When looking for things to do in York, you can become slightly overwhelmed. Well, let us take some of the pressure off. We spend a lot of time thinking about things to do in York, so we have put together a suggested itinerary.
9.am – You should still be asleep. You’re on holiday!
10 am – Box office for the York Theatre Royal, try your luck to see if there are any tickets available for a show in the evening. If you’re reading this in advance, all the better; check for any availability. They have built up a reputation for putting on creative productions, as well as having concerts with surprisingly big names attending.
10.30 am – York Armoury (29 Stonegate / YO1 8AW) really sets the tone for your visit to York. Some cities do postcards and mugs for survivors; not York. Knights of Templar sword? Check. Armour? Bows? Shields? Check. Perhaps the most fun you can have in a shop in York. Don’t worry, there are also mugs! Definitely a shop with a lot of character and a sense of humour; perfect for our “Things to do in York” list!
10.45 am Coffee at Starbucks (49 Stonegate). Yes it’s a global brand, but the coffee is reliably good. Free Wi-Fi? Brilliant.
11 am – Take our Footprints 2 hour free walking tour of York. Funny that? Yes, it’s a great way to get an overview of what the city has to offer and for inspiration for what else to do in York. We cover all the main attractions and historic characters: York Minster, Richard III, York City Walls and loads more. All delivered by University students who know their stuff. Have a bad time, leave. Simple as that!
1.30 pm – After your morning excursion, after you’ve called your friends and family to tell them how incredible the Footprints free tour of York is, you’re looking for something to eat. Something local. Shambles Kitchen (28 The Shamles / Y01 7LX) would be our recommendation. “Smoothies & Healthy Fast Food” sort of says it all. It’s a mix between your grandmother’s carefully made sandwiches, but served by hipsters. Try the “Wrapinnis” (it makes sense) or one of the specials on offer. We enjoyed the 24 hour slow pulled pork, with a nice addition of salad, in a sandwich. Other good options include Chirstmas Wrappini (Roast chicken, sage stuffing, honey & rosemary glazed parsnips & carrots, cranberry sauce) or Chicken Shawarma (Spiced chicken breast, houmous, yoghurt, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce). Mmmmmmmm.
2 pm – Coffee time again; Spring Espresso (45 Fossgate / YO1 9TF). Artisan roasted coffee, brilliant. Real care is taken in the selection of coffee beans that are on offer, with a nice amount of attention being spent on preparing each coffee.
2.15 pm – York Castle Museum. This sits next to Clifford’s Tower, which is where the Footprints free tour ends. This museum is a lot of fun for teens and adults alike (younger children may want to visit the alternative below). You can try on a helmet from the English Civil War and see jail cells accompanied with the stories of their occupants. Perhaps most impressive of all is the replica Victorian Street, complete with life-size Victorian houses and shops. Included is an old sweet shop, with a man dressed as a Victorian shopkeeper, of course you can buy old fashioned sweets! Tickets are £8.50 for adults, £7.50 for concessionary adults. Children under 16 are free.
2.15 pm – Jorvick Viking Centre. From 1978-81 archaeologists from York’s Archaeological Trust excavated one of the most impressive sites in modern archaeology. You can visit this location (which is the actual site of this attraction) and see the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets (minus the lawless bandits), houses and workshops as would have been nearly 1,000 years ago. Includes state of the art time capsules and some great audio and video displays. On the expensive side (£9.75 for adults and children from £6.75), but good value: should you suffer the urge to revisit within 12 months, that ticket will get you back in.
4 pm Sunday / 5.15 pm Any other day – Evensong (normally sung) at the York Minster is a highly recommended thing to do in York! This is an actual service and as such there is no entrance charge to go inside. If you would like to pay an entrance charge, or are not interested in the service you can visit during regular opening times.
7 pm – Dinner time. Try Rustique (28 Castlegate / YO1 9RP) for “rustic French cooking in a busy, vibrant upbeat Bistro atmosphere”. Didn’t book? Give it a try, they won’t laugh, but it’s notoriously difficult to get a table even for the early bird menu. A great alternative is The India Lounge (26 Swinegate / YO1 8AZ) which has a healthy following in York, great traditional Indian dishes, along with the usual English/Indian dishes. For a wild card, try The Barbakan (58 Walmgate / YO19TL), for great Polish food. Don’t know anything about Polish food? Even more of a reason; it’s exceptionally tasty.
8 pm – After all that activity, you need to relax and enjoy yourself. Footprints York Pub Tour is at the top of a lot of people’s lists for things to do in York. This is a great insight into the role of ale throughout the history of English society. You’ll hear about its creation, the role of an ale-conner (he tests ale by sitting in leather trousers in a puddle of ale – William Shakespeare’s father was one), along with the history of some of the fantastic pubs in York. With the oldest advertisements in York being dedicated to a pub, York has a great history with ale. The tour is only £9!
Let us know if we are missing any great additions for things to do in York!