Top Ten things to do in York

Top ten things to do in York

York is a lovely city - full of history and with plenty of interesting things to keep you amused. It is under 30 miles from our self catering cottages an easy scenic drive. When you reach York we recommend you use one of the Park and Ride sites scattered around the City, the bus will drop you right in the heart of York. It is a walking city, not too big so you can see all the attractions easily on foot. Here are some of our favourite ways to spend your time in the City of York.

1. Visit York Minster

Explore one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe, renowned for its stained glass windows and medieval architecture. York Minster offers a variety of guided tours that can help you get the most out of your visit. You can take a highlights tour to see the most important parts of the cathedral or a tower tour to climb up to the top of the central tower for amazing views of the city.

Explore the Undercroft: The Undercroft is a museum that houses an impressive collection of artifacts and displays, including ancient Roman and Viking remains, religious artifacts, and interactive exhibits. Visiting York Minster is a highlight of any trip to York, and there's so much to see and do that you could easily spend several hours exploring this incredible building.

2. Walk the city walls

Take a stroll along the ancient walls that encircle the city and enjoy panoramic views of York. The city walls date back to Roman times, but much of what you see today is from medieval times. Explore the gates and towers: The City Walls are punctuated by a number of gatehouses and towers, each with their own unique history and character. You can climb up to the top of some of the towers for even better views of the city.

Walking the full length of the City Walls takes around two hours, but there are plenty of benches and resting spots along the way, so you can take a break and enjoy the views.

3. Explore the Jorvik Viking Centre

Learn about the city's Viking heritage through a fascinating interactive experience located on the site of a major Viking settlement that was uncovered by archaeologists in the 1970s.

Go back in time to the Viking era. You'll ride through a reconstruction of a Viking settlement, complete with sights, sounds, and even smells of everyday life in the 10th century. You can see Viking artefacts and learn about Viking history.

4. Visit the National Railway Museum

Discover the history of the railway and see an impressive collection of locomotives, carriages and other railway artifacts in this free to enter national collection. One of the largest railway museums in the world, with a vast collection of historic locomotives, rolling stock, and railway memorabilia including the famous Flying Scotsman, Mallard, and other historic steam engines.

Discover the story of the railways: The museum tells the story of the railways and their impact on society through interactive exhibits, displays, and multimedia presentations. Take a ride on a steam train - an excellent addition to the top ten things to do in York.

5. Stroll around The Shambles

An historic street known for its medieval architecture, narrow buildings, and overhanging timber-framed structures. The Shambles is home to some of the best-preserved medieval buildings in the city, with some structures dating back to the 14th century.

Check out the Harry Potter connections: J.K. Rowling is said to have been inspired by the Shambles when she was writing the Harry Potter series, and you can see why - the street's narrow, winding lanes and overhanging buildings bear a striking resemblance to Diagon Alley. You'll find several shops and businesses that embrace the Harry Potter theme, such as The Shop That Must Not Be Named.

The Shambles Market is a vibrant hub of independent shops, street food vendors, and local artisans. You can find everything from handmade crafts and artisanal foods to vintage clothing and antiques.

6. Visit the Castle Museum

This museum provides an insight into the everyday lives of people in York, from medieval times to the present day. Housed in a former prison building it includes exhibits on the history of crime and punishment in York, as well as a reconstruction of a prison cell. You can visit the cell where Dick Turpin the highwayman was imprisioned.

There is also a recreation of a typical Victorian street scene, complete with shops, homes, and a school. One of the highlights of the Castle Museum is its collection of historic costumes and textiles, which includes items from the 17th century to the present day.

7. Take a river cruise

Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the River Ouse and see the city from a different perspective. A popular way to see the city's historic landmarks from a unique perspective while enjoying a leisurely ride along the picturesque river. You can choose from 45 minute daytime cruises which includes live commentary from a knowledgeable guide who will provide insights into the city's history and architecture.

There are also evening cruises and a 2½ hour Dinner cruise with live entertainment. The programme varies across the year.

8. Explore the York Art Gallery

See an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and other works of art, including works by Turner, Constable, and Gainsborough. The museum's collection is divided into several different galleries, each showcasing a different aspect of art history. The galleries include: The Old Master paintings gallery; 20th Century gallery and a Ceramics gallery, a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and design.

9. Visit the Yorkshire Museum

Learn about the history of the county of Yorkshire, from the Roman occupation to the present day. A collection that spans over 500,000 years of history you can explore the Jurassic World, Medieval York, Roman York and of course the Vikings! It is a fascinating and educational experience, its collection of artifacts and exhibits provides a unique glimpse into the region's rich and varied past, and is well worth a visit for anyone traveling to York.

10. Take a ghost tour

Discover the haunted history of York on a guided tour of some of the city's most haunted buildings and streets. There are several companies that offer ghost tours in York, and each has its own unique spin on the experience.

One popular ghost tour in York is the Ghost Hunt of York, which takes visitors through some of the city's most haunted locations, including the Shambles, York Minster, and Clifford's Tower. The tour guides provide a mix of historical information and spooky tales, bringing the stories of York's ghosts to life.

The Bloody Tour of York features Mad Alice visitors will follow "Alice" through the streets of York, listening to stories and legends about the city's past.

Another popular tour is the Original Ghost Walk of York, which has been operating for over 40 years. Led by costumed guides, this tour takes visitors through the winding streets and alleyways of York, sharing tales of the city's ghosts, including the infamous Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin.

Fancy spending time in York - you can explore York and the delights of East Yorkshire when you stay at Broadgate Farm Cottages - why not have a look at our cottages?