Life in York

In York, our incredible walled city is rich with stories. Why not make yours one of them?

Whilst we preserve architectural wonders (some almost 1000 years old) we're a forward-thinking city too, and we thank our 20,000 strong student population for that. In 2018, The Times awarded York the 'Best City' status. We couldn't agree more.

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Independent spirit

York is a city that feels like a town; it's a place where you will come to feel like a local very quickly. Our independent spirit shines through in our history and architecture; everything has a story. People have been going to Betty's for tea and a fat rascal for 100 years; people have been walking down The Shambles for thousands. Despite this, we've also got the chains you know and love (just in quirky little buildings with wonky staircases). Everything in York is a little bit more interesting.

If you have a pie and a pint in a pub built in the 17th century, you'll learn about life in York from the locals hanging out at the bar. You can swing your legs by the river with a drink from The Kings Arms, a pub that floods most years yet stays open as long as it can (sometimes you might need wellies to get to the bar!) You can take a football to the Millennium Bridge or Clifton Ings for a kick around or cycle a scale model of the Solar System spread along the route of an old train line. If you prefer hanging out somewhere particularly modern, we've got cultural hubs based in redeveloped shipping containers, shrouded in a canopy of fairy lights. York is ever changing and developing. We're innovative. We'll keep you interested.

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History, arts and culture

If you're a student of history or the arts, or just curious, you'll love York. We've got theatres, gig venues, museums and galleries aplenty. There are regular comedy nights at the Basement, musicians playing cosy shows at a bunch of independent venues and a range of creative events to get involved with - from writing and film festivals to festivals celebrating our foundations - like the JORVIK Viking Festival. Living in York, you'll get used to passing Vikings and those adorned in bloody Victorian costume (actors from the York Dungeon) in the street. If you become part of our Drama or Reenactment Society, you can even join them if you like!

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Nightlife and live music

From three-floor clubs with basement tiki bars, gig venues where you'll feel the bass in your rib cage whilst looking up at big names, all the way to candle lit alehouses with winding staircases and weird and warped taxidermy, York's got your nights out covered. Most clubs do student-card-entry student nights so you can mingle with your peers from all of York's student centres. Whether you like to have a few drinks or not, you'll find entertainment in various forms once darkness overcomes York - in the city centre, there are two cinemas, a load of pubs and bars with open mics so you can either sit and enjoy or take part in comedy, music or spoken word. There's plenty to do here, we look forward to showing you what it's all about.

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Getting out of the city

If you love the great outdoors, or you love the idea of a weekend in Europe, you're like us and you couldn't be better situated than in York. You can rent a car with a bunch of friends and drive to the White Horse, walk in the moors and visit a beautiful country pub for a Sunday roast. The train can take you to beautiful spots for walking down by canals like Saltaire, to play in the arcades at Scarborough seafront, or out to the Lake District, where you can spend a weekend in youth hostels, learning to kayak or cycling the hills. Literature students can visit the moors where Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights.

If you want to explore further afield, London is less than 2 hours by train, Edinburgh just over 2 hours, and from our closest airport, Leeds Bradford, you can reach Europe in just a few hours (and usually for only around £30!)

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