York is packed with historic sights and attractions, from the revamped Jorvik Viking Centre and York Minster to the National Railway Museum and The Shambles, one of the country’s best preserved and most enchanting streets. What’s more, given it’s such a small town, everything is walkable – pack some comfortable shoes. And when it comes to budget accommodation, options run from great value family-friendly hostels to boutique backpacker digs. Oh, and a fully working convent. Here are they are: the best cheap hotels in York.
York's best cheap hotels
The YHA is a bright, cleverly laid out hostel that’s just a 15-minute stroll along the Ouse from the city centre. Inside there’s 203 beds across 45 rooms that range from bunk beds in shared dorms to private, en-suite family rooms for up to six people. There’s a self-catering kitchen, wi-fi, a café that’s open 24 hours, bicycle storage, and a games room with a pool table. Plus, for those who fancy improving their aim, an archery range!
The Forti takes the normal backpackers’ hostel format, and gives it an inventive spin, with 12 separately themed rooms spread across two buildings. They range from a mixed dormitory styled out like a log cabin, and a neon-lit private double rooms that channels ‘Tron’, of all things. There’s a shared kitchen, that comes with free tea and coffee, and there’s free wi-fi throughout. Best of all, though, is the location, slap-bang in the middle of the medieval old town, a couple of minutes from York Minster.
We’ll admit the garish fuschia and lime green interiors won’t be to everyone’s taste – but they’re counterbalanced by the location and great-value prices. This converted Georgian home is located within the city walls, not far from York’s train station, and features huge, sweeping staircases and fancy ceilings. Rooms here run the gamut from 12-bed en-suite dorms to en-suite twins. Reception is open 24 hours a day, and there’s free wifi and a café-bar, as well as a courtyard in which to make friends or catch some rays.
Ibis is just under ten minutes’ walk from York station and the National Railway Museum, and even closer to Mickle, the traditional route into old York. Rooms here are clean, functional and efficient; all are en-suite and come with desks, TVs and tea and coffee-making facilities. Downstairs, the café-bar is open 24/7 – but you’ll find a bigger menu and a buffet breakfast available during the day.
If you’re in town to visit attractions such as the Jorvik Viking Centre, York Barbican or The National Railway Museum, keep this place in mind: they’re all a short walk away. There’s 100 modern rooms here, each with Nespresso machine, free wi-fi and en-suite shower rooms, and there’s also a cocktail bar and restaurant too. Though, when it comes to places to eat and drink, you’re spoiled for choice on nearby Fossgate and Walmgate.
Now here’s a slightly different place to stay: a working convent. In fact, the country oldest working convent to boot, in a seventeenth-century Grade I-listed building just outside the city walls. The Bar Convent is a great-value, wonderfully quirky place to stay, with the resident nuns on hand to offer sightseeing tips and answer any questions about local stuff. There’s even an on-site chapel. York’s train station and The National Railway Museum aren't too far away; their complimentary, award-winning breakfasts are also worth a special mention.