The Northern city of York is known as the ‘capital of the North’. It’s a city full of history, having previously been invaded by the Vikings, Normans and Saxons. There are some amazing things to do in York including the Castle, York Minster and walking the city walls. Many of Yorks historical sights are free to see.
How to Get to York
York is in England and so you will probably find yourself flying into Manchester or London. The great thing about York is that it is well connected by train and the historic centre is walkable from the train station within about 15 minutes. If you are stying more locally, you can consider the buses, but they will take longer.
When to Go to York
York is fantastic in the summer months (June to September) but can get busy when schools are off. Check the dates for UK Bank Holidays and half terms or major schools holidays (Christmas, Easter and Summer). York is stunning at Christmas time due to the York Christmas Market and Ice Sculpture festival. Visit between around 20th Nov and 20th Dec for Christmas festivities and book your hotel in advance if you are going at this time of year.
Things to do in York UK
Top of the list for most visitors to York is the historical sights. But there are some other great things to do in York including Museum Gardens and the Yorvik Viking Museum. Spend at least 3-4 days in York to fully appreciate what it has to offer. Here are the top things to do in York…
The Minster is my favourite place in York (of course, being Templeseeker that probably comes as no surprise!). It’s one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful Gothic Cathedrals and contains a museum in the crypt where you can see the original Norman foundations. York Minster is free for residents of York but tourists have to pay to enter.
Combine your trip to Clifford’s tower, the Keep of York Castle with a visit to the York Castle Museum. The Museum recreates York’s history including the recreation of a Medieval street. You can book tickets online here.
Museum Gardens and St Mary’s Abbey
Located near the York Explore Library is the beautiful Museum Gardens where you can feed squirrels and see the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey for free. St Mary’s Abbey is a Grade 1 listed building and a former Benedictine Monastery.
Walking the City Walls
Get up early on your first day to walk York city walls. It’s free and you will see a great deal of sights from there including the Minster and York Castle. It takes approximately 2 hours to walk the full length of the walls in total. Be aware that York can get cold in the winter and if it’s icy the walls can close for safety reasons. No dogs are allowed on York city walls.
York Railway Museum
Great for the kids and another attraction that is free to enter is the York Railway Museum. It’s located just behind the train station.
A trip to York is not complete without a shopping trip down the Shambles. The Medieval houses with the classic wattle and daub windows extend outwards to save space and jut above the cobbled streets. This street was mentioned in the Doomsday book and many would argue that it is the most historical street in England and the best preserved medieval street in the world.
Have a Drink at Evil Eye!
Finish your day in York with a drink at one of my favourite watering holes – House of Trembling Madness or Evil Eye on Stonegate.
To make your life easier, we prepared the below Packing Checklist for your Europe’s travels of some essential items, you should include in your luggage.
- Suitcase/travel backpack
- 1 lightweight jacket
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 theft-proof backpack
- 1 crossbody bag
- 1 scarf
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 e-Reader
- 1 plug converter
- Money bag
- Hanging toiletry bag
- Stain remover liquid pen
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