York Castle Museum

Facing Clifford’s Tower is the Castle Museum that backs onto the River Foss behind. What the Castle Museum contains is of interest enough, but the building itself, along with York Crown Court beside it is also of interest.  This building is a former debtors prison as well as the adjoining former women’s prison.  These structures are understandably grade 1 listed buildings. It stands on the site of where the castle once stood including its moat and artificial lake. 

The museum was founded by Dr John Kirk who was a doctor who lived in Pickering.  This museum boasts a huge collection of artefacts relating to the area including the famous Kirkgate victorian street mock up to explore.  This Victorian street was rebuilt brick by brick inside the museum. You can find York Castle Museum at Clifford’s Tower/Eye of York.

National Railway Museum York 

National Railway Museum (NRM) contains over 300 years of railway history. There are over a million objects to discover including a vast collection of locomotives, carriages, freight wagons and other items of rolling stock. 

Within the extensive collection are famous locomotives such as the Mallard as pictured. You can also see the only Shinkansen Bullet Train outside of Japan. You may also have chance to see the famous Flying Scotsman that has recently been restored.  For more information about their collection, please visit their website at www.nrm.org.uk 

You can find the Railway Museum next door to the Railway Station at the rear. It is possible to access the museum from a short walk over the footbridge at the station. 

The museum itself resides on both sides of Leeman Road connected with a subway underneath the road. Therefore there is a main entrance at either side. 

The museum has two main halls of which one contains mainly royal trains whereas the other has trains from different era. 

The National Railway Museum also has a second museum situated at Shildon near Darlington. If you wish to visit this museum you can board the train to either Middlesbrough or Darlington and change there. 

Jorvik Viking Centre 

The Jorvik Viking Centre (pronounced “yorvik”) is the site of one of the most famous discoveries. During the interim of 1976-1981 archaeologists (from the York Archaeological Trust) had discovered homes, workshops, backyards belonging to the Vikings. Of course, the name Jorvik is the Vikings name for the City of York as it stood then, around 1000 years ago. 

Incredibly, Jorvik Viking centre is situated on the site where this discovery was made and the excavations took place.  Of course, the Viking Age experience is a reconstruction of the era including Viking streets and life as it would have been during the 10th century.  It consists of unique exhibitions based on careful research over 30 years. You can find the Jorvik Viking Centre at the Coppergate Centre 

 Richard III & Henry VII 

The Richard III Henry VII Experiences are two unique but strongly related museums situated in the gateways to York, so in actual fact they are on our Guided Tour route. They are related in the sense that Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. 

Richard III was the last Plantagenet King who ruled for just 2 years before the Battle of Bosworth.  He had to endure through the rule of Henry Tudor who defeated him in a struggle for England’s crown. 

The Richard III Experience is situated in Monk Bar on the first floor. 

Henry VII was the fist Tudor King of England ruling for some 24 years after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.  His early reign became unsteady after the murder of the Earl of Northumberland which prompted a revolt by the peasants in York. 

The Henry VII Experience is situated in Micklegate Bar on the first floor. 

York Barley Hall 

York Barley Hall is a medieval house that was found accidentally after removing a facade from a derelict office block during the 1980’s. The house was purchased by the York Archaeological Trust in 1987.  It has since been restored and opened to the public.  It was home to the Priors of Nostell and a Lord Mayor of York. The oldest parts of Barley Hall date back from 1360 and in 1430 a new wing was added before being the home of William Snawsell, Goldsmith, Aldeman and Lord Mayor of York. 

You can find Barley Hall in the Coffee Yard between Stonegate and Swinegate. 

York Chocolate Story 

York Chocolate Story has a sweet story to tell. During the industrial revolution the main trade in the North of England was textiles and steel. However, York had both the chocolate and railway industries that were both predominant employers throughout York’s history. 

The coming of the railways helped to sweeten the chocolate industry in York, aiding the product to be distributed. 

York has had a chocolate history for around 200 years with the establishment of the Terry’s of York factory.  Later, Rowntree’s also became a significant employer and producer of chocolate, starting with just a small grocers shop in the city centre. 

Sadly, the economics of our time have seen chocolate being made in other parts of the world, including Terry’s famous Chocolate Orange that is now made abroad. 

Without a doubt, the chocolate you find here has a 200 year filling of history and York Chocolate Story hasn’t left anything uneaten when it comes to telling the tale! Whatever the case, you certainly do not need a sweet tooth to enjoy this museum – but it helps! 

You can find York’s Chocolate Story at Kings Square in York (near The Shambles). 

York Dungeon 

The York Dungeon uncovers the darker side of York’s history within a 75 minute theatrical tour. The tour not only contains a cast of theatrical actors but the experience is enhanced with special effects and scenes that target the senses of sight, hearing and smell. 

It includes 10 shows with laughs and screams through cutting edge storytelling. The 10 shows follow the lives of real history where you come face to face with characters such as Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin. 

You can find York Dungeons close to the Grand Opera House on Clifford Street. 

York Merchant Adventurer’s Hall 

York Merchant Adventurer’s Hall is a medieval Guildhall and was a meeting place for the Guild of Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1357.  It was granted the Company of Merchant Adventurers of York by Elizabeth I.   The undercroft once served as a hospital for poor people in the city.  It is one of the finest guildhalls in the world. 

The lower section of the hall is built mainly with red brick of which are the earliest to be made in York since the Romans departed. When you visit, take a look at the barge boards that contain a grape and vine design.  Where these vines meet you will also see a Tudor Rose. 

The art in the hall represents five centuries of York’s history. You will see oils, watercolours, prints and drawings depicting Governors of the company. 

The Merchant Adventurers Hall can be found at Fossgate/Piccadilly in York city centre. 

Yorkshire Museum 

The Yorkshire Museum is under the care of York Museum’s Trust along with York Art Gallery, Castle Museum and York St Mary’s.  The Yorkshire Museum however contains artefacts pertaining to the area in various exhibitions.  The museum was opened in 1830 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and interestingly was the first purpose built museums in the country. 

After a refurbishment it reopened in 2010 and consists of five galleries including some of Britain’s finest archaeological treasures of many rare animals, birds and fossils. It is also home to the Cawood Sword. 

The Yorkshire Museum is situated in the Museum Gardens close to the city library. 

Holgate Windmill 

York Holgate Windmill York is situated just outside the city centre at Holgate, a suburb of York.  It is York’s last surviving windmill and it is also the oldest 5 saled windmill in the country. Having lied dormant for some years, the windmill has now been restored and opened for visitors. The windmill is open during open days throughout the year where you can listen to a talk by knowledgable volunteers as well as purchase flour! 

The best time to visit is every Saturday morning between 10am until 12 noon. 

The windmill was built by George Waud who was born in December 1768. The Windmill became functional by 1770 and George Waud was living in the mill house. At that time, the windmill was situated in open countryside overlooking Holgate.  The crossroads at the foot of the hill to York, Acomb and Poppleton provided the necessary routes to distribute the mill’s produce. Obviously, much of the high quality flour was taken to York. After you have visit the Windmill, it is a good idea to visit York Cold War Bunker as this is situated close by. 

York Mansion House 

York Mansion House is the home to the Lord Mayor of York so you can imagine that this is no ordinary home.  York Mansion House in full of attractive, inspiring grandeur and helps you to understand some of York’s history. You can learn about the Lord Mayor’s from the middle ages to the present day. 

Obviously, the home is filled with stunning collections of gold and silver under the canopy of dramatic interiors.  This stunning house is very much a place to visit and has events held throughout the year. 

You can find York Mansion House in St Helen’s Square.

York Army Museum 

York’s Army Museum/Royal Dragoon Guards is a museum that can be found neighbouring Clifford’s Tower. 

In 1685 the Royal Dragoon Guards was established by an amalgamation of four of the senior cavalry regiments of the British Army of which recruits were from Yorkshire and Northern Ireland. 

The museum relates the Royal Dragoon Guards from the 17th century until the present day. On display are uniforms, prints, paintings, weapons as well as standards. 

The Royal Dragoon Guards is situated behind Clifford’s Tower next to the Hilton Hotel.

Fairfax House 

York Fairfax House is a 12th century Georgian townhouse open to visitors.  The lavish townhouse boasts a collection of fine art, and other artefacts relating to the era.  The high stucco ceilings are a must see. This once fashionable townhouse was bought in 1759 by Charles Gregory the ninth Viscount of Fairfax of Emily for just £2000! 

York Fairfax House often has events such as lectures, special events and exhibitions. It is therefore recommended to view their website regularly at fairfaxhouse.co.uk.  

York Treasurer's House 

York Treasurer's House is a stately home that is open to visitors. Dwarfed by the Minster opposite, the house is not always so easy to find. Therefore if you walk past the large red building (Minster School) and turn left you will find it easily. 

York Treasurer’s house resides around the back of the minister in Minster Yard.  This building was acquired by Frank Green in 1897 in order to create a lavish show home that impressed Edward VII. His passion for history helped to preserve not only this building but also other buildings in the city.  Minster Yard is where the minster gates are situated and there are also some quaint medieval buildings along this stretch. 

At the Treasurer's House you can find out more about the demolition and restoration of lost houses of Yorkshire also how Frank Green created the Treasurer's House.  You can also take a closer look at the collection inside the Treasurer's House and view a series of short videos and learn about some of the fascinating stories that reside with the collection.  In addition, you can also view the attractive garden that adorns this remarkable structure. York Treasurer's House is under the ownership of the National Trust.