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“Utterly pleasant” historic town has been named the friendliest place in the UK

York Old Town, England

Can you guess where it is? (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s no longer a secret that people are nicer in the north, but now the city of York has been named the most liveable place in the UK.

Thanks to its friendly locals, the historic North Yorkshire town tops the list of the friendliest places in the UK.

“Locals go out of their way to be friendly and greet strangers with warmth and a smile, whether in shops or on the street.” Restless.co.uk said of York, which was also named one of the “most hospitable” cities in the world by Booking.com in 2023.

However, this friendliness isn’t just reserved for locals: York is a beautiful place for visitors looking for a day trip or even a holiday.

Thanks to the University of York and York St John, the city is home to students from over 150 countries – and it’s no wonder when the locals are so accommodating.

City of York signpost

York Minster is a popular tourist attraction (Image: Getty Images)

York is a vibrant, bustling city with modern shops and restaurants but also full of history. Some of the city’s oldest buildings date back to the seventh century.

For a unique experience, you can climb the remains of the city walls that have surrounded the city for over 700 years.

The famous Shambles is one of the oldest streets in England and is said to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.

Although none of the shops have their original facades, they have been lovingly restored and you can find everything from chocolate to Viking souvenirs to a year-round Christmas shop.

You can also visit the quirky Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, one of the shortest “streets” with the longest name, measuring just 24 meters long.

Its origin is much debated, but it is thought to have originated either from a medieval phrase meaning “neither one nor the other” or, perhaps funnier, “What a street!”

The mess

The Shambles is a centerpiece of historic York (Image: Getty Images)

York Minister is even older than the Shambles. The cathedral dates back to the 7th century and has served as a more historically accurate representation of Westminster Abbey in films such as Elizabeth (1998) and Bill (2015).

The town is also home to the Jorvik Viking Center, where you can travel back in time on a Viking street and view real Viking items found in the town.

However, it’s not all history. York is home to over 350 pubs and bars and has a rich history of chocolate making if you have a sweet tooth.

The original Rowntree factory was born here and the historic streets are full of magnificent sweet shops. And no trip to York would be complete without a visit to a delicious tearoom, particularly the world-famous Betty’s.

See you in the north!


The 10 friendliest places to live in the UK, according to a ranking by Restless.co.uk

  1. York, England
  2. Glasgow, Scotland
  3. Liverpool, England
  4. Belfast, Northern Ireland
  5. Manchester, England
  6. Aberdeen, Scotland
  7. Leeds, England
  8. Derry, Northern Ireland
  9. Cardiff, Wales
  10. Oxford, England.

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