The Old Quarter of York England - The Minster Quarter

The old quarter of York (also called the Minster quarter as the Minster is within it) is a vibrant area of the city to visit. It is surrounded by the city walls with entrances to it through Bootham Bar and Monk Bar. A route around it takes you in Monk Bar and along Goodramgate, then up Church Street to St Sampson's Square. Next you go along Davygate to St Helen's Square, which is right in the middle of the city centre. Then along Blake Street and St Leonard's Place will take you to Bootham Bar. Many attractions lie within its borders. Also there a a number of good restaurants, cafes and pubs to stop off in and get a flavour of the city. Last, but by no means least, there are a number of areas within that are very good for traditional city centre shopping in small independent boutiques.

Static Google Map of the Old Quarter York or Minster Quarter

Old Quarter Attractions

If you are in York for a day out then the old quarter is the perfect place to visit. Within this section of the city centre there are some fabulous historic attractions to visit.

  • York Minster - the largest and most impressive gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.
  • Stonegate - picturesque cobbled street full of fabulous independent shops.
  • Bootham Bar - part of the bar walls with a view of the Minster through the window, if you look hard enough.
  • Monk Bar - another Medieval entrance that has a museum and working portcullis within.
  • Statue of Constantine - Just outside the Minster this statue is a monument to Emperor or Rome, Constantine the Great.
  • Barley Hall - reconstruction of what was a 15th century hall owned by the York Archaeological Trust.
  • Treasurers House - a property gifted to the National Trust full of antique furniture and fittings.
  • St William's College - splendid black and white 15th century building situated East, behind the Minster.
  • Roman Bath house - in the centre of town just on the border of the old quarter.
  • Theatre Royal - wooden building built in 1744 still producing live theatre today.


After a morning seeing sites and shopping, you will need to stop for a coffee or lunch. There are a number of good restaurants and cafes dotted about. This is one of the reasons this area of the city is such a vibrant place to visit. At lunch time, booking is not usually required unless you are part of a large party (6+).

  • Four High Petergate - Small bistro with good food and service.
  • Plunkets - Tex Mex cuisine with a 1960's - 70's theme.
  • Cafe Concerto - chain of good cafes with an informal ambiance. A good lunch choice for soup and fresh baked bread.
  • Cafe Rogue - Low Petergate French style cafe/restaurant chain.
  • Ask York - Blake Street - Italian chain nice pizzas and pastas.
  • Betty's Tea Room - St Helens Square - Always hard to get a table but if you are prepared to wait, it is worth it for travel cred.
  • La Tasca - Back Swinegate - A bit of Spain in sunny York. Good Spanish atmosphere, food, drinks and service.
  • Bobo Lobo - Little Stonegate - Latin feel and food. Fajitas and good sized steaks on offer.
  • Oscars - Swinegate - Nice selection of dishes with an informal family feel to it.
  • Biltmore - Sister establishment to Oscars cocktail lounge and Italian / Bistro food.
  • Caesar's - Italian restaurant part of the Jinna group. Larger inside than it looks from the outside.
  • Minster Tea Rooms - College St - National Trust cafe recommended for lunch by my Dad.

The above venues are also very good to check out during the day and book a meal, for later on in the evening.


If you prefer to eat lunch in a pub, or just fancy a drink there is also plenty of opportunity for this. There are may good old quarter pubs in York. Pubs usually serve food on a lunch time, some also serve meals very early in the evening, but not on a night. However a word of warning, if you go in and don't see many people eating, there may be a reason for that. Don't rush your decision, try to find somewhere that is a little busier. Food in city centre pubs is a secondary thought sometimes, unlike gastro pubs in the surrounding countryside and York's restaurants.

  • Keystones - Goodramgate - Young lively feel to the place. Special offers on drinks some nights.
  • Royal Oak - Listed building olde pub feel to it offering traditional pub grub.
  • Golden Slipper - Traditional pub lots of small rooms again traditional pub food on the menu.
  • Snicklway Inn - Much larger on the inside than it looks. Serves simple sandwiches and ploughman's for lunch.
  • Olde Starr Inn - Stonegate - Dining room and dedicated kitchen for pub food in a olde world setting.
  • The Punch Bowl - Stonegate - one of the oldest pubs in York with great character and good food.
  • York Arms - Good pub grub. Signature dish is a Yorkshire Pudding with a choice of fillings!

There are numerous shops all over this area of York. It really is like the old town centres we used to know so well in England. You will find many olde world and modern shops with unique independent character.

  • Goodramgate - full of small independent shops and boutiques. From bargain shops to quality food and sweets for the coinsures.
  • Swinegate - the small network of streets around here have some fabulous gifts shops, hairdressers and fashion boutiques on.
  • Stonegate - Not to be missed this olde street is the centre point of any shopping trip for a traveler for gifts and memories to take home.
  • Daveygate - getting close to the city centre here more shops you will recognise, but still unique in character.

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