• The Curious Traveler

What to do in York

Founded by the Romans, York’s Old Town is ringed by a massive wall. Less than a mile across in any direction, this wonderfully preserved medieval town is one of the most fun places in which to wander, especially after hiking the Coast to Coast trail.

The Shambles

York’s most famous street (and possibly the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films), it’s lined with timber-framed buildings with barely a right angle to be found. Although toursty shops abound, you can’t visit York without taking a walk here.

Historic House Museums

Feeling nostalgic for days of yore? There are several impressive house museums to visit from various time periods. They offer architectural and history tours. Check out the medieval Barley Hall, the medieval Merchant Adventurers Hall, the Georgian Fairfax House, the Georgian York Mansion House, and the Tudor-period Treasurer’s House, which is supposedly haunted.

City Gate Experiences

At two of the major gates through the wall, you can find historical, interactive experiences. Monk Bar offers an exhibit on King Richard III, while Micklegate Bar, on the other side of town offers one on Tudor King Henry VII who defeated Richard to win the crown.

Wall Walk

With access points at Micklebar and near the York War Memorial, you can walk all around York on the wall, viewing the Old Town from above.

York Minster

The massive Gothic cathedral is hard to miss. It’s famous for its vast stained glass windows. Take a tower tour and make sure to see the Roman ruins in the basement.

Yorkshire Museum

To gain a deeper understanding of this area, meander through the five galleries, which showcase archaeological treasures and rotating exhibits relevant to Yorkshire.

Clifford’s Tower

This is the only remnant of William the Conqueror’s York Castle. On a clear day you can see as far as the North York Moors!

Cold War Bunker

For those who want a bit more recent historical experiences, take a tour through the Cold War bunker, designed as a center to monitor fallout in case of a nuclear attack and in use until the 1990s. The bunker is open to visitors by guided tours only.

Yorkshire Air Museum

A former World War II airfield used by Allied bomber crews, the complex now offers exhibits on aviation history and is home to a fascinating collection of sixty historic aircraft.


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