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York is a city belonging to the North Yorkshire area of England.
It is one of those English cities that has a myriad of things and attractions to offer its visitors. It is a city with a distinct identity. It has Roman roots but some hints of Vikings history, as well. At the same time, it is filled with contemporary shops, vibrant festivals, and buzzing eateries.
You will never run out of ideas on what to do in York, even for just a couple of days.
Are you heading to York for a two-day weekend break? Use this guide when planning your itinerary for ideas on things to do in York in 2 days so you can get inspiration. Is York worth visiting? Find out more in this list of things to see and do.
Attractions and Things to do in York
1. York Minster
For your York weekend break, start your exploration at one of the city’s most magnificent cathedrals: York Minster. This medieval gothic cathedral is one of the largest of its kind in the world, which makes it one of the must-see York attractions.
This magnificent landmark can also be the answer to your question “where can you go or what can you do on a rainy day in York?“ Who wouldn’t want to get stranded in this awe-inspiring structure? This cathedral towers above all other structures in the skyline of York. It was originally built in 627 AD as a simple wooden church. It was later rebuilt in stone and had gone through numerous rebuilding. The current building was built during the early 1400s. If you want to tour the York Minster, the admission price is £11 for adults and free for children.
2. York Shambles
Ever asked yourself, “what can you do for free in York?” Head to York Shambles! This is an ancient street in York, known more commonly as The Shambles.
Explore this area on foot to marvel at the timber-framed buildings that were built way back in the 14th century. The street got its name from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Fleshammels’, which referred to the shelves that the butchers used to display their meat. While the butcher shops have gone, most of the shops have remained here.
There are also various boutiques, restaurants, a bookshop, and a bakery to visit. But if you are simply looking for free things to do in York, you can look around and immerse yourself in this cultural sight. Have you asked yourself, “what is there to do in York at night?“ Simply walk around this area. You will find many bars and the best pubs in York.
3. York City Walls
No visit to this city would be complete without seeing the York City Walls. This is one of the top places to visit in York. The walls are 3.4-kilometres long and are beautifully preserved. It is known as England’s longest medieval town wall. This attraction is visited by more than 2.5 million tourists per year.
What can you do for free in York? It is free to walk along the length (or part of) the ancient city walls. The entire circuit can be completed in approximately 2 hours. You can enjoy amazing views from the wall or explore different towers, bars, and gateways along the way. Looking for ideas on what can kids do in York? This attraction may also suit your little ones.
4. Jorvik Museum
The Jorvik Museum is another attraction to add to your list of things to do in York in 2 days. This museum is home to mannequins and dioramas that showcase the Viking life in York.
The manner of exploration within this museum also adds interest to this attraction as you will be riding small carriages. Each of these carriages is equipped with speakers so you can learn more about each diorama as you pass by them.
To experience Viking-age York, you must pay £12.50 for adults or £8.50 for children (aged 5-16).
5. National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is one of the best things to see in York for the whole family.
This museum is part of the Science Museum Group in England, which provides you with a historical overview of rail transport in Britain. It also examines the impact of the rail transport system to the society and history of the land.
The National Railway Museum is a free attraction, so there is no reason to skip it on a weekend in York.
6. Clifford’s Tower
Want to know what can kids do in York? Take them to Clifford’s Tower! It is guaranteed to be the most interesting attraction they will ever witness, which will leave them in awe.
The Clifford’s Tower is a beloved landmark in York that once served as the government centre in England. This is an 11th-century timber tower that is built on top of an earth mound. Over the years, this tower had been used as a treasury and prison. Do not forget to add this attraction on the list of things to do in York with family.
7. York Dungeon
The York Dungeon is another must-visit attraction if you are seeking out things to do in York on a budget.
At an admission price of £13.00 for adults or £12.00 for children, this is a great deal as you learn about the dark side of history. There are a number of items on exhibit such as recreation of torture chambers, courtrooms, demonstration of torture devices, and more. There are even actor-led shows that you can witness if you want to know more about the gruesome stories from the past.
The tours available in the Dungeon usually last between 1 to 1.5 hours. Make sure to plan ahead if you want to enjoy other things to do in York in a day.
8. York Castle
If you planned on visiting Clifford’s Tower, don’t miss out on a visit to the York Castle. Sightseeing and learning a bit of history within this castle is one of the best things to do in York.
This castle is actually made up of a fortified complex that is home to a castle, prison, law courts, and several other structures. It was used extensively as a military defence base but when an explosion happened in the late 17th century, it was abandoned. It was later used as a prison and jail.
9. York Maze
The York Maze is one of the go-to York activities for the whole family, especially your children.
It is a famous tourist attraction in the summer filled with over 1.5 million maize plants. It is known as the world’s largest maze! Aside from the maize plants, there are also more than 20 rides to choose from. There is also a sand and water adventure playground and many other attractions to combine fun and learning for your kids!
10. Micklegate Bar
The Micklegate Bar is one of the main medieval gateways in York. When planning your 2-day weekend break and looking for things to see in York, this attraction is something that you must add to your itinerary.
If you are arriving in the city of York from the South, this is the entrance gate that you will pass through.
Top activities and attractions in York, UK
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Is York worth visiting?
If you are looking for a variety of activities that involve history, culture, nature, and lots of fun, then you will definitely fall in love with York!