Heritage & History Of York

Walk in medieval footsteps

From the pre-historic to the present day, you’ll find traces of York’s colourful history everywhere you go in the city. You can feel it when you walk down The Shambles, often regarded as Europe’s best preserved mediaeval street. You can see it as you walk along the ancient Roman walls offering great views of the city below. And you can get carried away by it in any one of York’s incredible array of museums.

Planes, trains and farm carts

Fly over to the former World War II RAF Bomber Command Station at Elvington and visit the Yorkshire Air Museum. Fascinating exhibits span the whole history of flight, including the early pioneers of aviation. Or if you’re more interested in tracking York’s agricultural roots, don’t miss the historic vehicles and carts at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming.

Hidden heritage

Tucked away in the cobbled streets you can discover some of the city’s hidden secrets. Marvel at the interior of Fairfax House, the finest Georgian townhouse, or explore Merchant Adventurers Hall, the finest preserved Guild Hall in Europe. Barley Hall lets you experience life in a mediaeval household. If that’s not enough there is also the only museum in Europe dedicated to quilting and textile arts, which is home to the earliest known signed and dated patchwork!

Found in the heart of the city in St Helen’s Square, the Mansion House is an architectural masterpiece which plays host to an extensive collection of civic regalia and artefacts.

A city bursting with heritage highlights

Discover the Great East Window at York Minster and marvel at the largest expanse of stained glass in the UK. Explore York’s Chocolate Story and get to know the history behind the chocolatiers famous for shaping the city and producing sweet treats such as the KitKat.  

To ensure you’ve ticked off all of the historical sites, make sure you buy your York Pass. Giving you access to the city’s popular historical sites, also saving you money. This way you can go ahead and treat yourself with the money you’ve saved.

Head to the Yorkshire Museum, which houses some of the finest collections of archaeological and geological finds in Europe, and is home to the world-famous Richard III portrait until 31 October. At York Castle Museum you’ll see hundreds of years of York’s history in one place – from recreated Jacobean dining rooms to the world famous recreated Victorian Street, Kirkgate.

Festivals celebrating York’s rich heritage

The great news is the city hosts a programme of events which will allow you to witness what life was like in historic York. Experience Viking York at JORVIK Viking Festival, which is due to return in 2022. 

Discover More: York & North Yorkshire.