Is York safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
York can be found right in the heart of England making it easy to ride the train to Edinburgh, London, or Manchester within just a few hours. You also have the Leeds/Bradford airport, Manchester airport, and Newcastle airport nearby for international travelers. With a population of about 800,000, York is reachable through the ports at Newcastle and Hull, both within just a few hours.
With so many ways to reach York, you may wonder if this intriguing destination is safe to visit and explore. The simple answer is yes, even if you're a solo traveler. Using common sense and knowing street smarts are also great ways to ensure your trip to York is full of fun, and happy experiences.
Known as a cathedral city, York is in North Yorkshire and is at the confluence of the Foss river and Ouse river. With Roman origins, the historic buildings and architecture draw close to 30 million tourists each year. The York Minster is majestic and iconic but the York Racecourse will get your blood pumping. Tour the York Dungeon where the gruesome past of the city is unearthed.
Pre-covid, the UK saw 40 million visitors a year and York was one of the highlights for travelers. Before starting a walking tour or exploring on your own, use a York luggage storage location to drop off your bags and valuables. Travel light and take the burden of thinking about your things away as you see this marvelous city.
Is York safe to visit right now?
Yes, York is safe to visit and you'll have a fabulous time doing so. According to Crime Rate, in 2021 York has an overall crime rate of 73 crimes per 1,000 people, which is 4.2% lower than North Yorkshire’s crime rate. As well, the United Kingdom has a Global Peace Index of 34, making it a safe place for tourists to visit. So go ahead and make plans for a visit to Verona. We do recommend you read a few York safety guides as all guides will have something valuable to offer.
Before you complete your travel plans to York, check your government’s official travel guidelines to the UK and York and follow all safety regulations they have in place regardless of whether you're an experienced traveler or this is your first trip. Making memories while staying safe is the most important thing when you're traveling abroad.
Top petty crimes and scams in York affecting tourists
York residents feel it's the safest city in the region and York crime is generally limited to petty crimes such as scams, pickpockets, purse snatchers, and such. Using common sense and keeping tabs on your personal belongings will go a long way in ensuring you're not targeted by petty thieves or scammers.
Pickpockets and purse snatchers
Pickpockets can target you in any part of the city but they are especially active around attractions such as the city walls or York Minster. Keep your cash and cards where pickpockets cannot easily grab them, such as keeping your wallet in your front pocket. Ladies should use a smaller crossbody bag when out and about to deter purse snatchers from targeting them.
It's always best to not accept anything from strangers on the street including pamphlets or papers. Scammers are everywhere it seems and York is no exception. Keep alert and avoid anyone who seems overly friendly, listen to your gut, and keep your eyes open. Scammers will target tourists so if you can blend in with the locals, that is all the better.
Is York safe to travel alone
It's safe for people to travel alone to York, and solo female travelers are also pretty safe when visiting this pretty city. The Bounce Women Travel Safety Index has given the United Kingdom a rating of 26, and therefore, York is a good choice for women to visit. That doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind, women should still be vigilant when traveling alone.
Have a set itinerary in place and if you change your plans shoot a text to a friend so someone knows that your plans changed. Inform the staff at your hotel or hostel of where you're headed and get their opinion on the area along with tips to stay safe and where to avoid. Local residents are invaluable when you're traveling alone.
Security at the hotels and other housing options in York is pretty good and a woman alone won't necessarily be an easy victim for criminals. Anyone traveling alone should know how to protect themselves from theft or any potential other crime. Other cities may not be as safe for solo tourists, but those that have visited York have felt safe, and have enjoyed the fabulous sights as well.
Safest neighborhoods in York
Even York has less desirable areas that you want to avoid, and then there are areas that you'll fall in love with. Finding York neighborhoods that are the safest is not difficult since the city itself is very safe. But there are three neighborhoods that are heads above the others areas in York and are considered the safest places.
Locals and tourists claim York City Centre is the best part of the city but it's also one of the most popular areas, meaning there are congested streets and the attractions are very crowded. The history and charm of the City Centre are a huge draw and shouldn't be missed. Avoid the crowds by visiting during off times such as the early morning or during the dinner hour.
This residential area is close to the best landmarks and museums in York. There are plenty of fantastic places to eat. Being close to the City Centre but far enough away from the crowds, you can basically walk to most of the attractions you want to check out in York. The quiet nights in Holgate are well worth the extra few minutes walk.
Bootham is another residential area but more for those who happen to be on a budget. You can easily walk to the City Centre and other neighborhoods. This is a pretty quiet neighborhood with quaint cafes and pubs tucked away. The stately homes are beautiful to see and it's fun to get a closer look at how the locals live.
You'll want to avoid some places that residents deem to be dangerous or rough, especially at night. There are higher incidents of theft and other crimes in these areas. You'll not want to visit Tang Hall, Cinder Lane, and Rougier Street at night, you also want to stay alert in Holgate East and Clifton North.
Is York public transportation safe?
Other than walking through York, biking is a common way to get around, although York does have a safe and excellent public transport system leading to and from the city. The train station offers direct trains to Manchester, London, and even Edinburgh. You can easily take a day trip to other parts of the UK. Many of the big cities are only about a two-hour train ride away.
When in York, use the iTravelYork app for an easy-to-use guide to help you get around York. Bus services do run regularly throughout the city. But, you'll miss a lot if you're riding the bus to get from one place to the next in York. It generally is a 20-minute walk from one end of York to the other. Rainy days are most likely the best days to decide to ride the bus. As with all forms of public transit, always stay alert and don't doze off.
Important emergency numbers in York
Something most people don't think about when they are traveling abroad is whom to call in case of an emergency. In the United States, 911 is the number to dial when you're experiencing an emergency and you're instantly connected to an operator who will dispatch medics, police, or firefighters depending on your emergency.
Europe has a similar system and all you basically need to remember is to dial 112. When in the United Kingdom, you can also dial 999 when an emergency occurs. Jot down your country’s embassy phone number and address and keep it with your important travel documents.
- England’s international code: 011
- England’s country code: 44
- York area code: 01904
- European emergency number: 112
- UK Emergency number: 999
Staying safe in York
York is a small city with a bit of a big-city vibe complete with entertainment options, restaurants, and pubs. It's also close enough to nearby cities so you can explore more of the United Kingdom and still come back to York for a quiet evening that is completely safe compared to the big cities and their bustling streets.
York's locals are very welcoming of tourists and encourage you to explore the nooks and crannies of their beloved town, including its grisly past and underground dungeons. Explore the green spaces and parks, visit art galleries and museums, and get to know a resident or two over a leisurely lunch or dinner.
Before you pack your bags for York, you'll want to learn more about the city by reading Where to Stay in York: The Ultimate Guide and also How to Get Around York so you'll not get easily lost in this wonderful city. Bring along your camera and check out the city walls that date back to Roman times. They are fantastic to see.