5 free things to do in… York

Date Posted: 18/06/2014

York Castle Walls, credit Gareth Buddo, www.visityork.org.

The historic city of York offers a host of sightseeing options and attractions to visit - here’s what you can enjoy for free.

1. Walk the castle walls

While many groups visit York for the shopping, to visit the famous Bettys tearoom, or for the towering York Minster, it’s the city’s castle walls which are arguably one of its most fascinating attractions.

Hop up the stairs at one of the wall’s many entry points and you will have before you around four- kilometres of Grade I-listed scheduled ancient monument to explore.

Although the wall does not completely enclose the city anymore, a stroll atop the masonry does make for an interesting take on sightseeing in this Roman city.

2. Take a trip down The Shambles

The Shambles is one of the best-preserved medieval streets in the world, with many of its buildings overhanging the narrow cobbled lane dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

Today, The Shambles is lined with restaurants, cafes and shops, but this belies what it used to be like.

As recently as the late 19th century there were 25 butchers’ shops on the street, with ‘Shambles’ acknowledged to come from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘shammels’, referring to the shelves on which the butchers displayed their meats for sale.

3. Visit Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church sits secluded in the shadow of the famous York Minster, tucked away just behind Goodramgate in the centre of the city.

The church is brimming with character, with uneven floors that may date back to the 15th century, or even as far back as the 12th century. Visitors can also admire the stained glass which adorns the windows.

4. Uncover record-breakers and history-makers

York’s National Railway Museum is reportedly the world’s largest railway museum. Welcoming over 700,000 visitors every year, there’s access to an unbelievable amount of locomotive history throughout the museum’s numerous galleries.

National Railway Museum, credit www.visityork.org.

The Great Hall is home to some of the largest train locomotives in history, ranging from Royal carriages to record-breakers to history-makers, all of which are there to be gawped at, stroked and remembered.

There are quirkier displays too, including the largest collection of model railway vehicles built by one man - James Peel Richards, who built 610 models during his lifetime.

5. Stroll around the museum gardens

The Yorkshire Museum is a great attraction, and you can choose to take a stroll around its gardens free of charge.

Set just across the river Ouse, the museum gardens promise a sprawling expanse of greenery and foliage.

Ideal for a pre-shopping walk or a spot of al fresco picnicking, from here, groups can also see the romantic ruins of the 11th century St Mary’s Abbey. 

For more information or guidance about arranging a group trip to York, visit www.groupvisityork.com.

Photo credits: www.visityork.org.

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