Which city has the best historic weekend in the U.K: York vs. Edinburgh?

by Sals2

Edinburgh possesses the title ‘second most visited city in the UK’ and being second is no underachievement considering the first is London (one of the most visited cities in the world!) So what attracts people to Edinburgh? Well, one of its biggest crowd pullers is the city’s history and there are many places of interest that can capture the imagination and provide your historic pallet with a real taste of the past.

We will start with one of Edinburgh’s most famous features-its castle. The castle has seen an awful lot of wars, battles and even makeovers during its history and that’s perhaps what makes it so interesting – is its story. The whole of the city’s development has formed around the castle’s site since the first human settlement around 900 BC. This historic building has also played host to a number of historic celebrities such as Richard the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI and Charles I, all famous monarchs who have helped shape the UK’s past.

Another attraction the city boasts is the Edinburgh dungeons, based in the imposing castle the dungeons are now run by an entertainment company who run dungeon tours throughout Europe in cities such as London, York, Amsterdam and Hamburg. The dungeons offer an educational, fun exciting experience and are ideal for family visits.

These are just 2 examples of what you can see historically in Edinburgh but you don’t have to just visit the historic sites, there are plenty more attractions -plan your weekend in the city by considering some of these other activities.

  • Camera Obscura
  • 3D Loch Ness experience
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Princes street Gardens
  • Don’t forget all the bars and clubs that the City has to offer

Don’t forget if you are making a weekend of it you will need somewhere to stay. There are many hotels in Edinburgh that will provide you with an enjoyable stay

                                                     Vs. York

Eboracum or York was founded in 71 AD by the Romans and is a very stereotypical Roman settlement. Much like other Roman City’s such as Chester, York is surrounded by walls built to protect the city from any potential invasion. This sets the tone for a very historic picturesque city.


Like Edinburgh, York also houses a Dungeon run by an entertainment company. The York dungeon showcases the often horrible tortures the townspeople were subject to if they were seen to have done wrong. The dungeon also branches out to tell ghost stories and re-enacts what life would be like during the great plague of 1551. Almost comically the dungeon placed itself in trouble with the authorities after offering children with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO’s) a free admission with the view to it improving their behaviour- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/6690767.stm. The offer came in for much criticism as it was seen as rewarding bad behaviour but the dungeon claims no offenders actually took up the special offer.

The Shambles

A popular attraction in York, the Shambles was voted the most picturesque street in the UK. The old street once was filled with butcher’s shops which caused an awful lot of blood and guts to be washed down the street and is really representative of how gory Britain once was. One of the street’s most famous personnel was Saint Margaret Clitherow. Clitherow was hailed as a martyr after being accused of harbouring Roman Catholic priests and when the authorities asked her to make a plea, she refused. In turn this protected her children from being tortured as it meant they wouldn’t have to testify during the case themselves. As a result she was then tortured – brutally being crushed to death naked with a handkerchief tied across her face. Queen Elizabeth I was so disgusted at the treatment of Clitherow she even wrote a personal letter to York and stated that because she was a woman she shouldn’t have been treated in this fashion. After her death Clitherow’s hand was removed and remains to this day in the chapel bar convent, York.

Like Edinburgh, York has many other attractions that you can visit or partake in over a weekend and these are just a few examples:-

  • York Water world
  • York Maze
  • Attend a York racecourse meet
  • A whole host of museums
  • And even nightlife for the hard-core partiers amongst us

Cities such as Edinburgh or York are ideal for weekend breaks and most hotels in York offer a really great service and a comfortable stay within the city centre enabling you to worry about more important things such as cramming in as many fun and interesting attractions as possible.