With its city walls, characterful buildings, stunning Minster and river Ouse, York has many wonderful sights to look out at. From the restaurants, cafes and bars of the city centre, there are several spots at which to sit and take in the impressive outlook. Here are seven places with some of the best views of York.


The inside of Dyls cafe bar is a characterful delight to enjoy relaxing respite in an iconic Motor House building on Skeldergate Bridge. The four rooms are quirky and cosy and great to warm up in with a coffee and brunch. But it’s difficult not to be tempted to stay outside on the terrace, where the Tower Gardens riverside location provides beautiful views of the Ouse from a unique position. Catching plenty of sun in the summer, it’s the perfect place to kick back with a classic cocktail or two.

Sora Sky Bar

In the recently opened Malmaison Hotel, their seven floors are topped by the seductive Sora Sky Bar. This Asian fusion cocktail and tapas bar is quite the treat, serving small plates of sushi and pan-Asian dishes that elevate the senses alongside luxurious cocktails in an equally special setting. Step out onto the rooftop terrace to be wowed by an uninterrupted view of the York skyline, which showcases the city’s landmarks including York Minster. On weekends there’s live music and DJs, but visit anytime you like to be able to take in the spectacular sights.

La Vecchia Scuola

A contemporary Italian restaurant in a grand old building, La Vecchia Scuola mix the modern and the historic expertly. The Georgian interior leads to an expanse of windows looking out to a lovely landscaped garden. It’s a super serene sight to accompany the slick service and satisfying pastas, pizzas and grills here.


Opened in 2021 by Sophie Knight, her namesake new venue is providing the city with another place to go for one of York’s best views. Located on Lendal Bridge, they may be in the heart of this historic city but their gorgeous green garden will transport you to a faraway hideaway with its stunning river outlook. Grab a coffee and cake or perhaps indulge in a cocktail to while those hours away in pleasure.


To watch the world go by from the comfort of a restaurant seat, you can’t do much better than grabbing the table for two besides the elevated window of Phranakhon. The view on Grape Lane overlooks Swinegate, and presents the opportunity to witness the busy buzzy street from a place of relaxation and contentment. The food complements the view nicely, with delicious small plates of Thai tapas to share and delight in, as you proudly peruse the people below.

The Star Inn The City

A enviable riverside location on the edge of Museum Gardens, The Star Inn The City is a laid back upmarket joy. Inside is a handsome old Engine House, but it’s out on the terrace that you’ll want to soak in the setting. Matching its beautiful surroundings are the best local produce in a modern British menu and fine wines and champagnes to complete the experience.

The Olive Tree

Situated opposite Castle Tower, The Olive Tree provides quality dining with a spectacular view. On the table you’ll be treated to Mediterranean dishes of fresh seasonal produce and passionately picked wines, whilst out of the large windows is a picture postcard image of York’s famous old landmark.

Images: SOPHiE, Dyls, Sora, The Star Inn the City