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Historic Attractions in York, England

Updated on March 30, 2016

Most Popular Attractions in York

York Minster

Considered a gothic master piece, York Minster cathedral estimated to have been first constructed from wood around the year 627. Ten years later a stone construction was erected.

The current building took 242 years to finish after being started way back in year 1230 and was not completed to the year 1472. It is hard to believe such magnificent structures existed back then.

Like most historic buildings, York Minster has seen its fair share of damage caused by the likes of lightning strikes, fires, being exposed to Britain’s lovely loyal wet and windy weather for a few hundreds of years etc. As a result the building has seen many changes throughout its history and probably will continue to do so.

The thing with popular historic buildings like York Minster is that they are an evolution to themselves.

The history of York Minster is truly tremendous and the best way to take in its history is by visiting the cathedral with a tour guide. Tour guides know the story’s that capture the imagination, telling them in a way that excites rather than bores... well most tour guides do but there may be one or two boring guides that slip through the net so please choose carefully.

All in all York Minster is a must visit if one likes there history.


York Castle Museum

This historic attraction is one for all the family. Best known for taking visitors back in time to experience Britain’s Victorian era (1837 – 1901). Walk down kirkgate street 19th century style York. The street has shops, products, Victorian lighting and sound to give visitors a great experience of what it was like back in the day in York.

Another top attractions in the museum is York Castle Prison, this is the place Dick Turpin was hanged in 1739 for stealing horses. Other real life prison stories are told by museum staff in harrowing details. A must for all the family however, if the young ones are squeamish it may be a good idea to the view historic toys and fashion section rather than visiting the Castle Prison.


The Shambles

This street truly does deserve to be acclaimed “Europe’s best preserved medieval street. Buildings on the street date back to the 15th century with quirky ins and outs all over the place. The street was once locally famous for being a street full of butchers. Records that date back to 1872 show there was once 26 butchers on the street.

Livestock was slaughtered on the street and displayed in the shammels (open windows with benches) hence the adoption of the street name Shambles. Its interesting to note in the picture below how there is a channel running down the centre of the street.

This is where the butchers would wash away their mess twice weekly to create a stream of blood running down the street.

Today this historic York Street is lined with popular cafes, restaurants shops and tourist attractions.



York has a history dating back near to when time began so as you can imagine the historical value this city has is near unique. I have pointed out the three historic visitor attractions that I found to be the most interesting and enjoyable however, do keep in mind there are attractions in York that I have not had the chance to visit.

Most Historical Attractions in the City



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