Places To Visit In York
Looking for a charming and historic city to visit in the UK? Look no further than York! This beautiful city is steeped in history and offers visitors a plethora of things to see and do. From exploring the city’s famous medieval walls and wandering through its quaint cobbled streets, to delving into its fascinating past at the Jorvik Viking Centre and exploring the magnificent York Minster, there is truly something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming city. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking for a picturesque getaway, York is sure to impress. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best things to do in York, so you can make the most of your visit to this truly unique destination. So, grab your walking shoes and let’s get exploring!
No visit to York is complete without a visit to the iconic York Minster. This magnificent cathedral is one of the largest in Europe and boasts stunning Gothic architecture, intricate stonework, and breathtaking stained-glass windows. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the cathedral, or simply wander through at their own pace, taking in the beauty of this incredible building. Be sure to climb the 275 steps to the top of the central tower for unparalleled views of the city.
York Minster is not just a place of worship, it’s also a cultural hub, hosting concerts, exhibitions, and other events throughout the year. Don’t miss the chance to attend one of the famous York Minster concerts, where you can enjoy live music in the stunning surroundings of the cathedral.
For a truly unique experience, consider taking a rooftop tour of York Minster. This tour takes you high above the city, where you can enjoy stunning views of the cathedral and the surrounding area.
Step back in time as you wander through the winding streets of The Shambles, a picturesque medieval street in the heart of York. This charming street is lined with timber-framed buildings that lean in towards each other, creating a narrow, cobbled alleyway that feels like a journey back in time.
The Shambles is home to a variety of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, offering visitors the chance to browse for souvenirs or stop for a bite to eat. Don’t miss the chance to try a traditional Yorkshire pudding or sample some locally made fudge.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the many unique features of this historic street, including the low-hanging shop signs and the “snickleways” or narrow alleyways that lead off the main street. The Shambles is also home to the Shrine of Margaret Clitherow, a Catholic martyr who was executed for her beliefs in the 16th century.
York Clifford’s Tower
Perched atop a hill overlooking the city, Clifford’s Tower is one of York’s most iconic landmarks. This impressive tower was once a key part of York Castle, a strategic fortress that played a crucial role in the city’s history.
Today, visitors can climb to the top of Clifford’s Tower for spectacular views of the city and the surrounding area. The tower also houses a museum, where you can learn more about the history of York Castle and its role in the city’s past.
Don’t miss the chance to explore the surrounding area, which includes the beautiful Tower Gardens and the nearby York Castle Museum.
The York Dungeon
For a thrilling and immersive experience, head to The York Dungeon. This interactive attraction takes visitors on a journey through York’s dark and gruesome past, with live actors, special effects, and thrilling rides.
You’ll encounter a variety of characters, from vengeful Vikings to infamous highwaymen, as you journey through the dungeon’s various exhibits. Learn about the city’s most notorious criminals and the punishments they faced and experience the terror of the infamous Plague of 1349.
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The York Dungeon is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a must-visit for those who enjoy a good scare. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as this popular attraction can get very busy.
York Castle Museum
Discover the fascinating history of York at the York Castle Museum. This award-winning museum is housed in a former prison and features a variety of exhibits covering the city’s past, from the Roman era to the present day.
Highlights of the museum include the recreated Victorian street, complete with authentic shops and businesses, and the 1960s-era exhibit, which takes visitors on a journey through the swinging sixties.
The York Castle Museum is also home to a variety of temporary exhibits and special events throughout the year, making it a must-visit for history buffs and museum lovers.
The National Railway Museum In York
Train enthusiasts won’t want to miss the National Railway Museum, one of the largest railway museums in the world. This impressive museum is home to over 100 locomotives and other railway vehicles, including the famous Flying Scotsman.
Visitors can explore the museum’s various exhibits, which cover the history of railways in the UK and around the world. Don’t miss the chance to climb aboard some of the museum’s trains and experience what it was like to travel by rail in years gone by.
The National Railway Museum also hosts a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year, including special exhibits on famous trains and railway journeys.
York Ghost Tour
For a spooky and entertaining evening, join a York Ghost Tour. These guided tours take visitors on a journey through the city’s most haunted locations, including graveyards, alleyways, and historic buildings.
Your guide will regale you with tales of the city’s most famous ghosts and legends, including the infamous Grey Lady who haunts the Treasurer’s House and the headless Earl of Northumberland who wanders the streets at night.
These tours are a fun and unique way to explore the city at night but be prepared for some scares along the way!
York City Walls
Explore York’s rich history by walking along the city walls. York is one of the few cities in the UK to still have intact city walls, and they offer visitors a unique perspective on the city’s past.
The walls date back to Roman times and have been expanded and rebuilt over the centuries. Visitors can walk along the walls and enjoy stunning views of the city and its surroundings, including the River Ouse and the famous York Minster.
Don’t miss the opportunity to walk along the walls at sunset, when the city is bathed in a warm, golden light.
See the city from a different perspective by taking a York Boat tour. These relaxing boat tours take visitors along the River Ouse, offering stunning views of the city’s historic buildings and landmarks.
Choose from a variety of tours, including daytime sightseeing tours, evening cruises with live music, and even dinner cruises with a delicious meal on board.
A York Boat tour is the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the city from a different angle.
York’s Chocolate Story
York has a long and rich history of chocolate making, and visitors can learn all about it at York’s Chocolate Story. This interactive museum takes visitors on a journey through the history of chocolate in York, from the city’s earliest chocolate makers to the modern-day chocolatiers.
Learn about the production process, sample some delicious chocolate treats, and even try your hand at making your own chocolate bar.
York’s Chocolate Story is a must-visit for chocoholics and anyone with a sweet tooth.
Things to do in York with Kids, UK
York Minster and Other Historic Landmarks to Visit
No trip to York is complete without a visit to the York Minster, one of the largest and most impressive cathedrals in Northern Europe. Kids will be awed by the stunning architecture and stained glass windows, while parents will appreciate the rich history and cultural significance of this iconic landmark. Guided tours are available, but families can also explore the cathedral on their own, taking in the impressive organ, memorials, and crypt.
Another must-see historic landmark in York is the Clifford’s Tower, which dates back to the 11th century. Kids will love climbing the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, where they can take in breathtaking views of the city. The tower also hosts a range of historical exhibits and events, allowing families to learn more about the fascinating history of York.
For a unique glimpse into the past, families can also visit the York Castle Museum, which features a range of exhibits and displays showcasing life in York during different historical periods. Kids will particularly enjoy the recreated Victorian street, where they can step back in time and experience life as it was in the 19th century. With plenty of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, this museum is sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Family-Friendly Museums and Attractions
In addition to the York Castle Museum, York boasts a range of other family-friendly museums and attractions that are perfect for kids. One such attraction is the Jorvik Viking Centre, which takes visitors on a fascinating journey back in time to the Viking age. Kids will love exploring the recreated Viking village, complete with authentic smells, sounds, and sights. The centre also features interactive exhibits and displays, allowing visitors to learn more about the Viking way of life.
For kids who are interested in science and technology, the National Railway Museum is a must-visit attraction. This museum is home to some of the most iconic locomotives in history, including the famous Mallard and the Flying Scotsman. Kids will love exploring the museum’s interactive exhibits, riding on the miniature railway, and learning about the history of rail travel.
Another fun and educational attraction for families in York is the York’s Chocolate Story, which takes visitors on a journey through the history of chocolate-making in York. Kids can learn about the city’s rich chocolate-making heritage, try some delicious samples, and even make their own chocolate creations.
Outdoor Activities for Kids in York
For families who love the great outdoors, York has plenty of outdoor activities and adventures to offer. One such activity is the York Maze, which is the largest maize maze in Europe. Kids will love getting lost in the maze, which features over 1.5 million maize plants and a range of fun and challenging puzzles.
Another fun outdoor activity for families in York is the York Boat, which offers scenic boat tours along the River Ouse. Kids will love spotting wildlife, taking in the beautiful scenery, and learning about the history of York from the informative guides.
For families who love adventure, the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is a must-visit attraction. This high ropes course features a range of challenging obstacles and zip lines, allowing kids and adults alike to test their skills and push their limits.
Fun Events and Festivals for Families in York
Throughout the year, York plays host to a range of fun and exciting events and festivals that are perfect for families. One such event is the York Balloon Fiesta, which takes place in September and features a range of hot air balloons, live music, and family-friendly activities. Kids will love watching the balloons take to the skies, while parents can enjoy the live entertainment and food stalls.
Another fun event for families in York is the York Food and Drink Festival, which takes place in September and showcases some of the best food and drink that the region has to offer. Kids can sample a range of delicious treats, take part in cooking workshops, and enjoy live entertainment.
For families who love the arts, the York Festival of Ideas is a must-visit event. This annual festival features a range of talks, workshops, and performances, allowing visitors to learn more about a range of fascinating topics.
Day Trips and Excursions from York for Families
If you have some extra time to spare, there are plenty of exciting day trips and excursions to enjoy from York. One such option is the Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, which is just a short drive from the city. Kids will love the range of rides and attractions, while parents can enjoy the beautiful zoo and gardens.
Another fun day trip from York is the seaside town of Scarborough, which is home to sandy beaches, charming shops, and a range of family-friendly attractions. Kids can enjoy playing in the sand, riding on the rides, and exploring the town, while parents can take in the beautiful scenery and relax on the beach.
For families who love nature, a trip to the Yorkshire Dales National Park is a must. This stunning park is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK, with rolling hills, waterfalls, and a range of wildlife to discover.
Best Places to Eat in York
York is home to a variety of excellent restaurants and cafes, offering everything from traditional British fare to international cuisine.
For a taste of the local cuisine, head to the Star Inn The City, which offers a modern take on classic Yorkshire dishes, or try The Rattle Owl for creative and innovative cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.
If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, try Khao San Road for delicious Thai food, or El Piano for vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Best Places to Stay in York
York has a variety of excellent accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.
For a truly unique experience, consider staying at the Malmaison York, a former prison that has been converted into a stylish and luxurious hotel. Alternatively, try The Grand, a stunning Edwardian hotel with beautiful architecture and luxurious amenities.
For budget-friendly options, try the YHA York or the Staycity Aparthotels Piccadilly.
York is a truly unique and charming city with a rich history and a variety of things to see and do. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking for a picturesque getaway, York is sure to impress. From exploring the city’s famous medieval walls and wandering through its quaint cobbled streets, to delving into its fascinating past at the Jorvik Viking Centre and exploring the magnificent York Minster, there is truly something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming city. So, what are you waiting for? Book your trip to York today and experience all that this incredible city has to offer!