The City of York, being a medieval walled city, is compact making it extremely easy to achieve sightseeing without the need for transport. For the sake of visitors with mobility issues, we have split the guide into two tours. This “York England Guided Tour” is not using the city walls whereas the second tour is a guided tour using the city walls as a means to discover this historic city.
Simply follow the directions below (you can refer to the route map as an aid) and when you reach a site of interest, simply play the file on your handheld device (no app is required to download).
First of all, welcome to the medieval City of York. This guide provides suggested routes in order to explore the City of York on foot. The numbers in the following route correspond to the map above to help you find your way around. In this section you will find the directions to follow. The next section of the booklet gives you a guided tour using the city walls. The remaining section gives you information about each stopping point in the same order as the map above using the hyperlinks provided in the directions.
1 York Station
We start our sightseeing tour at York Railway Station, especially convenient for those who have arrived in York by train. If you have not arrived by train, you can use your connected smart device to find the railway station by simply entering “York Railway Station” into your map app for directions. Also the route map above in this guide will help you.
2 Micklegate Bar (3 mins)
Coming out of the station, we recommend turning right uphill where the road bends to the left following the city wall. At the crossroads, on the left you will notice Micklegate Bar. Walk through the arch and follow the medieval street of Mickelgate downhill meeting the cobbled section. Turn left at the foot of the hill into George Hudson Street.
3 Lendal Bridge (10 mins)
Continuing the York England Guided Tour, at the end of George Hudson Street, you will notice a large arched section of the city wall that takes you back towards the station. On your right however, is Lendal Bridge. Carefully cross the road at the bridge using the Pedestrian Crossings available so that you are walking on the left side of the bridge. It is here you will notice a tower at either side of the River Ouse, Barker’s Tower (cylinder shaped pictured above) and Lendal Tower.
4 St Mary’s Abbey (5 mins)
Over the bridge you will notice an entrance into one of York’s parks, the Museum Gardens. Once you enter the Museum Gardens take the route away from the Yorkshire Museum. You will notice a small cylinder shaped building being York Observatory. Walking further on our York England Guided Tour, it takes you toward St Mary’s Abbey, a large ruin on your right hand side. Follow the path uphill towards the Abbey.
5 Multangular Tower (3 mins)
Take the path towards the Yorkshire Museum, heading back towards the entrance to the park. On your left hand side you will see a section of the wall with a tower known as Multangular Tower. Instead of using the entrance we entered into the park, follow the path beside the Multangular Tower, parallel to the side of the museum. On your right hand side, there is a short path up the bank that takes you to the other side of the Multangular Tower.
6 York Art Gallery (2 mins)
Returning down the bank-side path, turn right where you notice a large building on your left. It may feel as if you are walking on private property, but in actual fact it is a public right of way. This building is King’s Manor and the path takes you out onto Exhibition Square. Again on your left, you will see York Art Gallery, some fountains and a statue of William Etty. In front of you however, looks like part of the city wall but in fact is a separate wall belonging to St Mary’s Abbey (pictured above).
On your right hand side, you will notice another gate to the city, Bootham Bar.
7 York Minster (3 mins)
Taking the route through the arch of Bootham Bar, you will see a short medieval street known as Petergate. At the top of the street, it will not take you too long to notice the enormous gothic cathedral, York Minster. Facing the two front towers, you will notice a small garden on your left known as Dean’s Park. Following the road around the minster, you will see a Roman column on your right hand, as well as a statue of Constantine on your left beside the minster.
Walking further, you will notice a path that takes you around the rear of the minster and to the opposite side. The large red building at the rear of the minster is the Minster School. The Tudor style structure is St William’s College. Around the other side of the minster you will notice the Chapter House as well as the Five Sister’s Window. Also around the opposite side of the minster resides the Treasurer’s House.
8 Monk Bar (5 mins)
Down the right side of the Treasurer’s House, you can take the small road turning a sharp right at the end in a right-angle. At the end of this road turn left and you will see the third gateway to the city, Monk Bar.
9 The Shambles (8 mins)
Once you have complete Monk Bar, turn back up the road you have just walked but without turning back up the small road to the Treasurer’s House. Instead, cross the street and take the junction left at the Cross Key’s Public House. This takes you along Goodramgate. At the crossroads turn left and walk towards York Chocolate Story. Instead of following the road, walk past Chocolate Story on the right of the square and you will find The Shambles tucked in the right hand corner. You will also see York Shambles Market. Take The Shambles downhill until you reach the junction.
At the foot of The Shambles and looking right, you will notice All Saint’s Church with it is unusual lantern tower. On the left, parallel with the Shambles is York’s smallest street Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate. However, on the opposite side of the crossroads is Fossgate. Take this street and follow it all the way to the end.
10 Walmgate Bar (10 mins)
At the end of Fossgate and Walmgate resides the last of the four main gateways with a structure, Walmgate Bar (pictured above). Proceed through the arch and carefully crossing Walmgate to turn right, follow the wall along (either by using the wall itself or the footpath beside it). This takes you to a gateway without a structure known as Fishergate Bar. Following the wall further takes you to Fishergate Postern Tower. Optionally, If you walk through the arch and follow the road to the church on the left, you will see one grave belonging to the highwayman Dick Turpin.
11 Clifford’s Tower (5 mins)
From Fishergate Postern Tower, cross the road (please take great care) to walk along side the busy road over a bridge spanning the River Foss, York’s smaller river. At the roundabout, follow the path alongside the rear of the old Crown Court building. You will notice on your right hand side a stone circular building known as Clifford’s Tower, part of York’s two castles that existed during Norman times (pictured above). The second castle once existed at the other side of the River Ouse.
Walking past Clifford’s Tower and on your right side is a large grass section known as the Eye of York. This was where boundaries or districts intersected.
Walking around Clifford’s Tower carefully in the car park, you will notice the large hotel in front of you. Down the right hand side of the hotel resides Castlegate the original street to the castle. On the right hand side of the street resides Fairfax House, a Georgian town house.
12 Skeldergate Bridge (3 mins)
Returning back to the roundabout that you passed a moment ago, cross the road and walk through a small grass section facing Skeldergate Bridge. This bridge spans the larger of York’s rivers, the River Ouse (“ooz”). You can walk away from the bridge following the river towards the city centre, or otherwise cross the bridge and walk down Skeldergate on the right hand side.
13 Ouse Bridge (5 mins)
Following the river back towards the city centre will take you to Ouse Bridge with the Kings Staith public house on your right. Carefully taking the steps to the street above, turn right and cross the road at the Pedestrian Crossing.
14 York Mansion House (5 mins)
Once you have crossed the road, walk down the road heading left. This is one of York’s main shopping streets known as Spurriergate and Coney Street further along. Follow the road until you reach a square known as St Helen’s Square. On your left you will see a large red house of which is York Mansion House where York’s Mayor’s have occupied throughout the city’s history.
Opposite this structure and on the right is the famous Betty’s Tearooms. Walking towards Betty’s Tearooms on your right hand side, you will notice a medieval street facing you heading in the same direction. This street is known as Stonegate.
15 Stonegate Petergate (2 mins)
Walk across the road (Davygate) and follow Stonegate which is a pedestrianised area. You will notice some artisan shops and also a second Betty’s tearooms. Following this street takes you towards the Minster once again. At the top of the street, you can either turn left or right to explore the two medieval streets known as High and Low Petergate.
It is at Stonegate and Petergate where we conclude our historic sightseeing walk of York city. It is at this point you may want to rest and take advantage of one of the coffee shops or tearooms that are situated in the historic streets. Our York England Guided Tour is thirsty work after all!
If you have taken the train, you can easily return to the railway station by walking away from the two front towers of the Minster, past Dean Court Hotel on your right and following the road straight on over the crossroads and through the large arch in the city wall further along.