Things to do in York

Now you’ve got your cheap tickets to York, save even more money with these free and cheap things to do…


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See the Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum

Find the world's most famous trains and one of TripAdvisor's top 10 UK museums just 5 minutes from York station.

The National Railway Museum is packed to the rafters with trains – big and small, old and new, royal and well, not royal.

Its most-famous engine is the Flying Scotsman – the poster train of the British Empire and once owned by pop impresario Pete Waterman.

The Scotsman recently went on display after a multi-million pound renovation and a headline-grabbing run from London to York. Toodle pip.

Where is it? Leeman Road, YO26 4XJ
How much? FREE!
More info: National Railway Museum

Wander along the world-famous medieval Shambles

The Shambles is a medieval street that goes all the way back to the Domesday Book. For something so old, it's incredibly easy on the eye.

Its ancient timber-framed buildings lean inwards over a narrow lane of cobbles. No wonder Google once named it Britain's most picturesque street.

It was once home to as many as 26 butchers. Not quite so picturesque (and a bit whiffy). Nowadays, the butchers are long gone, the street a haven for quirky, artisan shops.

Where is it? City Centre, YO1 7LZ
How much? FREE!
More info: The Shambles

Mix history and exercise on the ancient city walls

In the days of the Roman Empire, wooden walls were built around York to keep out the (rather unpleasant) Vikings. Years later, in medieval times, stone walls were built on top on those.

These stone walls are still standing today. Combine exercise with a history lesson by taking a walk around them – provided it's not chucking it down.

They're the longest medieval walls in England, spanning 3.4km, so you'll get a good workout.

Mount the walls at Mickelgate Bar.

Where is it? St Leonards Place, YO1 6JX
How much? FREE!
More info: The York City Walls 


Window shop on ‘Britain’s Best High Street’

York's Bishy Road was recently voted Britain's best high street and it's only a 5-minute walk from the city centre.

If you love artisan bakers, organic greengrocers, trendy delis and hip locals, you'll love Bishy Road. Food aside, there's an organic children's clothing shop and some really fab charity shops.

Make like one of the cool kids and take the short stroll from the city centre to Bishy for a spot of window shopping.

Where is it? YO23 1NA
How much? FREE!
More info: Bishy Road

Go squirrel-spotting in York Museum Gardens

Kids and grown-ups love squirrels, right? And there are loads of them running around York Museum Gardens. Step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into this lovely, leafy public garden.

Follow the path down toward the riverside to find squirrels sitting on branches, darting up tree trunks or chilling in the shrubbery. Don't forget your camera.

Squirrels aside, St Mary's Abbey is well worth a look. Now merely ruins, it was home to lots of very clever monks until Henry VIII came along...

Where is it? Museum Street, YO17 FR
How much? FREE!

More info: York Museum

Climb to the top of Clifford’s Tower

Clifford's Tower is all that remains of the once-sprawling York Castle – built by William the Conqueror, we'll have you know.

The stone tower stands on a huge grassy mound overlooking the city. It's pretty important historically, having been both a law court and a prison.

Climb to the top, run your hands along the ancient stones and gaze out over the city – the views are pretty amazing (if you can forget about its grisly past).

Where is it? Tower Street, YO1 9SA
How much? Family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) £11.40
More info: English Heritage – Clifford's Tower

Take a First World War history lesson through art

Ever wondered what life was like in the trenches for your dad, granddad or great grandad? Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War gives you a good idea.

The art exhibition won rave reviews when shown in London. Now, slightly reworked, it's made its way to York's newly renovated art gallery.

It's not easy viewing – the paintings depict fatigued soldiers and battle-scarred landscapes – but they are outstanding.

Where is it? Exhibition Square,YO1 7EW
How much? Adult £7.50, Child under 16, free with paying adult
More info: York Art Gallery

Go yeah, yeah, yeah for the Swinging Sixties

From Beatlemania and Mary Quant to mods and the Summer of Love, the Sixties had it all going on. Explore this most revolutionary of decades at York Castle Museum.

With Beatles records and a Lambretta on show, you can prove to the grandkids (and grown-up kids) that mum and dad were in fact quite cool.

Where is it? Eye of York, YO1 9R7
How much? Adult, £9.09, Children under 16, free with paying adult
More info: York Castle Museum