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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

York Minster

This cavernous medieval cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece. Focal points include the 16th-century stained glass Rose Window, which was painstakingly pieced back together following a fire in 1984, and the soaring central tower, the top of which offers panoramic views of York.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 Dungeon

Aided by spooky special effects and eerie sets, the costumed actors at York Dungeon recount terrifying tales of torture, terror, and murder. Expect laughs, scares, and shrieks as you learn about Viking invasions, witch hunts, and lawbreakers from centuries past.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

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

The Shambles

Having never been widened to accommodate cars, The Shambles has retained its picturesque medieval form. Timber-framed Tudor buildings host tea rooms, taverns, and souvenir shops, and project out at the upper levels—a medieval building technique used to create extra living space.More

Treasurer's House

Explore one of the original National Trust properties at York’s Treasurer’s House, an opulent and eclectic 2-story mansion set amid landscaped gardens that has a fascinating history spanning 2,000 years. Highlights include the period rooms replete with historical artifacts, including a Queen Anne bedspread and a blown-glass chandelier, as well as the allegedly haunted cellars.More

York Castle Museum

Step back in time with York Castle Museum, an informative, interactive destination that will charm history-buffs and families alike. Unique in its depictions of everyday life, both past and present, York Castle Museum is best-known for period reconstructions of historic streets—like the Victorian Kirkgate—and costumed actors who help bring the past to life.More

York City Walls

Once built to protect the medieval city of York, the well-preserved York City Walls have since become an emblematic landmark of the region and an easy-to-access point of introduction for historical York. While only three main sections of these 13th- and 14th-century walls are still connected, following the footpaths and scrambling up the ramparts remains a popular pastime.More

Fairfax House

This 18th-century townhouse offers a glimpse into the tastes, fashions, and daily life of Georgian-era nobility. It began as the home of Viscount Charles Gregory Fairfax and then enjoyed brief stints as a gentlemen’s club, cinema, and dancehall before being restored to its Georgian-era glory.More

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is one of Britain’s grandest stately homes. Built over the course of 100 years and still home to the Howard family, the castle was famously used as a filming location for Brideshead Revisited. Its 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of elegant grounds are located in the Howardian Hills—an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.More

Merchant Adventurers' Hall

At more than 650 years old, this medieval-era timber-framed guildhall is one of the oldest buildings of its type in England. Built by a fraternity—the Merchant Adventurers of the City of York—whose members built capital through overseas business dealings, the building encompasses an oak-beamed hall, chapel, and an undercroft.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

Yorkshire Air Museum

Set on the site of a World War II bomber command station, this aviation museum showcases the work and machinery of Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF and its allies. As well as a collection of more than 60 historic aircraft and vehicles, it also holds more than 250,000 additional artifacts, including uniforms, photographs, and documents.More

Jorvik Dig

Housed inside the 15th-century church of St. Saviour, Jorvik Dig illuminates the work of local archaeologists as well as the history of the York area. Visitors can get hands-on at four replica excavation pits, each based on real-life digs. Uncover revealing replica objects from Roman, Viking, medieval, and Victorian times.More

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