York UK – The Capital of the North

York UK – The Capital of the North

Where is York UK?

York UK is a beautiful historic town of North England, which is traditionally England’s second city. I highly recommend that you spend at least 3 to 5 days in York to fully appreciated its beauty and history.

York is safe and easy to navigate, making it the perfect place for solo travel. If you are staying within or near to the Medieval Walls, everything is walkable.

When should you Visit York UK?

The best times to visit York are between April and September, when the weather is mild. UK weather in the winter months can be dull and dreary. The other fantastic time to visit York UK is Christmas, due to the winter markets.

Also check for UK bank holidays and school holidays. Bank holiday weekends in the UK mean Monday and many British people travel to York from Friday to Monday for a long weekend. School holidays are extremely busy in York.

The longest holidays are Christmas, Easter and six weeks during the summer (from end of July 2 beginning of September). There are also half terms which is one week off for UK schools. Half term is usually happen in October, February and May. Check these dates online before you come to York to avoid the crowds.

Book a hostel in York through Hostelworld.com

When you First Arrive in York, head to Museum Street

When you first arrive in York, you need to go straight to the tourist information centre on Museum Street where you will pick up your free York guide. This will include city centre map restaurant guide and what’s on guide.

Get a York Pass for Discounts and Value for Money

If you want to get the most out of your as a tourist, you need to read my guide on how to save money with a York Pass. If you are in York for just two or three days and want to see as much as possible, the York Pass is the best way to do this.

Top 10 Things to do in York UK

In addition to York’s main tourist attractions, I thoroughly recommend just wandering the streets to see which independent shops and local restaurants you might find. Definitely factor in a day for ‘wandering’!

However, while you are in York UK, there are 10 things you shouldn’t miss…

#1 York Minster

York Minster is Europe’s largest Gothic structure and took 250 years to build. Arrive early to miss the crowd and check out the beach for architecture. As it always, you will have to pay to get into York minster which is currently £10. If you have a York Pass, this is included in the price.

Make sure that you do spend time inside the Minster. Don’t miss the Undercroft where you can see exposed parts of the original Norman Minster. Also, take the time to climb the tower, although this is not advisable for mobility impaired.

Gothic Minster York UK

#2 The Shambles

Take a peaceful walk down the Shambles, one of the most famous streets in Britain and Europe’s best preserved street. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, the Shambles presents 15th Century buildings overshadowing cobbled streets. You will find independent shops, Earl Grey tea rooms and local restaurants.

#3 Jorvik Viking Centre

York is rich in history, having been invaded by the Romans Vikings Normans and Saxons. If you are interested in history you have to visit York Viking Centre.

You will fully experience what it was like to live in writing, by being taken on a train journey through the villages to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Viking York.

#4 Museum Gardens

Museum gardens and beautiful and relaxing part of your where you can explore the horticultural delights.

Museum Gardens York UK

While you are at museum gardens you can also visit the Yorkshire Museum, which is full of Roman and Medieval History. At the time I visited York, I was lucky enough to experience the Richard the Third Exhibition.

You should also factor in some time to walk round the Abby ruins and time your visit with the FREE Owl and Birds of Prey Show.

#5 Walking the Walls

You can walk the mediaeval walls of York UK between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Sometimes the walls are open longer during the summer months. It’s not an easy walk, so make sure that you are comfortable with a lot of steps. Also, some parts of the wall are unprotected so keep an small children placed by saying that, you should definitely do it. You will experience some fantastic views of the city.

If you enter the walls at Micklegate Bar, you can also visit the Richard the Third Museum. If you have a York Pass, you can get in free (this was the case when I last checked).

#6 Clifford’s Tower and Castle Museum

Clifford’s Tower is the last remaining part of York Castle, left by William the Conqueror and once the centre for the British Government. Clifford Tower also has historical significance as the site of the massacre of York’s Jewish population in 1190.

If you have time, visit the York Castle Museum adjacent to Clifford’s Tower, housed in what used to be a military base and a prison. York Castle museum is well worth a visit as you can take a step back in time to experience a recreated Victorian street.

#7 The National Railway Museum

If you are an eager train spotter, you cannot miss the National Railway Museum. It is easy to find, just go out of the back exit to the train station on the other side of the bridge (past platform 10/11) and you will come to it. If you are heading there from the centre of town, just head towards the right hand side of the station and ask for Leeman Road.

#8 York Dungeons

If you are up for a fright, try a visit to York Dungeons.  You can save money by booking online. When you visit York Dungeons, you will take a 75 minute journey back in time to see the horrible history of York, through models, actors and special effects. Warning – this is not for the feint hearted!

# 9 River Boat Tour

Take a cruise down the Ouse for just £9.00 per adult. The York Boat tour takes you as far down as Leeman road and St. Peters school (where Guy Forkes went!) in one direction and Millennium Bridge in the other. There is a bar on board (always a bonus) and a guide.

#10 A Cocktail at Evil Eye

As you know, I always like to finish off my top 10’s with a relaxing beverage in my top watering hole! Do not leave York without enjoying a cocktail at Evil Eye Lounge!

What did you enjoy most in York, UK?

You might also like to read about the York Christmas Market and York Floods Christmas 2015.

Book a hostel in York through Hostelworld.com

Book a Hotel in York with Laterooms.com


Amy Trumpeter

Hi, I'm Amy and I love solo backpacking. I've been travelling on and off for over 20 years and spent time as a digital nomad. My writing focuses on Asia, Europe and North Africa. I travel with chronic illness and don't let it hold me back! I'm here to help you to earn money online and travel the world!

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