When you want a romantic weekend away, York is one of the few English cities that positively vibrates with romance: thanks to its tangle of tight-packed lanes, centuries-old buildings, the mighty Minster (where many marriage proposals have been made) and a plethora of couple-friendly activities (including many free things to do).
Unsurprisingly, York also has many romantic hotels – meaning there’s something to suit every weekenders’ budget and preference. From couple-run boutique Georgian townhouses and quirky bolt-holes to lofty city centre hotels with plenty of swish rooms and facilities.
At certain times of the year, such as the York races, York hotel prices spike and beds are hard to come by. So it’s best to check your dates and book in advance. If you’re driving to York, parking is readily available with 15 public car parks and several privately-run car parks. If you’re visiting York by train, the station is just outside the city walls and only an 8-minute wander into the city.
Here are 10 of the most romantic hotels in York with the power to make your heart flutter. Get ready to fall in love.
Whilst we have not stayed at every hotel, we have carefully selected the hotels featured based on their location, unique character, awards, previous guest reviews and romantic style. We may earn an affiliate commission if you book via the links below, but this never affects our rating.
The Vices is a romantic York hotel that has really upped the ante. Founded by Italians, Daniel Curro and Moreno Carbone, it pairs gallery-like spaces with sublime fine dining experiences to lift your mood, relax your mind and delight your senses. Delivering it all with professional, slick service the likes of which you usually only see in big-hitting boutique hotels – and don’t expect to find a modest street in residential York.
The setting for this unique hotel is a Victorian police station. The entrance is modest, with no sign announcing you’ve arrived. This quiet confidence continues inside: museum-worthy designer furniture, edgy modern art, a welcome wine from the hotel’s extensive wine library and only a handful of guests.
Number of rooms: 3 three suites – The First Suite, The Second Suite, The Third Suite – have been created out of 14 rooms (the building had previously been a B&B), so are huge. They’re furnished with contemporary design pieces and innovative smart technology.
Why is it romantic: It’s glamorous. It’s beautiful. It’s Zen. Better still, it’s intimate with only three suites and a maximum of six guests at any one time. What’s more, the owners have purposefully designed The Vices to maximise moments of joy and pleasure. Here self-indulgence is the watch word, whether you’re in York as a couple or flying solo.
Loveable extras: Get set to feed your soul: Allium is the hotel’s dark and moody restaurant, where you can enjoy a six-course tasting experience Wednesday-Saturday at 7pm. You can also treat yourself to a masterclass of Italian wine tasting in the ‘wine library’ with sommelier Daniel. There’s also a minimal, chic cocktail bar to hang out at and look effortlessly cool amongst the designer furniture.
The downsides: The neighbourhood isn’t as upmarket as some areas in York and the rooms don’t come with much of a view. But it really doesn’t matter when you’re surrounded by designer perfection.
Location: YO10 4DQ (to get to the city, you can follow the riverside path for 20 minutes on foot by the River Ouse).
Add a romantic experience: River Ouse Floodlit Evening Cruise – a lovely 70-minute romantic evening on the River Ouse, with a complimentary glass of wine.
With enough Regency style to woo Jane Austen, No.1 is a dreamy Grade II listed York townhouse hotel from the same brothers who launched No.15 in Bath city centre. It’s hard not to swoon over No.1’s stately proportions and head-turning good looks: huge sash windows, higher-than-high ceilings, a sweeping central staircase, and ivy around the door. Beyond the grandeur, there’s a friendly face waiting to make your couples’ city break extra special and a Yorkshire welcome that’s straight from the heart.
Number of rooms: 39 luxury rooms, including three standout suites, dotted around the building’s three floors. Including Small Guests Rooms and the splendid Bootham Suites.
Why is it romantic: The rich, warm interiors have Scandi sex appeal and are deeply restful, ideal for long, lazy mornings in bed. Plus, the generous noon check-out means you can hit the snooze button repeatedly whilst in each other’s arms. All rooms come with a vintage turntable (choose your records from the selection in the vinyl library) and there’s a complimentary pantry that you can raid together hand-in-hand.
Loveable extras: Take afternoon tea in the hotel’s Marmalade Lounge, quaff cocktails in the bar or head down to the hotel spa – a Second World War air-raid shelter that’s now a warm, cocooning space where you can indulge in a range of eco-luxury treatments. If you fancy a romantic picnic, No1. will fill a hamper with the best British goodies and lend you a blanket.
The downsides: The smaller rooms can be a little snug (although that’s an upside if you can’t bear to be too far away from your other half.)
Location: YO30 6AA (just a 10-minute walk from York Minster).
Add a romantic experience: River Ouse Cruise – spend a relaxing hour on the River Ouse and see the sights of York from a different perspective.
What was once the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway Company, is today The Grand, York – a vast 5-star hotel and spa with striking red brick and golden stonework and turn-of-the-century metropolitan grandeur. Excellently placed within York’s city walls at the heart of the city, with a view of the Minster on the skyline, this is the place to head to when you’re happy to splurge on a little luxe for a your romantic hotel stay in York.
Grand isn’t an exaggeration: inside, sweeping corridors, high ceilings, Edwardian parquet flooring, wood panelling and glazed tiles are straight out of the early 20th century. Not that it feels stuffy or old. The original features compliment the swish contemporary decor; and the result is divine.
Number of rooms: 207 big rooms, split between the main old building and a new wing opened in 2018. Choose between Classic Doubles and Twins or upgrade to a Grand Heritage Suite with a superb amount of space (more than enough for two).
Why is it romantic: The sheer size of this York hotel makes you feel A-list from the moment the friendly doorman in a top hat ushers you through its doors. Alongside the architectural splendour, there’s a fabulous spa with a 14-metre swimming pool in the former vaults, an AA Rosette awarded restaurant, The Rise Restaurant Terrace & Bar, as well as a variety of packages and offers for couples. Including Dine and Stay, Escape Together and Spa and Dine.
Loveable extras: An excellent afternoon tea is served with Champagne, prosecco, or gin and tonic. There’s also an exquisite eight-course tasting menu with a paired wine flight served at the fine dining restaurant The Legacy (which we tried and loved). The Grand is also home to a state-of-the-art cookery school, offering a variety of courses designed for novices and aspiring chefs.
The downsides: This isn’t the cheapest York hotel for your romantic city break. But if you do splash out, you’re guaranteed a 5-star experience worthy of your wallet.
Location: YO1 6GD (just a 3-minute walk from York train station).
Add a romantic experience: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour – a fascinating 90-minute small group walking tour that takes you through York’s varied history from the dawn of Christianity to the birth of the KitKat.
The Bishop & The Bison is a small York hotel with a big character. “Americana à la Victoriana” is how owners Jonathan and Anthony describe its unique US-inspired style, one that comes from the couple’s love affair with the states and time living there before they moved to York.
Expect multi-coloured bison heads, gilt-framed American contemporary artwork, neon signs and statement furniture. All neatly housed in a whopping Victorian end-of-terrace designed and built in 1875 by prolific York architects J.B. & W. Atkinson.
Number of rooms: 8 guest rooms, each with its own name and personality: four themed to reflect York’s long line of Bishops and four themed as a nod to that great American beast, the Bison.
Why is it romantic: Owned and run by couple, Jonathan and Anthony, The Bishop and The Bison is a ‘work of the heart’. They’ve carefully decorated each space, filling the rooms with objects and artworks they love and poured energy into making sure you feel well looked after during your time here. Products and suppliers are sourced locally and there are plenty of thoughtful touches, including, the quirky Presidents’ Lounge on the first floor which specialises in gins from across the British Isles.
Loveable extras: Pimp you stay with a Champagne breakfast or a Good Morning Cocktail. If you want an afternoon tea or have a special celebration you’d like some treats for, let Jonathan and Andrew know and they’ll sort it out for you.
The downside: There’s no restaurant, so you’ll need to pop out for dinner or get a delivery. Come morning, however, you’re served a marvellous Yorkshire breakfast (including veggie and vegan options), in The Bishopthorpe Dining Room.
Location: YO30 6BL (in the small suburb of Clifton. Just a 10–15-minute walk gets you into York city centre).
Add a romantic experience: Comedy Horror Show: York Ghost Bus Tour – enjoy 75 spooky minutes of York sightseeing as your creepy conductor gives you bone-chilling and humorous insights into York’s past.
A multi-award winning York hotel that’s as classy as it is quirky. Outside, Tower House is a traditional 3-storey red-brick Victorian townhouse, built in 1895 by chocolatier and philanthropist, Joseph Rowntree for the local doctor. It was converted to a guest house in 1980s and has been one ever since.
Beyond the stern 19th-century exterior awaits a wonderful ‘pick and mix’ of themed rooms curated by its well-travelled owners, Tony and Diana Brennan. Original Victorian features, such as stained glass and cornicing, mingle with Asian-inspired decorative details and French Rococo furnishings.
Number of rooms: 8 large, high-spec rooms, each with its own distinct design and look. Our favourites? Room 4 with its Samurai four-poster bed and sunken marble bath and Room 1 with its golden Versailles’ inspired furniture.
Why is it romantic: The rooms are easy to fall in love with; cosseting you both in a cosy, intimate world that feels miles away from the one outside. Then there are the thoughtful touches such as the complimentary slippers, first-aid kits, umbrellas, ice buckets and wine glasses in the rooms, and KitKats in the fridges.
Loveable extras: Tony and Diana are superb hosts, welcoming and advising as much or as little as you want (they live in the annexe so are readily on hand). They’ve created a smartphone app for checking-in, controlling your room’s heating, choosing a restaurant and ordering breakfast, amongst other things. They also run a free, daily shuttle service to the city centre.
The downside: Tower House sits on the main route to the ring-road and the road can be a little noisy. The upside is you get free parking and the pavements outside the hotel are tourist-free.
Location: YO31 8HQ (in the Clifton residential area which is 15 minutes on foot from the Minster and the Walls).
Add a romantic experience: York’s Chocolate Story: Guided Tour – a 75-minute delicious look at York’s chocolate heritage and founding confectionery families. Free chocolate samples are included. Repeat: you get free chocolate on route.
Sitting in the shadow of York Minster, in the exclusive Minster Quarter with the Treasurer’s House as its neighbour, is Grays Court Hotel. With arguably the smartest address in York. Dating back to 1080, this multi-award winning hotel is alive with history: from its medieval stone-flagged entrance hall and leaded windows to the bow-windowed Georgian dining room and 90-foot long, Jacobean, oak-panelled gallery on the first floor.
Knights have been bestowed within its walls, church royalty has passed through its doors and King James I even dined here. Pleasingly, it’s still a privately-owned hotel, having been thoughtfully restored by the Heraty family following their purchase of the building in 2005. Today, it boasts a fantastic fine-dining restaurant, extensive garden and collection of elegant en-suite hotel rooms.
Number of rooms: 12 tastefuly decorated en-suite hotel rooms, with views varying from the cobbled courtyard, the extensive gardens bound by the City Walls, or York Minster itself.
Why is it romantic: You’re wrapped in the arms of the Minister at this York hotel, hugged by the city walls. This discreet spot gives privacy and seclusion, with personal, attentive service throughout your stay. The building is full of historical charm and there are luxury touches in every room, including Clarins’ toiletries and handmade chocolates.
The downside: Due to its central location, parking at Grays Court is limited; only available by prior arrangement at a cost of £20 per car.
Loveable extras: The ‘go anywhere the doors are open’ policy ensures you get the most out of your York weekend stay at Grays Court. It means the two of you are free to enjoy all the historical spaces inside and outside at your leisure. Whether you fancy reading a book in the fabulous garden or pre-drinks in the hotel’s stunning wood-panelled Long Gallery. In addition, if you want a special meal, The Bow Room is the hotel’s award-winning restaurant where you can splash out on the exquisite tasting menu paired with a wine flight.
Location: YO1 7JH (a prime spot so near York city walls that you can actually climb up onto them from the hotel’s garden).
Add a romantic experience: York: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour is a must for all Harry Potter fans. Explore the exquisitely magical world of Harry Potter, visiting the filming locations in the city.
Parisian chic meets Yorkshire heritage, at the fun, quirky bolthole that is the wonderful Clementine’s Townhouse Hotel. Red-brick and traditional on the outside, colourful and irreverent on the inside, this two-building boutique hotel (created out of two adjacent Victorian villas) plays on York’s confectionary-making past – with rooms named after different sweets.
Completely refurbished in 2021, every inch of space oozes personality with a nod and a wink. You can relax in the luxe residents’ lounge under the tongue-in-cheek artworks and antiques or drink cocktails in the private, walled garden at the back of the hotel, before taking a 10-minute stroll to York Minster or the Theatre Royal.
Number of rooms: 28 vibrant en-suite bedrooms individually decorated to a high standard, from the four-poster After Eight Suite to the garden Alpine chalet, with a steam-room and shower.
Why is it romantic: Here couples can whisper sweet nothings to one another whilst relaxing in velvet armchairs under sparkling chandeliers, before heading upstairs to peaceful, homely rooms for some sweet R&R. In the morning, there’s a handsome Yorkshire breakfast to wake up to.
The downside: Attractions such as the Castle Museum and Jorvik Viking Centre are a walk: it’ll take you up to 30 minutes – not a problem if you’d rather ditch the car in the free car park and stretch your legs.
Loveable extras: There’s a small but surprisingly well-stocked bar to spend the evening in. You can also book in for a home-cooked cream tea, made on site by the team.
Location: YO30 6AQ (in the leafy residential area of Clifton, north of the city. York Railway Station can be reached in 20 minutes on foot).
Add a romantic experience: York Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour – one of our favourite ways to get to know a new city. Your ticket gives you unlimited hop-on, hop-off sightseeing for 24 hours.
Located in the heart of the city, within easy reach of the main sights and River Ouse, Middletons Hotel is a bastion of York’s Georgian past. This dog-friendly hotel is made up of a collection of historic buildings arranged around a pretty courtyard. The main building is Grade II-listed and was formerly Anne Middleton’s Hospital. There are also two Grade II-listed almshouses – now known as the Cottage Rooms – that standalone from the main hotel and were built in memory of Joseph Terry of Chocolate Orange fame.
The décor inside the rooms is modern and restful, with neutral walls and carpets, a few colour pops here and there to brighten things up, and homely, welcoming touches such as fresh milk and chunky biscuits to nibble on. The hotel is a popular wedding venue and loved by families.
Number of rooms: 56 bedrooms spread out across 6 listed buildings. From Cosy Rooms to the Cottage Rooms in Sir Joseph Terry Cottages.
Why is it romantic: The pretty period features and peaceful nature of Middletons Hotel is a real draw for couples. Plus, you can usually score a deal with the packages on offer, such as the Sunday Getaway, or special occasions like Valentine’s Day.
The downside: The hotel is usually quiet but do check to see if there’s a wedding going on before you book. For guaranteed peace.
Loveable extras: Grab afternoon tea or Sunday lunch in the award-winning Conservatory restaurant. Or head to the on-site gym – one of the largest in York – to work up a sweat together.
Location: YO1 6DU (in a quiet residential area, unusually for a York city centre hotel, and just a 10-minute walk from the Minster).
Add a romantic experience: Guided Cycling Tour of York – go off the beaten track to fascinating places you won’t see on a typical bus or walking tour.
Minutes from the heart of York city, overlooking the Knavesmire Strays, lies the Elmbank Hotel – an Art Nouveau 19th-century mansion with a rich history. During its long life, this York hotel has been a party house for the York elite, a one-time gentleman’s club, and a WWII army officer billet (living quarters).
It was redesigned in 1898 by George Henry Walton, a contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and an Art Nouveau pioneer. Today, the hotel is home to one of the finest and most complete Art Nouveau collections in the UK. Here, you’ll find impressive stained-glass, beautiful murals, and detailed stencils, all sitting alongside the modern facilities.
Number of rooms: 62 sophisticated, stylish rooms that get bigger the higher their price tag. Choose between House Rooms, Lodge Rooms or Courtyard Rooms.
Why is it romantic: For couples passionate about art and design, the Elmbridge’s unique Arts and Craft heritage is an obvious pulse racer. You might also like the brasserie, Leetham’s, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner, and the gorgeous bar, Peacock Bar, – perfect for a nightcap before bed.
The downside: There are only a few allocated parking spaces at Elmbridge (£10 per night) that can’t be pre-booked, so if you miss out you’ll need to pay for parking nearby. Which past guests have said is pricey.
Loveable extras: The hotel also offers a number of deals and packages to woo romancing couples, including Snoozy Sunday, the York Gin Package and a number of fun murder mystery weekends.
Location: YO24 1AB (a 15-walk from York City Centre train station).
Add a romantic experience: The York City Pass is a great investment if you’re keen to explore all York has to offer. It gives you entry into over 20 York attractions and is valid for 2 days. Winner.
When it comes to location, Judges Court hits the sweet spot. This four-storey Grade II-listed building, sits at the heart of York inside the city walls and only a few minutes’ walk from York’s shops and bars. Hidden away in a secret courtyard, reached via a narrow passageway or snickleway, it’s surprisingly quiet thanks to its set-back placement.
From 1720 to 1806, this Georgian building was the residence of the city’s illustrious visiting Assize Court judges. The most famous judge who stayed here was Judge William Chapple in 1739 when he convicted a Wakefield man of horse-stealing. The man he sentenced to hang was John Palmer. Real name: Richard Turpin, better known as Dick Turpin.
Number of rooms: 15 contemporary, comfy rooms in a monochrome palette of whites and blacks, ranging from Classic Doubles to a Luxury King with a roll top bath.
Why is it romantic: Location, location, location. If you want a lively couples’ weekend in York, where you can hit the city’s best bars and restaurants then Judges’ Court is a good choice.
The downside: Judges Court is a room-only hotel, so you won’t find a comfy lounge to flop into or a breakfast room for morning scran. If you want breakfast, order it the night before and the staff will arrange for breakfast to be delivered from nearby Bill’s restaurant.
Loveable extras: All the bathrooms have drench showers and Molton Brown bath, body and skincare products, (nice touches for a little pampering before hitting the city to explore).
Location: YO1 9ND (in fine position, on one of York’s principal shopping streets and between the river and the Minster – which are both within a 3-minutes walk).
Add a romantic experience: York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour – uncover the wicked history of York as you explore the secrets of the Shambles on a witchcraft-themed walking tour.