A place to do business

Locating Your Business in York

York is one of England’s finest and most beautiful historic cities. Today, a strong knowledge-driven economy pushes the city forward with heritage and innovation combining to create a world-class destination.

Talent, connectivity and an unrivalled quality of life make York an enviable business location.

“The mini metropolis has a rich history and grand ambitions to be one of the best-connected hubs in Europe, with cool cafés, destination restaurants and innovative companies.”

York: Best Place to Live in the UK 2018, The Sunday Times

  • Why York?
  • Sector Expertise
  • Support to Land and Grow


With a thriving economy, contributing about £5 billion of value to the national economy, York’s assets and opportunities are first class: a highly skilled population, world-class universities, excellent transport links to both national and international markets, pronounced strengths in a range of high value sectors, a pioneering digital infrastructure, outstanding business support networks and an unrivalled quality of life.


For businesses looking to relocate, York provides a significant recruitment pool, powered by its highly educated human resource, two world-class universities, two higher education colleges, top ranking schools and a wider regional network of universities to which the city is connected.

Of York’s residents, 49% have a degree level qualification or higher, outstripping both the regional and national average.
York’s two universities, University of York (part of the prestigious Russell Group) and York St John University, offer critical partnerships to develop projects put forward by businesses.


York’s connectivity with the rest of the UK and further afield provides a distinctive benefit to businesses located here.
The city enjoys an enviable position at the heart of the national railway network with direct trains to every major city in England and Scotland, and more than 140 rail connections around the UK. York is under 2 hours by rail from London, and only 2 hours and 20 minutes from Edinburgh.

Several international airports are within easy reach of York, and the city’s positioning close to the UK’s main north-south and east-west arteries provides easy access to many of the UK’s main business centres. With the UK’s largest multi-purpose port complex just over an hour away, York also has great shipping access to Europe and the rest of the world.

Living in York

Located in the heart of the UK, York is one of the country’s most visited cities, and offers a wealth of things to see, do and enjoy. With its excellent transport, public services and educational facilities, York offers an unrivalled quality of life.

The combination of rich heritage and culture with a contemporary vibrancy offers a unique lifestyle, juxtapositioning some of Europe’s best-preserved history alongside a dynamic leisure offer.

Shopping and leisure
Attractionsevents and festivals
Sport and recreation
Beyond York
Transport connections

City Regions

York’s connectivity with its wider region is further strengthened through membership of two Local Enterprise Partnerships:

• York & North Yorkshire – urban growth centres benefiting from a rural powerhouse.
• Leeds City Region – the UK’s second largest economy and population centre.

York currently offers a selection of prime development sites around the city, ranging from York Central, a collaborative regeneration development to the rear of York Station, to flagship projects such as the Hudson Quarter, which includes 35,000 sq ft of office space – the first of its kind and size to be built speculatively in York for more than 10 years.

York’s knowledge-driven economy is amongst the strongest in the UK with a solid reputation for research, development, innovation and academic excellence. With our networks across the city and beyond, we’re here to connect you with local expertise in your field and introduce you to key people and companies.

This pioneering spirit is behind York’s key high-value industries:

  • Biotechnology
  • Digital, Creative & IT
  • Rail
  • Financial & Professional Services
  • Tourism & Hospitality

York is at the centre of a unique circular bioeconomy innovation cluster, with the wider region providing rich agriculture, industrial manufacturing and food and drink production. The city hosts centres of excellence such as the world-class departments of Green Chemistry and Biology at the University of York, York Science Park, and the York Biotech Campus. The latter site accommodates significant healthcare innovation businesses such as Covance - the world’s most comprehensive drug development service company helping pharma and biotech companies develop 100% of the top 50 prescription drugs in the marketplace today. 

Essential provision of support for the sector is also found in York through organisations such as:

BioVale: Co-founder of Europe’s only bioeconomy intercluster, promoting the north of England across the UK and globally. 

BioYork: University of York-led initiative driving the development of UK biobased industries to deliver growth, jobs and environmental benefits. 

Biorenewables Development Centre: Provides open access, bio-based pilot scale facilities, and is a co-founder of Bio Pilots UK which links together the four UK biorefining open access centres. 

Fera Science Ltd: Supports and develops a sustainable food chain, a healthy natural environment and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks. 

The success of York's digital, creative & IT sector lies in its ability to cross fertilise. With its reputation as a hotbed of idea generation and cross-sector working, York's world-class academia collaborate with the numerous centres of excellence and entrepreneurs to create IT, digital and creative outputs for the collective good. York is where tech combines with rail to roll out the solution to sending real time information to incident response rooms; where gaming combines with esports, education and cultural heritage to address challenges; and where research in immersive tech combines with creativity to deliver new audience experiences. 

DC Labs World Centre of Excellence - Exploring what the world might look like in 2050 if we are to get the very best from artificial intelligence and digital technology. 

Smart Transport Evolution Programme - York is in a leadership position for real-time transport modelling, communication and decision making, and at the forefront of the accelerating electric vehicle take-up. 

UNESCO City of Media Arts - With the UNESCO designation, York moves in a network of global cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor in sustainable urban development. 

York’s pioneering railway industry heritage dates back to 1841, and the dynamic cluster that has developed in and around the city is building on this legacy to make York the railway city of the future. Centrally located on the UK rail network, the city sits at the heart of the UK’s largest rail cluster with a breadth and depth of skills unique to York.

The city is also home to leading rail companies and a host of sub-sectors such as rail engineering, consultancy, manufacturing of specialist parts and rail digital innovation. The York Rail Innovation Community (YoRIC) connects rail expertise in York, creating a network for knowledge sharing and showcasing rail innovation in the city, and we can help with introductions to individuals and companies. 

  • Companies based here include: Amey, Arup, Grand Central, Incremental Solutions, LNER, Network Rail, Omnicom Balfour Beatty, Siemens, Signature Rail 
  • 5,500+ employees in York within the rail and related sectors. 
  • 14% of UK rail industry jobs located across Yorkshire and the North East. 
  • 140+ direct rail connections. London to York in under 2 hours by rail, and York to Edinburgh in 2 hours 20 minutes. 

York has a growing financial and professional services sector with key strengths in insurance, finance and legal. An established insurance hub, York is home to major national and international firms, including Aviva, Hiscox and NFU Mutual.

Financial and related professional services are a key contributor to the York economy, accounting for 8.2% of the working population in York and £635 million (12.1%) of the GVA (gross value added).

“As well as being a cultural jewel of a city, York has a great community of businesses who get together keenly and frequently. I think that many of us came here from leading national and international firms having fallen in love with the city thinking ‘how can I do the sort of work that I’m doing now but in York?’ We have a superb collection of lawyers who work closely with the city’s accountants, IFAs, surveyors, agents etc to deliver top-class services to clients from the city, the region and beyond.”


Andrew Digwood, Partner, Rollits LLP & President of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Our city has a rich history, from Viking invasions and Civil War sieges, to industrial growth and changing industries. This blend of history and constant innovation are what make York the foremost city for heritage in the UK. A city which has always reinvented itself, while never forgetting its past.

The tourism sector is vitally important to York, being worth over £765m to the local economy and sustaining more than 24,000 jobs, and before covid-19 the city attracted 8.4 million visitors per annum.

While the covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on tourism globally, in York we are taking the opportunity to build back better; keeping infection rates low, while pioneering new approaches so residents and visitors can once again enjoy the city safely.

Our top priority is to build confidence in the city as a safe and welcoming place for residents and visitors to enjoy, as well as promoting York’s unique character and the diverse range of experiences on offer. We are currently delivering this activity through a joint Tourism Recovery Marketing Strategy in partnership with City of York Council.

Make It York is the city’s inward investment support agency and is here to help you locate your business in York. Providing a free service and working with our partners across the city, we provide the practical help and assistance you need to make a smooth transition to York:

  • Initial fact finding
  • Identification of commercial premises
  • Access to customers and supply chain
  • Recruitment, and relocation support for your staff and their families
  • Profile raising and launch support
  • Aftercare – introduction to the city’s growth managers

To find out more about York and how your business will benefit from locating and investing in York, please get in touch at business@makeityork.com

There is a wide variety of serviced office space available in York; we’ve included some suggestions below to help you find the right solution for your business needs.