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Things to do in York

10 Great Things to do and See in York

York Minster
A River Cruise
Betty’s Tearoom and much more…

1. York Minster

You really can’t visit York without a trip to the minster.  Free tours are offered hourly and for those with a head for heights you can climb the central tower and enjoy the views over the city and beyond.  May 2013 saw the opening of The Undercroft, a new experience within underground chambers of the minster,  Here you will learn about the lives of the people involved in the minster from past to present day.

2. The National Railway Museum

The Museum hosts a collection of over 1,000 objects from 300 years for railway history.  Entry is free.  The museum has guest exhibitions and events throughout the year including photographic exhibitions and various events for children such as Santa’s Steam Adventure.  Thomas the Tank Engine has also made guest appearances.

3. The Jorvik Centre

This is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK, welcoming over 16 million visitors through it’s doors since opening 29 years ago.  Archaeologists worked from 1976 – 1981 to reveal homes, backyards and workshops as they stood over 1,000 years ago – the Jorvik centre was then built on this very site and surrounded by a very modern shopping centre called Coopergate.  Visitors are lead through the various exhibits in time capsules.

4. Walking the Walls

The walls surrounding the city span 2.75 miles, encircling 263 acres.  Originally there were only 4 entrances into the city – known as Bars, Bootham, Walmgate, Monk and Micklegate Bars.   Visitors to the city bringing goods were charged a tax.  Access to the city is now far easier than in Roman times and they don’t charge you a tax, although you do now have to pay for parking – which wasn’t an issue in Roman times.

5. Bettys Tea Room

Not a museum but probably one of the best-known landmarks in York.  Visitors from all across the globe have heard of Bettys.  It was established in 1919, in Harrogate by a Swiss gentleman named Frederick Belmont.  He later opened Bettys in York which became very popular during the war years as it had a basement, then used as a bar by American and Canadian Bomber Boys.  The menu offers traditional English afternoon tea as well as lunch, dinner and the menu still has a very Swiss influence today.  Bettys is still run by the same family.

6. The Shambles

The Shambles won the award for Britains’ most picturesque street in 2010, ran by Google.   The fifteenth-century buildings lean forwards so much that it is rumoured in some places you could lean out of the top floor window and hold hands with someone in the opposite building.  The street is over 900 years old and it was mentioned in The Doomsday Book.  It is Yorks’ oldest street, originally a street of butchers but today you will find many of the high streets famous names.

7. The York Chocolate Story

A relatively new attraction, but one that should keep the children happy is The York Chocolate Story.  York was home to both Rowntrees and Terrys chocolate, discover the history and enjoy some chocolate tasting and even make your own chocolates.

8. The Ice Factor

The largest outdoor ice rink in the North of England is located at The York Designer Outlet as part of their Winter Wonderland held from late November until 5th January.  As well as the ice ring, there is a fun fair, Santas Grotto and a Christmas market.  An ideal day out for all the family and the Christmas shopping done at the same time!

9. River Boat Cruise

Always a good way to see any city is by the river.  Pick up a river boat cruise at Lendal Bridge.

10. York Pass 

If you are planning on visiting several of Yorks’ museums then purchasing a York Pass is the most cost effective way.  It allows access to over 30 different attractions.  You also get a free guidebook to the city and discount vouchers.

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