Things to do in York

Things to do in  York

Welcome to York

Founded by the Romans and later captured by the Vikings before it became one of medieval Britain’s major hubs, York wears its ancient history with an easy elegance. Visiting the picturesque Shambles—the city’s best-known shopping street, still lined with Tudor half-timbered buildings—is one of the top things to do in York, the cobblestone passageways of which are crowned by the soaring, 7th-century York Minster cathedral. Whether it’s afternoon tea (or pints of ale) you seek, a stroll along the historic city walls, or a wander through its galleries, York mingles Olde English charm with vibrant, contemporary appeal.

Top 15 attractions in York

World of James Herriot

Fans of the Yorkshire author and vet of All Creatures Great and Small fame won’t want to miss the World of James Herriot. Now an award-winning, interactive museum, Herriot’s former veterinary office—a fully restored 1940s home—displays a huge collection of Herriot memorabilia.More

Kilburn White Horse

The largest and most northerly white horse geoglyph in Britain, the Kilburn White Horse stands in artificially chalky contrast to the lush greenery of the surrounding Sutton Bank hills. Admire it from a distance or hike alongside the vast equine figure, which was originally designed and completed in the mid-19th century.More


A lively market town within the North York Moors National Park, Helmsley is a popular day-trip from nearby York. The cobblestone streets of the town center—as well as quaint teahouses, ivy-covered traditional pubs, and an imposing 12th-century castle—add to the appeal of this traditional Yorkshire destination.More

York's Chocolate Story

Nestled in the historic center of the United Kingdom’s chocolate capital, York’s Chocolate Story is an interactive museum with a tasty twist. Sweet-toothed travelers can uncover the rich history of York’s confectionery industry, take a chocolate-making masterclass, or try traditional treats in the gift shop and café.More

Clifford's Tower

Clifford’s Tower, a semi-ruined 13th-century remnant of York Castle, is also one of the few Norman relics in a city dominated by Viking influence. Nowadays, Clifford’s Tower is one of the most popular and emblematic sights in York, and the panoramic views from the tower’s ramparts make it an excellent starting point for first-time visitors to historic York.More

Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar

Housed inside one of York’s main medieval gateways, the Henry VII Experience documents the rise and reign of England’s first Tudor king. Exhibits cover Henry VII’s ascension, from snatching the throne from Richard III on the battlefield to quieting the Yorkist rebellion, as well as information on York at the time of his reign.More
York Brewery

York Brewery

From grain to glass, see how traditional ale is created at York Brewery. Located just inside the city walls on Toft Green, York Brewery has been handcrafting real ales since 1996.The brewery site was built in the late 16th century, and has seen many uses over its history, but now it is home to a 20-barrel brew plant, with six traditional open top fermenters and five conditioning tanks. You can see it all in action, and enjoy four tastes, when you visit.Groups meet in the brewery taproom, giving you an opportunity to have a taste before heading out on a guided tour. There are plenty of stops along the way to get a good view of the hard work of the Master Brewer. By the time the tour is over you’ll understand how the entire brewing process works.Please note York Brewery is currently brewing in a temporary location.More

York Army Museum

With one of the country’s most important regimental collections, York Army Museum offers visitors an immersive insight into 300+ years of Yorkshire military history. Learn about the Royal Dragoon Guards and Yorkshire Regiment through interactive exhibits, centuries-old artifacts, and audiovisual displays.More
Goddards House and Garden

Goddards House and Garden

Few places offer such intimate insight into the York chocolate industry as Goddards House and Garden, once home to the family behind the Terry’s confectionery company. Nowadays, Goddards pays homage to York’s chocolate past, as well as life in the 1930s. Don’t forget to stop by the on-site café for some chocolate orange cake and coffee.More

Mansion House

Built in 1732, this handsome Georgian building is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of York, with distinguished guests arriving here for various ceremonies, black-tie banquets, and events. The house holds an impressive collection of civic regalia, art, and artifacts, including paintings, furniture, weapons, and silverware.More
York Maze

York Maze

A giant outdoor maze made from more than one million maize plants is the star attraction at this family-friendly adventure park. As well as smaller themed mazes, York Maze is home to slides, a climbing zone, inflatables, tractor rides, crazy golf, and remote-controlled boats.More

Jorvik Viking Centre

Set on the site of a major Viking settlement, Jorvik Viking Centre whisks visitors back in time to ninth-century England. Glass floors reveal remnants of the original village uncovered by archaeologists in the 1970s, while a train ride takes passengers past detailed diorama-style displays that recreate typical scenes from Viking life—complete with animatronic figures, a soundtrack, and more.More
Yorkshire Museum of Farming

Yorkshire Museum of Farming

From cereal to cattle and potatoes to pigs, Yorkshire is a big food producer, and the Yorkshire Museum of Farming celebrates the county’s agricultural heritage. Spread over about 16 acres (6.5 hectares), the museum features farm animals, vintage farm equipment, the Danelaw Centre for Living History, and a heritage railway.More

Barley Hall

Obscured behind the shell of a modern facade until the 1980s, this medieval-era townhouse—once home to the Lord Mayor of York—has been restored to appear as it would have in its late-15th-century heyday. Inside the timber-framed structure, exhibits explore medieval themes and life in Tudor-era England.More
York Cold War Bunker

York Cold War Bunker

Built in 1961 and in service for 30 years, this English Heritage property represents a chilling reminder of the UK’s Cold War history. Today, visitors can go inside the semi-subterranean structure to learn more about the living quarters and control rooms that were designed to keep around 60 people alive in the event of a nuclear tragedy.More
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All about York


People Also Ask

What is York famous for?

This northern city is famous for its history; you’ll find reminders of the Romans, the Vikings, medieval folk, and others at every twist and turn. The city has also become famous for bachelor and bachelorette weekends and boasts a bounty of bustling pubs, shops, and restaurants.

What should I see in York, UK?

Admire the Gothic magnificence of York Minster and the city cathedral, and see Clifford’s Tower, the city walls, and the Jorvik Viking Centre. Stroll through the tangle of medieval cobbled lanes known as the Shambles, and you’ll find tea rooms, coffee shops, and jewelers at every turn.

Is York worth visiting?

Yes—in fact, York is worth several visits. It’s one of England’s more well-heeled northern cities and has boutique hotels and fancy eateries that attract weekend crowds. It’s easily accessible from London and Manchester by train, and, once you’ve arrived, the city’s historical sights are easy to reach on foot.

What can you do in one day in York?

After a full English breakfast in one of York’s many cafés, stroll the city walls, then nip into York Minster to see its stained-glass windows. Do some shopping in the Shambles, stopping at Betty’s for an afternoon tea. Later, climb up Clifford’s Tower or visit the National Rail Museum.

What’s special in York?

Roman and Viking history aside, the other special (or, certainly, notable) thing about York is the city’s spooky side. Full of history and legends in equal measure, York has been the site of a fair number of ghost sightings—and there are plenty of storytellers and ghost tours in town.

How many days do you need to see York?

A weekend trip is perfect. You’ll have a day to cover the main sights, an evening out to enjoy the pubs and nightclubs, and a second day to lounge around. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, a museum trip, or even a walk in the countryside—Kirkham Priory is nearby.

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