Attractions in York

Things to do in York | Attractions

The little northern city of York has a big story to tell. This medieval marvel has an incredible heritage, being both a Roman and a Viking stronghold. Unsurprisingly for a town with such a wealth of history behind it, the city’s brimming with not-to-be-missed attractions. From historic buildings such as York Minster to award-winning parks like Rowntree, its sightseeing opportunities will entertain, inspire and capture your imagination, in equal measure. And whatever part of town your big day out takes you to, there’ll be a friendly team waiting to look after you at a nearby Premier Inn hotel in York.


Historic buildings

No matter where you’re staying in York, you won’t go far without tripping over a historical landmark or three, from Roman ruins to a whole street full of well-preserved medieval buildings.

York Minster
is a spectacle to behold. So big it even has its own police force, it’s spectacular from the outside, but inside its sheer size and scale are jaw-dropping - in fact the Leaning Tower of Pisa would fit inside the central tower. Go on one of the guided tours to get an insight into this iconic building or simply take stock of the stained glass. And when you’ve finished climbing the tower, there’s a Premier Inn hotel near York Minster that’s the perfect place to rest your weary legs.

Crammed with buildings more than 500 years old, The Shambles is believed to be the oldest shopping street in Europe. And it looks it - higgledy piggledy timber-framed buildings that lean together so they seem to touch at the top. Once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, a number of the hooks that butchers used to hang out their meat are still visible on the buildings. Nowadays you’re more likely to pick up a souvenir than a side of beef though.

York has more miles of intact city wall than anywhere else in England and walking them is a great way to get a feel for the city. It’s free to access and you can join the 5km long York Walls circuit at any of the four ‘Bars’ (former gatehouses that were once used to extract tolls from the people coming in and out).

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.


Parks

Soak up the sunshine and take stock of your day’s sightseeing by enjoying one of York’s magnificent parks. The city is blessed with an abundance of green spaces, so take your pick...

The York 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 even see a peacock.

Green Flag award-winning Rowntree Park couldn’t be more idyllic. This 20-acre site in the city centre has a large lake, a canal and a water cascade, as well as plenty of areas to keep the kids entertained, from skateboarding ramps to playgrounds.

Homestead Park is known for its glorious floral displays and was the gold award winner of the Yorkshire in Bloom awards of 2012. But there’s also a huge play area, the highlight of which is a helter-skelter slide, plus plenty of wildlife to discover. And our Premier Inn York North hotel isn’t far from all the fun.

York Museum

The Jorvik Centre


Attractions

With more attractions per square mile than any other UK city, it can be hard to know what to see first in York. But you’ll almost certainly want to tick these must-see places off your list.

Dick Turpin, Guy Fawkes…you’ll meet some of the darkest characters in the city’s history at the fantastically entertaining York Dungeon. A cast of trained actors will be your guides as you travel through all the sights, smells and sounds of 2,000 years of history. The tour includes ten live shows and a chance to drink in the ye olde pub at the end...if you dare!

The Jorvik Centre is more of an adventure than a museum. Combining archaeological findings with a massive amount of fun, the highlight has to be the thrilling ride-on exhibit. This takes you  back to the year AD960 when the last Viking King in Jorvik, Eric Bloodaxe, was expelled. From there you’ll live through the experience of international trade arriving in Viking-Age York.

In the city centre you’ll find York's Chocolate Story, an interactive museum that gives a fascinating glimpse into York’s chocolate making past. Find out all about the history of York’s finest exports (the Chocolate Orange and the Kit Kat) then enjoy the best bit - the tasting.


Stadiums

OK so they may not rival Anfield or Old Trafford, but what York’s stadiums lack in size, they more than make up for with character.

For a glimpse of what football used to look like in England head to Bootham Crescent for a trip back in time. Once called Kit Kat Crescent in a reference to York’s famous chocolate creation, this is the home of York FC. Grab a pie and hit the terraces, but enjoy it while you can - the ground is set for redevelopment.

Due for completion in 2019, York Community Stadium will have room for 8,000 footie and rugby fans. But the planned complex will also include a swimming pool, cinema, gym, dance studio and both indoor and outdoor climbing facilities.


Looking for a hotel in York?

We've got plenty of hotels in York to choose from. Our  Blossom Street North and Blossom Street South hotels are right in the city centre. And our York North hotel is a mile further out and our Premier Inn York North West hotel is a few miles from the train station and is close to handy road connections.