things to do in york

15 Things To Do In York, England, UK- One day Trip

Welcome to York, a city that effortlessly weaves together centuries of history, captivating architecture, and enchanting experiences. Nestled in the heart of North Yorkshire, this remarkable destination offers a myriad of treasures waiting to be discovered. Join me on an adventure as we explore the best things to do in York, from strolling down the charming Shambles street to immersing ourselves in the fascinating tales of the city’s rich heritage.

1. Shambles Street and Shamble Market

Let’s begin our exploration in the picturesque Shambles, a street frozen in time and known for its timber-framed buildings dating back to the medieval era. As we wander through the narrow cobblestone lanes, we’re transported to a bygone era. The Shamble Market, nestled within this quaint street, is a vibrant hub of local artisans, offering an array of unique crafts, jewelry, and delectable treats. Take your time to browse through the stalls, savor the aroma of freshly baked goods, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.

2. York Minster Cathedral

Things To Do In York

No visit to York is complete without marveling at the awe-inspiring York Minster Cathedral. This architectural masterpiece, towering over the city skyline, boasts stunning stained glass windows, intricate stone carvings, and a serene atmosphere. Step inside and let the ethereal light filter through the colorful glass, illuminating the grandeur of the cathedral. Climb the narrow spiral staircase to the top of the central tower for panoramic views of the city that will take your breath away. Feel the weight of history and spirituality as you explore the sacred halls of this iconic landmark.

3. York City Wall

Step back in time as we embark on a leisurely walk along the ancient York City Wall. This remarkably preserved medieval structure encircles the city, offering a fascinating glimpse into York’s past. As we stroll along the ramparts, we’re treated to stunning vistas of the city’s charming rooftops, lush gardens, and historical landmarks. Take a moment to imagine the bustling life within these walls centuries ago and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship that went into building this formidable defense system.

4. York Chocolate History

Calling all chocolate lovers! Prepare to indulge your senses in the tantalizing world of York’s chocolate history. Visit the Chocolate Story Museum and uncover the city’s sweet heritage, from its role in the chocolate industry to hands-on workshops where you can create your own delectable treats. Immerse yourself in the aroma of cocoa beans, learn about the art of chocolate making, and sample a variety of mouth watering chocolates. Don’t forget to take home some delectable souvenirs for your loved ones (or yourself!).

5. Museum Gardens

Take a moment to bask in the tranquility of the Museum Gardens, a green oasis nestled in the heart of the city. This beautifully manicured park is dotted with ancient ruins, including the impressive remains of St. Mary’s Abbey. As we meander along the peaceful pathways, we’ll encounter vibrant flower beds, serene ponds, and the scent of blooming roses. Find a cozy spot to sit and soak up the atmosphere, enjoying a picnic or simply relishing the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

6. National Railway Museum

For those with a penchant for locomotives and the romance of the railways, the National Railway Museum is an absolute must-visit. Delve into the rich history of rail travel as you explore a vast collection of vintage locomotives, interactive exhibits, and awe-inspiring engineering marvels. From the iconic Flying Scotsman to the opulent carriages of the Royal Train, the museum showcases the evolution of trains and their impact on society. Don’t miss the chance to climb aboard famous locomotives and experience the magic of the steam era.

7. Dean Garden

Escape the urban landscape and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Dean Garden. Located along the banks of the River Ouse, this peaceful haven offers a tranquil retreat. Stroll through the vibrant flower beds, lounge on the grassy lawns, or simply find a serene spot to enjoy a picnic while soaking in the picturesque views. The gentle sound of the river and the chirping of birds create a soothing soundtrack as you unwind amidst nature’s embrace.

8. The Shop That Must Not Be Named – Harry Potter Shop

Step into a world of magic and wonder at The Shop That Must Not Be Named. As avid Harry Potter fans, we’ll delight in browsing through shelves filled with wands, wizarding robes, and an extensive collection of Potter memorabilia. From collectible merchandise to enchanting potions, this whimsical store invites us to relive the enchantment of J.K. Rowling’s beloved wizarding world. Explore the nooks and crannies, and perhaps even find a magical souvenir to remind you of your time in York.

9. St. Margaret’s Church

St. Margaret’s Church offers a tranquil respite away from the bustling city of York. This hidden gem showcases beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stone carvings, displaying the city’s rich ecclesiastical history. Take a moment to soak in the peaceful ambiance and admire the architectural splendor of this lesser-known treasure. The quiet beauty of St. Margaret’s Church provides an opportunity for reflection and appreciation of the city’s spiritual heritage.

10. The York Ghost Merchants

Discover a truly unique shop in York’s historic Shambles: York Ghost Merchants. This extraordinary store, located at number 6 Shambles, offers an exclusive range of handcrafted ghosts. Step inside to find a traditional Georgian-themed setting, complete with oak-panelled walls and display cases. As you explore, you’ll uncover a fascinating blend of history, myth, and legend. Each ghost is meticulously crafted on-site and comes with its own specially designed travel box. Experience the enchantment of choosing your very own ghost among the thousand displayed on the shelves. Capture a photograph with your chosen spectral companion in a hidden compartment before it’s carefully packed for its journey to your home. Don’t miss this opportunity to embrace York’s haunted heritage and take home an unforgettable souvenir from York Ghost Merchants—the only store of its kind in the city.

11. The Potion Cauldron Shop

Step into The Potion Cauldron Shop, a place where magical concoctions come to life. Channel your inner wizard as you peruse shelves stocked with mystical ingredients, spellbinding potions, and enchanting artifacts. Unleash your creativity and mix your very own potion under the guidance of the knowledgeable shopkeepers. Whether you’re seeking a love potion or a luck elixir, this whimsical shop is bound to ignite your imagination and add a touch of enchantment to your visit.

12. At the Mill Cafe – One Hour from York

If you’re in the mood for a charming countryside escape, take a short journey outside York to At the Mill Cafe. Nestled within the scenic beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, this cozy café offers delectable homemade treats, refreshing beverages, and a warm, welcoming ambiance. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the idyllic surroundings before continuing your York adventure. The rural charm and tranquility of this hidden gem provide a perfect contrast to the bustling city atmosphere.

13. Clifford’s Tower

Perched atop a grassy mound, Clifford’s Tower stands as a symbol of York’s tumultuous past. Explore this 13th-century castle keep, once part of York Castle, and marvel at the panoramic views it offers over the city. Learn about its rich history, from its origins as a royal palace to its use as a prison during darker times. As you ascend the tower, let your imagination transport you to an era of knights, battles, and royal intrigue.

14. Jorvik Viking Centre

Journey back in time to the days of Vikings at the immersive Jorvik Viking Centre. Located at the site of a major archaeological discovery, this interactive museum allows you to step into the shoes of the Vikings who once inhabited the city. Explore reconstructed Viking streets, complete with authentic smells and sounds, and witness the daily lives of these fierce warriors. Engage with knowledgeable guides who bring the Viking era to life, sharing captivating stories and insights. Gain a deeper understanding of their culture, trades, and customs, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the rich Viking history of York.

15. York Dungeon

For those with a taste for the macabre, a visit to the York Dungeon promises a thrilling and spine-chilling experience. Step into the dark depths of the dungeon and prepare to be transported to some of the most haunting moments in York’s history. Through a combination of live actors, special effects, and interactive storytelling, you’ll come face-to-face with infamous characters like Guy Fawkes and the legendary highwayman Dick Turpin. Brace yourself for heart-pounding tales of witch trials, plague outbreaks, and the notorious highway robbery that plagued the city. The York Dungeon offers a unique and unforgettable way to delve into the dark and eerie chapters of York’s past.

As we conclude our exploration of the captivating city of York, we realize that there is so much more to discover beyond the walls of this ancient city. York’s rich heritage, architectural splendor, and unique experiences make it a truly unforgettable destination. From the enchanting streets of Shambles to the awe-inspiring York Minster Cathedral, the city offers a blend of history, culture, and charm that will leave you captivated.

So, pack your bags, set out on an adventure, and let the wonders of York mesmerize you. Whether you find yourself lost in the magical world of Harry Potter, immersed in the Viking era, or trembling in the depths of the York Dungeon, the city’s treasures are bound to ignite your imagination and create memories that will last a lifetime. York awaits, ready to share its stories and unveil its secrets to those who dare to explore.