What To Do In York


What To Do In York

York is a city in northeastern England with a rich history that spans over 2,000 years. Known for its stunning architecture, picturesque streets, and vibrant cultural scene, York offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or an art enthusiast, there is something for everyone in this charming city.

One of the top things to do in York is to visit the historic York Minster. This magnificent cathedral, which dates back to the 7th century, is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. Admire the intricate stained glass windows, climb to the top of the central tower for panoramic views of the city, and explore the medieval crypt beneath the cathedral.

If you’re interested in history, a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre is a must. This interactive museum takes you on a journey back in time to the days of the Vikings. Step into a recreated Viking village, learn about their daily life, and see artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations. It’s a truly immersive experience that offers a glimpse into the city’s Viking past.

No visit to York would be complete without a stroll along The Shambles. This narrow, winding street is lined with charming timber-framed buildings that date back to the 14th century. Take your time to explore the unique shops and boutiques that are tucked away in the alleyways and soak up the historic atmosphere of this iconic street.

For those who appreciate art, a visit to the York Art Gallery is a must. This gallery houses a diverse collection of artworks, ranging from Old Masters to contemporary pieces. Explore the galleries, attend one of the regular exhibitions, and immerse yourself in the world of art.

Whether you’re exploring the city’s rich history, indulging in delicious food and drink, or immersing yourself in the vibrant cultural scene, York has something for everyone. With its charming streets, stunning architecture, and friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder that York is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

Explore York Minster

If you’re visiting York, a trip to York Minster is an absolute must. As one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe, York Minster is an iconic landmark and a masterpiece of gothic architecture. There are several ways to explore this magnificent building and learn about its rich history.

Guided Tours

Guided Tours

One of the best ways to experience York Minster is by taking a guided tour. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you through the cathedral’s various chapels, ornate stained glass windows, and the famous 275-step Central Tower. They will also share fascinating stories and insights about the cathedral’s construction and its role in the city’s history.

The Undercroft Museum

Another highlight of a visit to York Minster is the Undercroft Museum. Located beneath the cathedral, this museum houses a collection of artifacts and treasures that tell the story of York Minster and its significance. You can explore interactive displays, learn about the restoration work that has taken place over the years, and even see some of the medieval stonework up close.

Outside the cathedral, you can also take a stroll through the beautiful Dean’s Park, which offers stunning views of York Minster and is a peaceful spot to relax.

Attending a Service

For a truly immersive experience, consider attending a service at York Minster. The cathedral holds regular services throughout the week, including evensong and Sunday morning worship. This is a chance to witness the cathedral’s stunning architecture come alive with music and prayer, and to soak in the spiritual atmosphere.

  • Guided tours offer a comprehensive and insightful exploration of York Minster’s history
  • The Undercroft Museum showcases artifacts and medieval stonework
  • Take a stroll through Dean’s Park for beautiful views of the cathedral
  • Attending a service allows you to experience the spiritual atmosphere of York Minster
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Wander through the Shambles

One of the must-visit attractions in York is the historic street known as the Shambles. This picturesque street with its timber-framed buildings and narrow cobblestone lanes is often described as one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe.

As you wander through the Shambles, you’ll feel transported back in time. The leaning buildings lean towards each other, almost touching at the top, creating a narrow and charming alleyway. Take in the unique architecture, admire the overhanging upper floors, and imagine what life was like for the residents in the past.

Discover the Shops and Boutiques

Today, the Shambles is a bustling area filled with shops, boutiques, and cafes. Explore the quaint shops lining the street and discover unique merchandise, including handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs. Treat yourself to a delicious snack or meal at the various cafes and restaurants, and take a moment to relax and soak in the atmosphere.

Experience the Shambles Market

If you visit York on a Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, make sure to stop by the Shambles Market. This vibrant market offers a wide range of local produce, artisan products, antiques, and vintage treasures. Grab a coffee and browse through the stalls, chatting with the friendly vendors and discovering hidden gems.

Whether you’re interested in history, shopping, or simply soaking up the charming atmosphere, a visit to the Shambles is a must during your time in York. This iconic street captures the essence of the city’s rich heritage and offers a truly memorable experience.

Visit the National Railway Museum

If you’re a train enthusiast or simply interested in the history of railways, a visit to the National Railway Museum in York is a must. Located just a short walk from the city center, this museum is home to one of the largest collections of historic railway vehicles in the world.

Step back in time as you explore the museum and discover fascinating exhibits, including iconic locomotives such as the Mallard, the world’s fastest steam engine. Learn about the development of rail travel and its impact on society through interactive displays and informative signage.

Inside the museum, you’ll find a vast collection of trains, carriages, and other railway artifacts spanning over 300 years of railway history. Admire the craftsmanship and engineering feats of the past as you marvel at the impressive engines on display.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Workshop Gallery, where you can observe skilled engineers and volunteers working on the restoration and maintenance of the museum’s collection. Gain a unique insight into the preservation of these historic vehicles and the dedication of those who keep them in working order.

After exploring the museum, take a break at the museum’s café and enjoy a cup of tea or a hearty meal while taking in views of the display tracks. The museum also has a gift shop where you can purchase railway-themed souvenirs and books to commemorate your visit.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about trains, a visit to the National Railway Museum in York is an educational and enjoyable experience for all ages.

Take a walk on the city walls

One of the must-do activities in York is walking along the historic city walls. Dating back to Roman times, the walls offer a unique perspective on the city’s rich history and stunning views of the surrounding area. A circular walk along the walls takes approximately two hours, but you can choose a shorter route if you prefer.

The walls are remarkably well-preserved and provide an opportunity to step back in time and imagine what life was like centuries ago. As you stroll along the walls, you’ll pass by medieval gateways, towers, and bastions, each with its own story to tell. Don’t forget to take your camera with you to capture the breathtaking vistas of the city and its landmarks.

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If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, consider joining a guided tour. The knowledgeable guides will bring the history of York to life and share fascinating anecdotes about the city’s past. You’ll learn about the battles that took place here, the people who lived within the walls, and the events that shaped the city into what it is today.

Practical Information:

  • Access to the city walls is free and open to the public.
  • There are several access points to the walls, including Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, and Micklegate Bar.
  • Be prepared for some stairs and uneven surfaces along the walls.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather, as the walk is exposed.

Exploring York’s city walls is an excellent way to experience the unique charm and history of this fascinating city. Whether you choose to go at your own pace or join a guided tour, don’t miss the opportunity to take in the panoramic views and immerse yourself in York’s storied past.

Discover the history of Jorvik Viking Centre

The Jorvik Viking Centre is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts and those interested in learning about York’s Viking past. Situated in the heart of York, this museum offers a unique and immersive experience that takes visitors back in time to the Viking era.

Step into the reconstructed streets of Jorvik, a 10th-century Viking settlement, and embark on a fascinating journey through history. The museum showcases artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations, providing a glimpse into the lives of the Vikings who once inhabited York.

As you explore the interactive exhibits, you’ll learn about Viking trade, craftsmanship, and everyday life. Marvel at the intricately crafted displays showcasing Viking clothing, weapons, and tools. Listen to the soundscape that recreates the atmosphere of the bustling streets, complete with the voices of Viking inhabitants.

A highlight of the Jorvik Viking Centre is the famous Jorvik ride, a thrilling experience that takes you on a simulated journey through the Viking city. Hop aboard a specially designed carriage and be transported through reconstructed Viking streets, complete with animatronic figures and realistic smells. It’s an immersive and educational adventure that brings the past to life.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Jorvik Viking Centre and delve into the captivating history of the Vikings in York. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the past, this museum offers a memorable experience that is both informative and entertaining.

Key Highlights:

  • Explore a reconstructed Viking settlement
  • View artifacts from archaeological excavations
  • Learn about Viking trade and everyday life
  • Experience the famous Jorvik ride

Enjoy a river cruise on the Ouse

If you want to experience the beauty of York from a different perspective, a river cruise on the Ouse is a must-do activity. The River Ouse flows through the heart of the city, offering stunning views of the surrounding architecture and landscapes.

There are several companies that offer river cruises, giving you the chance to relax and enjoy the sights at your own pace. Hop on board and take a leisurely journey along the river, passing iconic landmarks such as the York City Walls, the York Minster, and the Clifford’s Tower.

Daytime Cruises

During the day, you can choose from a range of cruises that cater to different interests. Some cruises focus on the history and heritage of York, providing informative commentary about the city’s rich past. Others offer afternoon tea or lunch options, allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal while surrounded by picturesque scenery.

Evening Cruises

For a more romantic experience, take an evening cruise on the Ouse. As the sun sets, the city lights up, creating a magical atmosphere. Enjoy a glass of champagne as you glide along the river, taking in the illuminated medieval buildings and bridges.

Whether you choose a daytime or evening cruise, don’t forget to bring your camera. The river provides numerous photo opportunities, and you’ll want to capture the beauty of York from the water.

So, grab your camera, sit back, and relax as you enjoy a river cruise on the Ouse. It’s a fantastic way to see the city and make lasting memories.

Explore the York Castle Museum

If you’re looking to uncover the fascinating history of York, a visit to the York Castle Museum is a must. Situated in the former York Castle, this museum offers a unique insight into the lives of the people who have lived in York throughout the centuries.

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Step inside and be transported back in time as you explore the various exhibits and displays that bring history to life. Learn about the city’s past through interactive exhibitions that showcase everything from Victorian street scenes to recreated prison cells.

Discover the Kirkgate

One of the highlights of the York Castle Museum is the famous Kirkgate – a recreated Victorian street that takes visitors on a journey through time. Stroll along the cobbled streets and explore the period shops, homes, and even the local pub. It’s a truly immersive experience that allows you to imagine what life was like in Victorian York.

Visit the Toy Gallery

If you’re traveling with children, a trip to the Toy Gallery is a must. This exhibit features a vast collection of historic toys and games that will delight both young and old. From vintage dolls to antique board games, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun and educational day out, the York Castle Museum is a top attraction in York that should not be missed. With its diverse range of exhibits and informative displays, it offers a unique and immersive experience that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the city’s rich heritage.

Experience the York Ghost Walks

If you’re a fan of spooky stories and haunted history, the York Ghost Walks are an unforgettable experience. Led by knowledgeable local guides, these nighttime tours take you through the winding streets and dark alleyways of York, where you’ll hear chilling tales of ghosts, legends, and mysteries.

As you walk through the city, your guide will share eerie stories about York’s haunted past, from the infamous Grey Lady to the haunted pubs and buildings. You’ll visit the Shambles, one of the most haunted streets in the UK, and hear stories of the ghostly apparitions that have been seen there.

Throughout the tour, you’ll feel the spine-tingling atmosphere of York’s haunted history. The dimly lit streets and centuries-old buildings create the perfect backdrop for the tales of ghostly encounters and unexplained phenomena. The ghost walks often include visits to historic sites such as haunted churches or old graveyards, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the experience.

Whether you’re a believer in the supernatural or simply enjoy a good ghost story, the York Ghost Walks are a must-do activity in York. Just be sure to bring your courage and an open mind, as you never know what you might encounter on this chilling journey through the city’s haunted past.

Remember: The York Ghost Walks are popular, especially during peak tourist seasons, so it’s recommended to book your tour in advance to guarantee a spot. Put on your walking shoes, prepare for an evening of spine-chilling tales, and get ready to experience the ghosts of York!


What are the top attractions in York?

Some of the top attractions in York include the York Minster, Clifford’s Tower, the National Railway Museum, and the Jorvik Viking Centre.

Are there any interesting museums in York?

Yes, York is home to several interesting museums such as the National Railway Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre, and the York Castle Museum.

What is the best way to explore York?

The best way to explore York is on foot, as the city is compact and has a rich history that can be best appreciated by walking through its streets and alleys.

Can you recommend any good restaurants in York?

Yes, some popular restaurants in York include The Star Inn The City, Mannion & Co, Skosh, and The Rattle Owl. These restaurants offer a variety of cuisines and have received positive reviews from visitors.

Is York a good place for a weekend getaway?

Yes, York is an excellent choice for a weekend getaway. The city has a fascinating history, beautiful architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene, making it a perfect destination for a short trip.

What are some must-see attractions in York?

Some must-see attractions in York include York Minster, The Shambles, Clifford’s Tower, and the National Railway Museum.