One of my favourite things to do when planning a trip is to take some time researching accommodation options. I’m not a fan of big, impersonal chain hotels – I’d much rather choose somewhere that echoes the quirks and character of the city I’m in. To this end, my search was focussed on finding the best quirky and unusual places to stay in York.
- 1 Quirky and Unusual Places to Stay in York: My Criteria
- 2 Quirky and Unusual Places to Stay in York: The Shortlist
- 3 Spoilt for choice?
Quirky and Unusual Places to Stay in York: My Criteria
My criteria for a place to stay in York was quite simple:
- Within the York walls – short walking distance to all major sights
- Bags of character – somewhere with a unique charm
- Fascinating history – an ‘if walls could talk’ kind of place
Despite my strict criteria, the decision still wasn’t easy! With so many quirky and unusual places to stay in York, I was spoilt for choice.
I managed to whittle my choice down to a (not very short!) shortlist of 12 quirky and unusual places to stay in York before making my final decision (The Judges Court Hotel – you can read my review here).
Read on for my not-so-short shortlist of 12 quirky and unusual places to stay in York. Where will you choose to stay when you visit York?
Quirky and Unusual Places to Stay in York: The Shortlist
Housed within the Victorian Rectory of St. Deny’s church opposite, The Parisi was named after a Celtic Tribe who overlapped with Roman rule in York. The small, independent boutique hotel is run by two sisters and offers bed and breakfast in the excellently located Merchants’ Quarter of York.
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With only 11 bedrooms, the hotel is decked out in an ‘eclectic English style.’ Local modern art decorates the walls and crafts from local talent can be found around the building. There’s a small library/sitting room and a beautiful courtyard which are accessible to guests throughout their stay.
Website: The Parisi Hotel, York
Address: 51 St Denys Road, York. YO1 9QD
Phone: 01904 658815
Check prices now on booking.com
Hotel du Vin
Located in The Mount area of York, this Grade II listed former orphanage has 44 classically styled bedrooms. There is an air of sophistication about this place, with carefully restored 19th century architecture mixed with luxuries such as drench showers, deep roll top baths and flat screen TVs.
Fancy staying in for the evening? There’s a bar and bistro on site. And if you need to relax after a long day sightseeing, there’s a stunning courtyard for guests to use – a popular setting for weddings.
Website: Hotel du Vin
Address: 89 The Mount, York, YO24 1AX
Phone: 01904 405260
A little larger in size than some of the other options, Hotel Indigo has 103 individually designed guest rooms. Although not an historic building itself, it does acknowledge York’s fascinating past with some rooms designed as a salute to York’s chocolate history and others hung with photographs and pictures of York in times gone by. All furniture is designed and handcrafted locally in Yorkshire and the room numbers are styled and hand carved in the style of York Minster.
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Luxury and comfort were clearly high on the agenda when designing this hotel and it’s in a perfect location on Walmgate. No 88 Walmgate is the hotel’s restaurant serving a diverse, seasonal menu and a selection of local craft beers and ales.
Website: Hotel Indigo, York
Address: St Margarets Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL
Phone: 01904 231333
Guy Fawkes Inn
So this place fits my criteria of ‘fascinating history’ down to a T! This quirky, well maintained historic inn is none other than the place where Guy Fawkes, of notorious gun powder plot fame, was born in 1570.
There’s thirteen rooms (unlucky for some!) to choose from upstairs, whilst downstairs is an atmospheric candlelit restaurant serving up traditional pub grub and local ales.
Website: Guy Fawkes Inn, York
Address: 25 High Petergate, York YO1 7HP
Phone: 01904 623716
Trembling Madness Apartments
Trembling Madness Apartments could not have been a better fit for my criteria. Situated on Stonegate in the shadow of York Minster, the 650 year old building is hidden away in a courtyard containing the ruins of the first Norman house to be built in York circa 1180AD.
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When the ‘ghost-o-meter’ in your accomm goes off and the the guy showing you around explains you have booked the “Haunted Chamber” #ghostometer #emeter #thehauntedchamber #thechamberyork #york #oldtown #coolholidayaccommodation #quirkyholidayhouses #hauntedholidayhouse #haunted #houseofthetremblingmadness #tremblingmadnessapartments
There’re two apartments to choose from:
- The Chamber is a timber framed medieval structure of unknown history, where previous guests have reported ghostly sightings (I’m a sucker for anything ghost related – you can read about the time I spent the night ghost hunting in an abandoned hospital here).
- Scared of ghosts? The Old Gallery is less haunted house and more 1970s retro chic. Think psychedelic orange and brown décor and lava lamps. Groovy!
The apartments are self catering, but a breakfast pack can be left in the fridge for you on request. And if that’s not enough, the House of Trembling Madness restaurant is just a stones throw away, serving good beer and delicious food (I can recommend the pie!).
This was where I really wanted to stay during my time in York, but sadly there was no availability. It’ll definitely be top of my list when I return – I’ll just need to make sure I book a little further in advance!
Website: Trembling Madness Apartments, York
Address: 52A Stonegate, York YO1 8AS
Phone: 01904 289848
Check prices now on booking.com
The Churchill Hotel
This 32 room luxury boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant has a rich and eclectic history. Built in circa 1827, this Grade II listed mansion started life as a ‘mansion and pleasure grounds’ before becoming a ‘school for young ladies’ between 1875 – 1879. It was then sold to The War Department and remained property of the Government until 1984 when it was closed down.
Kind Edward VII was once a guest here and you can even stay in the same room that he did. If only walls could talk, indeed!
Rooms vary in size and style – most are modern with a traditional twist. Breakfast is available to order and can be taken in the restaurant.
Website: The Churchill Hotel, York
Address: 65 Bootham, Clifton, York YO30 7DQ
Phone: 01904 644456
Ideally located in a Georgian townhouse just minutes from the main train station, Safestay York is actually a hostel rather than a hotel.
These days, sleeping in a dormitory with a bunch of other people is literally my idea of hell however, Safestay Hostel offers private rooms from a very affordable £70. Breakfast is available to buy if you want it, and there’s a bar on site where it’s likely you’ll get chatting to other likeminded folk exploring all York has to offer. It’s a good option if you’re on a budget.
Website: Safestay York
Address: House 88 – 90 Micklegate, York YO1 6JX
Phone: 01904 627720
The Fort York
What did I say about hostels being my worst nightmare? Well, York may be changing my opinion of them as somehow another one seems to have snuck onto my shortlist…
Tucked away in a perfect location just off the medieval Stonegate, The Fort York can be a little tricky to find, but it promises to be worth the effort. Yes, you can stay in a dormitory (and even these look pretty fantastic) but the hostel also offers private ensuite rooms which look just as good as the facilities in many a hotel. The rooms are all designed by recent graduates in media, graphic design and interior architecture, giving a trendy, young vibe to the place, and there’s a lounge area with free tea and coffee making facilities for guests to use.
Prefect historical location, definitely quirky and another good budget option to consider.
Website: The Fort, York
Address: 1 Little Stonegate, York YO1 8AX
Phone: 01904 620222
Dating back to 1710, this beautiful Grade I listed Georgian townhouse was once the residence of Judges addressing serious criminal cases in the Assize court sessions.
There are different types of room on offer, all with their own individual style and quirky features. Two of the rooms, The Terrace and The Courtyard Room have their own private entrance so you can pretend you’re actually coming home to your own fancy York residence!
Food and drink wise, you’re definitely spoilt for choice. There’s a sit down restaurant, a cellar with original vaulted ceilings, two bars and an outdoor terrace. Check out the menu – it looks delish.
Website: The Judges Lodgings, York
Address: 9 Lendal, York YO1 8AQ
Phone: 01904 638733
This was the hotel we actually stayed in, and you can read about how we got on here: A Review of The Judges Court Hotel, York.
Much like the Judges Lodgings, this Grade II listed building is another place where top Judges used to reside before going off to court to pass sentence on some seriously gruesome crimes. Most famously, it’s where Judge William Chapple lodged in 1739 before convicting the notorious Dick Turpin for horse stealing.
Hidden away in its own little courtyard just off the main high street, there are 15 individually designed rooms all decorated in deep traditional Georgian colours and displaying quirky artwork. The luxury rooms come with a deep, free standing roll top bath and four poster beds, but whichever room you choose, expect a powerful drench shower and delicious Cowshed products.
There’s no lounge area or restaurant in this hotel, but this is not necessarily a bad thing as it encourages you to go out and explore a bit more! If you want, it is possible to order breakfast to your room from the nearby Bill’s Restaurant.
Website: The JudgesCourt Hotel, York
Address: Coney St, York YO1 9ND
Phone: 01904 676184
Roman Bath Public House
Built on top of an old Roman bath house, this place certainly has a story to tell!
The Roman Bath Public House is a pub, live music venue, guesthouse, museum and archaeological site all in one – there can’t be too many places that can make that claim! Rooms are basic but clean and, starting at £70, they’re certainly a good budget option. You won’t have to stray too far for some good home cooked food or entertainment either!
Website: The Roman Bath Public House, York
Address: 9 St Sampsons Square, York YO1 8RN
Phone: 01904 620455
Grays Court Hotel
Built towards the end of the 11th century, the Grade I listed Grays Court is the oldest inhabited house in York and has been witness to medieval political favours and three royal visits. And if that’s not enough history for you, archaeologists believe that a Roman gate lies buried just inside the grounds.
Room styles (and prices) vary with some on a split level whilst others have amazing views of the Minster. There’s a restaurant on site and a beautifully maintained garden and cosy lounge areas for guests to enjoy. The hotel also claims to have York’s only private access to the city walls.
Despite it’s expensive and decadent feel, the hotel prides itself on making guests feel at home – and in fact the hotel is home for the proprietor and her seven children. Imagine actually living here!
Website: Grays Court Hotel, York
Address: Chapter House St, York YO1 7JH
Phone: 01904 612613
Check prices now on booking.com
Spoilt for choice?
I’m hoping you can now understand why I had such a difficult decision on my hands when trying to choose a place to stay in York! With any luck, this list has made life a little bit easier for you and you have some idea of where you may (or may not!) want to stay when you visit this incredible city.
So, which option takes your fancy? Are there any other accommodation options you feel deserved to make my shortlist? Have you stayed at any of the above? Drop me a message in the comments – I’d love to know!