5 Incredible Reasons to Visit York

York is one of the most famous historical cities in England. But is it worth visiting?

Since I’m based in Wakefield, roughly an hour’s drive from York, I visit the city regularly. As such, I am well-equipped to help you decide whether a visit to the city of York is worthwhile for you.

1. Travelling From London to Scotland

If you’re travelling from London to Scotland, York is the perfect stop. The city is roughly halfway between London and Glasgow or Edinburgh.

With a three-hour train journey on either side, you could easily spend a day in York. However, if you’re driving, I’d suggest spending the night in York, as the journey from Central London is around four to five hours.

2. A Deep British History

York has the second richest history in England, after London, spanning over 2,000 years. As a result, the city of York offers a blend of Roman, Viking, and Medieval heritage.

Some of the best historic sites in York include:

  • York Minster: One of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe.
  • The Shambles: An incredibly well-preserved medieval shopping street
  • Clifford’s Tower: The last remaining part of York Castle, built in 1068.
  • York City Walls: Originally built by the Romans more than 700 years ago.

3. Kid-Friendly Museums & Attractions

The city of York is very family-friendly, with several fantastic museums and attractions. Some of my favourites include:

  • National Railway Museum: As a train enthusiast, this is my son Oliver’s (2.5 years) favourite museum. Entry is free, but you must reserve a ticket in advance.
  • York’s Chocolate Story: Chocolate making has been a part of York for over 300 years. Famous chocolate brands Nestlé and Terry’s were both started in the city.
  • York Castle Museum: This castle was initially built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Today, it’s a museum showcasing the history of the castle and the city.
  • Jorvik Viking Center: On the original site of Jorvik Viking village, this museum takes you back to 975 AD.

4. Ghost Hunting

With a history as long as York’s, it’s no surprise you’ll come across stories of ghosts and ghouls. The original York Ghost Walk, founded in 1973, was the first of its kind worldwide.

Today, the York Ghost Walk starts at the Kings Arms Pub at 8pm daily and ends at York Dungeon. You don’t need to book in advance; just turn up.

5. Unique Architecture

York is a haven for architecture enthusiasts. Its well-preserved rich history and cultural evolution offer a range of unique buildings. Some of my favourites include:

  • York Minster: A marvel of Gothic architecture with intricate designs and stained glass windows.
  • The Shambles: The overhanging timer-framed buildings here date back to the 14th century.
  • The Bar Convent: Founded in 1686, this is the oldest living convent. It features a stunning hidden chapel and a beautiful enclosed garden.
  • Merchant Adventurers’ Hall: One of Britain’s finest examples of timber-framed buildings.
  • Fairfax House: This Georgian townhouse highlights opulent city life in the 18th century. The interiors have been beautifully preserved and feature a fine collection of furnishings.


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