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Things to see in York

Tourist Offices

Visitor Information Centre

Address: , 1 Museum Street, York, YO1 7DT
Telephone: 01904 550 099.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat: 0900-1700 (1730 Jul-Aug), Sun: 1000-1600

Website: http://www.visityork.org

The official tourist office of York is located near the Minster and furnished with lots of magazines, leaflets and information about tours and events, as well as city maps. A full team of helpful staff are all also on-hand to give you advice. Consider buying the innovative Smell York guide, each page of which offers a different tantalising fragrance of the city.

Tourist passes

The York Pass (www.yorkpass.com) permits free entry into more than 30 of York's attractions for one, two, or three days, also granting discounts on selected restaurants and cafés, walks and bus tours, car and cycle hire. Reduced child tickets also available.

Attractions

City walls

Stone walls coil around York for 3.5km (2 miles) and are the longest medieval town walls in England that are still intact. The stretch from Monkbar to Petergate is particularly picturesque and walking the whole length will take about two hours. There are interpretive panels at 16 key points along the route, five historic gateways and 45 towers. The highest and most impressively crafted of the gateways is called Monk Bar and dates back to the 14th century. A self-contained fortress with an arch, it also contains the new Richard III Experience, dedicated to the House of York's infamous last king. Meanwhile, Micklegate Bar continues the story with the Henry VII Experience.

Address: , , York,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

National Railway Museum

This is the largest railway museum in the world and boasts a broad range of railway icons and artefacts – from Mallard, the world's fastest steam engine, to the legendary steam locomotive, the Flying Scotsman. Take the fun Road Trink, linking the museum with York Minster, which leaves every 30 minutes. The museum is also home to the Yorkshire Wheel, a 54m (177ft) wheel that contains 42 enclosed capsules carrying up to eight people each, and offers great vistas over the historic city.

Address: , Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ
Telephone: 0844 815 3139.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800 (National Railway Museum); daily 1100-1615 (Apr-Nov) (Road Trink).

Website: http://www.nrm.org.uk
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Jorvik Viking Centre

It may be far more advanced than York's Roman equivalent, but the Jorvik museum can't hide how rudimentary the Vikings' technology was by comparison, despite arriving centuries later. However, York – or Jorvik – was an important trading hub in the Viking world, which in part contributed to it becoming England's second city. Constructed by the York Archaeological Trust on the site of the famous Viking dig, the museum displays numerous artefacts including tools, jewellery and fine-crafted combs. There are also impressive interactive multimedia installations, and a glass floor at the entrance that allows visitors to look down at the Viking town lying beneath. The centrepiece is the sophisticated ride in rollercoaster-style capsules, which flies you through a recreation of Jorvik, complete with authentic huts and inhabitants brought to life by animatronics.

Address: , Coppergate, York, YO1 9WT
Telephone: 01904 615 505.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1700 (1 Apr-24 Oct); daily 1000-1730 (25 Oct–3 Nov); daily 1000-1600 (4 Nov–31 Mar).

Website: http://www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

York Minster

York's undisputed icon is also the largest medieval Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe: York Minster is over 500ft (152m) long and 100ft (30m) wide, and has some of the oldest and finest stained glass in the country. The city's first church was thought to have been built on the same site in the 7th century, while the heart of the ancient Roman fortress also lies beneath the Minster, remnants of which be glimpsed by delving into the bowels of the cathedral. The classic Gothic style was cutting-edge at the time of construction (between 1220 and 1472), and the masons weren't sure of the load-bearing capacity of the pillars, so they built the impressive vaults in wood (an early example of no-nonsense Yorkshire practicality). Today's restoration efforts use limestone from the same quarry as the original.

Address: , Deangate, York, YO1 7HH
Telephone: 01904 557 200.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1700, Sun 1245-1700.

Website: http://www.yorkminster.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Clifford's Tower

Positioned on a high mound, Clifford's Tower was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, and is nearly all that remains of the old York Castle. Other than an important defensive position, the imposing round structure has been used as a prison and seat of government. Today, the tower is a tranquil spot, and contains interesting information as to the history of the old castle. Climbing stone steps up the narrow staircase concealed within the walls takes you up to the ramparts, from where there are fantastic panoramic views of the city.

Address: , Tower Street, York, YO1 9SA
Telephone: 01904 646 940.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800 (1 Apr-30 Sept); daily 1000-1700 (1 Oct-2 Nov); 1000-1600 (3 Nov-31 Mar).

Website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/cliffords
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

The Shambles

Hordes of people flock to The Shambles, one of Europe's best-preserved medieval shopping streets, to peer into its original shop-fronts leaning precariously towards each other. Now filled with whimsical cafés, restaurants and boutiques, it was once a busy street full of butchers. It is also the home of the Shrine of Margaret Clitherow, a 16th-century Catholic who is York's very own saint.

Address: , The Shambles, York,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website: http://www.yorkshambles.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

York Castle Museum

Overlooked by Clifford's Tower, this impressive building once housed the courts of York. Today it contains exhibitions of Yorkshire local history, with examples of rooms from different periods belonging to the various social classes. The highlight of the museum, though, is Kirkgate, a painstaking recreation of a Victorian street including a police station, schoolroom, barbers, hat shop and even a horse and carriage. Temporary exhibitions are renowned for their quality.

Address: Castle Area, Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY
Telephone: 01904 687 687.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1700.

Website: http://www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Barley Hall

As with so many sites of historic importance in York, the so-called Barley Hall was rediscovered during building works in 1980s. Formerly home to the Priors of Nostell and Mayor of York, much of the structure is surprisingly intact despite being lost and forgotten for so long, with stunning exposed timber framing and an impressive great hall. It’s quite easy to tell which parts of the structure are new but even so, the building has been lovingly restored. With numerous hands-on items and artefacts, this is a rare glimpse onto England’s medieval past.

Address: , 2 Coffee Yard, York, YO1 8AR
Telephone: (01904) 615 505.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1700 (1 Apr-3 Nov); daily 1000-1600 (4 Nov-31 Mar).

Website: http://www.barleyhall.co.uk
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

The Roman Bath

As one of the most complete examples of York's Roman past, these baths were actually discovered when the pub above was digging a new cellar in 1930. A leisure centre for soldiers who watched the fortress that once loomed over the rivers of Ouse and Foss, it includes the Tepidarium (warm room), Caldarium (steam room) and Frigidarium (for cooling off). Get to grips with a Roman soldier's life by seeing where they would have bathed, socialised and defecated, and don't miss the chance to try on armour, helmets and shields. As the base of the ninth legion, who waged campaigns against the Brigantes and Caledonians, the York fortress even hosted Emperor Septimius Serverus for three years until his death in 211 AD.

Address: , St Sampsons Square, York, YO1 8RN
Telephone: 01904 620 455.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 1100-1600.

Website: http://www.sandm.freeserve.co.uk/romanbath/main.html
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No