Calling All History Buffs: Here Are 10 Things To Do In York, England!

things to do in york england

York is all about history with things to see and learn about from all time periods. It’s a city that makes you feel like you stepped into a whole new world. You will have to check to make sure you are still in the present. Here you will get to explore things that you learned about in your history textbooks. Although there is a lot to do, here is our list of top things to do in York, England.

1. View ancient runes and medieval architecture

St Marys Abbey Church York
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kaly99 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Get a glimpse of the Middle Ages with the various pieces of medieval architecture preserved throughout the city. Several tours are available to be able to see it all at once. Learn about the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey that were built in 1088 and lasted for five centuries.

Or see York Minister, a church still in session and one of the largest cathedrals in all of England. Explore the York Castle and the city walls that once defended York. Last but not least, Merchant Adventurers Hall is a medieval guildhall perfect for those Middle Ages history buffs, with it dating all the way back to 1357.

St. Mary's Abbey

Address: Yorkshire Museum, Museum St, YO1 7FR York, UK

Website: St.Mary’s Abbey

2. Stroll through The Shambles and visit the market

Shambles shopper 8686
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Peter K Burian used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Shambles is a fun street with several shops and restaurants inside timber framed buildings from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The street twists and turns like a maze with lots of history. Before modernization, The Shambles used to be a street of houses and primarily butcher shops. Try to head there early in the morning to avoid crowds.

The Shambles

Address: 13-14 Shambles, YO1 7LZ York, UK

Website: The Shambles

3. Tour the trains of the National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum - Virgin 91101 (rear)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Geof Sheppard used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Trains are a big part of modern day England’s transportation and this museum takes visitors on an educational journey of how rail transport began. Go inside some vintage trains and follow the story of how trains have technologically advanced over time. The best part is it is all free!

National Railway Museum

Address: Leeman Rd., YO26 4XJ York, UK

Website: National Railway Museum

4. Get lost in the York Maze

Here is the first picture of the 2014 maze, when are you coming to "GET LOST" in Brian's beard???

Posted by York Maze on Friday, 11 July 2014

Visit the largest corn maze in all of the United Kingdom! Each year, the maze is crafted into a fun picture for people to go through. Although it is seasonal and only open during the summer, it is a unique place to check out while in the city. Besides the maze, there are also 20 different attractions to enjoy too.

York Maze

Address: Elvington Ln., YO19 5LT York, United Kingdom

Website: York Maze

5. Satisfy your sweet tooth at York's Chocolate Story

Looking for something to do this weekend. Remember, if you are a York resident, you can get 1/3 off our tours on a Sunday!

Posted by York's Chocolate Story on Friday, 19 August 2016

There is so much to learn in the city of York that there is even a chocolate factory that has an interactive tour of the history of that sweet creamy goodness. A fun fact about York is its fame has come from chocolate for almost 300 years. At this museum, you will get to have lots of tasty treats while learning about the creators behind some of the big chocolate brands today.

York's Chocolate Story

Address: 3-4 Kings Square, YO1 7LD York, UK

Website: York Chocolate Story

6. Learn the history of Vikings at Jorvik Viking Centre

Here are two images of the famous JORVIK ride from 1984 and 2017 for Throwback Thorsday - look at how much we've changed!

Posted by JORVIK Viking Centre on Thursday, 15 June 2017

The history does not stop at the chocolate in this city. Discover the story of the Viking invasions that affected York and other parts of Britain. The immersive environment gives a sensory experience, that is different from other museums, to really make you feel you are back in time.

Jorvik Viking Centre

Address: Coppergate Shopping Centre, 19 Coppergate, YO1 9WT York

Website: Jorvik Viking Center

7. Walk the walls of York with the Medieval Pass

York Micklegate Bar - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tanya Dedyukhina used under CC BY 3.0

Get the full medieval experience with this special pass to see three of York’s popular sites. The pass grants visitors the chance to walk along the city walls between the Monk Bar, Micklegate Bar, and Barley Hall. These places highlight the influence of the kings during specific time periods with the Richard III Experience at the Monk Bar and Henry VII Experience at Micklegate. It also takes you to Barley Hall, which was the home of Lord Mayor of York William Snawsell.

Monk Bar/Micklegate Bar

Address: Micklegate, YO1 6JX York, UK

Website: Medieval Pass

8. See the York Cold War Bunker

York Cold War Bunker
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Peel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fast forward in time to the Cold War era. Due to the fear of a nuclear war, this Bunker was created as a fallout shelter for the people of York. If you are interested in the recent history of the Cold War, this is a very organized and detailed tour.

York Cold War Bunker

Address: Monument Cl, YO24 4HT York, UK

Website: Bunker

9. Relax in gorgeous gardens at Goddards House and Garden

Source: Photo by user Bob Cantwell used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Goddards House and Garden was the estate of the famous chocolatier family, the Terrys. It is a beautiful estate that is now taken over by the National Trust for visitors to see. The house has a 1.6-hectare (four-acre) garden that is perfect for a nice stroll and a peaceful day.

Goddards House and Garden

Address: 27 Tadcaster Rd., YO24 1GG York, UK

Website: Goddard House

10. Grab some drinks at Brew York

Posted by Brew York on Monday, 11 April 2016

Back to modern time, this is a great place in present day York to grab drinks. The craft brewery has a riverside beer garden with a great atmosphere and good selection of beers and ciders. It is a nice place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

Brew York

Address: Unit 6, Enterprise Complex Walmgate, YO1 9TT York, United Kingdom

Website: Brew York

Lots to do for free!

For those budget travelers, there is a lot of free history to see. If you would rather save your money, the good thing is that in this city, you can explore a lot for a very low cost or even free.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Just an American girl chasing the unique in the world. I've been to 22 countries and 4 continents. My current goal is to go to all 7 continents before I turn 25. I'm a filmmaker, journalist, and...Read more

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