York Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(York, North Yorkshire, England, UK)

Photo of horse and carriage ride in YorkYou could easily spend an fortnight in the city of York and still not see all of its main tourist attractions. Many of these are targeted at families, and both sightseeing bus tours and walking tours are worth considering when you start your holiday in York.

Others prefer to take a boat trip along the centrally located River Ouse, and organised boat trips offer a variety of different packages, including both daytime city cruises and floodlit evening cruises. Tourists will relish a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre and its wealth of local Viking attractions, while others may prefer a trip to the York Dungeons, where you will find out about the practice of medieval torturing. Why not also consider climbing aboard the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway and heading into the Yorkshire Dales, or taking in a show at either the Pocklington Civic Arts Centre, the Grand Opera House or the Theatre Royal.

Guided Bus Tours

Address: York Tourist Information Centre, De Grey Rooms, Exhibition Square, York, YO1 7HB, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 640896
Open-top hop on / off York guided bus tours operate throughout the day at regular intervals in and around the city centre. These bus tours provide an easy way of sightseeing in the city and the daily bus tickets are also a particularly convenient way to travel around, since you are able to leave the bus to explore and get back on again when you are ready.

The guided bus tours connect all of the major points of interest, including both attractions and shopping precincts. Guided Bus Tours here are operated by several different companies, including Guide Friday, and generally last around one hour, travelling to York Railway Station, the Knavesmire Racecourse, the Minster and the Museum Gardens.
Open hours: daily - every 20 minutes
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Walking Tours

Address: Mayor's Guides Office, The Pump Room, York, North-East Somerset, England, BA1 1LZ
Tel: +44 (0)1225 477786
The are a number of walking tours around York, including many Ghost Tours, and these provide tourists with a real insight into some of the city most interesting and historic streets. Tours are available with the Mayor's Corps of Honorary Guides, and the tour guides are usually locals who live within the city itself. This particular tour is free and leaves from the Pump Room daily at 10:30 and 15:00. Walking tours should usually be booked in advance to ensure your place and include the following popular tours:

The Flying Eye Helicopter Tours

Tel: +44 (0)1977 680 206
Modern helicopters provide one of the most memorable tours of York, flying high above the city and its medieval buildings, and also across the stunning Yorkshire Dales and the rugged East Coast. Booking is advance is usually required.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge

Image of a dispaly at the Jorvik Viking Centre

Jorvik Viking Centre

Address: Coppergate Centre, York, YO1 9WT, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 643211
The famous Jorvik Viking Centre is one of the most popular tourist attractions in York and allows you to explore the city's rich Viking heritage on the actual site where archaeologists discovered the important remains of the Viking-Age-City. The Jorvik Viking Centre features many impressive displays and allows you to experience the sights and smells of actual Viking times, more than 1,000 years ago. Other highlights at the Jorvik Viking Centre include the 'Unearthed' exhibition, where you can discover the secrets of Viking bones, the Viking festival which is held in early February, and numerous related artefacts.
Open hours: daily, April to October - 09:00 to 17:30, November to March - 10:00 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

York Dungeons

Address: 12 Clifford Street, York, Y01 9RD, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 632599
The York Dungeons are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole city and are filled with a unique mixture of the city's historical past. With live actors, special effects, animated waxworks and realistic, gory displays, the Dungeons transport you back through history and allow you to explore the facts the surround many of the city's myths and legends.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors, children and families

Aerial photograph of the York Maze

York Maze

Address: Behind Griston Bar Park and Ride, East of York, York, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 415364
The York Maze is actually the largest maze in the United Kingdom and is created from around 1.5 million maize plants, which grow up to 3 metres / 10 feet tall. With 8 km / 5 miles of pathways, navigating your way around this unusual and seasonal attraction can take a while. Also of interest at the Maze are a choice of refreshments and a picnic area.
Open hours: mid-July to mid-September, daily - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Central Library

Address: Museum Street, York, YO1 2DS, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 655631
The Central Library, in the city centre, features an enormous selection of books and historic documents, including many guide books specialising in local history. Backing onto the popular Museum Gardens, the Central Library is operated by York City Council and also has a number of computers with Internet access that can be used free of charge.
Open hours: Monday, Tuesday and Friday - 09:30 to 20:00, Wednesday and Thursday - 09:30 to 17:30, Saturday - 09:30 to 15:30
Admission: free

Minster Library

Address: Deans Park, York, YO1 7JQ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 625308
Built over 600 years ago, the Minster Library is located within the city centre, in Deans Park. Housing a large collection of books from the city's most famous local landmark, York Minster, the Minster Library also features an interesting section of historic archives, with many ancient books and important documents.
Open hours: Monday to Thursday - 09:00 to 17:00, Friday - 09:00 to 12:00

York Observatory

Address: Museum Gardens, York, YO1 7FR, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 629745
The York Observatory can be found in the spectacular Museum Gardens, in the city centre. Built in the early 19th century, the Observatory is home to a large, powerful telescope and an interesting exhibition of historic, scientific instruments.
Open hours: Thursday - 18:00 to 20:00 and by appointment
Admission: charge

King's Square

Address: City Centre, York, YO1 8BH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 621756
King's Square is a large, public square in central York that is built on a historic, Roman site. With many street performers, artists, buskers and shops, King's Square is a particularly lively area of the city and is full of interesting sights and sounds.

St. Helen's Square

Address: City Centre, York, YO1 8QN, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 621756
St. Helen's Square, in the heart of the city centre, is full of shops, historic buildings, cafés and tea rooms. With seating areas and many major places of interest nearby, St. Helen's Square provides a popular, central place to meet.

Lady Row

Address: Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 621756
Lady Row, in the city centre, is believed to buy the oldest row of houses in the whole area. This pretty row of cottages dates back to the early 14th century.

The Shambles

Address: City Centre, York, YO1 7LZ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 621756
The Shambles is one of the most well-known streets in the city and is situated in the very heart of the city. With medieval-cobblestone streets, lined with historic buildings and shops, the Shambles is one of the most atmospheric areas that you are likely to encounter within the city.

Pocklington Civic Arts Centre

Address: Oak House, Market Place, Pocklington, York, YO42 2AR, England
Tel: +44 (0)1759 301547
The Pocklington Civic Arts Centre, in the Pocklington area of the city, is home to numerous arts and crafts exhibitions, film screenings, theatrical productions, concerts, festivals and events.
Open hours: box office, daily - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge

Grand Opera House

Address: Cumberland Street, York, YO1 9SW, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 671818
The Grand Opera House, in the central Micklegate district, hosts a large number of important national and international productions each year. These include concerts, operas, dramas, musicals and comedy events. This beautiful, historic building all features several bars and excellent disabled facilities.
Open hours: box office, Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 06:00 to 18:00

Theatre Royal

Address: St. Leonard's Place, York, YO1 7HD, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 623568
The Theatre Royal was built in the mid-18th century and provides excellent theatrical and musical productions throughout the year. This impressive theatre features many period features inside and a popular café bar. The Theatre Royal has many different performances each year, and these include comedies, operas, concerts, dramas and classical plays written by Shakespeare.
Open hours: box office, Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 20:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and seniors

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

Address: Bolton Abbey, Skipton, York, BD23 6AF, England
Tel: +44 (0)1756 710614
Built in the late 19th century, the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway provides scenic journeys into the nearby picturesque Yorkshire Dales. Stretching for around 8 km / 5 miles, the restored steam locomotives operate daily in the summer and at weekends during the rest of the year, with a number of special train-related events, including Christmas trains and Thomas the Tank Engine weekends.
Open hours: July and August - daily, September to June - Saturday and Sunday
Admission; charge, discounts available for children and families


Address: The Boatyard, Lendal Bridge, York, YO1 7DP, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 628324
The Yorkboat company provides scenic, open-top cruises along the famous River Ouse, departing from the Boatyard at Lendal Bridge in the city centre. Lasting around one hour, the Yorkboat cruises include commentary by the captain, and there are also themed-evening cruises available.
Open hours: February to November, daily - from 10:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

York Marine Services

Address: Ferry Lane, Bishopthorpe, York, YO2 1SB, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 704442
Departing from the Bishopthorpe area, the Marine Services provide boats tours along the River Ouse on its large, Pride of York boat, which seats around 200 people. Travelling to Bishopthorpe Palace, the Pride of York can be hired for evening functions and events. Smaller holiday boats are also available for hire by the day or week.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

York Brewery

Address: 12 Toft Green, York, YO1 6JT, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 621162
Located in the Micklegate area of the city, attractions at the Brewery include guided tours, beer tasting, a bar, a visitors centre and a gift shop.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 11:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 16:00 to 20:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and seniors, children under 13 years old are free

University of York

Address: Heslington, York, YO10 5NH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1904 432222
York University is a vast campus, located on the city's outskirts, close to the village of Heslington. Dating back to 1963, the university features eight colleges, based around a scenic lake, with the grounds covering more than 200 acres / 80 hectares. The university is home to over 10,000 students and attractions include the historic Heslington Hall, and a modern, half-octagonal building known as Central Hall.
Visit University of York Information - more information about the University of York.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free