Looking for things to do in York on a weekend? There are plenty to surprises to uncover as you wander through its maze of cobbled streets, which are packed with extraordinary culture and unique attractions.
Whether you take a trip to the famous Shambles, climb the tower at the imposing Gothic cathedral of York Minster, or discover the host of independent restaurants and coffee shops dotted throughout the city, there are endless things to do and see in the city, all within a short stroll of the station.
World-Famous Theatre, Comedy and Ghost Tours: Friday night in York
Visit York with Northern for a Friday you won’t forget and spend a cultured and cosy night exploring the nooks and crannies of this beautiful city.
Start your weekend in York by taking in one of the exciting shows that are on year-round in the city’s many world-class theatres and venues. There really is something for everyone, so why not take in a musical at the York Theatre Royal, watch a live orchestra play along to your favourite film at the York Barbican or laugh out loud at The Basement, the best comedy club York has to offer.
Photo credit: York Theatre Royal
York’s darker side
A night out in York doesn’t have to be about visiting the city’s many pubs. For a family-friendly evening activity, join one of the city’s famed ghost tours. Follow the eerie tale of your guide Mad Alice on The Bloody Tour of York or climb aboard the creepy Ghost Bus Tour for a thrilling ride that’s full of surprises. But don’t forget, a York Friday night wouldn’t be complete without a twilight stroll through the famous York Shambles to soak up the atmosphere of the beautiful cobbled streets.
Amazing architecture, Sweet Treats and Historic Pubs: Saturday in York
The amazing architecture of York Minster
York’s most famous landmark is the imposing York Minster, built on a site that has been attracting worshippers since the 4th Century. You can take a tour of the inner sanctum of the Cathedral, including the chance to uncover the secrets of its crypt and the breathtaking stained glass windows.
You can take a guided tour if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Minster and if you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the 275 steps to the top of the tower and take in the panoramic views of the city.
Photo credit: Visit York
The York Chocolate Story
Did you know that York has been a famed centre for chocolate and sweet production for almost 300 years? The York Chocolate Story tells tales of the city’s sweet past, sharing stories from the famous Terry’s and Rowntree’s factories, not to mention offering fantastic tips on where to find the most delectable treats in the city. You can book your tickets on the York Chocolate Story in advance online to avoid disappointment.
A rainy afternoon
On a rainy Saturday afternoon there's no better place to visit than City Screen York. Sit back and enjoy a bite to eat and blockbuster movie at this riverside picture house.
Photo credit: City Screen York
The historic pubs of York
You won’t want to miss out on the lively atmosphere of the pubs in York, as they’re the perfect place to round off your Saturday night. Known for interesting and unusual tipples, it would be a shame to miss out on the fantastic ales, beers and ciders the local breweries have to offer.
If you’re a serious craft beer fan we recommend you take a trip to Pivní. Located just off the Shambles, this 16th century timber framed building is definitely one to stop at after a Saturday exploring and wandering around York’s cobbled streets.
Looking for something a little spookier on a Saturday night, for those who are fresh off one of the city’s amazing ghost walks, we would recommend you head straight to the Golden Fleece, if your nerves can take it – they say it’s the most haunted pub in Britain!
Photo credit: The Golden Fleece
Things to do on a Sunday in York
The city walls
A trip to this famous city would not be complete without a walk on the York City Walls. The three-mile walk takes in the amazing sights that York has to offer as it circles the perimeter of the old city along the original elevated city walls. You might just want to amble along at your own pace but if you fancy learning more about the hidden history along the wall, why not book a bespoke walking tour to guide you through this ancient and intriguing city.
Photo credit: Visit York
Located just a short walk from the railway station, you will find the stunning Museum Gardens, a famous York attraction. Set in the spectacular ruins of the medieval St Mary’s Abbey and Roman Multangular Tower, the gardens are perfect if you are looking for a few moments tranquillity away from the busy shopping streets of York.
Every Sunday, the gardens offer free tours where you can learn all about the true history of these unique gardens and the array of wildlife, plants and historical features that are hidden in this city centre oasis. The tours meet every Sunday at 1pm and last one hour.
Photo credit: Visit York
Take a trip to the House of Trembling Madness, a quirky bar and restaurant tucked away above a bottle shop on Stonegate, and marvel at their bizarre array of stuffed animal head, while tasting something from one of their delicious sharing platters, washed down with a drop from one of their barrels of Belgian beer. If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter, there’s always a cup of Yorkshire tea and a sample of the irresistible baked goods at the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms.
Last but not least, before you catch your train home make your final stop The Maltings – it’s just down the road from the station and offers great food, beer and atmosphere in a traditional English pub setting.
Photo credit: The Maltings
York's other Tourist Attractions
Elsewhere in the city, no end of world-leading attractions are dotted around the historic confines of York. Including York Dungeon, a thrilling, must-see attraction that will take you back to the city's darkest history – not for the faint-hearted. For educational days of discovery, Clifford’s Tower and the historic site of the York Castle Museum was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and is home to world-renowned collections of historic artefacts.
But this is just the beginning of York’s historical and cultural offerings, with more family-friendly days awaiting your discovery at the incredible Jorvik Viking Centre, Yorkshire Museum and National Railway Museum. Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivalled collection of engineering brilliance.
Perhaps the best way to explore York, however, is to board a boat and embark on a scenic river cruise along the winding River Ouse. Simply sit back, relax and admire ancient attractions at the same time as learning about the Roman and Viking heritage of York.
Book an advance ticket to York today and save up to 65% on train travel to York.