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This post was most recently updated on September 9th, 2016
People from all over the world recognize York as a destination full of history, culture, and activity. There are buildings rich with beautiful architecture, museums full of intriguing artifacts, and views that speak of times present and times past. This is all combined with excellent dining and entertainment to keep you coming back for more. Below are some of the must see attractions that call York home.
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1. York Minster
This beautiful cathedral is around 800 years old. It is located within the city and offers tours and public events to attend. The minster is constantly undergoing conservation efforts to retain it’s original fabric and artwork. It is a stunning display of history and worship, and a staple for experience York.
2. York Castle
York Castle is a complex of many buildings that have served various purposes over the course of nearly 1000 years. Over the course of history, it has seen fires, explosions, remodels, and prisons. It was still used as a jail up until 1929. Today, it is a monument open to the public and is connected to a museum that covers the history of the castle and it’s affiliations.
The Shambles is a famous street in York’s City Centre, and had been dubbed Britain’s Most Picturesque Street in 2010. It currently houses small shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions that explain the long history of the street and architecture. The street originally housed butcher shops, and was referred to as Flesshammel, meaning booth around flesh. Over time, the word was shortened to Shamel, and now is the well-known street of Shambles.
4. National Railway Museum
Railway and train enthusiasts from around the world have come to York’s National Railway Museum. It houses over a million different objects and spans 300 years of history. It isn’t just about seeing incredible locomotives. Here, you can learn how the process works and watch it in action. This museum has railway artifacts from all over the world, including a Bullet Train from Japan. It is free entry to the public.
5. City Walls
Since the times when Rome governed the area of York, the city has been defended by outer walls. York has the most intact mileage of city wall than any other city in all of England and are easily accessed by the public to allow for views of the city. The walls are separated by bars, or guardhouses, and often go by the name The Bars. The walkway along the wall contains markers that point pedestrians to notable areas or buildings from history.
6. York Maze
For an exciting day outside of the city and in the countryside, this corn maze caters to families who are looking for an adventure. It is the largest corn maze in all of the United Kingdom, and has over 20 different rides, attractions, and shows. It is only open from mid-July to early September, and is closed in the evenings.
7. St. Mary’s Abbey
This institution was begun by William the Conqueror after he took hold of the north in 1066. It was once one of the wealthiest abbeys in the country. This was a Benedictine abbey and was full of around 100 people, about 50 monks and 50 scholars. It was even mentioned in one of the early ballads of Robin Hood.
8. York Chocolate Story
Many are not aware that York is the UK’s home of chocolate. The Chocolate Story is a three-zoned chocolate factory and museum that tells the story of chocolate as it has affected the city and people of York. In the attraction, visitors learn about the history of the cocoa bean and the process of creating a candy bar, and then enjoy some signature York-style chocolate treats.
9. River Ouse Cruise
From February through November, York Boat hosts daily river cruises that highlight different areas of York. There are different themed cruises, from an informative ride that discusses historical points and locations, to afternoon tea cruises and children’s themed Pirate cruises. The boat has an open top deck to enjoy sunny days, and a warm bar area with refreshments.