Despite the fact that Yorkshire has long been divided into four counties, York remains the capital of this picturesque part of Northern England. The city is brimming with exciting activities and attractions that reveal the many facets of its long history. York has the longest circuit of mediaeval city walls in the country, reaching over two miles and providing spectacular views of the city. York Minster, England's largest mediaeval church, is also located here. York is extremely walkable. Vehicle restrictions keep automobiles away from main sites, guaranteeing a safe, traffic-free experience as you stroll. We have listed some of the best things to do in York for you. Check them out!
Sightseeing in York
Walk the city walls
Must do: Visit the various sites as your head around the walls
Entry Fee: Free
Timings: 8 am
Location: Unnamed Road, York YO1 7LJ, United Kingdom
The greatest surviving city walls in England enclose York's downtown area with a stunning 3.4 kilometre circuit of mediaeval stone walls. A fantastic approach to get yourself situated and familiarise yourself with the city is to stroll along the walls.
The entire circuit can be completed in around two hours, or you can choose to walk only part of it at once, joining at one of the many gates along the way. The area between the River Ouse and Micklegate offers a fantastic view of the Minster. If you love to take a walk and get some fresh air then this certainly is one of the best things to do in York for you!
Climb Clifford’s Tower
Must do: Visit the newly opened roof deck for grand views
Entry Fee: £8.10
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm
Location: Tower St, York YO1 9SA, United Kingdom
The last piece of York Castle is the majestic Clifford's Tower. Although there isn't much to see within the tower itself, the view from the top is worth the walk. It is perched on a tiny hill overlooking the city. If you like to enjoy a serene view, this item on our list of best things to do in York is the one for you! The tower, which served as a representation of the authority of England's mediaeval rulers, was first erected by William the Conqueror. It was later destroyed by fire twice, and Henry III restored it in the 13th century.
Must do: Visit the minster’s tower
Entry Fee: £16 - Minster only, £22 - Minster + Tower (£20 for students)
Timings: 9:30 am to 4 pm (Mon - Sat), 12 pm to 3:15 pm (Sun)
Location: Deangate, York YO1 7HH, United Kingdom
The largest mediaeval cathedral in Northern Europe, York Minster is regarded as one of the most exquisite Gothic structures in the entire world. You can't help but stare and wonder how they managed to complete its construction about 900 years ago because it took more than 250 years to complete and the artistry is astounding.If you have the strength and stamina, climb to the top of York's central tower for the best view in the city. However, there will be a 275 step staircase up a confined and moderately steep spiral waiting for you. A visit to the York Minster is one of the things to do in York that will leave you breathless with its rich History!
Roam around the Shambles
Must do: Drop by all of the stores as each offers a unique experience
Entry Fee: Free (the store prices obviously exist)
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm (visit early for a less crowded experience)
Location: 5 Silver Street, York, YO1 8RY
The Shambles is York's most beautiful street; in fact, it was named Britain's most beautiful street in the Google Street View Awards. The cobblestone lane is frequently compared to a real-life Diagon Alley because of the 15th-century buildings' sloping rooflines that nearly meet at the top. There is a Harry Potter store as well, but the line to enter is long. This is one of the best things to do in York if you want to just roam around the city.
Explore the beautiful countryside
Must do: You can plan walks throughout the countryside.
If you have time, it's a great idea to spend a day excursion outside of the city and in the countryside because York is bordered by some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. The Lake District, the Yorkshire Moors, the fishing village of Whitby, and the Yorkshire Dales National Park are a few of the top destinations near York.
Must do: Join in on the events hosted at the castle (including night photography)
Entry Fee: £9 - £17
Timings: 10 am
Location: Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA, United Kingdom
Magnificent Castle Howard can be reached from York with ease in 30 minutes. Castle Howard, a family-owned estate on 1,000 acres of parkland, is unquestionably one of England's most magnificent country homes. It is lavishly decorated with antiquities and treasures. John Vanbrugh, a playwright-turned-architect, constructed this beautiful Palladian mansion for the third Earl of Carlisle. It is well-known as the setting for the popular TV drama Brideshead Revisited. Its numerous magnificent chambers house priceless vases and statues in addition to paintings and carvings, antique furniture from the time period, and costumes.
Stonegate and Barley Hall
Must do: Visit the bard!
Entry Fee: £8.25
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm
Location: 2 Coffee Yard, York YO1 8AR, United Kingdom
Near York Minster, the area between Coney Street and King's Square is a bustling pedestrianised shopping district renowned for its winding cobblestone streets and quaint boutiques and cafés. Old St. Helen's Church, which was built in the 15th century and is named for Emperor Constantine's mother can be found there. Additionally, the Mansion House, which was created by Lord Burlington, is located there. The current, formal home of the Lord Mayor was constructed in 1725. Stonegate's Barley Hall is a 14th-century townhouse that strives to give visitors an accurate glimpse of mediaeval life is another worthwhile to visit.
Visit York's Many Churches
St. Martin-le-Grand in Coney Street, with its attractive blend of mediaeval and modern architecture, and St. Michael's in Spurriergate, with its 12th-century arcades, glass paintings, and striking 18th-century altarpiece, are two of York's loveliest churches. Other notable churches include St. Margaret's (also in Walmgate) with its Roman doorway and tower, St. Mary's in Bishophill Junior with its Saxon tower and an altar by Temple Moore, St. Denys' in Walmgate with its 14th-century stained-glass windows, and the charming little Trinity Church (14th century) in Goodramgate with its small garden
Head to Beverley to See Yorkshire's Other Minster
Must do: Take the Roof tour (Sat) and Minster tour (Wed and Sat)
Entry Fee: Free entry (tours not included)
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm (Mon - Sat), 12 pm to 4 pm (Sun)
Location: 38 Highgate, Beverley HU17 0DN, United Kingdom
The charming historic market town of Beverley, which is only 29 miles from York, is located in the East Yorkshire Wolds' foothills. The Beverley Minster, a 334-foot-long church that serves as a stand-in for London's Westminster Abbey in the popular television series Queen Victoria, is the city's most well-known monument. The Maiden's Tomb with its magnificent Romanesque marble font are notable highlights. The choir is a beautiful example of Early English architecture and has the most misericords in England in its choir-stalls.
Must do: Spend more and partake in the dungeon lates (nighttime)
Entry Fee: £19
Timings: 11am to 4 pm
Location: 12 Clifford St, York YO1 9RD, United Kingdom
The York's dungeons first opened its doors in 1986. The York Dungeon is a 75-minute trip through more than 2000 years of York's horrifying past that combines horrifying characters, immersive sets, and amazing special effects in a thrilling walk-through experience that you see, hear, feel, and smell. You should check this place out if you enjoy terrifying entertainment because it might get a little freaky. The York's Dungeon is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm, and entry fee is £22.50 in person or £11 online. Try to purchase a York Dungeons ticket that is two for one.
Merchant Adventurers' Hall
Must do: Explore the undercroft
Entry Fee: £6.50
Timings: 10 am to 4:30 pm (Sun - Fri), 10 am to 1:30 pm (Sat)
Location: Fossgate, York YO1 9XD, United Kingdom
The Merchant Adventurers Hall, an impressive semi-wooded structure and one of the oldest guildhalls of its kind in Great Britain, was built nearly 650 years ago and refers to revolutionary business exploits that resulted in abundant riches while the fraternity continued experimenting with their wealth in the overseas markets during York's significant position as an international port. The hollow first level houses the Great Hall, which features a towering oak-beam ceiling, while the ground floor depicts the building's history as a hospital from the 14th through the 20th centuries. There's an interactive game here where you may examine the primitive market forces in action and explore business opportunities overseas by exchanging items like wine, wool, and fabric.
Entry Fee: Free
Timings: 8 am (Mon - Fri), 9 am (Sat - Sun)
Location: Terry Ave, York YO23 1JQ, United Kingdom
Rowntree Park, located on the flood levels of the River Ouse, is a lush haven with amenities such as a playground, picnic spaces, tennis courts, and a large lake. In the summer, the park is especially popular with families, and in the winter, couples out for a romantic stroll frequent it. The small bridges that straddle the river and lake make excellent Instagram backdrops at any time of year.
York Cold War Bunker
Must do: The decontamination room
Entry Fee: £10
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm (Sun - Sat)
Location: Monument Cl, Holgate, York YO24 4HT, United Kingdom
The York Cold War Bunker is an intriguing landmark that first opened to the public in 1961. It is still one of the few Royal Observer Corps bunkers in the UK and was built as a refuge in event of nuclear war. The museum is well-maintained and offers visitors a fascinating look into living at such a dreadful time.
St Mary's Abbey
Entry Fee: Free
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
Location: York YO30 7DR, United Kingdom
One of the wealthiest and most powerful monasteries in northern England at one point was St. Mary's Abbey. Near the outskirts of the city centre, its massive ruins are presently preserved in the York Museum Gardens.
National Trust - Treasurer's House, York
Must do: Check out the townhouse
Entry Fee: £9.50
Timings: 11 am to 4 pm (select days)
Location: Minster Yard, York YO1 7JL, United Kingdom
A well-preserved home from the 17th and 18th centuries, The Treasurer's House is stuffed with furnishings, linens, paintings, and ceramics. It is hidden behind York's Minster and held by the National Trust.
Experiences and Tours in York
Explore York’s shops
There are other locations with adorable boutiques besides The Shambles. Additionally, there are locations like Stonegate where you can discover high-end department stores, as well as Blake Street, which is home to the vibrant Yorkshire Soap Company and the Alice in Wonderland-inspired boutique The Imaginarium. The Quarter is made up of a number of narrow, mediaeval alleyways, including Little Stonegate, Back Swinegate, Grape Lane, and Swinegate, all of which are lined with touristy yet endearingly quaint stores. Additionally, Bishopsworth Road (sometimes referred to as "Bishy Road" locally) is brimming with independent stores, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Jorvik Viking Centre
Timings: (Timings change monthly) Current - 10 am to 5 pm
Location: 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT, United Kingdom
There is more to York's history than just the Middle Ages. A Viking settlement was discovered beneath the streets during excavations in the 1970s. The location of that hamlet is currently home to Jorvik, an interactive museum that recreates a 9th-century village. Jorvik is the Viking name for York. You may ride through a reproduction of the settlement that includes all of its odours, as well as disarmingly lifelike animatronic figures and an audio commentary that depicts Viking life. Because the Jorvik Viking Centre is so well-liked, you should reserve your tickets online to skip the lines. If you’re someone who enjoys the rough old ways of life, then this Viking attraction in York is the one for you!
Explore York’s 365 pubs
With one for every day of the year York is renowned for having more than 365 pubs. The Guy Fawkes Inn(where Guy Fawkes was born) and The Golden Fleece(which is reputed to be York's most haunted bar) are two of the most well-known. A good number of cocktail bars are available in York. Notably the Evil Eye Lounge which is tucked away behind a specialty gin shop. Don't forget to eat a Sunday roast and sample the legendary Yorkshire pudding.
Drive your own boat in the river
Finally, renting your own little red boat and cruising along the river is a fantastic way to see the city. Depending on the season, boats can be rented for an hour for between £20 and £40. It is enjoyable and wonderful to see the city from a different angle.
Yorkshire Wolds Way
The Yorkshire Wolds Way, which is a part of the National Trail Network, travels through the lovely landscape of the North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds, which in some places reach heights of up to 800 feet. From Filey near Scarborough on the North East Coast south to Hull, this roughly 80-mile path stretches. The entire trail may be completed in six days, but you can shorten your trip by focusing on one or two highlights, such the deserted mediaeval village of Wharram Percy, by stopping at charming B&Bs or well-equipped campsites.
York Early Music Festival
Every year in July the week-long York Early Music Festival focuses on a new composer and theme. Events take place in some of York's most well-known music venues and include choral, chamber, and recital performances as well as major symphonic events. Additionally, there are lectures on the featured composers. The York Cuisine Festival, which takes place in the fall and is another yearly event. It is a great opportunity to experience some of the greatest food and drink from the city.
Afternoon Tea at the York Betty’s tea room
Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm (Mon - Fri), 9 am to 5:30 pm (Sun), 8:30 am to 6 pm (Sat)
Location: 6-8 St. Helen’s Square, York YO1 8QP, United Kingdom
For anyone who has been on their feet all day, a good and strong cup of afternoon tea in York is a blessing. The renowned Betty's tea room is arguably one of York's greatest and busiest spots to enjoy a piece of cake and a cup of tea or coffee. This cafe is renowned for its excellent tea, coffee, lunch and cakes. There is a cake here that will fit your palate, and the sweets on sale here are exquisite. Betty's tea room is open from 9:00 am to 21:00 pm on Sunday through Friday and from 8:00 am to 21:00 pm on Saturday.
The bloody tour of York
Entry Fee: £12
Location: The bloody tour of York
This tour has earned honours and is recognised as one of the best in York. A girl named "crazy Alice" will lead you on a voyage across more than 2,000 years of history. She will ensure you have a blast while learning about Criminals, Executions, Kings, Queens, Guy Fawkes, and more. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 6pm and 8pm, the tour is offered. The tour will likely run around 90 minutes.
York dinner cruise
York is situated on the River Ouse. Which makes it the ideal location for a boat tour. While on the tour, you can see Bishopthorpe Palace, the majestic house of the Archbishop of York, as well as other landmarks across the city's gently flowing canals. While taking in an educational and engaging commentary, a delightful three-course dinner with wine, you can enjoy York's stunning surroundings while on an evening dinner cruise. One of the top evening activities in York has to be this.
Timings: 10 am to 3pm (Last entry)
Location: York YO19 5LT, United Kingdom
The York Maze is a fantastically entertaining location, especially if you have children. It is located just outside the city limits and features a sizable maze among a cultivated sweetcorn field. Many of the rides and attractions are themed around corn, including the "Cornwall" climbing wall and the "Utter Cornage" water tower. York Maze offers both fast-paced activities like the construction zone, falconry, and the spooky creature section as well as plenty of hilarious fun. There is a cafe inside the maze that serves hot cuisine, drinks, and sweets.
Tour Brew York
Entry Fee: £10
Timings: 3:30 pm & 5:30 (Fri), 3:30 & 5:30 (Sat)
Location: Unit 6, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, York YO1 9TT, United Kingdom
See how traditional ale is made at York Brewery, from grain to glass. Since 1996, York Brewery has been hand-crafting authentic ales on Toft Green, a green space immediately inside the city walls. A 20-barrel brew plant with six conventional open top fermenters and five conditioning tanks is presently housed at the brewery site, which was constructed in the late 16th century and has been used for a variety of purposes throughout its history.
Entry Fee: Varies with team size and day slot (Mon-Fri, Sat-Sun)
Timings: 9:40 am to 9:30 pm
Location: 4a Colliergate, York YO1 8BP, United Kingdom
York may have a lot to do from clubs to museums but it's to switch it up with the entertaining escape game facility GR8escape. It features 3 themed chambers with varied degrees of difficulty. To make the rooms enjoyable for everyone, they contain puzzles of all forms. Anyone seeking a challenge and some laughter will find it to be the ideal tourist destination thanks to the helpful and pleasant personnel.
Museums and Galleries in York
York Castle Museum
Must do: Check out the Kirkgate exhibition
Entry Fee: £13/£14
Timings: 11 am to 5 pm (Mon), 10 am to 5 pm (Tue-Sun)
Location: Tower St, York YO1 9RY, United Kingdom
The York Castle Museum is the ideal location for exploring centuries of York's past all under one roof. There are an incredible variety of collections available, including everything from replicated Jacobean dining rooms to 20th-century toy exhibits, so there is definitely something to suit most preferences. I was more than pleasantly surprised. A standout is a realistic recreation of a Victoria street where you may browse various stores or just relax while watching the landscape transform from day to night. Visiting the museums in York are certainly some of the most interesting things to do in York.
Richard Ⅲ Experience at Monk Bar
Location: Monk Bar Ct, York YO1 7LQ, United Kingdom
Within York's walls, there is a museum called The Richard III Experience that honours the English king who was accused of killing his nephews and was put on trial. The museum features scenes from Richards' life and reign in addition to exhibits of the evidence from his trials.
Go to the National Railway Museum
Must do: Awe at the flying scotsman!
Entry Fee: Free (Donations accepted)
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm (Wed-Sun)
Location: Leeman Rd, York YO26 4XJ, United Kingdom
There are more than 100 locomotives housed in York's National Railway Museum. Which is so beautifully laid out that most people will find it interesting even if they aren't railway nerds. You can view famous trains like the Mallard which is a record-breaker, and the only Shinkansen outside of Japan. There is also a sizable collection of royal trains, including those used by King Edward VII and Queen Victoria. Entry to the museum is free. It is among the most fascinating things to do in York for free.
Visit York’s Chocolate Story
Must do: Go GAGA on the chocolate
Entry Fee: £17.50
Timings: 10 am (Mon-Sun)
Location: 3-4 King's Sq, York YO1 7LD, United Kingdom
Rowntree's (now Nestlé) and Terry's both have their beginnings in York, which has a long history of producing chocolate. In York, six million Kit Kats are made each day, for a yearly production of over one billion! Visit York's Chocolate Story for the best access to this history. The fully guided tour takes you on an interactive trip where you learn the history of chocolate, how to produce it, and how to taste it like a pro, in addition to sharing York's chocolate-related tale making it one of the truly unique things to do in York. Even better, you can create your very own white chocolate lollipop. This is one of the best York attractions for all the chocolate lovers out there!
Yorkshire Museum and Gardens
Must do: Check out the Ryedale Hoard
Entry Fee: £8/£8.75
Timings: 10 am to 4pm (Wed-Sun)
Location: Museum St, York YO1 7FR, United Kingdom
The Yorkshire Museum has outstanding geological and natural history holdings in addition to a significant collection of Roman and Anglo-Saxon archaeological objects. The 1,000-year-old Cawood Sword which is the best-preserved Viking weapon in the world can be found there. St. Mary's Abbey features a display of sculptures and tools from the mediaeval era. Spend some time in the magnificent Museum Gardens, which are open to everyone. This lovely garden, which covers about 10 acres in the centre of the old city which is surrounded by the crumbling walls and arches of the mediaeval St. Mary's Abbey and is home to more than 40 different bird species. It also has trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial
Must do: Feast your eyes on the Wright Flyer!
Entry Fee: £10
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm
Location: Halifax Way, Elvington, York YO41 4AU, United Kingdom
The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is a fun day trip for people interested in the technology and the history of war, and it's only 20 minutes by car east of York's charming centre. The museum is housed in RAF Elvington, a former bomber base from World War II, and it has one of the biggest privately owned aircraft collections in the nation.
York Art Gallery
Must do: Keep an eye out for the latest exhibition
Entry Fee: £6
Timings: 10 am to 4 pm (Wed-Sun)
Location: Exhibition Square, York YO1 7EW, United Kingdom
Stop by the York Art Gallery if you appreciate admiring incredible works of art. Here, you can find a wide variety of interesting paintings as well as some bizarre sculptures.. This is a public art gallery therefore anyone is welcome to stop by and take in the works of art and makes it one of the best things to do in York.
York Army Museum
Must do: Check out the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards
Entry Fee: £5
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm (Wed-Sat)
Location: 3 Tower St, York YO1 9SB, United Kingdom
One of the well-liked military history things to do in York, the York Army Museum displays objects from the country's military past. The museum offers visitors an interactive look at the different conflicts the nation has been involved in and has a sizable collection of regimental items dating back to the 16th century.
We hope you enjoyed our list of 35 best things to do in York. Whether you're visiting for the first time or are a local looking for something different to do, you won't be disappointed by what York has to offer.