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Budget and family friendly travel to York. A list of free must-see things to do in York!

York family travel budget friendly travel

I know how important family and wallet-friendly vacations are so I’m including some free options to explore when visiting York! York’s got everything for the whole family.



For the Family

Promise your children a trip to a city famed for Kit Kats, Viking warriors, spooky ghosts, highwaymen, Guy Fawkes and railways and you should have them eating out of your hand. Add some traditional Yorkshire thrift and you’ve got the perfect place for a family break.

What’s good about York for you and your family?

  • Most of the historic streets in the city centre are traffic-free.
  • The city is so compact you can walk from one attraction to the next quite easily, even with younger children.
  • There is a wide range of accommodation, where family rooms are available, from luxury self-catering apartments offering great value without compromising on quality to the city centre. YHA – ideal for school groups or families on a budget.
  • For pure family fun of the ‘run off energy’ type, you can’t beat Creepy Crawlies, where you will find one of the biggest four lane Astra slides in the country, six different play zones, an outdoor adventure park, animal farm, plus an award-winning café!

Must-sees include

  • JORVIK Viking Centre
  • National Railway Museum
  • York Minster
  • York Designer Outlet (for designer shopping)
  • York’s Chocolate Story
  • York Castle Museum
  • Yorkshire Museum

Lots of free must-see things to do

  • Visit Dick Turpin’s grave or Guy Fawkes’ birthplace, have a picnic in the botanical gardens – Museum Gardens – or take a riverside walk.
  • Visit the National Railway Museum: The largest railway museum in the world is home to a wide range of railway icons and millions of artefacts, from the Japanese bullet train to Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • Walk the City Walls: At 3.4 kilometres long they are the longest medieval city walls in England.
  • Play in the parks: Museum Gardens, Rowntrees’ Park, York Designer Outlet’s covered play area.
  • Go on a free city walking tour: You’ll get fresh air, exercise, fun and history all in one go! Try the Five Walks of Rowntree York: From Chocolate comes Change. The Rowntree Society has produced a 48-page book detailing new walks that incorporate the City Centre, Clifton, Out of Town, Haxby Road and New Earswick – including a total of 60 stopping points and 8 hours of walking in all.

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  • …with a York Pass. Once purchased the York Pass offers you a choice of free entry into over 30 York attractions and tours, as well as restaurant and shopping offers. You can buy a one, two, three or six-day pass, making it a superb addition to your leisure break.
  • …by using the Park and Ride. If you’re driving, it is easy and straightforward to leave your car at one of the several Park and Ride sites around the city and hop on a bus. Parking is free and the buses are frequent.

Read Next

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The Shoppers Guide To York Specifically For Traveling Shopaholics!

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The Ultimate Travel Guide To York, England

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