Things to do in York for adults
Learn about the production of England’s favourite tipple, via a Brew York tour. These run on Fridays and Saturdays, last 60 to 75 minutes and include four 1/3 pint samples, for a taste of Yorkshire. Brew York began life in 2016, inspired by its surroundings, and creates quirky concoctions like Rhubarbra Streisand, Viking DNA and Dame Judi Quench.
The largest medieval cathedral in Northern Europe lies at the city’s very heart. Featuring intricate stone carvings and an enormous stained glass Great East Window, York Minster is an awe-inspiring example of English Gothic-style craftsmanship. Attend a concert or a service, take a tour, or simply wander its perimeter en route to your next stop.
Now an English Heritage property with an internal exhibition, this circular stone keep has played a pivotal role in York’s complex history. Its design is unique and distinctive and stands as one of the few remaining examples of this type of Norman architecture in England.
Take to the waters and feel the wind in your hair as you observe the city from a different perspective. There are several providers running cruises along the River Ouse, most departing from Lendal Bridge or King’s Staith Landing. Those with an adventurous spirit can pack a picnic and rent a self-drive boat.
Connect with your inner Viking while releasing any pent-up tension, with indoor axe throwing at The Hilt. Coaches are on hand to teach techniques and trickshots, so you can compete against your friends, family, or significant other, using your newfound skill. While this is more of an adult activity, teens are welcome at the earlier sessions.
Things to do in York for families
The National Railway Museum
Immerse yourself in the romance and adventure of the Golden Era of Travel as you explore over 300 years of locomotive history. From giants of the steam age to the sleek trains of today, The National Railway Museum boasts an incredible collection of iconic engines with lots of hands-on, interactive displays to engage younger visitors. Open seven days a week, it’s great for occupying restless little ones on a rainy day.
York Chocolate Story
Chocolate is a timeless crowd-pleaser at York Chocolate Story visitors can taste and experience it on another level. Along the way you’ll discover how the Rowntree and Terry’s factories played a part in making York the city it is today and find out which iconic chocolate bars began life here.
York Castle Museum
Covering four centuries of history, the interactive exhibits, immersive galleries and recreated rooms at York Castle Museum pique the interest of many generations. Occupying the site of the former York Castle (originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068), the museum is housed in former prisons.
The Jorvik Viking Centre
Step into 975 AD and the world of the Vikings at this multisensory museum experience. It features a cast of costumed guides, a time capsule ride through Jorvik with 360-degree views and even some realistic Middle Ages aromas. Enhance your ticket value by purchasing a Pastport, which will also grant entry into DIG, Barley Hall and the City Walls Experience.
The Hole In Wand
This magical nine-hole indoor golf course takes players on a journey through cauldrons, portals and spells, in search of the gargoyle Grobblenook. The more of you there are, the longer the course will last, but do allow a minimum of one hour. Afterwards, you can all enjoy cakes and “potions” at The Hole In Wand’s Wizard Tavern.
The Wizard Walk of York
Another spellbinding option for wannabe wizards, this entertaining and funny walking tour begins and ends at The Shambles. The multi-award-winning experience is best suited to primary-aged children.
Playgrounds, a cafe, a skatepark, tennis courts, a basketball court, ponds, woodland walks, trails and a river running through; this urban oasis provides hours of active fun in nature. The park first opened in 1921, gifted to the people of York by the Rowntree Family, as a place of rest and recreation.
Things to do in York at night
Take in a show
York Theatre Royal, York Barbican and the Grand Opera House collectively present everything from West End musicals to comedy, plays and live gigs, bringing some night-time culture to your city stay.
The Bar Convent
This is the oldest living convent in the UK, dating back to the 17th century. Visitors can peruse the exhibition, with stories of the secrecy and espionage that once surrounded the building. Do stay for lunch in the glorious Victorian Atrium cafe, or outside in its peaceful garden.
Regarded as one of the most haunted cities in the land, York serves as an eerie backdrop for a fright night. Wander the sights as you hear tales of its supernatural residents, including Dick Turpin who’s said to haunt the alleyways. The Bloody Tour of York is a perennial favourite among the ghost walk tours and offers something a little bit different. And The Ghost Bus tour is a popular option with less walking — it’s at the lower end of the scary scale and is very funny.
We hope this guide helps you to curate an itinerary of activities in York that you and your party will love. If you’re seeking a base in — or close to — the city, do take a look at our hand-picked portfolio of beautiful properties.
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