Known for its exciting and distinctive array of historical, cultural and scenic tourist attractions, York has much to offer visitors hoping to discover a bit of variety. Below is a list of the ten best things to see and do in York.
Taking visitors on a 75 minute journey into an astonishing 2,000 years of Yorkshire’s history, The York Dungeon creates a spectacular experience for tourists with its cast of actors, special effects, stages and screens. Having been awarded the Certificate of Excellence and the Hall of Fame on TripAdvisor, this tourist attraction boasts a great reputation. A walk-through environment with dramatic storytelling, the York Dungeon is an essential place to visit for an exhilarating experience of black comedy.
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 10:30am-4pm, Sat 10:30am-5pm
Watch out for: Ghost of York – one of the most popular shows
Described as the greatest railway museum in the world, National Railway Museum proudly showcases over 300 years of history, and over a million different objects. Home to the only Japanese Bullet Train outside of Japan and boasting over one million visitors per year, the National Railway Museum also has outdoor activities for children and a shop, making it an exciting day out for all of the family.
Opening hours: 10am-6pm
Watch out for: The Mallard, which has previously broken the world speed record for steam locomotives
An ancient tourist attraction built over nine centuries ago, Clifford’s Tower is comprised of a range of castles, prisons, law courts, and a selection of other fine buildings. Offering wonderful views of the city from the top of the tower, the historical building was built in the reign of Henry II, and also shows the remains of York Castle which was originally built by William the Conqueror. A magnificent building, Clifford’s Tower is an essential place to visit for visitors hoping to brush up on their history.
Opening hours: 10am-6pm
Watch out for: learning programs for children which follow the curriculum
Described as one of the greatest cathedrals in the world, York Minster is an immensely popular tourist attraction. A place comprised of worship, learning and work, York Minster has been welcoming visitors from all over the UK for over a millennium. A masterpiece of stained glass and stone offering beautiful vistas of the city, York Minster hosts a varied programme of events and concerts, creating an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Price: mid-range (admission charges vary)
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am-5:00pm, Sun 9am-5:30pm
Watch out for: the York Mystery Plays in their only second run from May – June.
Located by the river to the south of the city centre, Rowntree Park is York’s first municipal park, and boasts a combination of historical features and a multi-functional recreational space. With a performance space and a sculpture play trail as well as children’s play areas and sporting facilities, Rowntree Park has much to offer, and serves as a commemoration to all those members of the company’s staff who lost their lives during World War I.
Offering a variety of both local and historical artefacts originating from the Roman and Viking period, Yorkshire Museum is comprised of four insightful collections which include biology, geology, archaeology and astronomy. Situated in the beautiful area of the York Museum Gardens, the Yorkshire Museum was one of the first purpose-built museums in the country. Hosting a variety of community projects for adults and workshop programmes for children, Yorkshire Museum provides a vast array of history and knowledge.
Opening hours: 10am-5pm
Watch out for: interactive learning programmes for children which cover a variety of exciting topics such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Tudor life
The world-famous Jorvik Viking Centre has been commonly described as a must-see destination for those visiting the city of York, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. Welcoming over an astonishing 18 million visitors within the last 30 tears, Jorvik Viking Centre gives visitors the opportunity to discover the remains of 1,000-year-old houses, Viking-age timbers and much more, making it perfect for those seeking a bit of adventure.
Opening hours: 10am-5pm
Watch out for: the Coppergate dig and the artefact gallery
With five galleries showcasing a range of archaeological treasures as well as displays of rare animals, birds and fossils, the Yorkshire Museum also boasts fabulous greenery, making it the perfect place for tourists to enjoy a relaxing, scenic walk. Established during the 1830s, the historical gardens are famous for their wonderful selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs. With botanical gardens comprised of 10 acres, Yorkshire Museum Gardens is the ideal place to visit for a relaxing retreat.
Price: admission is free
Opening hours: 7.30am-8pm
Watch out for: fantastic views of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey
Famous for having the largest maze in Europe, and also known as the Maize Maze, York Maze provides a truly thrilling day out for everyone. With a variety of attractions including the Maze of Illusions, an obstacle course, a straw bale mountain, crazy golf, and much more, York Maze has an endless range of options to suit all tastes and preferences, making it an exciting and active day out. York Maze also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, making visitors spoilt for choice.
Opening hours: 10am-6:30pm
Watch out for: The Kernel’s coffee shop which is set in a wonderful brick barn
A historical street in York offering tourists an intriguing and rich history of the city, The Shambles provides a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, and a range of other tourist attractions. One of the most famous streets in Britain, The Shambles has won impressive awards which include this year’s Google’s Most Picturesque Street in Britain. With its old-fashioned timber-framed buildings, The Shambles provides visitors a refreshing alternative to the more mainstream shops situated in the heart of the city centre.
Watch out for: in some areas of The Shambles, the streets are so narrow that visitors can actually touch both sides