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We know that travelling can hurt the pocket, but sometimes the best things in life ARE free. Check out our list of free things to do and see in York.


Guided Walking Tours

With over 80 trained guides and 60+ years of experience, the Association of Voluntary Guides in York is well suited to take you on a two-hour tour of the city. 

Tours run every day of the year except Christmas day and leave from Exhibition Square (outside of York Art Gallery).

National Railway Museum

York is well known for its railroad history, so no trip to York would be complete without a visit to the National Railway Museum. Get up close to rail icons including Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive.

Despite the impressive array of engines celebrating the past, present and future of rail history, the museum is completely free to enter.

York City Walls

One of the attractions that draw people to York is the ancient city walls. These are of course absolutely free to walk around. 

A full circuit of the walls is approximately 3.4 kilometres (2.1 miles). In August 2018 the first York Walls Festival is taking place.

Museum Gardens

In the centre of York, only a couple of minutes away from York Minster and the busy shopping streets, there is a little haven of peace. In the shadow of the Yorkshire Museum, relax in Museum Gardens.

Take a stroll and watch the squirrels and wildlife, walk down to the bank of the river or just simply sit on the grass and enjoy an ice cream. See all of York's gardens.

The Shambles

The Shambles is one of the oldest and best preserved medieval shopping streets (and most famous) in England. Once home to butchers, the street is now filled with boutique fashion lines, sweet and chocolate shops, cafes and jewellers.

It's nice to take a walk down the street, looking at the overhanging buildings and imagining what it might have been like all those years before. Take some time to wander into the local independent shops and maybe even take home a souvenir.

York Explore Library

For those of you who are really into your history, pay a visit to York Explore Library and Archives. Their archives are available for members of the public to browse, however, some specific archives do need to be booked in advance.

You also have the option of taking a book from the shelves and having a read in their cafe or renting a computer to check up on emails or plan your next activity!

Planning on staying in York? Find trusted hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation in York and book directly through Visit York.

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