Hotel locations are wonderfully varied – you can find them in stately homes, prisons, windmills and castles – and in York there’s one in England’s oldest surviving convent. Dating from 1686, it is still home to the apostolic members of the Congregation of Jesus, an Ignatian order founded in 1609, at the height of Catholic suppression post-Gunpowder Plot, by an extraordinary woman called Mary Ward. As you might expect, it makes a tranquil and affordable place to stay and you can even sleep in one of two attractive rooms designed by Olga Polizzi, a supporter of the sisters and their work. Recent refurbishment has ensured simple but spotless and well-equipped bedrooms. There’s an all-day café with sumptuous breakfasts, a glorious garden, the Baroque chapel and a superb exhibition on the convent’s history and remarkable founder. Uplifting.
Doubles from £92
+44 (0)1904 464902;
Walk York’s historic walls down to the river, stopping off to visit the Yorkshire Museum & award winning Art Gallery, then take a stroll down the atmospheric streets of Stonegate and the Shambles.
York is a foodies paradise. Lunch has to be from the special’s board at the Convent’s Café, but for dinner try for authentic (and very reasonably priced) French cuisine, or for friendly service and mouthwatering Italian food, or the much-celebrated for an Indian feast.
Buy a which gives you access into 30 of the main attractions in and around York. Great if you don’t want to commit the whole day to a single attraction and want to see as much of York as possible.
CLAIM TO FAME
Due to its unique surroundings and fascinating history the Convent has regularly appeared on television, from Michael Portillo’s Railway Journeys to Antiques Road Trip. This year it featured on Secrets of Great British Castles.
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