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23 St. Mary's, York
Incredibly central yet incredibly peaceful, this elegant townhouse B&B in the smart Bootham district makes a good choice for those who don't want the fuss of a hotel but still like stylish surrounds. At the quiet end of a no-through road, it's an easy and pleasant walk, either through Museum Gardens or along the river, to the city centre and its attractions. The Victorian house is deceptively big with 12 bedrooms, some for families, spread across four floors. Each is carefully styled to make the most of the space with light colours, statement wallpapers and a lack of clutter. There's a large and comfortable sitting-room in which to recover after a day's sight-seeing. Manager Fiona, helped by her daughter, have lots of suggestions of where to eat in the evening, plenty within a ten-minute walk. Breakfast is cooked to order and easily matches a four-star hotel for variety.
The closeness of the guesthouse to the city centre meant we could pop back with shopping, or for a quick rest, and then set out again without upsetting our plans for the day.
It's a 10-minute walk to the city centre, where you can visit the Minster, Yorkshire Museum & Gardens, and the Medieval Shambles.
By car: around 45 minutes from Leeds, 1 hour 45 minutes from Manchester and 4 hours 15 minutes from London. Paid parking available nearby.
By train: London Kings Cross to York takes around 2 hours. The hotel is a 10-minute walk away. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel suits anyone - couples, individual travellers and families - who wants a location that's central yet also quiet, with easy walking to the main sights and a choice of eating places. Unexpectedly bold features include the deep-blue walls in the hall and sitting-room, and the colourful display of plates in the breakfast room.
Service & Facilities
It's a bit of a cliché, but it really does feel like a comfortable, family home; manager Fiona makes you feel very welcome.
- Breakfast room
- Free Wi-Fi
Although not as big as the others, the top-floor rear bedroom is very cosy and with lovely rooftop views towards York Minster. We loved the thoughtful touches such as good reading lights, sockets where you need them and chocolates.
Cosy Double, Classic Double, Deluxe Double, Superking/Twin, Luxury Four-Poster, Luxury Family
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, tea and coffee facilities, iron and ironing board, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
At breakfast you can mix and match whatever cooked choices you fancy. The scrambled eggs were delicious and generous, and coffee refills were not a problem.
Breakfast room: cosy dining room, open daily for continental and cooked-to-order breakfast options. Breakfast hamper also available.