Renowned for its rich history, impressive architecture and vibrant cultural scene, York is one of the oldest cities in the UK and takes you on a captivating journey through time. From walking the ancient city walls to seeing the intriguing exhibitions at the Yorkshire Museum, I’ve highlighted some of the best things to do in York. Whether you immerse yourself in the medieval charm of The Shambles, sample the delights of Bettys or wander the Museum Gardens, this Yorkshire city has a timeless charm and remarkable heritage.
Discover York History
Visit York Minster
York has a fascinating history that dates back over 2,000 years, leaving a legacy of historical landmarks and treasures. An imposing Gothic cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline, York Minster is an iconic landmark and undoubtedly one of the most popular things to see in York. Marvel at its grandeur, climb the Central Tower for panoramic views and explore its intricate interior, adorned with stained-glass windows and impressive medieval structures.
Climb up Clifford’s Tower
Additionally, a visit to Clifford’s Tower, a striking symbol of York’s medieval past, provides insight into the city’s turbulent history. Exploring its ramparts and museum offers a glimpse into the life and struggles of the people who once inhabited the tower.
Walk Along The City Walls
Another historical gem that should be explored is York City Walls. These well-preserved walls offer a scenic walk around the city, where you can soak in the ancient charm and enjoy views of landmarks such as Clifford’s Tower and Monk Bar.
Discover the Culture of York
Explore York Museums
While York boasts an impressive historical background, it also boasts a vibrant culture. The city is home to numerous museums, with the Yorkshire Museum standing out as a must-visit destination. Its extensive collection includes archaeological finds from the Roman era, precious artefacts and exhibits showcasing York’s natural history. The York Castle Museum is another cultural highlight, taking you on a journey through the Victorian period, complete with reconstructed streets and displays illustrating life during that time.
Stroll Through the Shambles
York exudes a medieval charm that flows among its quaint streets and hidden corners. The Shambles, a narrow medieval street lined with overhanging timber-framed buildings, is undoubtedly one of the city’s most enchanting shopping areas. As you stroll through its cobbled lanes, immerse yourself in the city’s timeless atmosphere as you explore independent boutiques, cosy cafes and traditional British tearooms.
Take in a Show at The Theatre Royal
For avid theatre goers, York is also renowned for its vibrant performing arts scene. The Theatre Royal, a beautifully restored Georgian building, hosts a variety of productions ranging from classic plays to contemporary performances. The annual Theatre Royal pantomime is a much-loved tradition for visitors and locals.
Step Back in Time at the Jorvik Viking Centre
Travel back to the 10th century to discover the Viking past and explore ancient artefacts that are exhibited in the gallery. As you embark on an exciting ride, experience authentic sights, sounds and smells of the Viking Age.
Enjoy Afternoon Tea at Bettys Tearoom
Famous for its delicious pastries, cakes and afternoon tea, Bettys has become a much-loved tearoom which sits right in the heart of the city. It’s a great place for catching up with friends as you indulge in sweet treats and seasonal specialities.
Experience the Terror of York Dungeons
Arguably one of the most fun things to do in York, the York Dungeons are filled with thrills for all the family. Discover the city’s dark past as you walk through scary sets where special effects and talented actors keep you entertained. Meet some of York’s most infamous figures as you make your way through the murky dungeons.
Cruise on the River Ouse
Flowing through the heart of the city, the River Ouse is flanked by beautiful waterside walks, but there’s no better way to explore the sights of York than hopping on board a boat and cruising along the water. As you sail along the river, you’ll pass famous sights such as the Millennium Bridge and Clifford’s Tower and the onboard commentary gives you an insight into the fascinating history. You can also book a sunset cruise which lets you see the city bathed in an orange glow.
Book a Ghost Tour
The city is steeped in myths and ghost stories and if you want to find out more about its ghoulish past, book one of the many ghost tours that leads you through the spookiest nooks and crannies. Alternatively, jump on the Ghost Bus and give your feet a rest. Don’t forget to pop into the York Ghost Merchants and pick up one of the Original York Ghosts!