things to do in york

Last Updated on: 31st January 2024, 04:30 am

Welcome to an exploration of the charming city of York, UK! Whether you’re a history buff or someone who loves the vibrant atmosphere of a bustling city, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Known for its rich history, picturesque streets, and inviting green spaces, York offers a wealth of experiences for visitors.

Discover the many things to do in York, UK, ranging from immersing yourself in the city’s remarkable history to strolling through its lovely parks, indulging in its delicious food and drink, attending its exciting festivals and events, exploring its impressive museums and galleries, and perusing its bustling markets.

Key Takeaways

  • York, UK is a charming city with a rich history and inviting green spaces.
  • The city offers a range of activities, from exploring historic sites to strolling through picturesque streets and indulging in delicious food and drink.
  • York is home to numerous museums and galleries, as well as lively markets and exciting festivals and events.
  • A visit to York offers a memorable adventure for all types of travellers.

Immerse Yourself in York’s Rich History

York is a city steeped in history, and exploring its historic sites is a must-do when visiting. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the city’s past, there are plenty of fascinating things to see and do.

Historic Site Description Location
York Minster A stunning Gothic cathedral that dates back to 1220, boasting impressive stained glass windows and intricate stonework. Deangate, York YO1 7HH
Jorvik Viking Centre An interactive museum that takes you on a journey back in time to the Viking era, complete with realistic sights and smells. Coppergate, York YO1 9WT
Clifford’s Tower A medieval castle keep that offers spectacular views across the city, as well as a glimpse into York’s turbulent past. Tower St, York YO1 9SA

These are just a few of the historic sites in York, UK that are worth a visit. Don’t miss the York Castle Museum, York’s Chocolate Story, and the National Railway Museum, to name but a few additional fascinating sites.

Exploring York’s rich history is a truly immersive experience, offering insights into the city’s past that are both educational and captivating. Ensure you set aside plenty of time for historic site visits during your stay in York.

Historic sites in York

Get Lost in the Shambles: York’s Charming Streets

One of the highlights of York is its picturesque streets, and none more so than The Shambles. With its overhanging timber-framed buildings and narrow alleyways, it’s like stepping back in time. Take a leisurely stroll through this historic quarter, browse the unique shops and soak up the atmosphere.

If you’re a history buff, The Shambles is a must-visit location in York, UK. It is one of the oldest streets in the city, dating back to the 14th century. The buildings are so close to each other at the top that they almost touch, giving the impression of leaning in toward each other. The street’s name derives from the Anglo-Saxon term for “shelves,” because butchers used to display their meat on shelves.

Today, The Shambles is home to several independent shops, selling everything from crafted jewellery to homemade fudge and is considered one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. The Shambles is especially popular with Harry Potter fans, as the street is thought to have influenced Diagon Alley.

The Shambles in York, UK

Take your time wandering through the unique shops and admiring the stunning architecture. Don’t forget to look up and notice the carvings above the buildings, showcasing the history and character of this charming street.

Visit York’s Impressive Museums and Galleries

When it comes to museums and galleries, York offers a wealth of opportunities for visitors to explore and discover the city’s culture and heritage. In this section, I’ll delve into some of the top museums and galleries you won’t want to miss during your visit to York, UK.

York Castle Museum

If you’re interested in learning about York’s past, the York Castle Museum is a must-visit. This historic museum takes you on a journey through time, with exhibits that showcase York’s social, political, and military history. It also features a recreated Victorian street, complete with shops and storefronts that offer a glimpse into what life was like in the 19th century.

museums in York, UK

York Art Gallery

The York Art Gallery is another must-see attraction for art lovers. With an extensive collection of artwork that spans from the 14th century to present day, the gallery offers a diverse range of works that showcase different styles and movements. Whether you’re interested in contemporary art or classical masterpieces, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Richard III Experience at Monk Bar

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare or British history, the Richard III Experience at Monk Bar is worth a visit. This museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of King Richard III, who had a significant impact on British history. You’ll learn about his reign, his battle strategies, and the controversies that surround his character.

Joseph Rowntree Gallery

Finally, for those interested in learning about the history of social reform and poverty in the UK, the Joseph Rowntree Gallery is a must-see. This museum focuses on the work of Joseph Rowntree, a social reformer and philanthropist who worked to improve living conditions for the poor. The exhibits include photographs, documents, and artifacts that shed light on this important period in British history.

These are just a few of the many museums and galleries that York has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking to learn something new, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this charming city.

Experience the Vibrant Markets of York

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in York, the city’s lively markets are not to be missed. You’ll find everything from local produce to antiques and crafts, all set against the backdrop of York’s historic streets.

The Shambles Market, located in the heart of the city, is a must-visit for its charming atmosphere and wide variety of stalls. Here, you can browse everything from handmade jewellery to vintage clothing, as well as sample some delicious street food.

For a bustling market experience, head to the Newgate Market. This lively market has been trading since the Middle Ages and continues to attract visitors from all over. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh produce, flowers, and household items, as well as plenty of friendly vendors.

Market Comparison Table

Market Name Location Specialty Atmosphere
Shambles Market The Shambles Street Handmade jewellery, vintage clothing, street food Charming and relaxed
Newgate Market Newgate Fruit and veg, flowers, household items Bustling and vibrant

No visit to York is complete without a trip to one of its bustling markets, where you can immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere and pick up unique souvenirs and gifts.

Explore York’s Green Spaces

If you’re in need of a breath of fresh air, York has several beautiful parks and gardens to enjoy. One of the most popular parks is Holgate Windmill, which offers stunning views of the city and a chance to see this historic mill up close. Rowntree Park is another favorite among locals and visitors alike, with its picturesque lake and numerous sports facilities.

If you’re looking to explore some of York’s gardens, don’t miss the York Museum Gardens. This stunning botanical garden is home to over 6,000 plants and trees, including many rare and exotic species. Or, head to The Hospitium for a peaceful walk through the tranquil gardens and orchards.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon picnic or a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city, York’s parks and gardens are the perfect place to unwind.

parks in York, UK, gardens in York, UK

Sample Delicious Food and Drink in York

If you are a foodie, York won’t disappoint. With its vibrant food and drink scene, you can sample traditional British cuisine, international flavours, or locally brewed ale. York is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and pubs that serve some of the best food and drink in the UK.

If you crave traditional British fare, head to Cozy Tearooms located in the heart of York. Here you can treat yourself to an afternoon tea with warm scones and clotted cream or indulge in a classic fish and chips. Another great spot worth visiting is the Ye Olde Starre Inn, a historic pub that has been serving delicious English cuisine for over six centuries. Make sure to try their famous Yorkshire pudding and ale pie.

If international cuisine is more your style, the Yak and Yeti Gurkha restaurant, provides an unrivalled taste of Nepalese and Indian culinary traditions. Their impressive array of dishes includes delicious momos, cooked-to-order tandoori meats, and curries designed to suit all palates. You can also indulge your love of Thai food at Sukhothai, which boasts some of the best Thai dishes in York.

When it comes to drinks, York has its fair share of craft breweries and cozy pubs. The Brew York, an independent brewery and taproom located in the city’s historic centre, offers an impressive selection of craft beers that reflect the vibrant spirit of York. Another popular venue for craft beer enthusiasts is The House of Trembling Madness. They have an extensive range of drinks to choose from, including beers, ciders, and even mead.

If you prefer spirits and cocktails, check out Evil Eye Lounge, a quirky cocktail bar with a laid-back atmosphere that serves some of the best cocktails in York. Make sure to try their award-winning Rhubarb Gin and Tonic or one of their many gin-based cocktails.

Your time in York will not be complete without experiencing what this city has to offer in terms of food and drink. So, plan a visit and indulge in the myriad of culinary delights that the city has to offer.

Attend Festivals and Events in York

York is a city that loves to celebrate its rich history and culture. Throughout the year, there are plenty of festivals and events that showcase this vibrant community. From the popular York Food and Drink Festival to the atmospheric York Early Music Festival, there’s always something exciting happening in the city.

The York Literature Festival is a must-visit for book lovers, featuring talks, workshops and readings from some of the biggest names in literature. Meanwhile, the York Ice Trail is a fun-filled winter event that sees the city transformed into a glittering ice sculpture trail, perfect for a family day out.

For those interested in the arts, the York Festival of Ideas is an annual event that brings together some of the best minds in academia and the arts for a series of fascinating talks and workshops. Alternatively, the York Art Workers’ Guild Exhibition showcases some of the most talented artists in the region.

Whether you’re looking to experience traditional carnivals or quirky events, York has something for everyone. Check out our table below for a selection of some of the best festivals and events in York:

Festival/Event Date
York Food and Drink Festival September
York Literature Festival March/April
York Ice Trail December/January
York Festival of Angels December

Don’t miss out on the buzz and excitement of festivals and events in York. Keep an eye on the Visit York website for the latest updates and schedules.


After exploring the top things to do in York, UK, I discovered that this charming city truly has something for everyone. From immersing oneself in York’s rich history by visiting its historic sites and museums like the castles in Edinburgh to getting lost in the charming streets of The Shambles and experiencing the vibrant markets, there is never a dull moment in this city.

If you’re in need of a peaceful escape, York’s green spaces, such as the York Museum Gardens and Rowntree Park, offer a tranquil retreat. And if you’re a foodie, you won’t be disappointed with the city’s extensive selection of restaurants, cafes, and pubs.

But York isn’t just a destination for exploration – it’s also a hub of events and festivals that celebrate its rich culture and heritage. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder York is a popular destination for adventure seekers.

Overall, my experience of exploring York has been a memorable one, and I highly recommend this city to anyone looking for an adventure filled with history, culture, and charm.


What are the top things to do in York, UK?

Some of the top things to do in York, UK include exploring its historic sites, wandering through the charming streets of The Shambles, visiting museums and art galleries, experiencing the vibrant markets, exploring the green spaces, sampling delicious food and drink, and attending festivals and events.

What historic sites should I visit in York?

York is known for its rich history, and some of the must-visit historic sites include York Minster, Jorvik Viking Centre, Clifford’s Tower, and York Castle Museum.

Why is The Shambles in York famous?

The Shambles is famous for its picturesque streets lined with overhanging timber-framed buildings and narrow alleyways. It is often described as one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe and provides a unique glimpse into York’s past.

What museums and galleries can I visit in York?

York is home to a range of impressive museums and art galleries, including the York Castle Museum, York Art Gallery, National Railway Museum, and Yorkshire Museum.

What markets can I explore in York?

York offers a vibrant market scene, including the historic Shambles Market, Newgate Market, and York Farmers’ Market. These markets are a great place to shop for local produce, antiques, and crafts.

Are there any parks and gardens to visit in York?

Yes, York has several beautiful parks and gardens to explore, including the York Museum Gardens, Rowntree Park, and Homestead Park. These green spaces provide a peaceful escape from the city.

What dining options are available in York?

York boasts a diverse food and drink scene, with a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Visitors can enjoy traditional British cuisine, international flavors, and locally brewed ale.

Are there any festivals and events held in York?

Yes, York hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. Some popular ones include the York Food and Drink Festival, York Early Music Festival, and the JORVIK Viking Festival.

Is York a suitable destination for a memorable adventure?

Absolutely! With its rich history, charming streets, vibrant markets, green spaces, delicious food and drink, and exciting festivals and events, York offers endless opportunities for a memorable adventure.