York certainly has a lot to offer with an abundance of history, pubs and independent businesses. However, sometimes the student budget doesn’t quite stretch to all the attractions on offer. So, in this blog we look at free things to do in York, grab your Fitbit, get some steps in and check out some truly beautiful spots in the city!
1. York city walls
Open daily from 8am until dusk the city walls form a 3.4km route orbiting the city. The route on average takes around 2 hours to walk and is the perfect opportunity to hop on/hop off to visit different attractions including the Minster and Micklegate for a few cheeky drinks!
2. The Shambles
Harking back to Elizabethan times, the shambles is a quaint cobbled street in the heart of York. This olde worldie alley is not only a photographer’s dream you can also get your Harry Potter fix as its famed for J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley inspiration, and is also home to two Harry Potter themed shops, including ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named.’
3. York Minster
Standing 72metres tall you can’t really miss York minster, with over 800 stained glass windows it is a truly amazing piece of architecture. If you dare to climb the 275 steps to the top of the tower you can get some truly amazing views of the city, simply flash your student ID for free entry, opening at 9am and last visit is 4:30pm.
4. The River Ouse and Millennium Bridge
If the weather is kind a wander down the river shouldn’t be missed, in summer you can find many a local having a BBQ or walking dogs. With some great walks taking you out to the Bishop’s palace and endless fields, it’s perfect for a sunny stroll. Overlooking the River Ouse is Millennium bridge, built (you guessed it!) in 2000, the bridge connects the Fulford area of York with Bishopthorpe road. Whilst your over that way take a wander down Bishopthorpe road and stop off at the ‘Pig and Pastry’ cafe for a coffee and ‘The Bishy Weigh’ to stock up on some eco-friendly snacks and nick knacks, this eco pantry promotes package free shopping, so don’t forget your bags and containers!
5. Orbital Bike Route
Not limited to bikes, you can also walk the orbital routes around York, however, it may take a while! You can hop on over to “I travel York” website and check out the many routes available. If you haven’t got a bike, no worries, you can hire one from ‘Cycle Heaven’ bike shop based at York train station.
I’m going to be honest and admit I have never caught a Pokemon in my life! However, I have it on good authority that York is full of Pokemon. All can be caught whilst wandering through some of the greenest and most historical areas of York, including the beautiful Museum Gardens, situated next to the river.
7. Green Spaces
York has wonderful green spaces to relax in a sunny day, with over 20 spaces it’s hard to list them all, head over to the York Council webpage for a full list. One of my personal favourites is Rowntree’s park, located just off Bishopthorpe road, it has a quaint reading café, tennis courts, a basketball court and a skate park.
8. Black Cat Trail
In 1979 local architect Tom Adams commissioned a number of black cat sculptures to be placed on the buildings he had designed, thought to bring luck and scare off the vermin of York. Starting and finishing on the shambles, the black cat trail will take you to some of the oldest parts of York, don’t forget to call into the ‘Kings Arms’ pub located just off Ouse bridge, it’s one of the oldest pubs in York, and famously floods when the river rises.
9. York River Art Market
Although technically not a permanent fixture, running from June to August every year the York river art market is a fun day out for all. Located on Dame Judi Dench walk, near the museum gardens, it attracts some wonderful and unique homeware, jewellery and artwork from artists near and far.
10. Askham Bryan Wildlife Park
The wildlife park is located on the outskirts of York in Askham Bryan village, entry is free with a valid student ID card. The park is home to a variety of species ranging from terrapins to wallabies, the park has nature trials, ancient trees and is a little oasis of calm, truly a place to de-stress and get away from your studies. If you’re interested in gaining experience within a zoo environment and gaining a greater insight into animal conservation, speak with the park manager about placements and volunteering opportunities.