10 Free things to do in York, England

Updated: April 2019 

We asked our teachers at British Study Centres York what you can do for free in York, and they gave us some of their top recommendations.

Free things to do in York

1. Visit the National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum in York England

Photo: National Railway Museum © TheTurfBurner

Get immersed in the history of the railway at York's National Railway Museum. From steam-engine rides to historical exhibitions, you won't be disappointed with what this iconic museum has to offer. And don't forget the best part - it's free entry!

2. Go back in time at an old Benedictine priory

Discover what life was like for the Benedictine monks who once lived at Holy Trinity Priory at the free 'Monks of Micklegate' Exhibition. You can also visit the building's cloisters, workshops, gardens and the fishponds- all for free!

3. Soak up the sun at St Mary's Abbey and Botanical Gardens

St Mary's Abbey, York

Photo: St Mary's Abbey © Kaly99

Discover the peace and tranquility of the ten-acre botanical Museum Gardens and St Mary's Abbey. Bring along a blanket, your best playlist and take in the wonderful surroundings at this historic garden.

 4. Take in York's best views from the city walls

York City Walls

Photo: Rowntree Park © Vincej

Sometimes known as the Roman Walls or Bar Walls, the walls around the city are the perfect way to discover York Minster from above and get a feel for York's incredible medieval history, without having to fork out for a guided tour!

 5. Pack a picnic and head down to Rowntree Park

This award-winning park features children's playgrounds, tennis courts, bowling greens and skate parks, as well as plenty of space for a picnic. Spend the day getting sporty, or simply relax with some lunch in this picturesque space.

6. Wander along the river

There's nothing like a stroll down the River Ouse on a summer's day. Wander down towards Rowntree Park and watch the boats pass by.

7. Admire the views from Clifford's Tower

Although you might have to pay to get into the tower, the view from the top of the hill is absolutely free!

8. Go on a free walking tour

Museum Gardens York

Photo: Museum Gardens © David Dixon

Groups like White Rose York organise free walking tours at 11 am every day (no matter what the weather). Explore York highlights such as the city walls, the Museum gardens and, of course, York Minster- all for free!

9. Sample some delicious food at the York Food & Drink Festival

If you're visiting York in September-October and you’ll be there in time for the York Food & Drink Festival, the biggest food festival in the UK! There's free entry into the festival but you may have to buy tickets for certain events.

10. Visit York Minster for free!

Purchase a York Card (for just £6) then you'll not only be able to check out the city's fantastic libraries but you'll also be able to visit York Minster for free (excluding the tower). You'll also get  discounted rates for many other local attractions, like the Jorvik Viking Centre and Fairfax House. 

Would you like to learn English in York? Find out more about studying English in York or contact British Study Centres and a member of the team will be happy to help.

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