Is York a Good Place to Live, Work, Buy A House, Retire or Visit?

Moving to a new city is something that is hard and stressful to do. I speak from experience having done it a few times. There are many things that can go wrong and not knowing the important things about your new city can be detrimental in many ways. Extensive research is required to know everything about your new city. Luckily for those reading, I have done that research. In this article, I am going to explain not only how York can be a good place to live, but why it’s a good place to live.

So is York a good place to live? In my opinion, yes. For the following reasons;
– It has a rich, diverse history.
– Is an affluent area in Yorkshire.
– Has one of the best universities in the country.
– Has two very large employers, contributing to low unemployment rates.
– The atmosphere is great and friendly feeling from the locals is unparalleled.

This article is designed to go in-depth into whether York is a good place to live or not. I will clarify where the best and worst areas are to live, what the social life is like, how much you can expect to get paid, how much you should expect to buy or rent a property and the general city itself in terms of tourism and fun things to do.

Is York a Good Place to Live?

York is always considered one of the best places to live in the country. It ranks highly in friendliness, happiness and affluence according to many polls. The city itself is very small and can be walked around within the hour, therefore public transportation is usually not required to move about the centre.

York does have a terrific bus service though which facilities all areas in and out of York, making you only minutes away from the centre. As mentioned, the city itself is very small and there’s no need for trams/trains, however, it does have a very good train station. Because York is set almost exactly in between Edinburgh and London, the main train line between these two major British cities runs through York. If you need to go anywhere in the country, York is a superb train hub.

In terms of where to live, here are my best and worst neighbourhoods for crime rates, access to amenities, the high street and general friendliness.

Best neighbourhoods

  • Heworth
  • Bishopthorpe Road
  • Fulford

Not so good

  • Tang Hall
  • Clifton
  • Rawcliffe

Crime levels in York are incredibly low, with the majority of crimes committed through anti-social behaviour and violence (mainly attributed to a Saturday night out). You will not expect to be harassed or pickpocketed on the streets and neither should you fear for your safety due to gun and knife crime.

York has two universities, York University and York St John’s University, with the latter being paired with a neighbouring city, Ripon. York University specialises in the sciences and is ranked 21st out of all universities in the UK, and more impressively 134th in the entire world.

The university attracts thousands of students per year, especially students from afar as China. York St John’s is not as highly ranked as York University, however, it is a specialist in sports and is equally as popular for students. Every year the city fills with students, creating a buzz and exciting atmosphere.

The fourth oldest school in the world is situated in York, St Peters School. The school was founded by St Paulinus in AD 627. It is a private school and is considered very prestigious.

Bootham School, just down the road from St Peters is another, highly prestigious school. York is open to all religions and therefore has different schools associated with different faiths. All Saints School is a Roman Catholic school and a good representation of religious diversity.

York has many different bars and pubs to keep socialising people spoilt for choice. They even say that due to there being over 365 pubs in York you can go to a different one, every day. These range from the local, quiet pub, to the high-end bar. This goes hand-in-hand with lots of different and diverse restaurants. If you are looking for any sort of gastro experience, York will have it.

Is York a Good Place to Work?

York, in my opinion, is a very good place to work as it has many large employers and one of those is situated right in the heart of the city, Aviva. This insurance company giant employs thousands of York residents and attracts many from other cities too.

The other large employer in York is Nestle. York has a rich chocolate history and Nestle, having taken over Rountree’s confectionery, became the major confectionery company in the city. The UK headquarters is located in York and again, it employs thousands of people, not only from the city but from catchment areas surrounding it too.

York also has hundreds of hotels, from well-known chains like Hilton and Park Inn, and unique and impressive hotels, like The Grand Hotel. Most hotels in the area will employ over a hundred people and will typically attract ex-pats from European countries and students to work on a flexible basis.

In terms of average salary in the city, York is slightly below the UK average but is still quite high at £24,255. It is not considered a ‘poor’ area and has a constant need for new employees and employers.

The unemployment rate in York is low at 1.2%, 3% lower than the UK average. By in large the majority of employees will either work in the health, education or motor industry. Manufacturing is also an industry which employs many people, most likely due to Nestle.

Is York a Good Place to Buy a House?

As touched on earlier in the article there are places where I would recommend living and others that don’t quite hit the mark. Price is a big factor on where someone will move, and while I said Tang Hall, Clifton and Rawcliffe were the worst neighbourhoods, that’s not to say they are not nice places.

House prices in York are one of the highest in the country and certainly, always come out as the highest in Yorkshire.

A one bedroom terraced house in York will average £150,000 – £170,000, a three bedroom detached house £280,000 – £300,000 and a large five bedroom family house £530,000 – £650,000.

Renting in York is advised if you aren’t set on moving to the city for a long time and this can be very affordable if you don’t mind being out of the city.

A one bedroom terrace house on the rental market can range between £300 per month in the less desirable areas, to £750-£800 towards the centre of the city. Three bedroom houses are rare in the city itself, however, in the neighbourhoods mentioned you could rent one between £800 and £1,100 per month. Five bedroomed houses tend to be expensive to rent and command between £1,800 and £3,500 per month.

Is York a Good Place to Retire?

York has many residential areas that have their own amenities and social aspects, such as pubs and restaurants. This, in my opinion, is great for retirees because you get everything on your doorstep without having to venture into the larger city for simple things.

The high house and renting prices are a good thing for retirees too as they know that the value of their house is rising and it contributes to what they can leave their family. The city never gets boring and there are always festivals and things to do for people of any age. It is a city with great bus and train links and is considered very friendly. These are the sorts of things I would look for in a city if I were looking to retire.

Is York a Good Place to Visit?

York as a city is a major tourist attraction. Millions of people throughout the year come to the city to view the history. York was founded as Eboracum in 71AD by the Romans, and ever since has played host to many warring nations. The Vikings also came in the year 954 and named the city Jorvik. Vikings are celebrated each year and the Jorvik Centre, a museum set up to look like a Viking settlement, is something that cannot be missed.

The city is walled and so walking around the city on these walls is a particular highlight, as is marvelling at the biggest Gothic cathedral in Europe, York Minster.

Other attractions which excite both locals and visitors are the York Dungeons, which is a museum which looks at the Middle Ages and the grizzly things that used to happen in the jail system. York Castle Museum focuses on York throughout different time periods, especially World War One. It is curated in a former women’s prison and mill.

The highlight of this museum is a fully functioning Victorian Street. An attraction specifically designed to celebrate the vast chocolate history in York is York Chocolate Story. The museum is centred around the workers in Nestle and Rountree’s factories and both the manufacturing and expertise of chocolate producing.

Terry Tregorius
About Terry Tregorius 118 Articles
Terry is passionate about travel and finding new great places to live, work and visit. He specializes in the UK where he lives with his family. Read more articles by Terry Tregorius

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