Top 10 places to visit in York

Hi everyone! I hope that everything is going well, that you have already received good offers from your university choices and that, of course, you are considering to come to study at York.

As I had promised in my last blog post , I am going to share my list of favourite places in Yorkwith you.

I have been in York for almost a year and a half and still I haven’t seen all of what the city has to offer. Writing a complete list of every single interesting place to visit in York would be impossible… so I have decided to share with you my top 10 places you might find interesting to visit when you next come to York next time (for an open day, a family day trip or in your first term) .

So, let’s start:

  1. The Minster:  it’s one of the most photographed sites in York and is almost a symbol of the city (like the Eiffel Tower for Paris).
The famous York Minster on a classic northern winter day.

It was built in the Gothic style in the 13th century and it has a certain something of Notre-Dame de Paris, making it one of the largest and most beautiful cathedrals of its kind in Northern Europe. Being wonderful from the outside doesn’t exclude it from being absolutely stunning on the inside. I definitely recommend visiting it (it’s free for University of York students). If you are fit and brave enough, you can go up to the tower to look at York from the sky.



2. The City Walls: York doesn’t have just Gothic churches or medieval alleys, but also Roman ruins. Around 70AD Romans decided to build a fort to defend the territories they had conquered in, then called, Gaul. Around the fort a city began to grow and the Romans, as is their usual habit, built a wall with guard towers and doors all around it. It is still possible to walk on the well preserved walls that circle the whole modern city of York.

A picture of me on the City Walls (yes - it's really cold and windy uo there in the winter).
A picture of me on the City Walls (yes – it’s really cold and windy up there in the winter).

3. Fossgate: this little gem is actually one of my favourite places to spend time in. It is a cute and small street that dates back to the Viking times when they built a bridge over River Foss. There are loads of small cafés and nice little shops, all in old medieval buildings. You can find details about the former use of the edifice on the doorways.

4. York’s Chocolate Story: if you are gluttonous as I am, this is the place for you. York is famous for its chocolate factories since the 18th century. In this magical place (where you expect to meet Willy Wonka every 10 seconds), you will discover about the art of chocolate making and you will be able to make your own chocolate as well.

5. Jorvik Viking Centre: if Romans don’t interest you and Vikings are more your jam, then you should definitely visit Jorvik Centre. Here you can discover everything about ancient life in York, so you can discover what people did before nightclubs were built!

6. The Shambles: at one end there is an open-air market that sells everything, from bags to groceries. Then there is a medieval alley, where time seems to have stopped passing. It’s full of sharp-cornered buildings that have shops on the ground floor. Here you can buy chocolate, tea, souvenirs or clothes.

Curvy Shambles at Christmas time.
Curvy Shambles at Christmas time.

7. National Railway Museum: this is one the places that surprised me most in York. It is, actually, a museum that keeps trains. They have any kind of train you can imagine: from Victorian times trains, Royals’ trains, Eurostars and modern trains. It is a nice place to spend a different kind of afternoon and take a picture with the train Queen Elizabeth used to cross the countryside during WWII.

8. Clifford’s Tower: it is what remains of the old Norman castle of York. After having overcame the biggest obstacle (the numerous steps to get to the top), you will be able to see York from the height of this medieval building on top of a green mound.

In the spring, Clifford's Tower hill is covered in nice yellow flowers.
In the spring, Clifford’s Tower hill is covered in nice yellow flowers.


9. York Museum Gardens: a stunning small park near River Ouse, where you can walk though the the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey. I suggest to go there at the beginnig of the autumn: the colours are AMAZING!

The old St Mary’s Abbey ruins.

10. Stonegate: it was the main road in the ancient Roman city. Nowadays, it has a mix of medieval and Georgian buildings. Higlights of the street are the most haunted building in York (18-20 Stonegate) and the Ye Olde Starre Inn that is supposed to be the oldest pub in York.

Stonegate with the light of the sunset colouring the Minster.
Stonegate with the light of the sunset colouring the Minster.

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Hi everyone! My name is Roberta and I come from Naples, in Italy. I am a second year Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance student at the University of York. Of course theatre and drama are my main interests, but I also like swimming and dancing Salsa and Bachata. I speak four languages (Italian, English, French and Spanish) and I love travelling and discovering new places and cultures. I am part of the committee of the Latin American Society, I am also and active member of DramaSoc, a Student Fundraiser for YuCall and a Student Ambassador for my department, TFTV. With my blog posts I hope to help you all to discover a bit more about York and university life.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 places to visit in York”

  1. Hi Roberta,
    I’ve never been to York and not familiar with the place.
    Would like to visit this historical city.
    Any recommendations for affordable accommodation options for visitors, e.g. hotels, guest houses etc for easy access around the area.

    1. Hi Loy,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have first hand experience of accomodation options in York.

      However, I can give you a few suggestions. I think that the cheapest and best option for you would be to look for a Bed And Breakfast. There are loads of them in York (try to look in the Fulford area, if you want to be in a quiet area – or, if you prefer the centre, there are many options as well) and there are also special websites to find them, like: Of course, this kind of accomodation will offer you just breakfast, but don’t worry because there are a lot of place to eat in York.

      As an alternativa, you can try to check out the University own accomodation service (hostel or B&B) at:

      Hope this helps. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

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