In 1744 this theatre was built on its present site, over and among the ruins of the medieval St. Leonard’s Hospital.
It has been of course modernised over the years and is now Yorks premier theatre. There is a wide variety of shows and plays on through the year and there will be something for everyone.
There is a cafe/bar within the theatre.
William Peacock converted the former Corn Exchange building into the Grand Opera House in 1902 and the family owned the theatre until 1945. It was formerly called the 'The Grand Opera Hosue and Empire' (1903). After a number of ownerships during the 20th Century, the theatre was purchased India Pru Co. Ltd and the company restored the theatre to its former glory with it's intensive renovations including a new stage, improved structures and a new foyer was excavated beneath and both the main entrance and box office were separated.
It was my first vist to the Grand Opera House in August 2011 where I saw the musical, 'Legally Blonde'.
Dress Code: Smart casual but usually it isn't enforced.
A tradition pub with mixed reviews, but I really liked it. On that summer evening, I was already on my way “home”, when I was attracted by some life musich from this pub and dediced to drop in for a beer. This was a place where there were no foreign tourists, only locals and very few Brits on vacation. The pub was small, but still had two bars . The musician, a guy placing guitar, was in a corner between the main bar and the wall. It was easy to get in contact with the local people (the guy I talked to most of the time even knew the musician). All in all, it was a nice atmosphere and I would recommend this pub to anyone visiting York. And by the way, a pub offering a Henry VIII pie (wifey, anyone?) can’t be bad.
Dress Code: No dress code required at all
The Old White Swan is more a pub complex rather than a pub. It has several rooms and several bar and although all of them have a comfy, dark style they are all different. One is more laid back, one is fuller, the other may have some live music act. Both, the Old White Swan and the Black Swan claim that they are the oldest pub in York. Some even say that the Old White Swan is haunted. The Old White Swan has something to offer for everyone, even a nice outside area when weather allows. Pub food is fine too, I had some mash and bangers and was offered a choice of different local sausages.
The different ales and lagers they have on tap are a big bonus of this pub too. MY favourite was the “Old Slug” Stout, but unfortunately this was a “guest beer” only.
Dress Code: No Dress Code
This pub in a former church attracts every tourist’s eye. From inside, it is worth a visit with a good menu and a wide choice of beverages. The conversion into a pub took place preserving most of the building and some of the interior. Few people are there during lunchtime, which is a good time to enjoy the building from inside. During the evening, this place can get really busy and crowded. Definitively, a place I would recommend.
Dress Code: No special dresscode required. Bouncers may be there at busy hours to keep too drunken or agrresive folks away.
This riverside pub is one of the most popular in York. Not only for locals and tourists, but also for the river. It is known as the pub which frequently gets flooded. The pub mainly attracts through the atmosphere – Sam Smith Beer and regular pub food are not its drawcards (although Sam Smith has a good price value). But that atmosphere really is a point. There aren’t that many places in central York where you can sit by the river and enjoy a pint with such a view. In summertime, the pub can become quite crowded. And if there’s something special going on in York, you’ll have to form a queue outside the pub to get your beer. Despite the Sam Smith products, the lack of decent food and the crowds, I still enjoyed the place. I just took my beer outside, sat on the quay wall and enjoyed a sunny day at the river Ouse. If you like that, then give this pub a try.
P.S.: The “Original Ghost Walk” (see separate tip) starts from this place. There’s surely nothing wrong with drinking a beer at the King’s Arms before going on the ghost walk.
Dress Code: No dress code required. Just don't wear anything expensive as someone may spill a pint of ale...
The ghost hunt of York is a unique experience. I would encourage anybody visiting York to go on this walking tour. It sets off from the shambles every night at 7.30pm. The cost is £5 for adults and £3 for children. You can purchase tickets at the tourist information at the train station or pay on arrival.
It takes about one and a half hours and is the funniest thing I have ever done. I do not want to give any details, as you will enjoy the surprises on route
Dress Code: dress warm in the winter and take a jacket in the summer as it can cool down at night
York's Pubs are definately York's nighlife, so many and varying types to choose from it is fun just to go blind and see where your nose leads you, but my favourite is the "famous" flooding pub. The Kings Arms on the banks of the River Ouse at Kings Staithe has been flooded may times, just look at the level guage just inside the door of all the years it has flooded and how the water has got to. It's also a Sam Smiths pub so the drink is cheaper and also does quite good lunchtime food but not in the evening. It has outside seating on the river bank and even better a Ghost Walk starts from the pub at 8pm nightly.
Dress Code: Go as you please
Plonkers is more than just a wine bar. In fact they pride themselves as being a wine & beer bar. If you are out on the lash (drinking) in York, go down towards the river for a drink, and maybe some food. The atmosphere is warm and friendly and the décor is well done. They offer the following for the drinker and/or diner.
• Thai and English Food
• Large wine selection
• Huge beer selection
• Sunday Carvery
• Non-smoking area (upstairs – go figure)
• Massive TV screen
• Air conditioned and well heated
PLONKERS is VT Meeting Tested & Approved!
Remember: You don’t have to be a Plonker to drink here!
** CLICK ON PICTURES TO SEE THE PLONKER MOBILE! **
This theatre has clearly seen better days and as the photo shows is in some need of restoration. The inside is quite good though although some internal updating is needed.
A reasonably good choice of show is put on here and through the year there must be something for everyone.
The website has prices and the shows that are on as you read this.
The Mason's Arms is an excellent York pub. It serves good traditional beer and has a friendly atmosphere. However what makes the pub really special is the food. It's very high quality and the portions are absolutely huge!
Dress Code: Whatever
The Reflex is a chain throughout England and this my first and only experience of it in York. I loved every minute of it. From the cheesy music, decorations, shooters named after celebs and Ghostbusters on the TVs. The bathroom was named West End Girls. People dressed up and really got their groove on! So impressed for a Thursday night!
Yates was filled with students on a Thursday. Mixed-crowd, somewhat casual. DJ music with a dancing area. The drink special prices changed by the minute and you could watch the tv screens for the price that fits your budget.
I've tried a cuople these bars in other cities and they are a pretty cool place to hang out. This one is located on the riverside location with a laidback atmosphere.
My top tip for lunch:
The Mother of All Burgers £12.95
For the biggest of appetites or perfect to share, this is
a floured bun, filled with two 5oz steak burgers and two
chicken fillets, with pieces of bacon, beef tomato,
mayonnaise, gourmet relish and your choice of topping,
served with chips and mixed leaves.
The Black Swan is in one of York's historic old buildings, with creaky floors, a crooked stairway, open fireplaces and other tell tale aspects of a well used establishment. The night we stopped by there was an enthusiastic jazz band playing in an upstairs room. It would be worth checking into the entertainment calendar for more such evenings, or just to soak in the historic atmosphere.