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York Castle Museum

Museum

The Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY

Tel: 01904 687687

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 9310 reviews9310 reviews
Kirkgate 2

About

Welcome to the award-winning York Castle Museum - come and immerse yourself in over 400 years of York's past. 

Come and see hundreds of years of York’s history in one place – from recreated Jacobean dining rooms to infamous Victorian criminals and all the way to the Space Age and the swinging Sixties.

There’s something for everyone this year at York Castle Museum. Our interactive galleries hold thousands of historic objects that really bring the past to life, and our new exhibitions promise fascinating displays and innovative new ways of learning about York’s past.

Halloween at York Castle Museum

Delve into the spooky history of Halloween’s traditions and hear the truth about  Yorkshire’s real witches in two special new tours at York Castle Museum this October half term. 

Fearless families can enter the Museum to discover the history of Halloween through our new family friendly guided tour, looking at the origins of famous Halloween traditions, such as trick-or-treating, and exploring the past beliefs about witches and evil spirits.

A second tour, suitable for older teens and adults,  takes you back as far as the early seventeenth century and explores the stories of Yorkshire women labelled as witches, their trials and the fatal outcomes.

Both tours can be booked now at www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

Other Tours available at York Castle Museum

Tours will take place from August 1 and then on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, between 11am and 3:30pm.

To book visit: www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

Kirkgate Tour
£12 per person (1 hour)
Visit one of York’s most memorable experiences in this guided tour of our recreated Victorian street. The 45 minute tour will reveal the fascinating history of the street, the stories behind the authentic shops and the real Victorian York businesses which traded everything from chocolate to weird and wonderful medicines to treat every ailment. Your guide will be there to answer any questions and point out the hidden history around every corner.

Kirkgate Family Tour 
£8 per person (1 hour)
Calling all families! This summer, let our costumed guide whisk you back more than 100 years to walk the streets of Victorian York as you explore what life was like for both rich and poor in our new family tour.

Step onto the cobbles and peer in the windows of the fine shops along Kirkgate, hearing why a Devil lurks outside the printers and how taking your “weasel” to the pawnbrokers was a weekly occurrence for many. Then head down the back alleys into York’s slums to discover how hard and deadly life was for the majority of the city’s residents as they battled against the awful conditions, where sharing a toilet with your whole street was the norm.

This socially distanced tour is for small groups to ensure your safety.

The Cells
£12 per person (1 hour)
Enter the authentic prison cells of York Castle Prison, where thousands were imprisoned while they awaited release, transportation or execution. Join our expert as they reveal the stories of the infamous, such as highwayman Dick Turpin, and those largely forgotten in this unique insight into prison life.

Fashion and Textiles
£18 per person (1 hour)
From caps to corsets, and from gowns to children’s clogs, every object has a story. Join Dr Faye Prior from York Castle Museum, as she introduces you to some of these fascinating stories while on a journey through 400 years of fashion. Based in the Fashion gallery of Shaping the Body, the talk will reveal the hidden histories of some of the gorgeous garments on show. It will focus on star objects from the displays, plus several hand-picked treasures brought out specially from the museum store.

Although social distancing means we can’t handle the objects, you will be able to view some up close. There will be seating provided so you can choose whether to sit or stand.

Hidden History of York Castle Curator led Tour
£18 per person (1 hour)
York Castle has been an important site of power, protest, imprisonment and everyday life for almost 1,000 years. Join Lucy Creighton, Curator of Archaeology as she delves into the hidden histories of one of York’s most significant historical sites.

Lucy will take you on a journey of discovery, exploring the visible remains of the castle and the remarkable discoveries that have been made beneath your feet. These include a Roman cemetery and the edge of a Viking town. You’ll also find out about the fascinating events that took place here, including when the castle was temporarily the epicentre of power while York was the Capital of England!

Inside York Castle Museum you will have an opportunity to see some hand-picked treasures from our Archaeology collection, including artefacts that reveal the Roman and Viking history of the site and coins minted in the castle. Although social distancing means we can’t handle the objects, you will be able to view them up close.

This tour will mostly take place out of doors and will go ahead whatever the weather so please dress appropriately.

This tour will involve walking on pavements and on uneven grassy ground. Seats are not available so it is not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Please note that the tour does not include entry to Clifford’s Tower, tickets for this can be separately purchased from English Heritage.

Debtors’ Prison Curator led Tour
£18 per person (1 hour)
Join York Castle Museum’s Dr Faye Prior for a special tour of the Debtors’ Prison, the first custom-built jail for debtors in the country. With specially designed accommodation for debtors, cells for felons and a chapel it was built to impress, but most prison inspectors who visited found it anything but impressive. The tour will lead you through the building, revealing hidden features, exploring how the prison changed over the two centuries it was in operation, and will tell the stories of some of the people who lived, worked and died here.

This tour is for older teens and adults, and includes subjects that some might find challenging. It is not suitable for children or younger teens.

The tour will be socially distanced. It involves stairs, and will include indoor and outdoor spaces. Please dress for the weather.

 

Kirkgate - The Victorian street that brings history to life
Step onto the cobbles of our Victorian street to meet  the local characters, visit the authentic shops and discover the weird and wonderful collections from this bygone era - from luxurious costumes to tasty traditional sweets and the pharmacist's unlikely 'cures'.

From the luxury of the rich to a darker world of poverty and disease, see how York's 19th Century residents lived, learned and entertained themselves.

York Castle Prison
The museum buildings were once a Georgian Prison, and down in the felons' cells lies a dark a brutal history - a time of rouges, thieves and murders. Visit our infamous residents and shiver at their stories of rough conditions, crooked justice and harsh punishments... watch out for the most notorious inmate of all - the legendary highwayman, Dick Turpin

1914: When the World Changed Forever
From the recruiting office to te horrors of the front line, experience the objects and stories of the First World War. 

Castle Museum Shop
From traditional Victorian games and old-fashioned sweets to 60s books and stocking fillers. Young or old, you'll find that perfect gift.

Book Tickets Online

Opening Times

* The museum will be open for timed guided tours taking place from Saturday August 1 and then Thursdays to Sundays. The tours will take place between 11am and 3.30pm.

Closed 25, 26 December & 1 January.

Guide Prices

Please see individual tours for prices.

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets

Booking & Payment Details

  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)

Catering

  • On-site light refreshments

Children

  • Baby changing facilities
  • Children welcome

Groups

  • Education/study area

Meeting, Conference & Wedding Facilities

  • Facilities for corporate hospitality

Property Facilities

  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Gift shop
  • Public toilets
  • Smoking not allowed

Site Features

  • Regional Tourist Board Member

Target Markets

  • Accepts groups
  • Coach parties accepted

Awards

  • Trip Advisor AwardsTrip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2019
  • Yorkshire AwardsLittle Vikings Winner Little Vikings Winner 2016
  • Yorkshire AwardsYork Pass Accepted York Pass Accepted 2018

Map & Directions

Road Directions

By Road:The nearest car park is the Castle car park, next to Clifford's Tower, which has 305 spaces. This car park is off Clifford Street, off the inner ring road, most easily reached from the A19 to the south of the city or the A1036 to the south west.By Public Transport:York Castle Museum is in the centre of York, close to Clifford's Tower and the Coppergate Shopping Centre. Follow the green pedestrian signs to the 'Castle Area'.It is 20 to 25 minutes' walk from York Railway Station.Park & Ride: With six cleverly located sites surrounding the city centre getting into York has never been easier. www.yorkparkandride.co.ukAccessible by Public Transport: York station is 1 mile away.

Events

Saturday, 14th November 2020 - Sunday, 3rd January 2021

York Castle Museum presents... A Christmas Spectacular on Kirkgate
more info

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    Saturday, 14th November 2020 - Sunday, 3rd January 2021

    York Castle Museum presents... A Christmas Spectacular on Kirkgate
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