim with medieval and 18th-century architecture make it a treat to explore on foot. Kids and adults alike love wandering along the circuit of 13th-century walls (first erected by the Roman legions), which enclose the city centre. The most famous of the cobbled roads – The Shambles – is a comically narrow lane that could easily double for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. Looking out over this patchwork of Roman, Viking, medieval and Georgian buildings is the immense York Minster, which is easily one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. 

 

Surrounded by countryside

The city's setting within the Vale of York means you only have to head a short way out of town to enjoy nearby Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, like the Howardian Hills and the Wolds. On the edge of two national parks (the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales), the green fields and rugged peaks of ‘God’s own county’ are on the doorstep too. Timeless rural property estates like Castle Howard and Harewood House are close by, while seaside scenery is on hand as well. Charming old resort and fishing towns like Scarborough and Whitby on the spectacular North Yorkshire coast are just an hour’s drive away. 

 

Festivals and cultural events the whole year through

The cultural scene in York has grown so much over the last couple of decades that there’s now a festival, event or exhibition happening in the city every week of the year. Small wonder then that York is now known as England's ‘City of Festivals’. Established regular favourites include the Viking Festival, the Festival of Angels, Early Music, Late Music, Horse Racing (the famed Ebor Race Meet), Christmas St Nicholas' Fair and Chinese New Year, to name but a few. Foodie-based events like Multicultural Food and Arts and the Food and Drink Festival show how vibrant the local gastro scene has become in recent years too.

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