Father’s Day is almost here and it’s time to celebrate dads and all that they do for us. If you haven’t yet decided how to treat the father figure in your life, never fear. We’ve put together this helpful guide featuring the best places to find a unique gift or spend some quality time together in the city of York.

Surprise him with a gift or experience he’ll love:

If your dad’s a fan of Norse mythology, The York Vikings on the Shambles celebrates York’s past role as the country’s Viking capital with an array of unusual, historically-themed clothing and home accessories. Here, you can pick up goblets, tankards and shot glasses that will add novelty to any drink. This unique shop also sells jewellery, replica weapons and gothic gifts. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an experience rather than a present, you and your dad could spend an afternoon together on the River Ouse. York City Cruises offers a 1.5-hour long cruise which includes a portion of fish and chips to eat on board the boat as you take in the city from a new vantage point. You’ll be able to learn more about some of York’s most famous sights from your informative and entertaining live guide and will get to venture out of the city and into the surrounding countryside. If your dad has a sweet tooth, another fun experience to share is a trip to York’s Chocolate Story in King’s Square. This popular visitor attraction tells the story of York’s confectionary heritage and explores the origins of chocolate itself. On one of their family-friendly tours, you’ll discover how chocolate is made and be able to watch real chocolatiers at work. You’ll also try plenty of samples and, as an extra treat, every dad who is booked on a tour on Father’s Day will receive a free chocolate bar to take home. Another great way to pamper your dad this June is with a relaxing and indulgent spa treatment at No.1 by GuestHouse. Named ‘best of the best’ at the 2023 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, this boutique hotel has its own spa, which offers a special package of treatments that’s tailored to men. The Relax Regimen For Him is a 60-minute ritual that starts with a back, neck and shoulder massage to nourish the skin and relieve any muscle tension. He can then enjoy an organic facial that deeply cleanses, exfoliates and hydrates, leaving him looking great and feeling refreshed.

Enjoy a catch up over drinks:

Sometimes the simplest plans are the best, and your father might just welcome the chance to have a proper chat with you while enjoying a couple of drinks. If he has a head for heights, the Sora Sky Bar on Rougier Street boasts an incredible bird’s eye view over the city. Sora serves Asian-fusion tapas plates to share and has an extensive cocktail list. Some of their signature offerings include a ‘Tograshi Margarita’, made with olmeca reposado, mezcal union, lemongrass agave and lime, or the ‘Chocolate and Chilli Old Fashioned’, which features chilli-infused toki blended Japanese whisky, cacao nibs and  chocolate vanilla bitters. You can also relax with a G&T, wine or beer here while listening to music from a live DJ. Another stylish and historic venue is the 1906 Bar at The Grand – an imposing five-star hotel that sits in a central location near to the city walls. The 1906 Bar has an intimate feel and sells a selection of some of the best premium spirits and whiskies, along with Yorkshire ales, wines and champagnes. If you’d like to surprise your dad with an entirely different night out, Valhalla on Swinegate is a brilliant Viking-themed pub and restaurant. As you enter the building, you’ll pass scenes of the invaders arriving by boat and the bar’s various rooms then reveal more of their story with flickering candles, shields and animal skulls on the walls. Valhalla comes alive at night with live music from rock and metal bands. On the drinks list here, you’ll find cask ales, ciders and the bar’s speciality: mead or ‘the drink of the gods’. 

Treat him to a tasty meal out:

If your dad’s a real foodie and loves nothing more than a delicious meal out, you’ll find plenty of excellent restaurants to visit together in York this Father’s Day. Located on York’s characterful Fossgate, Ambiente Tapas is an authentic Spanish restaurant with a relaxed, convivial feel. The restaurant boasts a contemporary interior and has an open kitchen where you can watch its talented chefs at work. Here, you can share dishes like Moorish spiced lamb with Moroccan couscous, aubergine fritters in a chilli and garlic syrup or tempura-battered tiger prawns with aioli. Ambiente also offers vegan alternatives to many popular tapas recipes. These include Chorizo y Patatas Veganos – caramelised chorizo-style pieces with potato – or plant-based calamari. Another great spot to enjoy an indulgent meal out is Middletons. This luxury hotel incorporates six historic buildings and has its own award-winning restaurant which serves a classic British menu. Diners can begin their meal with starters such as the restaurant’s signature fishcake with king prawn, smoked haddock and hollandaise sauce, or a summery salt-baked beetroot and goat’s cheese salad. They can then tuck into dishes like a celeriac puff pastry parcel, served with chicory, tenderstem broccoli, crispy shallots and vegan gravy, or lamb chump accompanied by a black pudding bonbon, celeriac puree, chantenay carrots and ju. If you’ve any room left afterwards, you can then choose from a tempting selection of desserts such as Belgian chocolate fondant with strawberry ice cream or a sticky toffee pudding. If meat and seafood are your dad’s thing, there’s no better place than Pearly Cow. Its menu keeps it simple with a focus on the freshest produce from the land and sea. The adventurous can kick-start the day here with a breakfast of oysters and spiced-as-you-like Bloody Marys, while for dinner you can start with dishes like a 45-day aged fillet of beef tartare, served with oyster cream, beef jam, Exmoor caviar and charred sourdough. This can then be followed by a loin of Yorkshire lamb with glazed shoulder, Caesar aioli and sweet and sour peppers. Pearly Cow also offers an ‘Afternoon Sea’ – a fishy take on the much-loved treat that features smoked salmon scones with horseradish crème fraîche and bottomless rosé. Those who appreciate mouthwatering cuisine without many food miles will also love Forage. This enchanting eaterie on Stonegate has a leafy interior that brings the outside in and is also home to a secret speakeasy where you can sip imaginative cocktails. The food here is described as contemporary European but Forage’s menu brings together flavours from even further afield. Dishes here are designed for sharing or grazing, with options like halloumi, peppered honey, khadafi pastry and pistachio, or chargrilled octopus, clams, confit potato, saffron aioli and sauce vierge. You can then finish with sweets such as strawberry mille feuille, meadowsweet and sorbet.

Images- @pearlycowuk, @soraskybar, @yorkschocstory