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What To Do In York, England

Updated on June 21, 2016

York is a beautiful English town just a few hours from London by train. It's been inhabited for the past 2000 years, and relics from its Viking and Roman past can be seen by visitors. York is very walkable, with the majority of its tourist attractions less than ten minutes walk away from each other.

Explore York's 'Snickelways'

Snickelways, a term coined by Mark W. Jones for a book about York, are narrow laneways or paths. And York certainly has a lot of them! It's possible to explore them on your own, or with a tour guide. Some ghost tours include venturing into the snickelways, whilst there are some walks that focus on the snickelways, including Yorkwalk, which is the company I used. I personally would not recommend using that company, as when I took a tour with them I found them to be unprofessional and the walk itself was badly presented, and thus quite dull.

Walk the City Walls

You can walk on the ancient city walls and see York from above. The walls walk is nearly two miles long, and free to access. And, depending on the time of year, you may see thousands of bright yellow daffodils dotting the sloped ground outside the city walls. The gates onto the walls are locked at dusk.

York Castle Museum

Includes a Victorian street, complete with old-style shops you can go into and purchase small things from (soap, liquorice root, lollies etc), and shopkeepers happy to explain the contents of the shop and their purpose.
There is an exhibit set in prison cells, which includes actors telling the tales of some of the prison's inmates via screen projector, including Dick Turpin, a highwayman, and Mary Burgan, accused of infanticide.
Other displays include old toys, military equipment and a look into past and present society's treatment of birth, marriage and death.

The Shambles

The Shambles is an old, narrow street with cobbled pathways and interesting buildings that remind me of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Inside the buildings are tourist shops with tourist prices. The Shambles are quite famous and very popular with tourists, so go early to beat the crowds.

York Cat Trail

Starting in the Shambles, this free activity will lead you around York looking around and noticing details you wouldn't have otherwise as you follow the trail looking for statues of cats. You can also buy your own glass cat from the shop afterwards, and they are quite reasonably priced. Pick up the map with locations of the map at York Glass which is located at 34 Shambles, or online from

National Railway Museum

Currently York's number one attraction on TripAdvisor, the National Railway Museum delivers what it says: trains. Lots and lots of trains. Included in the museum are some trains that were used by royalty, as well as lots of information about everything to do with trains. Not everybody's cup of tea, but entry is free so it's well worth a look. It's definitely worth seeing if you have kids- the day I went there were heaps of little children, all of whom seemed to be having a great time learning about trains and seeing some fancy ones.


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    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Interesting. The fact that York is walk-able, makes it a place that I want to visit. I have seen pictures of the castles and historical buildings. Thank you for sharing this with us!