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A guide to affordable days out in York

Published 21 August 2016 by

As part of our summer series, we’ve found you great ideas for days out on a budget – and now it’s York’s turn. York is steeped in history, with a Roman and Viking past, medieval streets and fantastic gated walls.

Stroll around the cobbled streets of the Shambles, or walk the walls and you’ll get a true sense of going back in time. The city has a world-renowned minster, and the river Ouse comes alive in the summer with outdoor cafes and boats. You won’t be short of things to do when you visit York but these are our top picks for the family.

York’s city walls

These are the best example of medieval city walls to remain standing in the country. They’re the perfect way to see the historical skyline of the city and get a true feel of how the city was protected from invasion. You can choose to walk the entire walls or explore certain parts that take your fancy more.

At 3.4 kilometres long, you can be sure to enjoy a fantastic leisurely few hours exploring the walls. There are 5 gates and 42 towers to see. You can take a guided walk suggested by the Friends of York. Download this historical guide or any one of their wall trails for your visit. Step back in time and enjoy 1900 years of history.

The Shambles

Think cobbles, crooked buildings, quaint shops, and timber construction. If you squint, the shambles will take you back to medieval times, where butchers would hang meat from shelves, and sell through open windows directly to customers on the street.

It’s one of the best examples of medieval streets in Europe, and the whole family will enjoy the vibrancy of the quaint cafes and shop frontages. Take time to browse the boutique shops and second hand stores where you could find a hidden gem or great bargain.

York Minster

York Minster has recently undergone a 20 million pound restoration programme over the last five years. The work will help preserve the majestic cathedral and offer a better visitor experience. Though many of the Minster attractions charge an entrance free, a visit to York Minster will give you some fantastic photo opportunities.

You too can be one of the thousands of people who flock here from all around the world. Be sure to walk around the cathedral to experience the amazing stained glass windows.

National Railway Museum

This is a great attraction for all the family, and is regarded as the “world’s greatest railway museum” This is free for all and will provide you with hours of fun. Stand out attractions include the world’s fastest locomotive steam train - Mallard, and a replica of the famous Rocket by Stephenson.

River boat cruise

For a fantastic family treat and a chance to get away from the streets, you could take a river boat cruise.

York boat city cruises run trips most of the year, but of course this will depend on the weather. You can buy a family ticket for £18.50. You’ll be able to see the city from the water and give the whole family a great experience.

Finally, York has an abundance of green space and waterside locations, perfect for a family picnic - so get planning your budget day out today.

Looking for more cities to explore? Check out our guide to affordable days out in London.

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