Five free things to do in York

York is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year and has plenty of attractions and activities to enjoy. However, many of these can cost money and if you are going as a family those entrance fees and ticket prices can quickly add up. So, we’ve done the hard work for you and found five of the best things to do when in York that won’t cost you a penny!

One of the first things that you just have to do when in York is visit the City. There are plenty of highlights and sights to see in the City of York and it is steeped with history and marvellous architecture. You can of course traverse the streets of York yourself at no cost but we would advise taking one of the free walking tours. This way you won’t miss out on any of the sights.

The walking tours are operated daily by The Association of Voluntary Guides and last around two hours. They will take you through the city to see attractions such as Treasurers House, York Minister and Bootham Bar. There’s no need to book and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon without spending your money!

An infamous attraction that draws tourists in at all times of the year is The Shambles. This is believed to be the oldest street in York and is mentioned in the Domesday book. The street boasts plenty of medieval buildings, a cobbled street and lots of Middle Ages history that makes it an essential visit.

Not only will you be able to enjoy a bit of history but there are also plenty of lovely little gift shops to get the presents for the family and lots of nice restaurants to sit down and enjoy a lazy lunch. It is here where you will also find the Shrine of Margaret clitherow who was convicted of being a Catholic and harbouring Catholic priests back in 1586.
If it is history that you like then the third place to visit for free is York’s city walls. These date back to Roman times and are the backbone of the city.

The remaining walls date back to the 12th century and were restored in Victorian times. There is around two and a half miles of walls that you can walk. You can access them at one of four “bars”; Bootham Bar, Walmgate Bar, Micklegate Bar and Monk bar. These “bars” were originally toll booths in the Middle Ages and are a great place to get a picture!

Another great place to visit when in York is the National Rail Museum. This is actually the largest railway museum in the entire world, so if trains and rail interests you then there are few places better to visit! Even better is that admission is completely free for the entire family. There is more than enough here to entertain for the whole day and a good few places to grab a snack and drink to help you through the day.

Our final top visit in York with free admission is the York Art Gallery. You will find this in Exhibition Square and will be amazed to find that, despite free entry, it is a huge place with over a thousand paintings and seventeen thousand drawings to admire!

The York Art Gallery opens from 10am and closes at 5pm and you can easily enjoy a full day here with so much to see.
So, as you can see, there is plenty to do in York even if you are watching the pennies!