42 fun things to do in York

York is a walled, vibrant northern city, famous across the world for its historic buildings and home to nearly 2000 years of Roman and Viking history – not to mention being voted the best place to live in the UK!

History fans will be in their element in this stunningly preserved medieval city, from the cobbled streets and overhanging buildings of the York Shambles to an amazing amount of historical landmarks and museums. Find out more about York’s Nordic history at the Jorvick Viking Centre, or immerse yourself in gruesome tales with a spooky tour of York.

Whether you’re interested in exploring medieval buildings, sampling local cuisine, or enjoying a night out, York has something for everyone. Here are some fun ideas to help you make the most of your visit.

First, take a stroll through the Shambles, a narrow, cobbled street lined with crooked, medieval buildings. It’s said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books, and it’s easy to see why. The street is home to some of the city’s most unique shops, including a store that sells handmade fudge and a shop that specializes in all things Harry Potter.

Next, head to York’s famous Chocolate Story museum. The museum tells the story of York’s chocolate history and offers visitors a chance to see how chocolate is made, sample some delicious treats, and even make their own chocolate creations. You can’t leave York without trying some of the famous chocolate from local chocolatiers, like York’s Chocolate Story, The Chocolate Works, or Monk Bar Chocolatiers.

For a different perspective on the city, climb to the top of Clifford’s Tower, a medieval castle that offers panoramic views of York. From the top, you’ll be able to see the city’s most famous landmarks, including York Minster, the city walls, and the River Ouse.

Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll along the city walls. York’s walls are one of the best-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Europe, and walking along them is a great way to explore the city. Along the way, you’ll see some of York’s most famous landmarks, like the iconic red phone booth that stands atop the walls, and the beautiful city gates.

When it comes to food and drink, York has plenty to offer. For a classic pub experience, head to The Golden Fleece, one of the city’s oldest pubs. The pub is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a former landlady and her cat. If you’re feeling brave, ask the staff to tell you some of their spooky stories.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale, check out Skosh, a modern British restaurant that’s been getting rave reviews from food critics. The restaurant serves small plates that are perfect for sharing, and the menu features locally sourced ingredients and innovative flavour combinations.

Finally, if you’re looking for a night out, head to Fibbers, a popular music venue that’s hosted everyone from Oasis to Nirvana over the years. The venue has a laid-back vibe and attracts a diverse crowd of music lovers. You never know who you might see on stage at Fibbers!

Make the most of your visit: fun things to do York

  • Explore the Shambles: this is one of the most iconic streets in York, with its medieval architecture, narrow cobbled streets, and quirky shops. It’s said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books!
  • Visit York Minster: this stunning cathedral is one of the largest in Europe and has been a place of worship for over 1,000 years. Make sure to climb to the top of the tower for stunning views of the city.
  • Walk the City Walls: York has the most intact city walls in England, and walking the entire circuit is a great way to get a sense of the city’s history and layout. Make sure to stop at the various towers and gatehouses along the way for great photo opportunities.
  • Have a pint at the King’s Arms: this historic pub has been around since the 16th century and is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former landlord. It’s a great place to grab a pint of local ale and soak up the atmosphere.
  • Visit the National Railway Museum: York played a key role in the development of the railway, and this museum has a huge collection of historic locomotives and exhibits that tell the story of this important industry.
  • Go ghost hunting: York is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the UK, and there are plenty of spooky tours and ghost walks you can take to explore the city’s darker side.
  • Visit the York Chocolate Story: did you know that York was once the chocolate capital of the UK? Learn all about the city’s sweet history and even try your hand at making your own chocolates at this interactive museum.
  • Have a picnic in Museum Gardens: this beautiful park is home to several museums and the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, but it’s also a great place to relax and have a picnic on a sunny day.
  • Take a river cruise: see the city from a different perspective by taking a boat tour along the River Ouse. You’ll see some of York’s most famous landmarks from the water, and it’s a great way to relax after a busy day of sightseeing.
  • Eat some Yorkshire pudding: no trip to York is complete without trying this classic English dish. You’ll find it on the menu at many traditional pubs and restaurants around the city.

There you have it, fun things not to miss in York. Enjoy your visit!


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