YORK was the second most visited city in the UK for tourists in 2018, according to new figures.

The research asked thousands of people which cities and holiday destinations in the UK were the biggest hotpots for tourists.

York came second, surpassing larger cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle.

Only London proved narrowly more popular.

The research was conducted by Snaptrip, a holiday marketplace company, and found that the 50 per cent of people surveyed had been to York in 2018.

The findings were welcomed by tourism bosses in the city.

Paul Whiting, head of Visit York, said: We’re delighted to see York is the most popular city outside of London for people from across the UK. York is loved by visitors and residents for its rich history, stunning architecture and vibrant cultural life.

“A packed events and festivals calendar in 2018, along with lots of good weather over the summer months, have only heightened York’s appeal.

“This is alongside world class attractions, shops, and restaurants, as well as the beauty of North Yorkshire on the doorstep, which all have their part to play in making the city a superb choice for visitors."

Councillor Nigel Ayre, executive member for leisure, culture and tourism at City of York Council, said: “This is excellent news and reiterates that York is a great place to visit. With the many cultural options, festivals and quality independent shops we have in the city, there really is something for everyone.”

Matt Fox, co-founder of Snaptrip, said: “Over the last couple of years we have seen interest in people visiting York increase, and it’s clear that it has become a must visit city for people across the country.

“Earlier this year it was named as the best place to live in The Sunday Times guide, which has raised its popularity even further. Its mixture of historical landmarks, independent shopping and bustling food and drink scene mean there really is something for everyone, and with easy transport links from across the UK it’s not hard to see why it came out as the most popular city outside of London.”

Andrew Lowson, director of York Business Improvement District, said: “We’re thrilled to hear the results of this study, which only underlines what a fantastic draw our city is."

"York has so much to offer – an unrivalled mix of history, culture, food and drink, shopping and leisure – so no wonder the city attracts so many visitors from across the UK.

"We welcome about seven million visitors a year, and nearly six million of those are British. York BID will continue to work with local partners to maintain the city’s strong offering, to ensure that the visitors as well as York’s residents keep coming back.”

Councillor Ian Gillies, leader of City of York Council, added: “With our amazing heritage, quality tourist attractions and a friendly welcome from residents it is no surprise to see so many people love coming to York.

"That this news comes in the same year York was announced by The Sunday Times as the best place to live highlights what an incredible city York is.”