1. Visit The Gothic York Minster Cathedral
Built between the 12th and 15th centuries, visitors to York will instantly recognize York Minster as part of the skyline. An incredible piece of architecture by all accounts, the stained glass windows and nave deserve special mention. To see York from up top, you can climb the 275 steps to the top of the cathedral for a stunning view. Other noteworthy mentions in the cathedral include the Crypt and the Chapter House.
Visitors should also attend a service in the Minster to hear stunning pipe organ music or take a stroll through the adjoining Deans Park. The only setback is that viewing the Minster is not admitted before or after services.
*Once an entrance fee is paid, free guided tours are available.
2. Walk Through Historic Walls
Deemed England’s longest city walls, the historic York medieval walls are a step back in time. They offer a stunning perspective of York! The walls are a fairly easy walk at only two miles in length, and are accessible through gateways known as bars. For most, this stroll takes about two hours.
*Walking in a clockwise direction is recommended, and do pay special attention to the scenery from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar.
3. The Dark Shambles
Voted one of the most atmospheric streets in Britain, the Shambles are both dark and magical in appearance. Lined with tiny jewel-like shops, the area is said to have inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. During the medieval era, the Shambles were home to York’s butcher shops. No York breaks are complete without a visit. Make sure to plan your visit early as these cobblestones are quickly crowded by tourists!
*While in the area, also check out Newgate Market, which is home to 70 stalls with unique vendors.
4. The Museum Gardens
The Museum Gardens offer stunning scenery and the ideal place to plan a romantic family picnic. It is a popular local hotspot for residents and city employees alike. The small observatory known as St. Mary’s Abbey and the Yorkshire Museum are both nearby for a quick visit.
5. Clifford’s Tower
The remnants of a Norman keep or castle, Clifford’s Tower is a fairly small mound across from the museum grounds. Though the climb is fairly steep, the mound offers stunning panoramic views of York.
6. The Refurbished York Art Gallery
Located on Exhibition Square, the newly refurbished York Art Gallery offers a carefully curated collection of paintings and sculptures spanning 500 years. The building housing the gallery is a splendor of architecture itself while the noteworthy cafe inside is also worth a visit.
7. York Castle Museum
A more modern piece of architecture from the Victorian era, York Castle Museum was actually once a courthouse and prison that housed Dick Turpin. The museum is flanked by stunning antiquated streets and gorgeous shops.
*You can save money on your next visit to York by purchasing a Yorkshire Museums Trust card. This offers entrance to the Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum, and the York Art Gallery.
8. The York Chocolate Story Museum
The city of York has a long history of chocolate making that spans hundreds of years. Carefully curated and presented in the York Chocolate Story Museum, visitors can tour the museum and have a taste of the chocolate for themselves. Finishing the visit, tourists can also make their own chocolate to sample as a memento. All of the exhibits are creative and this is a fun place for the entire family.