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Things to do in Shambles

Our most recommended things to do in Shambles

York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

1. York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

Join a characterful witch-guide to discover York's history and unearth the secrets of the Shambles on a walking tour, with the option to participate in potion-making. Tread lightly as you walk through York Minster, Petergate, and Stonegate—the very grounds on which these mysterious events occurred. Meet your guide and begin your walking tour. Hear historical tales and legends that focus on witchcraft. Explore the Shambles, as you step back in time and discover the unpleasant origins of this now picturesque street. Watch out on the cobbles as you lend your ear to terrible tales of the witches of Yorkshire. Walk to Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, the smallest street with possibly the longest name in York. It is said the name means "What a street." Then, view the remains of the St Crux Church, originally the largest medieval parish church in York. Continue to King's Square, learning more about the area and hearing the tale of the magical tree with a witchy connection. Next, follow your guide through the old quarter of York, the Minster Quarter, where you pass the vibrant shopping area of the city. Stroll through Low Petergate and High Petergate and listen in awe at the fascinating and chilling stories of the past. Marvel at the grandeur of the world's most magnificent and iconic cathedrals, York Minster. Right opposite that, see the St Michael Le Belfrey Church. Hear some more spooky and witchery tales and a name that might spark some recognition. Gaze at the architecture of medieval buildings, gorgeous Georgian townhouses, and other period styles in Stonegate, one of York's most historic roads. Discover the alleys, ginnels, and snickets of the city and walk through York's longest snickelway (narrow alleys running between York's streets). Feel the chills in the air in the hidden courtyard of Barley Hall. Back to where it all began, this spellbinding old town walking tour lets you discover the wicked history of medieval York. In addition to exploring York, you can also opt to enter the Potions Cauldron for an immersive potion-making experience. Uncover the secret room and get lost in another world as special effects take you on a quest to make the perfect potion.

York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

2. York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

Contained within a ring of medieval stone walls, York concentrates 2000 years of history into a remarkably small area. This ninety-minute tour begins at Bootham Bar, the city’s northern entrance, from which every period of York’s development is visible, from Roman times to the present day. You’ll then enter the tranquil, green oasis of the Museum Gardens - a Victorian botanic garden which contains an 18th Century observatory, the remains of a Roman fortress and the spectacular ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. From here it is a short walk to the Minster - the largest medieval gothic cathedral in the country - which has dominated the city’s skyline for over 900 years. The Minster lies at the heart of a warren of ancient streets whose layout is Viking in origin. You’ll hear tales of Viking invasion while delving deep into the maze of secret passages known as ‘Snickelways’; passing an unhappy mermaid and a little red devil as well as catching a glimpse of a 15th Century banqueting hall. Finally you’ll emerge into the Shambles,York’s best-known cobbled street - once a row of butchers, now instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans as the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

York: Guided Medieval Walking Tour in the Shambles

3. York: Guided Medieval Walking Tour in the Shambles

Europes largest Medieval Gothic Cathedral is the starting point, taking in the City's ancient walled defences, Churches with their mysterious Devils Door, then onto the street of Butchered, the famous Shambles and past the Merchant Adventurers Guild hall. Enjoy a 90 minute exploration of York, a city founded by the Roman Empire, a city that would attract some of the first warriors in history , Saxons, Vikings and Normans! walk the medieval wall and find out how the defences were developed and how they made York the finest medieval walled city in the UK. You'll walk the medieval shambles, once butchers shops and be amazed by Yorks Castle ruin and prisons. Learn about the people who have influenced York, from. Guy Fawkes and his Gun powder plot, Evil Highway men and their fate, walk in the footsteps of every British Monarch and see how they influent York, once Englands second City. You'll walk by Yorks Guild Halls and discover how they influenced the city and the whole of Europe before passing York Castle, Jorvik, the heart of the Viking city. Our tour concludes at All Saints Pavement Church with it's famous lantern tower and one of the more unique church services in Britain.

York: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Guide

4. York: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Guide

See York and its most iconic sights without the expense or time constraints of a group tour with this affordable audio guide. Stroll past the city's most iconic landmarks, including the Shambles and York Minster. Start at York Art Gallery and travel back in time through 2000 years of history as you stroll. Experience Roman, Viking, and medieval York, and see the city's great sights as well as its hidden gems. Learn the history of this city and the central role it has played in the history of England. Continue past iconic sights like the Shambles, one of the world's best-preserved medieval streets, and spot the story of Adam and Eve carved into York Minster’s Great West Door. Uncover some of the most important characters in York's development along the way, from its humble beginnings as a riverside Roman settlement, to its turbulent takeover by the Vikings, and on to its thriving medieval period of commerce. Feel free to start, pause, or restart at any time and complete your visit at your own pace. If your travel plans change, you can use the audio guide at any date of your choice or use the virtual in-app option for an at-home experience.

York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

5. York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

Embark on a self-guided treasure hunt for a fun and unique way to explore York outdoors at your own pace. Get clues sent to your phone and search your surroundings for the answers as you are led on a beautiful route through fabulous places. Start your treasure hunt in the fabulous Museum Gardens in the center of York. Play using your phones, on which you’ll meet Captain Bess, a snarky pirate who’s testing out new recruits to join her ship. Receive beautiful treasure maps leading you from one spot to the next. Find yourselves sneaking through a series of small streets and footpaths, passing medieval churches, and guildhalls. Use the sent clues to search for your surroundings. When you get the right answer, move on to the next place. Don’t worry, if you get stuck you can ask for a hint to help you on your way. Learn some interesting facts and stories along the way about the things you're spotting and get a better understanding of the history of York.

Self-guided discovery walk in York

6. Self-guided discovery walk in York

Embark on an interactive discovery experience as you explore the charming city of York. Open the web app and start the challenge from the York Art Gallery. Stories and riddles will guide you through the history of the town, give you and inside in the sweet traditions of the town and will bring you to places where the Vikings settled. Curious facts: Get to know more about the city, discover the secrets of the main attractions, and learn about curious facts that you won't read elsewhere. Find monuments and hidden secrets: Our local creator created an interactive walk through the city. Cryptic indications make you wind through the cities streets, inviting you to pay attention to details which you usually won't notice. Once you've arrived at the next stop, you will have to solve a question: open your eyes and mind and use your location to find the right answer! Enjoy: While doing this discovery trail, you will get to know the city from another point of view. Even locals discover new facts while doing secret city trails! Solve 12 riddles created by our local creators. Sharpen your senses and appreciate the most wonderful (and little) details around you. Whether you know York or have just started exploring here, get a perspective on the discovery that will inspire your curiosity wherever you go next.

Other Sightseeing Options in Shambles

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What people are saying about Shambles

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 524 reviews

Very informative, funny and interesting. We got caught in motorway closures and they were incredibly helpful in rescheduling our tour so we did not miss out. As a history teacher I was very impressed at the delivery of history to bring it alive and make every age appreciate the subject!

Sarah really took the time to educate you you through the experience …my kids loved it too!

Lots of fun! Our guide was fantastic, interesting history facts with great theatrics!

Wonderful insight into the history of York. Our guide, Alfred, was excellent.

Wonderful experience, the guide was brilliant and full of knowledge