nomadic life guide

Top 10 things to do in York

In our mind, York is one of England’s finest historic cities. If you are visiting the UK, your trip will be incomplete if York is not on your itinerary. If your a native Britain and haven’t been, then what have you been doing? The city has managed through the ages to keep much of its medieval charm. A large proportion of the 13th century wall still stands and encloses the labyrinth of narrow streets. York minster, one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe dominates the Northern skyline, and a legion of museums scatter the city interlaced with a myriad of ancient pubs and modern coffee houses. Sightseers have every opportunity to be wrung out in the endless array of tourist shops that line every street, selling just about everything, everything that is except for something that you might actually need. This is our guide to one of the most fascinating of British cities.

York Minster

York minster has to be one of the greatest attractions to York, in our opinion it is amongst the finest of all of England’s great cathedrals. Various tours are available, including the tower tour which features beautiful panoramic views across the city and the rather tamer under-croft tour. Tours are quite pricey, and you even have to pay to enter the cathedral. I say ‘have to’ what I mean is they have a very aggressive ‘donation’ policy. If you have the nerve, tell them that you ‘just want to pray’ and they let you in for free!

Nomadic life guide rating 7/10 let down by the cost

York Minster Cathedral - nomadic life guide

York Minster Cathedral

2. York Castle Museum

The castle museum contains the entire history of York, from the Romans who founded the city, through to the Vikings, the medieval period, right up to the modern day. A marvellous recreation of a Victorian street is one of the best exhibits and really is quite impressive, but for us the best exhibit is a genuine, complete Viking battle helmet. Visitors can also tour the old prison, meet some of the ‘ghosts’ of the cells, and visit the condemned cell, the last room prisoners slept in before going to the gallows. Expensive entry costs, but tickets are valid for one year.

Nomadic life guide rating 8/10

Viking battle helmet - nomadic life guide

Viking battle helmet

3. Clifford’s tower

Built on the 1000 year old mound of the original motte and bailey, Clifford’s tower dates to the 13th century and has witnessed some of the most grizzly things that British history has to offer. It has been the scene of executions, massacres and stands raised above the sight of the prison hanging tree, a place where thousands of condemned criminals met their fate.

Nomadic life guide rating 8/10

Cliffords Tower - nomadic life guide

Cliffords Tower

4. Jorvik Viking experience

Situated on Coppergate ‘street of the cup makers’ the excavation site of some of the cities most important Viking remains, visitors first embarque on a educational ride passing through the recreated streets of York as they would have been 1000 years ago. See the sights and smell the smells of the Viking city before viewing the many glass cases displaying some of the finds from recent years. Demonstrations are always going on by folk dressed in period costume and you can see the remains of warriors killed in battle. Tickets are valid for one year from purchase.

Nomadic life guide rating 9/10

5. Railway Museum

Discover 300 years of history and 1,000,000 objects that changed the world in the UK’s largest railway museum. Experience the sounds, sights and smells of the world’s fastest steam locomotive in this simulator ride. An excellent day out for all the family.

Nomadic life guide rating 7/10

Railway Museum -nomadic life guide

Railway Museum

6. The Shambles

Every York traveller takes an amble down the Shambles during there visit. It is the place where you can famously shake hands across the street from the upstairs windows.

Nomadic life guide rating 8/10

The Shambles - nomadic life guide

The Shambles

7. The city walls

A large percentage of the original walls remain, and a lap of them should be on everyone’s agenda. This gives visitors an excellent opportunity to see all of the ‘bars’ or gates into the city, all of which are very ornate and unique. The walls are generally quite quiet, a nice place to take some lunch and have a stroll. At busy times they also offer a quicker, if less direct way of navigating the city.

Nomadic life guide rating 9/10

York Walls - nomadic life guide

York Walls

8. Ghost walks

There are various ghost walks in York, the original departs from outside the ‘famous pub that floods’ a pub that should be on every ale drinkers hit list. Informative and fun, these walks take you down alleys you wouldn’t dream of going down in the normal run of events, and tell of some of the unexplained events that have occurred in this profoundly haunted city. Tours usually end in one pub or another where you can enjoy spirits of a different kind. We think whether or not you do a ghost tour depends upon the time of year. In the cold dark of winter they are good, but in the summer things are rather less atmospheric, its light and bright still and with so many people on one tour, its hard to hear the stories and just turns into a total waste of money.

Nomadic life guide rating 9/10 in winter, 3/10 in summer

9. York Dungeon

The York dungeon experience takes you on a journey through time, back to the darker times of the city. Live actors and actresses play the part of various heroes and villains from Yorks rich past.

Nomadic life guide rating 7/10

10. Yorkshire museum and museum gardens

Covering all aspects of Yorkshire’s past, from distant prehistory, the Roman period and containing artefacts from the abbey that can be seen immediately outside in the museum gardens. Visiting exhibitions are also featured. Visit the website to see what’s on. Outside, the museum gardens are a haven of peace and quiet. Popular in the summer, they are an excellent place for a picnic under the bones of a once great abbey.

Nomadic life guide rating 8/10

York Museum Gardens - nomadic life guide

York Museum Gardens