Discover the Best of York: Things to Do and See

Ethan Ridd
December 24
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the best of York and have a unique experience in this beautiful city. In this article, we show you the top things to do in York and the must-visit attractions.

Are you planning to visit York? You've made an excellent choice! This city in northern England has so much to offer to travelers. From its impressive Gothic cathedral to its charming cobblestone streets, York will surprise you at every turn.

One of York's most popular attractions is its magnificent cathedral, known as York Minster. This stunning masterpiece of Gothic architecture will leave you speechless with its imposing facade and beautiful stained glass windows.

But York is not just its cathedral. Strolling through its medieval streets will transport you to another era. Explore the Shambles, a narrow and winding street filled with period shops and cozy cafés. Visit the Jorvik Viking Centre museum to discover the fascinating Viking history of York.

Don't miss the opportunity to climb the city walls for panoramic views of York. From the top, you can admire the River Ouse and the city's characteristic rooftops.

1. York Minster

Historical Monuments and Architecture
low angle photography of brown concrete building under blue sky during daytime
York Minster / Anne Morris, Unsplash

York Minster is an imposing Gothic cathedral located in the heart of the city of York. With centuries of history behind it, this majestic architectural masterpiece will leave you breathless. Its beautiful design and intricate stained glass windows make it a must-visit when in York.

Known as the largest cathedral in Northern Europe, York Minster is a true historical treasure. Its construction began in the 13th century and it is considered one of the architectural gems of the country. Walking through its aisles and admiring its impressive vault is a unique experience.

In addition to its architectural beauty, York Minster houses a treasure trove of art. You will find incredible artworks, sculptures, and medieval stained glass windows that will transport you to another era. Don't miss it!

2. The Shambles

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a cobblestone street at night with a clock on the building
The Shambles / Martina Jorden, Unsplash

Things to do in York? The Shambles is a must-visit during your trip to the city. Located in the historic center, this picturesque street is characterized by its medieval architecture and charming atmosphere. The timber-framed houses with leaning facades and low roofs will transport you back in time, providing a unique experience.

In addition to its architectural beauty, The Shambles is also home to a variety of historic shops. You can find everything from bookstores and sweet shops to fashion boutiques and gift stores. Strolling through its narrow streets and discovering the treasures they hold is an unforgettable experience.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit The Shambles during your stay in York. Its historical charm and welcoming ambiance make it one of the city's most popular destinations. Be sure to bring your camera and capture the beauty of this history-filled place!

3. Jorvik Viking Centre

History and Cultural Heritage

Jorvik Viking Centre is an exciting journey back in time that will take you to the Viking era in the city of York. This incredible tourist attraction will immerse you in the culture and history of the Vikings through interactive exhibits and fascinating recreations.

Explore a reconstructed Viking village and discover how the Vikings lived, worked, and ate. Admire the original artifacts found during archaeological excavations on the site and marvel at the reconstruction techniques used to recreate Viking life in Jorvik.

Immerse yourself in the unique experience of walking the Viking streets, listening to the sounds of the market, and experiencing the smells of the era. An unforgettable journey that will transport you centuries back in time and allow you to better understand the rich history of the Vikings in the York region.

4. York City Walls

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The York City Walls are a must-visit if you're planning a trip to the charming city of York. These medieval walls surround the old town and offer breathtaking panoramic views.

From the York City Walls, you can enjoy a picturesque stroll while exploring its various towers, gates, and ruins. This walk will transport you back in time and allow you to appreciate the beauty and history of the city.

As one of the top tourist attractions in York, the York City Walls are a living testament to the city's past and a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.

5. York Castle Museum

Museums and Art Galleries

York Castle Museum is one of the top things to do in York. Located in the heart of the city, this impressive building houses an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that document the history and culture of York.

At the museum, you can explore ancient courtrooms, prison cells, and interactive displays that will transport you through the centuries. Discover what everyday life was like in York during different eras and learn about key historical events that shaped the city.

Don't miss the museum's star exhibition: a recreation of a Victorian street. Take a stroll down this 19th-century street and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the time, exploring historic shops and houses.

6. Clifford's Tower

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Clifford's Tower, also known as York Castle, is one of the main tourist attractions in York. Located on top of a hill, this medieval tower offers stunning panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.

Built in the 13th century by King Henry III, Clifford's Tower has witnessed numerous historical events over the years. From the top of the tower, visitors can admire the beauty of York's old town and enjoy a unique perspective of the surroundings.

In addition to its impressive architecture and incredible views, Clifford's Tower houses exhibitions that tell the story of York and its significance in English history. Immerse yourself in the past and discover the events and characters that have left their mark on this fascinating city.

7. National Railway Museum

Museums and Art Galleries

The National Railway Museum in York is a must-visit for all train and railway history enthusiasts. Situated in a former train depot, this museum houses an impressive collection of locomotives, carriages, and other railway vehicles.

Explore interactive exhibits and learn about the development of the railway system in the UK. Discover the different stages of railway history and how trains have been a vital part of transportation and industry in the country.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers historic train rides and family-friendly activities. There is also a gift shop and various dining options where you can enjoy delicious culinary choices.

8. Yorkshire Museum

Museums and Art Galleries

The Yorkshire Museum is one of the main tourist attractions to do in York. It is located in the heart of the city and houses a vast collection of objects that tell the story of York and its surroundings.

With its interactive and educational exhibits, the museum takes you on an exciting journey through time, from prehistory to the present day. You can explore the Roman era, the Vikings, and the Middle Ages, discovering how people lived at different times in history.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Yorkshire Museum also has temporary exhibitions that offer a unique insight into the region's culture and art. It is definitely a must-visit for history lovers and curious individuals who want to learn more about York's fascinating history.

9. York Dungeon

Entertainment and Pop Culture$$$

Uncover the legends and secrets of York Dungeon

If you're looking for something unique to do in York, you can't miss the Dungeon. This thrilling tour will immerse you in the city's darkest stories. Venture through eerie rooms, encounter sinister characters, and discover the darkest events from York's history. For lovers of the macabre and the mysterious, this is an experience not to be missed.

A scary and informative experience

York Dungeon combines entertainment and learning in a unique way. Through live performances, special effects, and impressive set designs, you'll delve into the city's history while feeling the adrenaline rush through your veins. Additionally, each room provides detailed information about the historical events being portrayed, so you'll learn while having fun.

10. York Boat

Entertainment and Pop Culture

Things to do in York? The answer is the York Boat.

The York Boat is an incredible tourist attraction in the city. It is a picturesque boat that offers cruises along the River Ouse, providing visitors with a unique experience to explore York and enjoy panoramic views from the water.

With the York Boat, you can relax and enjoy stunning landscapes while learning about the city's history and landmarks. Additionally, there are a variety of cruises available, from short cruises to themed cruises that immerse you in York's historical charm.