Free (or Cheap) Sightseeing in York, England

One of the UK’s favourite cities, the small town of York is packed with loads to see and do – enjoy for several days worth of visiting. With a large train hub and nearby Leeds-Bradford airport, it’s also easy to get to. But how to enjoy York on the cheap? Here’s some top Europe travel tips for free (or cheap) things to do.

a gate on the city walls

Walk the City Walls. This isn’t any secret, because you can’t miss them! They’re some of the most well intact walls I’ve seen, and the views are very enjoyable. Many will tell you to just walk the portion directly behind York Minster, but in fact doing the entire loop only takes you an hour or two, and the other portions are very quiet and relaxing. (Note that the walls don’t form a continuous circle so you do have to continue on pavement in portions). Free.

Check into a B&B. There are plenty of B&Bs in York scattered all around the city so you won’t have any shortage of options. I stayed at the Beckett Guesthouse, a cheap and wonderfully cheerful spot just a short stroll into town. They’re known for their breakfast experience, a hot meal prepared with fresh ingredients which is included in your rate, saving you more cash to spend on teas and cakes later in the day. Many B&Bs have discounts and coupons for various attractions in town so be sure to ask if there is something specific you want to see.

Enjoy the City Art Gallery, followed by a stroll in the adjacent gardens. They’re both free and the art gallery is small and compact but has some amazing pieces in their collection. When I visited they were showing some traditional portraits, a pottery display, and a few modern collections. It’s a nice balance and a nice taster of culture.

Lastly, if you’re considering a LOT of sightseeing then you might check out the York Pass. I normally don’t use these but in York there are so many cathedrals, mansions, and museums that it all really adds up. The York Pass is pretty pricey for a single day but the 2 day pass works out at about £19/day and the 3 day pass is about £14/day, so at least think about it. The pass also includes discounts at a few of the teahouses along Stonegate, the main commercial street, as well as a few discount dinner options (all listed on the website), so as I say it might be worth it depending on how adventurous you are.