Want to get a guide book for your trip to York? We have put together a collection of the most useful – and interesting – city guides (plus a couple of handy maps too).

insight-guide-yorkCity Guides

The best guide book to York – by a long way – is Insight Guides: Great Breaks York. With loads of information about things to do, places to eat and drink, it also has snippets of history, maps, eleven walking tours, as well as advice on trips out from the city.

The York City Guide by Annie Bullen is not as good as the Insight Guide above. Although available in multiple languages, at only 32 pages long you don’t get that much for your money. It was also published back in 2007 – so although the Minster is still in the same place, some of the other information is now a bit out of date.


4G coverage in York is pretty good and so navigating via a smartphone is not too problematic, however if you prefer a physical map there are a couple of cheap options. The York PopOut Map has everything a tourist to the city needs, street by street plan, marked attractions and handy snippets of information – plus it folds up small enough to fit into any pocket.

Slightly bigger and with more detail, the A-Z York Mini Map is perhaps a better choice if you will be straying beyond the immediate city centre. It includes a larger scale map – with street index – on the reverse side, plus a plan of both the road network around York and the University of York campus. Although still a small size, the Mini Map is a little bit more unwieldy when unfolded than the PopOut map.


At one time the centre of royal power in the North, York has a very turbulent past. A History of York: From Earliest Times to the Year 2000 details the invasions, civil war, religious revolution, economic prosperity and periods of decline, that have been visited on the city. The book covers the major periods in the city’s development and each chapter is written by an expert in their field. The latter section on the development on the ring-road is perhaps not as interesting – or dramatic – as some of the earlier chapters, however it remains a fascinating read.

Part of the Horrible Histories series, Gruesome Guides: York focuses on the darker, gorier side of the city’s history. You’ll find stories about severed heads on spikes, bloodthirsty Vikings and children locked in houses. Many of the places where these events took place you can still see – and in some cases visit – today. Although obviously aimed at younger readers, it’s still good fun for adults – much like the Horrible Histories TV series.

York’s history is intertwined with that of its walls. If you were planning on walking these ancient ramparts you may want to pick up a copy of A Walking Guide to York’s City Walls. With stories about the people and events that have shaped – and been shaped by – these fortifications, its like having your own personal tour guide – albeit in paperback form. It also has information about off-trail “extras” if you want to stray from the route for some refreshments.

york-pubs-guide-bookPub Guide

Although York features in Camra’s Good Beer Guide, if you want a guide book focused solely on York’s many and varied pubs then take a look at York Pubs by Nathen Amin.

The history of York and its pubs goes back a long way – a staggering 263 public houses were recorded in the city in 1663. With this guide in hand any visit to a pub can be justified as purely “educational”.