14 Best Things To Do In York – Attractions, Tours & Sights

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2023)

The city of York is located in the county of Yorkshire. It is about midway between London and Edinburgh.

The city is most famous for its historical significance and has some of the best preserved city walls in the UK.

It was founded by the Romans in 71 AD as a military fortress and named Eboracum and then in medieval times, York was effectively the capital of England for a brief period.

The city is also home to York Minster, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe.

Today, York is a popular tourist destination, with it’s mix of historic buildings and modern amenities making it an ideal place for a city break for people of all ages.

There are plenty of things to do in York, from exploring its ancient streets to shopping in its many stores.

Whether you’re interested in history or just looking for a place to relax, York is the perfect destination.

Things To Do In York

1. National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum in York is a world-renowned institution that tells the story of Britain’s rich railway heritage.

From early steam engines to the latest high-speed trains, the museum showcases some of the most important and iconic locomotives in the world.

The National Railway Museum is located in the heart of historic York, just a short walk from the city’s main train station.

It is spread over two floors and has a wide range of interactive exhibits and displays.

There is gift shop selling an extensive range of railway gifts, memorabilia, models and more.

The National Railway Museum is free to enter and is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

Address: National Railway Museum, Leeman Rd, York YO26 4XJ, UK

2. York Minster

York Minster

York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe.

It is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office in the Church of England.

The cathedral is located in the centre of York, close to other major tourist attractions such as Clifford’s Tower and the Jorvik Viking Centre.

York Minster building itself is an architectural masterpiece, with intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows and a soaring central tower.

Visitors can explore York Minster cathedral’s many different areas, including the nave, crypt and quire.

There is also a regular guided tour, and events, such as choral concerts and flower festivals.

Address: York Minster, Deangate, York YO1 7HH

3. York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum is a museum that tells the story of life in York from the Roman period to the present day.

It is located close to Clifford’s Tower and the Coppergate Shopping Centre..

The museum has three floors of exhibit space, and a fourth floor which houses the library and archive.

Visitors can see hundreds of years of York’s history including the world renowned Victorian street Kirkgate, as well as prisoners in the cells, and ‘The Sixties’ that recreates the spirit of this exciting decade.

The York Castle Museum also has a café and a shop selling souvenirs, books, food and gifts.

In addition to its displays, York Castle Museum also offers a variety of events and educational programmes.

The museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm.

Address: York Castle Museum, Tower St, York YO1 9RY

4. York Dungeon

York Dungeon

York Dungeon is one of the best York attractions, located opposite the Grand Opera House, around the corner from Clifford’s Tower.

The dungeon tells the story of York’s dark and bloody past, with live actors, special effects and scary surprises.

Visitors can expect to be scared out of their wits as they explore the dark depths of the dungeon!

York Dungeon is not for the faint-hearted, but it is perfect for those who are looking for a truly unique experience.

There are a variety of different ticket options available, including group discounts and family tickets.

Children under 5 are not admitted and children age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

The dungeon is open all year round, but opening times vary depending on the time of year.

Address: York Dungeon, 12 Clifford St, York YO1 9RD

5. Shambles


Shambles is a medieval street in the city centre of York, located near to other popular tourist attractions such as York Minster and Clifford’s Tower.

The street gets its name from the word ‘shamel’, which means ‘slaughterer’s stall’. In medieval times, the street was home to many butcher shops.

Today, it is one of the most popular shopping streets in the city, with a variety of cafes, pubs, a range of gift shop and independent shops.

Shambles is a pedestrianised street, so it is perfect for a leisurely stroll.

There are also plenty of places to stop and take a break, with plenty of benches and outdoor seating areas.

Address: The Shambles, York, YO1 7LX

6. York Museum Gardens

York Museum Gardens

York Museum Gardens is a public park and gardens located in the centre of York beside the River Ouse.

The gardens cover an area of 10 acres and are bounded by Museum Street, Clive Street and St Mary’s Abbey.

York Museum Gardens contains the remains of the medieval abbey, as well as a number of other historic buildings and features.

Features of the gardens include the Yorkshire Museum, the Grade I listed St Mary’s Lodge, and the York Observatory.

The Gardens are home to a variety of plant and animal life and are particularly known for their collection of roses.

York Museum Gardens are open to the public daily from dawn until dusk and are free to visit.

Address: York Museum Gardens, Museum St, York YO1 7FR

7. Yorkshire Air Museum

Yorkshire Air Museum

Yorkshire Air Museum is a world-renowned aviation museum located on the outskirts of the City of York.

The museum is home to a vast collection of aircraft, both civilian and military, ranging from the early days of flight right up to the present day.

Visitors can explore the many different exhibitions on offer, which tell the story of aviation history.

With 500,000 historic objects there is a wealth of information on all aspects of aviation history.

This Yorkshire Museum is open to the public all year round, and receives over 200,000 visitors each year.

If you are interested in learning more about the fascinating history of aviation when visiting York, then a stop by to the Yorkshire Air Museum is highly recommended.

Address: Yorkshire Air Museum, Halifax Way, Elvington, York YO41 4AU

8. Jorvik Viking Centre

Jorvik Viking Centre

Jorvik Viking Centre is a world-renowned museum located in York city.

The museum is built on the site of a 10th-century Viking settlement, and provides visitors with a fascinating insight into the life and culture of the Vikings.

The Jorvik Viking Centre first opened to the public in 1984, and has since become one of the most popular tourist attractions in York.

Visitors can explore a range of different exhibitions, which include life-size reconstructions of Viking homes and workplaces.

There is also an interactive ride which takes you through the streets of Jorvik as it would have looked 1,000 years ago.

The Jorvik Viking Centre is open all year round and tickets can be booked online.

If you are interested in learning more about the Vikings and Viking life, then a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre is highly recommended for all the family.

Address: Jorvik Viking Centre, 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT

9. York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery is an art gallery located five minutes from York Minster.

The gallery first opened to the public in 1879, and houses a significant collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.

The York Art Gallery is particularly well-known for its collection of 19th-century British paintings and continental paintings.

The gallery is open to the public all year round, and admission is free.

If you are interested in seeing some of the finest examples of British art, then a visit to the York Art Gallery is a must.

Address: York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York YO1 7EW

10. Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Yorkshire Dales Park covers an area of 1,761 square kilometers.

The park was established in 1954 and covers a large area of the Yorkshire Dales, which are a range of hills and valleys that run through the county.

The Yorkshire Dales are popular with tourists and offer a variety of activities, such as hiking, cycling, fishing, and horse riding.

The park also has a number of historical sites, including castles and Roman ruins.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including red deer, badgers, otters, and birds of prey and a number of rare plant species.

The park is open all year round and there is a wide range of accommodation available, from camping and caravan sites to hotels and bed and breakfast establishments.

Address: Bainbridge, Leyburn DL8 3EL

11. York’s City Walls

York's City Walls

The York’s City Walls are a series of defensive walls that surround the historic city of York.

The walls date back to the Roman era, and were rebuilt during the medieval period.

They are made up of sandstone and limestone, and are free to access on foot throughout the year.

There are four main gates into the city, which are known as Bars. The Bars are guarded gatehouses that were used to control access to the city.

The York City Walls are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of York, then a visit to the city walls is highly recommended.

Address: York City Walls, York YO1 7LJ

12. York Maze

York Maze

York Maze is a maize maze that covers an area of 16 hectares and is made up of over 1 million individual maize plants.

It is the largest maze in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest in Europe.

The maze is open to the public from late July until early September, and during this time visitors can attempt to navigate their way through the maze.

There are also a number of other attractions on site, such as a petting zoo and a play park.

If you are looking for something fun and different to do during your visit to York for the whole family, then a trip to York Maze is for you.

Address: York Maze, York YO19 5LT

13. York’s Chocolate Story

York's Chocolate Story

York’s Chocolate Story is a museum dedicated to the history of chocolate making in the city.

The museum tells the story of how chocolate has been made in York for over 300 years and how the city has become known as the home of English chocolate.

York’s Chocolate Story museum offers a unique chance to learn about the history of chocolate making in York and to see how chocolate is made today.

Visitors can take a guided tour covering 3 floors of interactive exhibits that immerse you in the ‘chocolate’ story.

Address: York’s Chocolate Story, 3-4 King’s Sq, York YO1 7LD

14. City Cruises York

City Cruises York

City Cruises York offers sightseeing cruises along the River Ouse, as well as private charter opportunities.

A cruise is a great way to see the city from a different perspective, and City Cruises York provides commentary on the sights along the way.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or a fun family activity, a cruise with City Cruises York is sure to please.

Address: City Cruises York, King’s Staith, York YO1 9SN


How many days do you need to visit York?

At least 3 to 4 days to visit York will give enough time to enjoy this lovely city.

York is also a good starting point for day trips and tours of the surrounding area.

Does York have a Christmas Festival?

York is known as one of the UK’s most festive cities.

With York Christmas Festival running from the end of November through December.

Why is York’s past so historical?

York’s past is known for it’s Viking and Roman roots.

With the Romans ruling York for three centuries making the city’s past of global importance.

Can you visit North York Moors from York?

A scenic drive through the North York Moors National Park can be booked as a tour from York or you can visit independently.

Is there a public leisure centre in York?

York Leisure Centre includes a 25 metre Swimming Pool, a Learner Pool and Splash Pad.

There is also a large Gym, Fitness Class Studios, Sports Hall, Clip N Climb Arena, and 5 aside Pitches.


  • Tamara M

    Hey there! My name is Tamara, welcome to my little world! I’m a 20-something-year-old from Toronto, Canada (though I’m rarely there) and I’m super passionate about exploring the world, photography, and cooking delicious plant-based recipes. I created this blog to share my favorite places, adventures, restaurants, accommodations, and travel tips with all of you and keep a bit of a travel diary for myself.

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