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York Activity Ideas & Things to Do

Things to Do & Activities for groups in York

Days out, activity packages and activities in and around York

West Yorkshire
York Day Activities
York Night Activities

York Activities & Things To Do

York was one of the most important centres of medieval England. Through invasions, the Vikings, challenges with Norsemen and the conquering Romans, York became an epicentre for cultural life as well as holding important court sessions.

Today, this legacy has left its mark on the city making it a hugely popular tourist destination. Winding medieval streets now house fashionable boutiques and continental cafes. The ancient walls encase the largely pedestrianised city centre.

Top Sights, activities & must do

York Minster is probably the most famous landmark in the city. This vast, gothic masterpiece presides over streets ancient and new. Consecrated in 1472 having taken 20 years to complete; it is famous all over the world for its stained glass, boasting what is said to be the largest stained glass window in the world (its stands at 186 m²).

The most famous attraction in York has to be the Jorvic Viking Centre. During the late 1970s and for a number of years thereafter, an archaeological dig took place beneath York and the discoveries therein were staggering. The Centre showcases these findings, beautifully preserved artefacts and all the traces of an actual Viking village. Reconstructions and modern technologies allow you to walk through the streets, converse with a Norseman and come face to face with a Viking.

York is also rich in culture with an array of museums, theatres, stately homes and even a stunning opera house. You can tour the city on foot, by bike or on an organised boat tour or even a ghost walk to discover the city after dark. Why not purchase a York Pass for free entry to 30 of the city’s top attractions.

Another great activity is the York Maze, made from maize plants. It is well worth a visit, make a day of it with a picnic in inclement weather. Dungeons, St Mary’s Abbey, the Yorkshire Air Museum and the York Cold War Bunker. You will never be without places to visit in this incredible city.

Getting there

Rail links to York are excellent and it comes as a surprise to most people to learn that it is only 1hr 50mins to London and 2hr 23mins to Edinburgh. York is conveniently located between 4 airports; the closest being Leeds/Bradford. The city is just 20 minutes from the M1/M62 motorway network.


As of July 2014 York will play host to stage 2 of Le Tour De France Grand Départ which promises to be a grand spectacle. In conjunction with this York is holding 100 days of festivals around the city, celebrating the best in art, music, literature and sport. You might want to check out the schedule of events during this time as the city will be much busier than usual.

York Racecourse is only 1.5 miles outside of the town centre and set in 150 acres of countryside you can experience racing in style. There is also an impressive, state of the art conference centre, a perfect location for larger business conventions.

The Barbican plays host to the European Snooker Championships as well as internationally renowned musical performances.


The layout of the city creates an intimate, bustling scene. The nightlife of the city os also spread across different districts: The Mickelgate area is dedicated to pubs and clubs, most of which stay open until 4am. This is party central. The upmarket Quarter, encompassing the Swinegate Quarter and the older streets houses the city’s trendiest and most “posh” bars. From cocktail bars to those playing Latin music and late night intimate drinking dens to real-ale bars to please the fussiest of hipsters. This small area is crammed with entertainment. There’s a great selection of live music venues across the city

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