From £89
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OVERVIEW

One of York's most historic, and certainly unusual, hotels, the Bar Convent still houses a working order of nuns. The largely 18th-century building, conveniently close to Micklegate Bar, offers simple but comfortable bedrooms, a friendly café with home-cooked food, a hidden neo-classical chapel and a peaceful garden.


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Rooms available from £89 per night

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OUR REVIEW

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Just outside the city walls, on the main road south to the racecourse and close to a major crossroads, it's a busy location - no on-site parking - but handy for the station (a five-minute walk). Most major attractions are within ten to 20 minutes but you don't stay here for the views. Micklegate Bar, one of the gateways that lead onto the walls is a couple of minutes' walk; the National Railway Museum is a brisk ten minutes.

By car: 45 minutes from Leeds, 1 hour 20 minutes from Sheffield and just over an hour from Middlesborough. There is no on-site parking.

By train: York station is a five-minute walk away, with services from Newcastle (1 hour), Leeds (1 hour 15 minutes), London Kings Cross and Edinburgh (2 hours 30 minutes). Book trains to York.

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THE LOOK AND FEEL

As part of a still-working convent, with buildings dating back to the 18th century, it has a part-historical, part-institutional feel. There's a handsome brick-and-stone façade, fine neo-classical chapel and striking Victorian-style 'winter garden' café with decorative floor tiling, pillars and ferns. Bedroom floors, including the original novice's dormitories, are a ramble of corridors and stairs and are somewhat utilitarian.

THE FACILITIES

As a not-for-profit charity, facilities are modest but thoughtful: a simple sitting-room with TV and board games, a kitchen for guests to prepare meals - wine and beer can be bought from reception - and a rear garden set with tables. The neo-classical chapel gives regular concerts, plus the building has an Exhibition Centre, with a shop, about the convent's history. Staff have good local knowledge and are extremely helpful.

  • Chapel
  • Café
  • Charming garden
  • Family rooms
  • Library
  • Self-service kitchen

BED AND BATH

It may be a working convent but the rooms are not monk-ish cells. Spread over three floors (no lift access to the highest floor), they're simple but bright, with peppermint and cream walls, chunky pine furniture, and smart bedcovers. Four of the top-floor rooms share bathrooms.

Room types: Single, Twin, Double or Family Ensuite; Single, Twin or Double Room with shared bathroom; Superior Twin/Double

Key amenities: ensuite or shared bathroom, complimentary toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee-making facilities, biscuits, TV

FOOD AND DRINK

Breakfast, served in the café, is jolly and wholesome with homemade granola amongst the cold buffet and hot dishes cooked to order from your pick of items including local sausages and bacon as well as mushrooms and potato rösti. Throughout the day, the café serves simple hot dishes such as jacket potatoes, plus homemade cakes and scones. Evening snacks - salads and sandwiches - can be ordered ahead.

The Bar Convent Café: tranquil seating in Victorian Atrium or winter garden, made with products from local suppliers. Open Monday-Saturday 8am-3pm. Lunch from £4.95.

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