Pubs With York Heritage and Magnetism

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Legend had it that there were 365 pubs in York, one for every day of the year. Half the pubs of York have gone since the 1950’s and there have been some historic losses. We need to protect those with special interest interiors and ‘support our pub heritage’. I will drink all I can in helping this cause.

Lost Pubs of York

York 360

Promotes some York  pubs including The Priory which is open 11.00am-1.00am and longer at weekends


Pubs with Interiors of Historic Interest

  • Black Swan in Peaseholme Green is a Grade ll* listed building with medieval timber-frame. There has been sensitive remodelling of the interior in the 30’s and 70’s but the original domestic interior survives. The 17th century staircase, doorways, fireplace and oak panelling have created a pub with very distinctive character.
  • Blue Bell on Fossgate has a slightly gaudy red tiled exterior that is not the most welcoming. For those who venture inside however an Edwardian treat awaits. The rooms are wood-panelled and traditionally furnished throughout, with the bar room only having enough room for 3 or 4 tables. A side lobby has two etched doors accessing a tiny front bar room and a rear ‘former-smoke room’ that is too narrow for some corpulent American visitors. This room and the lobby both have hatch access to the bar.The Blue Bell is a Grade ll* listed building and I hope the pub chains leave the interior alone.
  • Royal Oak on Goodramgate is a small stylish town pub. There is documentation dating it back  to the 15th century. The Royal Oak has both 18th and 19th century extensions to the back. It went through a major restoration project in 1934, a ‘Tudor Revamp’ according to Camra. Now with a gas fire rather than traditional logs it is still a cosy place to drink. Eating and your enjoyment thereof, depends on the landlord and cook at the time you visit.
  • The Swan on Bishopsgate, just outside York’s Bar Walls, was only the second pub to be designated a Tetleys Heritage Inn in the 1980’s. 30 years on and The Swan Inn has been nominated for “best real ale pub” in The Press Pub Awards 2009/10, and was Camra’s pub of the year. Probably enough said but the interior layout is one of only 3 surviving pubs witha genuine inter-war years layout within York.
  • York Arms beneath the shadow of the Minster is a homely little pub that escaped the open-plan movementr in the 1970’s. The site was a former Chapter coffee house but a licensed house was build on the site in 1838 and still has two main lounge areas, and a tiny snug at the front of the pub. It is a Samuel Smith pub so you will know it offers value for money in the beer pricing.
  • Lighthorseman was built in Fulford Road during Queen Victoria’s reign and survives as a multi-roomed public house of some style. There is a wealth of original Victorian features including the only original Victorian bar remaining in the city. Deservedly there is a grade 2 listing. With accommodation available you can check out its own web site.

I am sure I have not covered your favourite alehouse, boozer, hostelry, local, watering-hole or call it what you will. If my omission is unwarranted then I am happy to add further pubs to this page or better still visit them for myself. Please comment below.


The Maltings, Guy Fawkes and The Olde White Swan vie with Golden Lion, Three Tuns and The Bluebell as my current favourites

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