Enjoy these FREE things to do in York!

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There is so much to do in York, lots of attractions, bars, restaurants, and shops, however, you don’t need to spend your money to have a great time out in York! Here are some of the FREE things to do in York that mean you can visit the beautiful city even on a budget!

FREE things to do in York
The National Railway Museum

Immerse yourself in the home of iconic locomotives and an unrivaled collection of engineering brilliance at this train lover’s dream of a museum. With steeps of history, stunning trains, carriages, train memorabilia, a lovely cafe, and restaurant, plus the miniature railway ride, the National Railway Museum is a great museum for all ages!

The Shambles

Known as the most famous street in York, ‘The Shambles’ is a medieval street full of character and charm. Home to many wonderful shops, including a few Harry Potter related places, the street attracts thousands of visitors every year!

York City Walls

The walls that go around a large area of the city centre were erected by the Romans in AD71, and improved by the Vikings in AD867. The walk is about 2.8 miles and there are several checkpoints along the way providing information about each area. These are:

  • Barker Tower
  • Micklegate Bar
  • Baile Hill
  • Clifford’s Tower
  • Fishergate Tower
  • Fishergate Bar
  • Walmgate Bar
  • The Red Tower
  • Layerthorpe Bridge
  • Monk Bar
  • Bootham Bar

Please note there is no disabled access and dogs are not permitted on the walls.

Museum Gardens

The gardens which were established in the 1830’s are home to a fantastic collection of trees, shrubs, and plants, as well as the historical St Mary’s Abbey ruins, and the Yorkshire Museum itself. It is a wonderful place to take a blanket and a picnic on a warm day, or you can visit one of the numerous events they put on throughout the year.

Rowntree Park

The park which is home to a large pond, bowling greens, beautiful garden areas, lots of play equipment, a skate park, tennis courts, and a cafe, is the perfect place to spend the whole day for free! Take a picnic, a ball, and a blanket, and watch as your children burn off their energy on the large play areas provided.

Homestead Park

Another beautiful park in York is HomesteadPark, which has acres of grounds filled with many trees, plants, play equipment, sculptures, and more. It also has a large pond and rock garden, a pop-up cafe, picnic areas, and toilet facilities.

Askham Bog Nature Reserve

Askham Bog is a small area of peat bog and a site of special scientific interest. There are ditches and pools all around the reserve as well as many different types of wildlife, trees, and plants, including ferns, gingerbread sedge, and water violets. There is a board walkway around the reserve making this area accessible for buggies and wheelchairs.

York’s Trail & Treasure Hunts

There are other ways to explore York and beyond, that are fun for all ages including trails and treasure hunts. Here are some of the free trails available in and around York;

  • Mumbler Mythical Creature Quest
  • Squirrel Trail in the Museum Gardens
  • The Cat Trail
  • York University Campus Tree Trail
  • Visit York Selfie Trail
  • The Solar Way
  • Homestead Park Tree Trail
  • York Chocolate Trail
  • Newt Trail at Vangarde Shopping Centre
  • Moorlands Trail
  • York Minster Discovery Trail
  • National Railway Museum Trails

These are just a few of the free things to do when you visit York but there are plenty more, to find out more head to the Visit York Website.

Need somewhere to stay when you finish exploring? Head to our enquiries page to find out whether we have any cottages available.

Villa Farm Location

Directions to
Villa Farm

Villa Farm Cottages
Wigginton Road, YORK
Y032 2RH
01904 487129

Directions to
York Barn at Villa Farm

York Barn at Villa Farm
Wigginton Road, YORK
Y032 2RH
01904 487129

Villa Farm

Villa Farm – York Barn & Holiday Cottages

Wigginton Road, YORK, Y032 2RH

01904 487129

Important Information

Wedding viewings at Villa Farm are strictly by appointment only. Please contact our office on 01904 487 129 to arrange. 

Families are welcome- however please keep in mind we accept group bookings including hen and stag parties. 


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