Things to Do And See During a Weekend in York

So, you’ve decided to leave the capital for a trip to York for the weekend. Here are some tips and tricks on things to do and see in the Viking capital of England.

Visit Free Attractions

There are many fun and interesting things to do when visiting York. You could even fill your York trip visiting free sites. Book hotels in York and start planning your visit.

The walk along the city walls of York is the longest “city walls” in England. Their medieval gateways the walls, and the bars are all free to walk and access. To walk the full circuit takes approximately two hours.

Explore the Hospitium (15th century), the Museum Gardens, the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey (12th century) and the observatory (the oldest observatory in Yorkshire). There is also the Roman-era Multiangular Tower (2,000 years old) to explore.

We recommend downloading the “Squirrel Trail” for free before you arrive in York to find out about the highlights associated with this stunning city-centre park.

Currently, York Art Gallery offers free entrance to permanent exhibitions. Make sure you pay a visit to the Edible Wood at the end of this gallery.

The National Railway Museum is also among the top-rated museums in York, and entrance is free.

The National Railway Museum is home to two large halls that are packed with engines, carriages, and trains. They also host daily entertaining science shows along with a playground onsite. The NRM is such a big venue that it is easy to spend an entire day here.

York Minister is not open for sightseeing during, after, and before service, yet the services can be attended for free if you would like to catch a glimpse of the inside of this cathedral.

Other free activities include exploring The Shambles, along with other historic York streets such as Goodramgate, Petergate, and Fossgate. You can also walk alongside the riverbanks of the River Ouse for free to explore the snickets (alleyways) of the city.

Take A Tour Of York For Free

The Association of Voluntary Guides to the City of York provides no tips and free tours. These tours operate throughout the year and begin from Exhibition Square, which is at the front section of the York Art Gallery.

This comprehensive tour takes around 2 hours and it runs each day from 10.15 am to 1.15 pm. In summer there are more tours on offer.

The Cat Trail is a family-friendly route that winds across the city in search of 20 cat sculptures (hidden) on the buildings in the city centre. Some of these sculptures are older than 100 years.

The trail typically takes around an hour and you can download it online before you arrive or collect your free copy from The Cat Gallery situated on Low Petergate.

Budget-Friendly Activities In York

Many of the York attractions provide dramatic discounts when it comes to families.

For instance, York Minister offers free entrance for a maximum of 4 children under 16 for each of the paying adults.

At night, the guided ghost tour offers outstanding value for money. The walking entertaining tours last around 2 hours and only costs around £5 (per person).

Do Not Suffer From FOMO!

Avoid trying to visit each and every attraction that York has to offer.

This might seem obvious, but rather choose what you find most important. For example, if you don’t think you will be interested in Viking history, don’t waste money on a £39 family ticket to see the Jorvik Viking Centre.

Think About A Sightseeing Pass

If you would like to see as much as you can while visiting York, buy the DIG pass, the York Pass, or a city sightseeing pass.

The York Pass provides visitors with free entrance to more than 40 attractions in York along with some of the surrounding areas. You can also purchase 1, 2, or even 3-day passes.

If you have plans to see as many attractions as possible, these passes can save you a lot of money, yet you should still compare the prices before you buy. It is also inclusive of a 24-hour city sightseeing ticket (bus), a pizza or pasta meal at ASK Italian restaurant, along with other impressive discount offers on e-bikes and bars and restaurants.

The Jorvik Group offers the Passport Pass. This is a ticket that includes entrance to the JORVIK Viking Centre, the DIG An Archaeological Adventure, the mediaeval era Barley Hall, and the City Walls Experience at Micklegate Bar.

If you were already planning to visit any of these attractions, the combined ticket offers great value for money.

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