York Minster

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York Minster: Our most recommended tours and activities

York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

1. York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

Contained within a ring of medieval stone walls, York concentrates 2000 years of history into a remarkably small area. This ninety-minute tour begins at Bootham Bar, the city’s northern entrance, from which every period of York’s development is visible, from Roman times to the present day. You’ll then enter the tranquil, green oasis of the Museum Gardens - a Victorian botanic garden which contains an 18th Century observatory, the remains of a Roman fortress and the spectacular ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. From here it is a short walk to the Minster - the largest medieval gothic cathedral in the country - which has dominated the city’s skyline for over 900 years. The Minster lies at the heart of a warren of ancient streets whose layout is Viking in origin. You’ll hear tales of Viking invasion while delving deep into the maze of secret passages known as ‘Snickelways’; passing an unhappy mermaid and a little red devil as well as catching a glimpse of a 15th Century banqueting hall. Finally you’ll emerge into the Shambles,York’s best-known cobbled street - once a row of butchers, now instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans as the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

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York City Pass: Access 20 Attractions for One Great Price

2. York City Pass: Access 20 Attractions for One Great Price

York is a city with over 2000 years of history to explore, choose your own adventure in this amazing city. After purchase, your York City Pass gives you free entry to over 20 attractions in York.  Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in York and see the best of the city. You can visit JORVIK Viking Centre, York Dungeon, York Minster, Barley Hall, and more. You can also hop on the City Sightseeing Bus or the York City Cruises. With a variety of different options of things to do in see, you can thoroughly explore York. The York Pass also gives you discounts on taxi fares, BOBH day trips from York, Mountain Goat Tours, City Cruises Evening Tour, York Cycling Tour, escape rooms, and ghost walks. Inclusions: • Pizza or pasta at ASK Italian (terms and conditions apply) • The Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre • Barley Hall • Bedern Hall • Beningbrough Hall • Clifford’s Tower • Castle Howard • DIG • Fairfax House • Golden Tours York 24-hour ticket • JORVIK Viking Centre • Mansion House • Merchant Adventurers’ Hall • Railway Museum Road Train • Roman Bath • Treasurer’s House • Van Gogh Experience • York Army Museum • York City Cruises • York City Sightseeing 24-hour ticket • York Dungeon • York Minster • Yorkshire Air Museum

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York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

3. York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

Embark on a self-guided treasure hunt for a fun and unique way to explore York outdoors at your own pace. Get clues sent to your phone and search your surroundings for the answers as you are led on a beautiful route through fabulous places. Start your treasure hunt in the fabulous Museum Gardens in the center of York. Play using your phones, on which you’ll meet Captain Bess, a snarky pirate who’s testing out new recruits to join her ship. Receive beautiful treasure maps leading you from one spot to the next. Find yourselves sneaking through a series of small streets and footpaths, passing medieval churches, and guildhalls. Use the sent clues to search for your surroundings. When you get the right answer, move on to the next place. Don’t worry, if you get stuck you can ask for a hint to help you on your way. Learn some interesting facts and stories along the way about the things you're spotting and get a better understanding of the history of York.

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York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

4. York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

Early evening is the most atmospheric time to experience York, the shops have closed, the tourist hordes have departed, the ancient streets lie at your disposal. This hour-long walking tour is for anyone seeking a concise, informal and entertaining introduction to York in the company of an expert local guide. Discover why the Minster is known as a Minster rather than a cathedral, why all the streets in York are called Gates and all the gates are called Bars. Start your tour in Exhibition Square, and see 2000 years of history simply by turning in a circle. Take in all the must-see sights including the Minster, the medieval walls and the Shambles, the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Take the opportunity to enter the maze of ancient cut-throughs and back-passages, or Snickelways as they are known locally.  Although this isn't a ghost tour there are plenty of gruesome true stories to be heard. By the end of the walk you will be ready for your dinner reservation having tasted the full flavour of a city which still has Viking mud on its boots and a tang of cocoa in the air.

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York: Hop-on Hop-off Open-Top Bus Tour

5. York: Hop-on Hop-off Open-Top Bus Tour

Enjoy a day of city-sightseeing in York in the comfort of a hop-on hop-off open-top bus. See the city’s most famous monuments and buildings from great vantage points and learn about the city’s history from a live guide on board. Sit back and relax as your hear fascinating information about York Minster, Micklegate Bar, Clifford’s Tower, and much more. Benefit from a 24-hour pass that offers you the flexibility to hop-on or hop-off anytime at any of the 20 stops along the tour route.

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York: Private Socially Distanced Guided Walking Tour

6. York: Private Socially Distanced Guided Walking Tour

The story of York is the story of England in wood, stone and chocolate. Constantine the Great became emperor here. Viking raiders left their chaotic street plan. Quaker confectioners invented the KitKat. No wonder it can be hard to know where to begin. How about the spot where it is possible to take in 2000 years of history simply by turning in a circle? And you don't have to walk much further to see how York was shaped by Romans, Normans and Tudors; as it is all laid out within the grounds of a Victorian botanic garden. Only in York can you be transported from a legionary fortress to a ruined abbey and a medieval hospital by crossing a lawn. Who needs a Tardis?  Ever wondered why the Minster is known as a Minster rather than a cathedral? Puzzled why all the streets in York are called Gates (and all the gates are called Bars)? This entertaining and informative walk provides the answers while taking in all the key sights including the Minster, the medieval walls and the Shambles - the precariously crooked street that provided the inspiration for Diagon Alley. A true highlight, in every sense, is the elevated walkway running around the city wall (don't worry, there are safety railings, but this part is not obligatory if you suffer from vertigo). The route will also veer off the beaten path and into the maze of ancient cut-throughs and back-passages known locally as ’Snickelways’. These tiny, winding streets are the life-blood of the city and the side of York you would never be able to experience from an open-topped bus.

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3-day Yorkshire Dales and Peak District Tour from Manchester

7. 3-day Yorkshire Dales and Peak District Tour from Manchester

Day 1: Travel to the Peak District. In the late morning, you will arrive in Castleton. This quaint old town attracts travelers from all over the world for its quintessential English charm. Nearby, there are caves, a beautiful view up a valley, and an insightful information center. Venture to the beautiful valley at Monsal Head. There’s an old rail line viaduct that emerges from the green hills. It’s a gorgeous structure with an impressive history. If you’re hungry, then you’re in luck, because you’re stopping for lunch in Bakewell. Not only is this town delicious to look at, but it’s also the home of one of England’s most famous desserts, the Bakewell Pudding. After savoring every last crumb, head over to Chatsworth House. This luxurious stately home is incredible; you can admire the architecture, get lost in a massive maze, or praise precious art. Finally, head off in the early evening to your overnight stop in York. Day 2: Full-day Tour of York Spend your morning in York. Visit a chocolate museum, find out about the Vikings, or just stroll around the ancient walls. Around midday, leave York and head to Goathland. This town was used in the Harry Potter movies and is situated in one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the UK. Your next stop is Whitby. This is the type of town everyone dreams of retiring in. There’s a beautifully-located, ruined abbey; old stone steps curving around viewpoints; and a lovely little beach to play about on. After exploring all the nooks and crannies of Whitby, travel to Robin Hood’s Bay. They doubt if the real Robin Hood ever came here, but there are still plenty of smugglers tales dotted around this remarkable harbor village. Finally, arrive back in York in the early evening. Day 3: Touring, Lunch, and Returning to Manchester Take the road to Fountains Abbey. This is one of the largest ruined abbeys in England and part of an important UNESCO Heritage site. Then find yourself surrounded by some of England’s most lovely waterfalls at AysgarthEnjoy a delicious lunch of Wensleydale's famous cheese and crackers. After lunch, travel past the epic Ribblehead railway viaduct before having a short snoop around the old castle-topped town of Clitheroe. In the evening, arrive in Manchester.

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York: Private Bespoke History Walking Tour

8. York: Private Bespoke History Walking Tour

Walk through the streets of York which feels like taking a tour through the history of England. The Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all remade the city to their own purposes. The Tudors and the Stuarts made themselves at home here. The Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War left their mark as well. Experience the history of one of the most fascinating cities in Britain. For 2,000 years, York has been at the heart of the nation’s affairs. Listen to your guide that will bring its history to life as you are walking through lush parks and narrow lanes, pass grand churches, and palaces to ruined castles and abbeys. Enjoy this tour that offers a private experience for larger groups or families who would prefer the personal touch. The tour takes in all the main sights of the city and provides an in-depth look at the history behind them. Your guide will happily customize the tour to your requirements, depending on what you would like to see.  Receive the services of your own personal professional guide and benefit from their local knowledge.

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The Best of Northern England: 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

9. The Best of Northern England: 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Spend 5 glorious days exploring the very best of northern England on this exciting multi-day tour. Discover the beautiful East Lothian coastline and the amazing Alnwick Castle, spend some time in the city of York, and explore nature in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Visit the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, travel to the shores of Ullswater,, said to be England's most beautiful lake, and much more along the way. Day 1 Your tour starts with a beautiful drive down the magnificent East Lothian coastline as you travel towards the walled border town of Berwick Upon Tweed. After stopping to admire the fortifications, continue to Alnwick Castle, whose magnificent interior and gardens have appeared in many films and television programs. Leaving Alnwick behind, travel towards the City of York on the Great North Road, and arrive in York in the late afternoon. [Overnight in York.] Day 2 This leisurely day gives you the flexibility to spend time exploring the medieval heart of York, a city whose rich history goes back to the time of the Roman’s, Vikings and the Normans before traveling to the North Sea coast of Yorkshire. Your journey begins in the late morning when you head for the magnificent North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Lunch will be in Whitby, a bustling fishing port and the inspiration for the fertile imagination of author Bram Stoker. After lunch and free time in Whitby, travel to the fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay*, a perfectly preserved conservation village of winding lanes and narrow alleys before returning towards York. [Overnight in York. * The minicoach cannot access the main village because of local restrictions. The coach will drop you at the top of the village and you must walk down (and back up!) a steep hill to reach the old village centre. Day 3 Head west in the morning into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Established in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has outstanding scenery, a range of wildlife habitats and a rich cultural heritage. Continuing West, your route takes us through the Northern Dales, a beautiful area of natural beauty that is the centre of the Dales cattle trade. Throughout the day, you will have the opportunity to taste the flavors of Yorkshire when you visit the town of Masham, home to two of Yorkshires best known breweries and the cheese-making centre in historic Hawes. The final leg of the journey takes you high up into the remote hill of the Yorkshire Dales before descending into the lively market town of Keswick, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation and are then free to explore this charming town. [Overnight in Keswick.] [**During July this tour may stay in Windermere instead.] Day 4 After breakfast, head a short distance out of town to the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, thought by many to have been built over 5,000 years ago. Then travel on to the shores of Ullswater, described as England’s most beautiful lake, for a forest walk to see the mighty Aira Force waterfall. Continuing south over the narrow and winding Kirkstone Pass, stop at Lake Windermere for a leisurely cruise on the lake or simply eat lunch while enjoying views of the mountains and lakes. After lunch, travel around the southern tip of Windermere and on towards Coniston Water, arriving at the picturesque conservation village of Hawkeshead. After exploring the village, take the narrow country lanes north towards Grasmere, and enjoy some free time to visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage or to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden by the River Rothy. Return to Keswick In the late afternoon. [Overnight in Keswick.] Day 5 Leaving the Lakes behind, start your climb towards Hartside Pass, at over 1900 feet above sea level, with the hills and mountains of Scotland and the English Lake District easily visible on a clear day. Follow the route of the old sheep drovers road between England and Scotland, stopping at Hadrians Wall along the way, and crossing the border into Scotland and towards the town of Jedburgh for refreshments by the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. The final stop of the tour is at the world-famous Scott’s view with stunning views over the River Tweed and the Cheviot hills that form the border between Scotland before continuing North to Edinburgh.

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York: Private Walking Tour with Student Guide

10. York: Private Walking Tour with Student Guide

Discover York and learn about the city’s rich history on a private tour. Be led through the streets by a local student guide, passing the most important sites. Meet your guide in the city center to begin your private experience. Pass the City Gates, York Castle, St. Mary’s Abbey, York Minster, and more. Admire the beautiful architecture as you wander between landmarks. Discover the city’s medieval roots and modern history from your informative guide. Find out about Constantine, the emperor who converted Rome to Christianity. Hear how Richard III plotted his campaigns during the Wars of the Roses. This private experience can be tailored to the needs and interests of your group. Your walking tour ends back at the original meeting point, where you’re free to continue exploring on your own.

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What people are saying about York Minster

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 399 reviews

Sarah was an informative and passionate guide. She was more than willing to drop in extra tidbits that catered to our own interests - be that ghosts stories, cats or the Stuarts!

Alan was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was three hours well spent and an excellent way to kick off a week dedicated to exploring York!

Lovely tour. Sarah was really friendly and knowledgeable. We got to see all the sites and was just the right amount of time.

Sarah was our guide and she made sure that the tour was quite interesting and funny. Would definitely recommend

This was an excellent tour. Albert was very knowledgeable. We really enjoyed it.