Free Things To Do In York

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It is great to visit new places. And new cities, especially, as there can be so much to see and do. But what if you have a very tight budget? Well, here are a few ideas for free things to do in York.

Free Things To Do In York

Free Things To Do In York ⋆ 7 totally free to enter attractions & activities to visit in this historic English city. Ideas for your day out in York, England that are free, plus some cheap alternatives. What to do on a budget. Free entertainment, museums, activities, playgrounds, parks, history & gardens. Places to picnic. Brilliant places to go on a day trip with children. North Yorkshire activities, culture & historical places. No cost or low cost travel in the UK. Instagram worthy aesthetic.

York is one of my favourite cities. Full of history and splendid architecture, there are lots of museums and attractions in the area. But these can be pricy, particularly if you have a large family. So what are some other ways of spending the time that cost nothing/virtually nothing?

York Railway Museum

This has to be at the top of the list of free attractions in York. Found just behind York mainline railway station, the Railway Museum is dedicated to all things rail orientated. With large exhibitions of engines and carriages throughout the ages, including ‘Mallard’ and a replica of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’, it is a brilliant day out for railway and history buffs of all ages.

We loved our day trip. Read all about it here

A Trip To York Railway Museum - station Hall

York City Walls

York has the most intact city walls of any city in England. Most of them date from 1200-1400, but some of the foundations are Roman (when York was called Eboracum) and when the Danes took over in the 10th Century AD they made the defences their own.

A full walk of the walls takes about 2 hours. You get some wonderful views from the top. Take the perfect picture of the Minster, or get some lovely glimpses into peoples back yards! There are even some museums on the walls and bars, and it is quite amazing to think that you are walking in the footsteps of so much history.

York Walls - A Day Trip To York

See more about the walls and find a map on the Visit York website.

The Monks Of Micklegate Exhibition

This is an interactive exhibition based in the Holy Trinity Church on Micklegate. Find out what is was like to live as a monk in a Benedictine Priory. The monks came to Micklegate in 1089, founding schools, hospitals and tending to their farms. Fun games and quizzes in this interactive exhibition bring it to life for visitors of all ages.

Find out more about the monks and the manuscripts they made (now held in St John’s College, Oxford) at the official website for Holy Trinity Church.

There are a lot of churches in York that are free to visit. Unfortunately, York Minster is not free. But you can still enjoy the stunning architecture of its exterior.


Rowntree Park

Another important fact about York is that is was once the home of the Rowntree factory. Here, they made all manner of confectionery, from chocolate to candied orange. Rowntree Park was created by the factory owner Joseph Rowntree in the memory of factory workers who went to war in WWI and did not return.

Situated right on the banks of the River Ouse, it is a large site with children’s playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, a skateboarding area and lots of green areas in which to enjoy a picnic.

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Take A Free Walking Tour

York has seen so many famous people and events in its history that it is impossible to walk anywhere in the city where fame hasn’t preceded you. From Dick Turpin, Guy Fawkes and Anne Lister, to various kings and queens. And not forgetting the Romans, Vikings and Anglosaxons that have all ruled this city. There are so many stories to be told.

And there are several free walking tours available around the city. Try The Association of Voluntary Guides or White Rose York Tours. Or if you are feeling brave, there are also several ghost walks.

river Ouse in York

Do Some Window Shopping

Yes, you do find all the usual high street shops. But there are also lots of unusual gift shops, from a shop that sells just items about and for cats, to another shop devoted to teddy bears. Also find a Mulberry outlet shop and plenty of items selling souvenirs. Who says that you have to purchase a thing?

There are lots of street entertainers around and about.

One of the best places to window shop is The Shambles, a narrow little street where the buildings from either side almost meet in the middle.

The Shambles - York

St Mary’s Abbey and Yorkshire Museum Gardens

The grounds of The Yorkshire Museum are home to the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, and part of the old city walls. Although there is a small charge for the museum and its displays, the grounds are a lovely place for a picnic or people watching.

Other Free Things to Do In York’s Surrounding Areas

So whether the weather be glorious or horrid, there are plenty of free things to do in York. I hope that one of these appeals to you.

And If you do wish to pay to visit attractions in York. Read here about my perfect day trip to York, and some of the other attractions you can pay to visit.

Or visit this post to see some other York attractions.

Fancy some other free places to visit in West Yorkshire? Why not see my post on Free Things To Do In Leeds?

Or find some Free Things To Do In Bradford.

Have you visited any of these? What did you think? Have I missed any places that you love? Why not comment, or find me on social media?

And please do pin this post for later.

Free Things To Do In York ⋆ Ideas for day out in York that are free and cheap. Entertainment, museums, activities, playgrounds, parks, history, gardens. Children day trip. Yorkshire Activities. #northyorkshire #freedaysout #dayoutyork #trips #dayout #york #yorkshire #DayOutYorkshire #culture #history

Free Things To Do In York ⋆ Ideas for day out in York that are free and cheap. Entertainment, museums, activities, playgrounds, parks, history, gardens. Children day trip. Yorkshire Activities. #northyorkshire #freedaysout #dayoutyork #trips #dayout #york #yorkshire #DayOutYorkshire #culture #history

12 Replies to “Free Things To Do In York”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, I know I am lucky to live near somewhere so historic.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you so much Veronica. Having read a lot about your travels I certainly think that you would love York!

  1. Bread says:

    I haven’t been to York for years. Bit of a trip from West Wales but I do love it there. Thanks for linking up at #kcacols. Hope you can come back next time.

  2. Crystal Green says:

    These all look like fun things to do in York. I am confident I would have enjoyed all of them. Thank you for these suggestions. #KCACOLS

  3. Carol says:

    So many wonderful things to do – and they’re free! Count me in with nature, history, beautiful old buildings….love to be there. #MMBC

  4. Allison says:

    Everything I’ve heard of York makes it sounds so amazing. I’d love to visit some day.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      York is certainly one of my favourite places, and I am very lucky to live so close. Thank you for reading.


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