Free Things To Do In York

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Are you looking for a brilliant idea for a day out in England? Then right at the top of our favourite places to travel to is York. With a whole host of things to do in York city centre, things to see in York and attractions at York to do then you are bound to find the perfect family friendly activity for you. But what if you are tight on budget? Some of the attractions York has to offer are not cheap! Well, read on, as I am going to share with you some best things to do in York England for free or if you are on a tight budget!

Free Things To Do In York England

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

York National Railway Museum

This has to be at the top of the list of free things to do in York UK. 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 and one of the best York city attractions 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

One of the most popular places of interest in York are its 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 and it is a brilliant way of taking in the city sightseeing York from all angles. It will give you great ideas for other places to see in York. 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, or visit York Information Centre in the city.

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 itself is not free. But you can still enjoy the stunning architecture of its exterior.

Visit The Shambles

Of all the York places to see and York places to go, the Shambles is currently one of the most popular for tourists. With its history and quaint wonkiness, you could be forgiven for thinking you had gone back in time or are on the set of Harry Potter. Indeed, if you are looking for York souvenirs, or in the Shambles market shopping for gifts, then you will find lots of Potter merchandise. Be aware that the Shambles does get very busy! The best tijme to visit is early on a weekday morning.

The Shambles - York

Rowntree Park

The next of our free places to go in York is Rowntree Park. York 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. If oyu have children it is certainly one of the best places to visit in York.

 

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, which may cost a little money, but are some of the best things to do in York at night.

river Ouse in York

Do The Cat Treasure Hunt York Has To Offer

Another on of my favourite free York things to do is to do the cat treasure hunt. The map can be found at the cat gallery website. The cat hunt takes you on a walk around some of the most popular York tourist attractions. Lots of buildings around York have cat statues and paintings to spot. The full walk will take about an hour, and is lots of fun to do with your children!

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 also 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.

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 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 today. I hope that one of these appeals to you.

Look For Special Offers

Just because you are on a budget doesnt mean that you need to miss out on the best things to see in York. Whether you are looking for tickets to 

  • York Castle Museum
  • The Jorvik Viking Centre
  • City Cruises York
  • York Dungeon
  • Cliffords Tower
  • or any of York’s art galleries 

you should keep a close eye on each museum’s website for special offers and discounts. You may even be able to get a discounted afternoon tea!

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.

Have You Enjoyed This Post On Free And Low Cost Things To Do In York England For Adults And Kids Of All Ages? Why Not Visit My Other Posts?

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.

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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.

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

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

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  4. Allison says:

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

    Reply
    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.

      Reply

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