The best free things to do in York

Looking for free things to do in York? Whether you’re a resident or a visitor passing through – York is a city filled with history, green space, and plenty of fun (and cost-effective) things to keep you occupied. Here’s a list of our favourites!

Visit York Minster

York Minster dominates the city centre; a towering presence that harks back to the city’s medieval history. But did you know you can take in the splendour of the Minster for free by attending a Sunday service? Join the congregation for worship and take in the magnificent surroundings. And, if you happen to be a resident of York, or a student living in the area, bring your proof of address and you will be granted entry to the Minster, at any time, completely free!

Walk through The Shambles

The city centre’s most famous shopping district, The Shambles is a rabbit warren of winding streets with historic tudor-style buildings either side, all of which house some of the UK’s best-loved high street brands interspersed with unique independent stores. Why not pay a visit to The Harry Potter themed shop, “The Shop That Must not be Named”, or the incredibly popular “York Ghost Merchants”. Whether you’re purchasing something or not – just stepping foot into these fascinating stores can while away an hour or two!

Follow the city walls

Ranked on Tripadvisor as one of the best free things to do in York, the City walls take you on a guided history of England’s northern stronghold. York’s walls are the most complete set of medieval walls to exist in the UK, and following them round the city allows you to take in some spectacular views, as well as learn all about York’s dark and dangerous history. A great one for adults who like to learn when visiting somewhere new.

Visit the National Railway Museum

A great option for families with little ones who are locomotive lovers, the National Railway Museum is one of York’s most popular museums – perhaps because admission is completely free. It’s also only ten minutes from the city centre, by foot, so easily reachable for little legs!

Go to Spark:York

So not necessarily free… as we’re sure you’ll want to purchase something tasty while you’re there – but Spark:York features some of the area’s best and boldest food producers. All based in brightly coloured shipping containers, dotted around a previously derelict site, this unique use of space is now a hot spot for couples, families, and friends alike. Whilst the delicious aromas entice you into three courses, visit after 5pm to enjoy creative drinks offerings and the occasional event at weekends.

Go to York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery is home to some truly inspiring art – including one of the country’s largest ceramics collections. With permanent collections being free to the general public, there’s plenty to take in here without paying admission.

Once you’ve wandered through the cabinets filled with exquisite exhibits, why not wander down into the Artists Garden, before entering the York Museum Gardens – a historic green space that’s adored by city residents and visitors alike. A relaxing and cultured option for those looking for free things to do in York!

Searching for a new place to call home within the city walls? Take a look at our Hungate development.