Free Things to do in York

Free Things To Do In York

Free things to do in York:

You (and your children) will find many free things to do in York. York is a excellent and popular place to bring children. Geographically York is far smaller than most UK Cities, and as such it is a very pleasant place to discover on foot. It has a number of excellent parks and gardens (even in the city centre itself), as well as child friendly restaurants, shops parks and museums.

Entertaining your kids In York doesn’t have to be expensive. Parks and public gardens are free to play in, and because of National Lottery funding, many fantastic museums are available for all of the family – at no charge. Unless many popular tourist cities, there really are many free things to do in York.

Whether you live in York, you are here on a day trip, or you are having an extended break,  then the following information and links will really help you to plan a good time for the family:

Best Free Things To Do In York

Free:  A couple of minutes on foot away from York Railway Station is York’s magnificent National Railway Museum. This is the largest railway museum in the world, with almost 1 million visitors per year. Because of the huge size of this museum this is an excellent day out for those with pushchairs and children of all ages. This museum has won a huge amount of awards including the European Museum of the Year Award in 2001 (and it has improved a fair amount since then too!).  

Please note though that, although this museum is free, there are some occasional exhibits (i.e. Thomas the Tank Engine) that will cost an entry fee.

You will also be asked if you want to make a contribution to the museum on entry, but again, this is at your own discretion. Nevertheless, the York National Railway Centre can be considered a fantastic day out, and certainly one of best free things to do in York.

Free: The York City Walls (also known as the “Bar” walls) are the best, and most complete medieval city walls available in England today.  They circle York’s city centre and a walk along them offer fantastic viewponts over the picturesque river Ouse and the city itself. The original gates to these walls (the “Bars”) can still be seen and are in excellent condition. These are Micklegate Bar, Bootham Bar, Monk Bar & Walmgate Bar.

Free For Under 16’s With Paying Adult: The York Art Gallery is also in the City Centre (close to Bootham Bar), and contains some internationally famous pieces with regular guest exhibitions (David Hockney etc), and has recently re-opened to some acclaim. For art lovers this is definately one of the best free things to do in York for kid (but will cost £7.50 for adults).

Free: Lovely central city centre gardens for play, ice cream & picnics at Museum Gardens (next door to York Library) and Dean’s Park (slightly hidden away at the back – the North Side – of York Minster). 10 minutes walk from the City Centre York down by the River Ouse brings you to the fantastic Rowntree Park.

Free for Under 16’s With Paying Adult: The Yorkshire Museum is based in Museum Gardens, and has recently had a £2 million refurbishment. A very interesting museum for children and adults alike (£7.50 charge for adults, free for adults with a residents York Card).

Free for Under 16’s: The York Castle Museum used to be a prison (Dick Turpin was a former “guest”!). This museum is now contains many extremely impressive recreations of historical activity in York including a recreated Victorian street,  with real shop fittings and stock which create a realistic atmosphere of Victorian Britain.

There are regular buskers in the city centre, and you can gets hours of entertainment for free! (although if the act is really good you can offer a few pennies…). You can walk down The Shambles for free, recently voted the prettiest street in England!

  Other Free Things To Do In York

Sit near the fountain in in York city centre and watch the other tourists! Enjoy the regular farmers markets & regular food stalls from all around the world. Visit any church that you pass on foot – the history of York is so rich and varied you won’t be disappointed.


Free Things To Do In York - Santa in York at Christmas

We hope that you have found this a useful (and money saving) guide to the best free things to do in York.