York sightseeing guide: 20 amazing York activities that will make you want to visit York England now

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Do you like small town travel? Are you planning a trip to UK? Then I’ve got the perfect small town for you: York, England. Use this York travel guide to discover all the amazing things to see and do here. You can also find great ideas for your York bucket list so that you can have an unforgettable trip!

This complete York guide with the best places to visit in York, England, where to stay in York, where to eat in York, York sightseeing, and travel tips for York is presented by Suzy from Our Bucket List Lives.

This guide is part of the free travel guides series on this blog. Use this insider’s guide to York UK when creating your York itinerary.

As a fun fact, did you know that York is considered Britain’s best small city or town? If you need more reasons to visit York, read the guide below and discover the amazing things to see and do here which, I’m sure, will convince you to visit it!

York sightseeing guide – insider’s guide to York, England

York is a relatively large City in North Yorkshire, UK. York has a strong Roman and Viking past, which is celebrated well. The City is well known for its beautiful Gothic Minster, quirky and historic old buildings, the Jorvik Viking centre and museums.

There is so much to see and do in York, enough to fill nearly a whole week. Because of the unpredictable British weather, I wouldn’t be able to recommend any particular best time to visit York.

We visit in all weathers and there’s always something to do, indoors or outdoors.

You can reach York by train from London in just 2 hours.

Included in this York travel guide

    • 15 York points of interest – famous York tourist attractions and activities

      • York Minster
      • The Shambles
      • York Castle Museum
      • National Railway Museum
      • Jorvik Viking centre
      • York Dungeons
      • Hop on Hop off bus
      • DIG
      • York’s Chocolate Story
      • Yorkshire Museum
      • Barley Hall
      • Merchant Adventurers Hall
      • City Cruises York
      • York’s City Walls
      • Richard III experience
    • York  off the beaten path – 5 unusual things to do in York

      • York Chocolate trail
      • Rowntree Park
      • York museum gardens
      • York Army Museum
      • Fairfax house
    • Where to eat in York UK
    • Where to stay in York
    • Savannah travel tips

York sightseeing guide – the top 15 tourist attractions in York, England

York Minster

This York sightseeing guide couldn’t start any other way but with the recommendation of York Minster. This is a stunning Minster and it is also classed as a Cathedral.

We love to visit the Undercroft and their relatively new exhibition. Make sure you include this on your York itinerary!

York Minster. Discover all the York points of interest from this article. #york #uk #europe #england, #travel
York Minster

The Shambles

This street is a must to have a wander down. It is one of the oldest streets in York.

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With overhanging timber-framed buildings so close in places you could pass things from one side of the street to the other.

The Shambles, York, UK. Discover the best things to do in York from this insider's guide to York.
The Shambles

York Castle Museum

Still wondering what to do in York England? Add York Castle Museum to your list as this is one of the York tourist attractions you simply have to see.

With plenty to see including an authentic Victorian street, York Castle Museum will enchant you.

York Castle Museum. Discover what is there to do in York for me from this article.
York Castle Museum

National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum is free to visit.

There are so many trains to look at and to look around. If you want you can pay to have a ride on a steam train or miniature railways.

National Railway Museum, York. Here are the top York attractions you simply cannot miss on your visit!
National Railway Museum, York

Jorvik Viking centre

Jorvik Viking centre is one of York’s points of interest.

This is a ride around the streets of Viking York with sights, sounds and smells to take you right back in time.

Jorvik Viking centre is one of York's points of interest. Make sure you include these York attractions on your itinerary if you like small town travel.
Jorvik Viking centre

York Dungeons

Next in this York visitor’s guide are the York Dungeons. These can be pretty scary with actors acting out torturous scenes and more, but they are definitely a lot of fun!

Hop on Hop off bus

The York tourist bus is a great way to get around York and to travel between York attractions.

York sightseeing with York Hop on Hop off bus
York Hop on Hop off bus


This is an interactive attraction for children in York.

They can learn how to carefully dig for bones and hidden treasures. Doesn’t it sound great? I can assure you, it’s one of the fun things to do in York.

DIG, York. Discover the best museums in York, UK.
DIG – York

York’s Chocolate Story

If you want to explore York, you have to find out more about chocolate.

York is well known for chocolate production and this wonderful museum teaches you all about chocolate production. And if that’s not enough, I have to add that you get to sample quite a few on your way around.

That is why Chocolate Story is one of the unmissable places to visit in York.

Yorkshire Museum

Another one of the best York activities is a visit at the Yorkshire museum. This museum has a great new dinosaur exhibition that is well worth a visit.

Barley Hall

This is a lovely old hall with many interactive exhibits, perfect for young and old, and one of the best things to do in York.

You are positively encouraged to touch and feel everything in there and to get a better understanding of life in York long ago.

Barley Hall, York UK. Go York sightseeing with this York city guide by an insider.
Barley Hall, York, UK

Merchant Adventurers Hall

Merchant Adventurers Hall is a medieval Hall and is one of the finest Guildhalls of the world. Make sure you include it on your York trip.

Merchant Adventurers Hall, York. These are the best York things to do.
Merchant Adventurers Hall

City Cruises York

Why not see York from a different perspective and go on one of their cruises along the river?

It’ll give you the chance to get different views of the city and you will relax during the cruise!

York - city cruise. Discover what to do in York UK from this insider's York city guide.
York – city cruises

York’s City Walls

I simply had to recommend seeing the city’s walls in this York, England city guide.

The City of York is surrounded by an ancient wall. You can walk most of it for free – in fact, this is one of the best free things to do in York.

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Richard III experience

This York visitor’s guide wouldn’t be complete without including the Richard III experience. This relatively new attraction invites you to step foot into the historic Monk Bar to discover The Richard III Experience.

Explore the life of the last Plantagenet King as he struggled for the throne and power during his short reign.

York Off the Beaten Path

Apart from the famous York landmarks, there are numerous offbeat things to do in York. So I’m inviting you to explore York off the beaten path and these are my best recommendations for lesser-known places to visit in York and unusual things to so in York.

York Chocolate trail

As already mentioned, York is famous for its chocolate history.

Take a mouth-watering wander through time and discover York’s chocolate-making history along the way. There are 9 different places to see along the trail.

Rowntree Park

This is a lovely green space in York. There’s a lake, playgrounds, skate park, tennis courts, and even a caravan park.

York museum gardens

York museum gardens are set in the stunning surroundings of the Medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.

The gardens are a great space to meet family and friends and to step away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Gardens are free to visit – so these are one of the York attractions you can’t afford to miss.

York Army Museum

This museum is home to some of the most important regimental collections in the UK.

Covering over 300 years of history, the York Army Museum is a wonderful trip back in time and one of the great ways to discover York and its history.

Fairfax house 

Fairax House is a fine Georgian house in the heart of York. With wonderfully decorated rooms that will take you right back to the 18th Century. If you are an architecture buff or just curious to see how a mansion look back in the day, consider adding this place on your York sightseeing list.

READ MORE: Discover another amazing town in UK: Kingston upon Hall from this comprehensive guide

Where to eat in York England

It’s time to get the the tasty part of York in this expert’s guide to York, England. So, if you are wondering where to eat in York, here are some great restaurants in York for you.

The place to eat in York is Betty’s Tea-Room. If you want to visit I can highly recommend booking an afternoon tea in advance. Otherwise, you may have to join the long queue outside which forms every day.

The food and decadence of this place are just wonderful.

Betty’s Tea-Room. Discover the best place to eat in York for me.
Betty’s Tea-Room

York has a really good mix of restaurants, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes and budgets.

Where to stay in York

There are plenty of accommodation options in York, England.

York Hotels

The best hotels in York include The Grand which is a grand Edwardian hotel with chic rooms.

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Or, another one of the great places to stay is Principal York. Located in the heart of the city this hotel combines carefully preserved Victorian architecture alongside modern touches.

There’s plenty of Fairfax house ’s to choose from in York including Travelodge York centre which is just a short walk from some of the attractions.

Novotel York centre – Situated close to the celebrated historical city walls just a short riverside stroll from the centre with newly refurbished rooms.

Park Inn by Radisson – We love the waterside location of this hotel. It’s really convenient for walking into the centre and has good sized comfy rooms.

Hostels in York

There are also some great hostels in York for budget accommodation.

Safestay York hostel features wonderful exposed beams, grand fireplaces and hand-carved ceilings. The 16th-century basement has a TV games area and a courtyard garden.

YHA York is set within a lovely Victorian mansion with extensive gardens, YHA York is just a 15-minute riverside walk to York’s ancient centre.

Tips for York

Here are some useful travel tips for York to make your visit as pleasant as possible.

There is very little city centre parking in York. Because of this they have some great park and ride facilities which are well worth using. Not only are they cheap but the buses are clean and can use the bus lanes to avoid traffic.

York has a major train centre and has routes into London and other parts of the country.

York is a city with very little crime. I never feel that there is anywhere we shouldn’t be, nor do I feel that I need to be wary of who is around us.

York is the perfect destination for young and old. There really is something for everyone. It’s an easy city to walk around and there’s more than enough to see and do.

READ MORE: Discover Bristol, England from this cool guide.

About the author:

Suzy McCullough has a popular family travel website over at https://ourbucketlistlives.co.uk. Her website has a strong focus on day out and weekend breaks with a bit of Disney thrown in for good measure. Their family has a bucket list full of travel ideas and inspiration which they are gradually working their way through. Follow her online on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Your complete guide to York, England with the top things to do in York England for first-timers. These are the top 20 York attractions you simply have to see! Go small town travel in York! #york #yorkuk #england #travel #europe #yorkshire

Amazing attractions in York, UK you can't afford to miss. Small town travel - create your York bucketlist from this article. #york #yorkuk #england #travel #europe #yorkshire

This complete York guide with the best places to visit in York, England, where to stay in York, where to eat in York, York sightseeing, and travel tips for York. Why you should go small town travel in UK. #york #yorkuk #england #travel #europe #yorkshire

photo source: photo 1, pin 2

20 great things to do in York, England. Discover the best places to visit in York, UK from this complete York guide. These 20 amazing York activities will make you want to visit York England now. Use this York sightseeing guide to create your York bucketlist and your York itinerary for the perfect trip to York, England. #york #england #uk #greatbritain #gb #europe #travel #travelguides #earthsattractions #traveltips

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