York | Sightseeing

Sightseeing

If you’re wondering what to do in York, start by reading our guide to the city’s best sights and attractions. Our recommendations are a mix of museums, galleries, iconic buildings and places that the kids will love. 

York Races

York Racecourse has fixtures throughout the racing season, but the real attraction is the Ebor Fesitval in August. Over four days, the city is at its exuberant best and full of brightly dressed racegoers. From Premier Inn Blossom Street North and Premier Inn Blossom Street South, it’s only a 15 - 20 minute walk. It’s possible to drive but traffic can be pretty bad. 

National Railway Museum

You don’t have to be a trainspotter to enjoy the National Railway Museum’s majestic engines. The Mallard, a replica of Robert Stephenson’s Rocket and the Shinkansen (aka Japanese bullet train) are particular highlights. Anyone interested in design will appreciate Railway Posters collection. 
 

York Minster

York Minster is a spectacle to behold. Climb the central tower where you’ll be rewarded with awesome views. Go on one of the guided tours to get an insight into this iconic building or simply take stock of the stained glass and sheer scale of the place. As the Minster is still an active place of worship, Christmas is an even more magical time to visit. 

The Shambles

The shops on York Shambles may no longer sell meat from open windows or be littered with offal and bones; yet this curious street retains much of its former charm. One of the best preserved medieval lanes in the world, it’s so narrow that locals say you can shake hands with someone on the opposite side of the street.

York Art Gallery

Refurbished in 2015, York Art Gallery has a wonderful collection of paintings, decorative arts and pottery spanning more than 600 years. It includes works by Lowry and Yorkshireman, David Hockney. The Victorian-era building sits in the stunning Exhibition Square, and is conveniently close to the City Walls and Museum Gardens. 

York Dungeon

Venture below Clifford Street to experience the York Dungeons. With more than 2000 years of York’s most horrible histories, you'll find tales of witches, plague doctors and vengeful Vikings brought to life by theatre actors and special effects.
Prepare to laugh, cry and scream at this ‘dark comedy’ of attractions.

Museum Gardens

The Museum Gardens are one of the reasons York is so wonderful. As well as being a beautiful botanical garden, you’ll find the Yorkshire Museum, York Observatory, York Hospitium, the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey and a Roman Fortress. Around the remains of St Leonard’s Hospital, you may see a peacock.

Barley Hall

Barley Hall

There aren’t many places where you can organise a medieval banquet - Barley Hall is one of them.  If you don’t get chance to pop in, you can admire the splendour of this restored 14th-century building from the snickelway connecting Stonegate and Swinegate. 
 

Clifford's Tower

Clifford’s Tower

You can’t miss Clifford’s Tower. It’s the round castle on top of a steep mound right in the city centre.  During spring, it’s framed by a glorious sea of daffodils. Climb up the stairs for spectacular views of York and the surrounding area or go inside for a taste of the original interior. 

Castle Museum

Castle Museum

Great for kids, the Castle Museum shows you what life was like in Victorian York, Sixties York and inside the original cells of York Castle Prison.

 

Guided tours

Board a YorkBoat river cruise, go ghost hunting on one of many official ghost tours, sightsee from the comfort of an open-top York City Sightseeing Bus or pedal your way round the city with York Cycling Tours.
 

Parks and gardens

Dean’s Park (locals call it the Minster Gardens) is right by the Minster and home to the Cathedral Library. Rowntree Park and Homestead Park will keep the kids entertained. And Goddard’s Garden is a lesser-know retreat just a mile or so from the city centre.


York City Walls

Follow an official Friends of York Walls trail or hop on and off at your leisure. You can join the circuit at almost any of the bars (aka gateways). Micklegate Bar has its own museum, Monk Bar is the most ornate and each has a gruesome story behind it. 

Yorkshire Museum

The Yorkshire Museum is located in the Museum Gardens right in the city centre.

Extinct auks, a meteorite, Viking treasure and Roman hair are just some of the reasons you should pay this Museum a visit.


Looking for a hotel in York?

We've got plenty of hotels in York to choose from. Premier Inn Blossom Street North and Premier Inn Blossom Street South are both in the city centre and a five-minute walk from York train station. Our York North hotel is about a mile from the city centre, with easy access to the A19, A64 and the businesses in and around Clifton. To be within striking distance of the York Designer Outlet, or to get to the A1(M) quickly, Premier Inn York South West is the ideal place to stay. Premier Inn York North West puts you 3-4 miles from the train station and is close to handy road connections.