The National Railway Museum celebrates York’s importance in the UK railway network, its engineering legacy, and the history of British rail as a whole. The legendary Mallard lives here, as does a replica of Stephenson’s rocket and a real Japanese shinkansen, or bullet train. The National Railway Museum houses some of the finest railway collections in the world, and is also home to temporary exhibitions on a railway theme. It is open 7 days a week, except for the three days around Christmas, from 10am until 4pm. The Museum is free to enter, though there may be a charge for some of the temporary exhibitions.
From the Gothic majesty of the Minster to the courtly beauty of its city walls, York is unique among British tourist destinations. Lacking the pretentiousness of the UK’s more famous university towns (despite its own well regarded educational institution), and way more spectacular than some of the country’s other well preserved cities, York is a magical mystery tour of cobbled streets and massive buildings so convincingly maintained you can practically hear the hoof beats.
Great places to visit in York!
Wander the streets of the fortified centre at night and you’ll mingle with students, history buffs and international travellers come here to soak up the prehistory. Get up on the walls themselves, and you’ll see it all laid out before you: castles and keeps, guild halls and cathedrals. This is the cream of England’s heritage, from Romans and Vikings to ghost walks and festivals. And it’s all served with a side order of trendy bars and chic restaurants.
National Railway Museum
York Minster is the biggest, grandest and most famous Gothic cathedral in the world – a vast block of a building that has towered over central York since the Middle Ages. It features an extraordinary Chapter House, a monumental pair of windows (including the famous “Yorkshire Heart”, and a series of Gothic carvings thought to be some of the most intricate and impressive in Europe. There are guided tours, and you can climb the enormous central tower to experience breathtaking views of the city below. The Minster charges for admission, and is open Monday to Saturday, 9 to 5. It’s also open on Sunday afternoons. During religious festivals and worship times, the Minster may be closed for sightseeing.
The Yorkshire Museum is home to a huge collection of treasures, from archaeological finds to the flora and fauna of the British Isles. A combination natural history, local history and world history museum, it’s recently been refurbished and now offers a five-gallery interactive tour through some of the most awe-inspiring wonders of the world. Yorkshire Museum was originally opened in 1830 by the Philosophical Society, and was then one of the only purpose built museums in the UK. It opens every day between 10 and 5, and charges for admission. However, tickets are valid for one whole year from the date of purchase and may be used again and again.