What to do in York today?

If you found this page, you are looking for what to do in York today, this week or during your next visit, which is great, as we have lots of suggestions, guides and a York events calendar.  So let us help you plan your next trip if you are a visitor, or, find something fun to do in the city or surrounding area if you are a local.

What to do in York with your family?

There are plenty of activities, attractions and events taking place every day for families to enjoy in York.  Even if you live here, you will never get bored as there is so much to see  and do, some are free, others cost a few £’s.

We have a dedicated Things to do in York for Kids guide to provide more inspiration and a York Events Calendar to help you plan what you want to do in York today, so be sure to check those out.  But to get you on your way, here are a couple of things you could do in York with your family.

What to do in York today?

So in answer to your question, ‘what to do in York today?’ and without further ado, below are a few great suggestions to keep you entertained.

1. York Castle Museum

York-Castle-museum-shopsSituated on the former site of York Castle, the York Castle Museum opened in 1938 and is one of Britain’s leading museums of everyday life, with recreations of streets, shops, rooms, prison cells and displaying thousands of household objects from the last 300 years.

The jewel in York Castle museum’s crown is Kirkgate, which is a recreation of a Victorian street with shops, complete with stock and everything you would expect to see in Victorian Britain.

Other displays worth taking a look at include;

  • Armour
  • Toys
  • Weapons
  • Cooking utensils
  • Fashion
  • Farming equipment
  • Tools
  • Printing presses

dick turpin york prison museumOn a slightly darker note, you can also explore York Castle Prison which was built in 1705, where you can see what it was like to live and die in an overcrowded prison which was home to the likes of highwayman Dick Turpin in 1739.

Warning – some of the stories of events and conditions in the prison can be quite gruesome and a bit scary for very young children.

Address: Eye of York, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9RY, England
Contact: 01904 687687; https://www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk
Opening times: Monday to Sunday 09:30 – 17:00 but closed 25th to 26th December and 1st January
Pricing:  Adult: £10, Child: free

2. City Sightseeing York Hop on Hop off Tour

City Sightseeing York Hop on Hop off TourThere is so much to see and do in York that it is easy to miss lots of what the city has to offer.  To help and make your day in York enjoyable, be sure to check out the York Hop on Hop off bus tours.

With 20 stops, the tour passes all of Yorks attractions including the Gothic cathedral, York Minster,  Clifford’s Tower, Jorvic Viking Centre and York Racecourse.  So, even if you just want to get around the city during your day out, the bus provides a cheap, reliable and informative method which is sure to make your day more enjoyable.

York tour map

Click the picture below to see a large map of the exact route the tour bus takes.

city sightseeing york hop on hop off tour map

The City Sightseeing York Hop on Hop off Tour is given in nine different languages (English, French Dutch, Spanish, German, Polish, Swedish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian and there is also a kids commentary in English) and with over 20 stops across the city, hopping on and off the tour is easy and fun.

Address: 23 Hospital Fields Road, Fulford, York, North Yorkshire, YO10 4EW, England
Contact: 07808 713938; Visit website
Opening times: 25 March to 3 December, 09:00 – 17:30 daily
Pricing: Adult: £13.00, Children: £5.00, Family (2 Adt & 2 Chd): £30.00, Student: £9.00, Senior (65+): £9.00

3. The Web Adventure Park

web adventure park yorkThe Web Adventure Park has both indoor and outdoor play areas for your kids to enjoy, so even if it is raining, the fun does not have to stop!

Inside you will find a disco and sports arena, four lane astro slide, massive play frame, dress up area, messy play area and music area for your little ones to explore, pretend and create.

If they get a little warm playing inside, then outside there is the big climbing net, quad bikes, water play, large sand pit, jungle bridge and den building for them to enjoy. Make sure you do not miss the Animal Zone where you can pet the friendly rabbit and guinea pigs and if that is not enough, the kids will love the Wired High Ropes where they can challenge themselves across 22 different activities.

Childcare facility on site – perhaps you are looking for a chance to do some shopping or visit Yorks attractions which you know will not be enjoyable with the kids, you could always take advantage of the on site childcare facilities available at The Web Adventure Park.  Just a thought!

Address: Wigginton Road, York, North Yorkshire, YO32 2RH, England
Contact: 01904 692221; Visit website
Opening times: Creepy Crawlies – Sunday to Thursday 09:30 – 19:00 & Friday and Saturday 09:30 – 20:00.  Wired – Saturday, Sunday & School Holidays 10:00 – 17:00
Pricing: Creepy Crawlies – Off Peak (Peak), Adult: £1.50 (£2.00), Under 1: £1.50 (free with sibling), Toddler (1-3): £5.25 (6.25), Child (4-15): £6.25 (£7.25).  Wired – Pre Booked (On the Day), Wired One Hour: £15.00 (£17.00), Summit One Hour: £15.00

4. Cinemas in York

There are a few cinemas in York to choose from or you could even pop out to the Malton cinema which often shows movies which have stopped showing at the larger cinemas in York, which is great if you have missed a film and still want to watch it on the big screen.

5. Vue York Cinema Clifton Moor

The Vue cinema York is a great place to spend a few hours catching up on the latest movies.  With 12 screens and the latest Sony 4K picture quality, Dolby surround sound and of course popcorn, snack, drinks and sweets galore, you will enjoy whatever film you go watch in style at the Vue York cinema.

Address: Vue York, Clifton Moor Centre, Stirling Road, York, YO30 4XY, England
Contact: 0345 308 4620; Vue York website
Opening times: Monday – Sunday but please see website for latest movie times
Pricing: From – Adult: £7.49, Child: £4.99, Teen: £5.99, Student: £6.49, Senior: £6.49, Family (of 4): £19.96

6. City Screen York Picturehouse

The City Screen York Picturehouse is conveniently located in York city centre, overlooking the River Ouse.  So if you need a break from shopping or fancy going for a pre movie meal at one of York’s many fine restaurants before seeing a film, the City Screen York Picturehouse is a perfect choice within the city walls.

Address: City Screen Picturehouse, 13–17 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL, England
Contact: 0871 902 5726; City Screen York website
Opening times: Monday – Sunday but please see website for latest movie times
Pricing: From – Adult: £7.50, Child: £5.50, Student: £7.50, Senior: £7.50, Family (of 4): £21

7. Reel York

The Reel York cinema is located in the old Odeon York art deco cinema which was built in the 1930’s and has a 800 seat main screen with 4 smaller screens where you can enjoy the latest Hollywood blockbusters and smaller arthouse movies.

Address: 28-40 Blossom St, York, YO24 1AJ, England
Contact: 01904 733633City Screen York website
Opening times: Monday – Sunday but please see website for latest movie times
Pricing: From – Adult: £6.90, Child: £5.40, Teen: £5.70, Student: £5.90, Senior: £5.40, Family (of 4): £21.60, Family (of 3): £16.20

8. Adult Events and Activities in York

With events and activities taking place every day in York, you will find that there are lots of things to keep you entertained.  Below you will find a few suggestions to get you started but for a complete list of special events, festivals and activities, be sure to check out the York Events Calendar and Things to do in York guide.

9. Grand Opera House York

Grand Opera House YorkOriginally the Grand Opera House in York was not built as a theatre but was converted in 1902 from two buildings, a warehouse and corn exchange on the banks of the river Ouse.  Today, however, it is a magnificent Grade II listed theatre, owned and operated by the Ambassador Theatre Group where you can enjoy shows and live entertainment every week of the year.

Perhaps you are in the mood for some comedy from the UK’s leading comedians, or want to catch a touring West End musical, enjoy a musical, the ballet and opera or listen to some of the best pop and rock bands in the world.  The Grand Opera House in York has it all and more and has come a long way from its first show in 1902 which was a Little Red Riding Hood pantomime, but if you love pantomimes, don’t worry, they are still on every year!

Address: Cumberland Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9S
Contact: 0844 8713024; Visit website
Pricing: Please see website for event pricing

10. York Theatre Royal

York Theatre RoyalEvery year the York Theatre Royal entertains over 200,000 people and it has been enthralling the masses for over 250 years which is why it is easily one of the country’s leading producing theatres.  The York Theatre Royal offers a wide variety of events, activities and performances for you to enjoy and it is worth checking out the York events calendar to find out what is on during your visit.

Having completed a £6million redevelopment in April 2017 the York Theatre Royal is a stunning theatre, fit for the modern era and offers some superb and much loved plays and events for all to enjoy.

Address: St. Leonard’s Place, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 7HD
Contact: 01904 623568; www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk
Pricing: Please see website for event pricing

11. York Barbican

York BarbicanWith 2 bars and a restaurant, the York Barbican is a great venue for an afternoon or evening out in York.  Operated by SMG (UK) Ltd, the 1500 seated, 1900 standing capacity provides plenty of space and availability of tickets to see some of the worlds top entertainment acts and events including comedy (stand up and the Great Yorkshire Fringe festival), family shows, live bands, snooker and community events.

The York Barbican is also home to the annual Lord Mayor’s Carol Concert, Festival of Remembrance and the Guildhall Orchestra.

Address: Paragon Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO10 4NT
Contact: 0844 854 2757; www.yorkbarbican.co.uk
Pricing: Please see website for event pricing

12. The Basement

You can find The Basement below the City Screen Picturehouse cinema in York’s city centre.  With a capacity of 100, this intimate events venue has live music most evenings, along with comedy, cabaret, and burlesque shows.  So there is usually always something on during any given week which you will enjoy.

Please note that The Basement is a 16+ venue, which means that ID may be asked for on the door and admission refused for those under the age of 16.

Address: 13 – 17 Coney Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9QL
Contact: 01904 612940

13. York Racecourse

With 17 race days starting in May and ending in October, the York Racecourse provides world class horse racing for visitors of all ages to enjoy.  Consistently rated in the top ten list of best horse racing courses in the UK and the 3rd biggest racecourse in Britain in terms of total prize money offered per meeting, York Racecourse is a great day out where you will get to see some fantastic racing.

York Racecourse attracts over 350,000 racegoers per year and stages three prestigious Group 1 events;

  • The Juddmonte International Stakes
  • The Nunthorpe Stakes
  • The Yorkshire Oaks.

York RacecourseThe jewel in York Racecourse’s crown is the Ebor Festival which is held in August each year and is a highlight of the flat racing season.  If you get to this horse racing event, you will definitely enjoy the Ebor Handicap which is one of Europe’s most difficult premier handicap races to win.  So choose your horse carefully in that one!

With all of this fine horse racing to enjoy, you may get a little peckish or thirsty, but don’t worry as there are a huge choice of restaurants, bars and ice cream stands to ensure you are topped up and ready for the next race.

When the racing stops, the party begins with entertainment and music concerts from the likes of Olly Murs and family events throughout the season, so be sure to keep an eye out for one of those.

Address: The Racecourse, York, North Yorkshire, YO23 1EX
Contact: 01904 620911; www.yorkracecourse.co.uk
Opening Times:  All events, 11:15am.  Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, 11 am.  Music Showcase Evening, 4.00pm
Pricing: Adult price: £5 to £55 (day and enclosure dependant), Under 18s go free (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).  Group, junior and over 65 concessions on all raceways.  Group discounts available in advance

What to do in York when it’s raining?

what to do in york when it is rainingDon’t let rain spoil your day.  There are plenty of things to do in York when the weather outside is not so good, so if you are looking for what to do in York when it is raining, here are some suggestions to keep you entertained.  We cannot guarantee the sunshine in York but we guarantee there is always something to do inside where it is dry.

  • York Minster
  • National Railway Museum
  • Jorvik Viking Centre
  • York Motorsports Village
  • Afternoon tea – Betty’s Tea room
  • York Art Gallery
  • Jorvik Viking Centre
  • Yorkshire Museum
  • York Dungeons
  • Shopping – York Designer Outlet
  • York’s Chocolate Story
  • Merchant Adventurers Hall
  • ENERGI Trampoline Park
  • Creepy Crawlies

Plus lots and lots more, be sure to check out the York Events Calendar to find out what to do in York today.

Restaurants in York

There are lots of York restaurants to choose from when you get a little peckish whilst shopping, visiting the many attractions or if you fancy going for a nice meal out with friends or family.  You can check out our York restaurants guide which will help you find the best restaurants in York or choose from the a few of the below if you are in a hurry!

Skosh York

Skosh may serve little dishes but wow do they ever pack a punch.  Located near Micklegate Bar (city gate), Skosh is a super dining experience and highly rated across the whole of Yorkshire and deservedly so.

The idea is simple and well executed.

You have as little or as much as you want, grazing as you go, or if you prefer, gradually served course by course to give you a complete dining experience – Neil Bentinck, Chef & Owner

A whilst similar restaurants at this standard are expensive, Skosh, is very reasonably priced with dishes costing from £3 – £15, which means it is affordable for all and really allows you to explore what the menu has to offer.

Skosh York should definitely be on your list of places to eat, the next time you are in York city centre.

Address: 98 Micklegate, York, YO1 6JX, England
Contact: 01904 634849; Skosh York
Opening Times:  Wednesday – Saturday: 12pm – 4pm & 5:30pm – 10pm, Sunday: 12pm – 4pm, Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Little Italy York

Located between York Minster and Monk Bar, Little Italy York is one of the best Italian restaurants in York and certainly one of best restaurants in York in our opinion.

The menu is well priced with dishes ranging from £11 – £25 and Little Italy York have a great wine list to compliment their food.

One of the best things about Little Italy is that they are open on a lunch time 3 days a week, meaning you can get some delicious meals whilst taking a break from shopping or sight seeing.  The deli is also open 6 days a week, so at the very least, if you are grabbing a sandwich, go to Little Italy and get something tasty and not generic.

Address: 12 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LQ, England
Contact: 01904 623539; Little Italy York
Opening Times:  Sunday: 12:00 PM – 3 PM / 4.30 – 9 PM, Monday to Thursday: 5 PM to 10 PM, Friday: 12.00 PM to 2.30 PM / 5 PM to 10 PM, Saturday: 12.00 PM to 3 PM/ 5 PM to 10PM, Wednesday: Closed.

Rythre Arms Steakhouse

If you are heading out of York for the day (and why not as there are some terrific things to do all over Yorkshire), you might want to stop by the Rythre Arms Steakhouse which is found between Tadcaster and Selby.

The restaurant is situated in a centuries old pub that has been serving amazing steaks for 35 years, so they know what they are doing.  The beef is locally sourced and as fresh as it gets, as they butcher and mature on the premises, but if you do not fancy a 6 – 78 ounce steak, there is plenty of choice with fresh seafood, lamb, pork and chicken available too.

So, if you happen to be taking in the sights, be sure to stop and enjoy a truly excellent meal at the Rythre Arms Steakhouse.  We do!

Address: Main St, Ryther, Tadcaster LS24 9EE, England
Contact: 01757 268372; The Rythre Arms – Steakhouse
Opening Times:  Monday – Friday: 6pm – 11:30pm, Saturday: 6pm – 12am, Sunday: 2pm – 11pm

More Information

If you are still unsure of things to do in York, why not take a look at more of the attractions and events in our other York tourism guides: