The beautiful city of York is one of the more prominent tourist towns in England and rightly so. It markets itself on its history as do many towns in the United Kingdom but this town knows it has some of the most well known historic events. You will see the White Rose of York appear everywhere around the city and it is home to one of the most famous cathedrals in England.
You can easily walk the city walls, marvel at the remaining town gates and then spend an afternoon in the old section of the city. It has an active authentic Old Town precinct. York’s history dates back to the Romans, then the Vikings then onto to the Kings and Queens of England, there’s so much for the whole family. So now, let’s explore things to do in York with teenagers.
Where to stay in York with teenagers
You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in York. In York, you find a range of hotels, apartments and hostels. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families and groups on every budget. If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Trip Advisor and Hotels.com to find the best prices in York.
- Luxury: The large cottage suite’s size is generous with a comfortable relaxed space offering country-style chic in a rural setting. The Durham Ox has a two-room cottage for families. All accommodation has a television, tea and coffee tray, hairdryer and individually controlled heating
- Mid-Range: Being part of a large chain you know that Holiday Inn York will serve up high standard accommodation. Featuring family rooms for 4, with an onsite restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Free wifi and cable tv included
- Budget: A selection of top-class facilities, such as Wi-Fi in public areas, laundry service, a family room, a restaurant, and facilities for disabled guests, can be enjoyed at the YHA York Hostel. Family rooms featuring bunks and double beds with ensuite are available
York Airbnb alternative for your stay
If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation then an AirBnB in York is the best choice for you. There are so many options for singles, families and budget-friendly options as well. Check out the map below to find the perfect York Airbnb.
How to get to York
- York England does not have its own airport. The nearest airport to York is Leeds – Bradford Airport. Leeds Bradford Airport is 48 kilometres from York
- York railway station is on the East Coast Main Line. From Leeds train station, the train to York runs several times an hour and takes. about 30 minutes. From Manchester, a direct train runs every half an hour. The train will take approximately one hour and 50 minutes. From London King’s Cross train station, take a direct train to York railway station. It takes approximately2 hours and 10 minutes.
- You can easily drive to York from Manchester via the M62. It will take you around 1 hour and 45 minutes. From London to York it is a little over 4 hours via the M1. From Newcastle upon Tyne in the north it is around 140 kilometres. You can hire a car at any major airport in the United Kingdom.
How to get around York
- First Bus York runs buses in the city. The major York attractions is all in the city centre and easily walkable
- The York Hop on hop off bus is another excellent option for seeing the sites of the city and surrounding area. Check the current prices HERE
- Uber and taxis provide another option in this compact city.
The JORVIK Viking Museum
The JORVIK Viking Museum is located on a site of an actual Viking settlement that lived in York around a thousand years ago. You will be greeted by a Viking at the door which is pretty cool. You enter the museum onto a glass floor that shows the foundations of the Viking settlements.
From there it gets a little theme park-ish as you board a ride that takes you through a working Viking village. After you disembark you enter a room full of artefacts found on site. We highly recommend this attraction in York with teenagers.
19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT, United Kingdom
Open daily from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm
Adults 12.50 Children 8.50 Concessions 10.50 Family 4 35.00
*If you really love archaeology and history you can get a combined ticket or the JORVIK Viking museum and the archaeological dig site where many of the artefacts on display came from. When purchasing your ticket ask for the combined tickets there and make sure you have enough time to thoroughly visit both sites.
York Castle Museum
No, it is not a museum about a castle as many may think. The York Castle Museum was once a prison that held convicts that were headed for Australia and the USA.
The York Castle Museum is many things as the old prison has now been repurposed into a brilliant and exciting, unique collection. The best way to describe it is an eclectic collection of displays. You will find displays on England’s history throughout the years which features what living rooms, kitchens, kitchen pantries, laundries would have looked like in the ’40s, ’50s and so on. It shows you how much times, technology and our lives have changed.
Other displays you will be taken back to the psychedelic ’60s with clothes, music and memorabilia. There is also a reconstructed turn of the century street to explore with a full-sized horse and cart on display.
The war section puts you in the trenches with those who fought for King and country. It explains well what soldiers would have gone through in the World Wars. In the prison section you learn about the lives of prisoners in their actual jail cell through interactive display and there are people walking around in costume that will give you more information on some of the convicts transported from the prison itself.
For visiting teenagers in York this museum will both educational and entertaining.
Tower St, York YO1 9RY, United Kingdom
Open daily from 9.30 am until 5.00 pm
Adult 10.90 Child (5-16) 4.00 Child under 5 free
York hop on hop off bus
Like all hop on hop off buses, the York version will whizz you around town. The real value in some of these tours is the headphone commentary that tells you so much about the towns. The bus has 20 stops at different York attractions and runs from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm every day.
You will travel through the old town gates and pass along the town walls. You will see the amazing York Minster, National Railway Museum and the York Castle Museum. Take advantage of the bus to see all the sights on the first lap them get off where you want on the second lap.
The York Dungeons follows the successful formula of the other Dungeon sites across the world. The concept is half history and half horror as you are taken through the gory history of York.
The Dungeon is a 1-hour experience with actors, lighting displays, props and much more. If your teenagers like a bit of horror, shock and awe then the Dungeons in York is just the attraction for them.
National Railway Museum
For any teenagers visiting York, the Railway Railway National Museum is a must-see attraction. You will see a full history of trains throughout the years. There are carriages that carried Royals, Army hospital trains, the Flying Scotsman and even a Bullet Train from Japan just to name a few.
The National Railway Museum is housed on a huge site in three big open halls displaying hundreds of trains, carriages and all things railway. The Grand Hall dates back to the 1800s and was once a working hall for preparing steam locomotives.
Station Hall is the highlight featuring many Royal carriages dating back to Queen Victoria. It is exciting to see how the Royals travelled and how the interior designs changed for different Monarchs. You can do high tea in a royal carriage and buy a souvenir. Even if you are not a total train buff it is still worth a look.
Leeman Rd, York YO26 4XJ, United Kingdom
Open daily from 10.00 am until 6.00 pm
Entry is free for all visitors but you are encouraged to leave a donation to keep it running.
Fishing in York England
For something a little different, fun and unique you can try a spot of fishing. Redwood Park is located just outside the City of York. At Redwood, you will find 4 fishing lakes, each one designed and stocked to provide a memorable angling experience. The 4 lakes are designed to deliver 4 different types of simulated fishing environments. The types of fish stocked include Carp, Bream, Tench, Barbel, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Crucian and Chub. You find Redwork Park at Tollerton Road, Huby, York, North Yorkshire YO61 1JE, United Kingdom. For more details check their website at http://redwoodpark-york.co.uk/
The Ghost Bus Tours in York
The Ghost Bus tour is something a little different a little spooky for teenagers in York to do. York is reported to be one of the most haunted places in England. You will not hear about this on an ordinary tour spooky stories are not often mentioned on traditional sightseeing tours. The Ghost Bus tour helps will introduce you to the city’s dark history.
You will spend an evening talking about ghost bus as you travel between haunted sights such as York Minster and Clifford’s Tower. Your guide will entertain you, scare you and take you on a thrilling experience full of tales of spirits, sinister characters, and ghastly crimes!
You can see the towers from all over and no visit to York would be complete without a walk through this amazing, history-filled Church. Built in the 7th century the history that this Cathedral has witnessed is amazing.
Deangate, York YO1 7HH, United Kingdom
Open daily from 8.00 am till 5.00 pm
Adult £11.50 Seniors £10.50 Students £9 Child (16 and under) free with a paying adult
* Up to four children are able to free admission with one paying adult. If you want to go to the top of the Minster Towers for views over York you can buy a combined entry ticket that includes the Towers. Adult £16.50 Seniors £15.50 Students £14 Child (16 and under) £5
To climb the tower you must be aged 8+.
Taking a trip up to the top of the Towers is weather dependent. If this is something you would enjoy Minster and Tower combined tickets can only be bought at the door.
Free things to do in York with teens
With many families trying to save money during trips putting a few free activities in your York itinerary is a fantastic way to allow you to spend a little more of the things you really want to do in York.
Full of quirky little shops and a few Harry Potter ones too you will find walking up this historic street in York a heap of fun. Here you will find you’ll only spend money on what you see in the shops or the market behind it.
The York City Walls
You can easily walk the York City Walls and see so much of the city. You do need to be aware in some places there are no railings so you do need to be careful.
You will find some of the most preserved Town Gates (or Bar) around these walls as well. They are a sight to see and there are signs on the stairs leading up to them what the gate is called and its history.
*In the Monk Bar you will find the Richard the III experience. This is not a free exhibition but it is a great way to learn about the Wars of the Roses and the impact it had on York. In the Micklegate Bar is the Henry the VII Experience.
In the Museum Gardens in York, you will find the ruins for the St Mary’s Abbey, Roman ruins and the York Botanical Gardens. On a beautiful day, they would be a brilliant place for a picnic or a lazy afternoon tea.
*Located in the Museum Gardens is the Yorkshire Museum. This is not a free museum and unfortunately we were unable to visit on the day.
National Railway Museum
As we detailed above the National Railway is a free display of Rail history for both England and the world.
* While it is a free exhibition you are encouraged to make a donation towards the upkeep of the museum
See Clifford’s Tower
Seeing this amazing structure from the street is brilliant and free. It sits perfectly on top of it’s hill over looking the city.
* If you want to gain entry and go to the top of the tower there is a small fee to do that.
Shopping in York with teenagers
Yorks High Street is full of well-known brands that every teenager knows. Names like H&M, Marks & Spencer and Mountain Warehouse just to name a few. Coppergate, the city’s shopping centre lies at the end of High Street near the Jorvik Viking Museum. At Coppergate you will find brands such as The Body Shop, Primark and Flying Tiger Copenhagen just to name a few.
Escape Rooms in York
For those new to Escape rooms, this is a quick run down.
An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.
Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. If your teen likes this stuff it is definitely one of the top things to do in York with teenagers.
You will have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and find the truth. Below you will find some of the best Escape rooms in York
- Can You Escape – 13-15 Micklegate, York YO1 6JH, United Kingdom. Website: https://www.canyouescape.co.uk/york
- Mindlock Escape Games – 9 & 10 Tower St, York Y01 9SA, United Kingdom. Website: https://www.mindlockyork.com/
- Locked in games York – Club Chambers, Museum St, York YO1 7DN, United Kingdom. Website: https://york.lockedingames.co.uk/
Cinema’s in York
A perennial favourite with teenagers in York weather visiting or residents is the cinema. York like any major city in England has a wide range of cinema’s for you to attend. Below you will find a list of the best cinemas in York.
- Vue York – Clifton Moor Centre, Stirling Rd, York YO30 4XY, United Kingdom. Website: https://www.myvue.com/cinema/york/whats-on
- Cineworld York – Community Stadium, Kathryn Ave, Huntington, York YO32 9AF, United Kingdom. Website: https://www.cineworld.co.uk/cinemas/york/
10 Pin bowling in York
10 Pin bowling is a great family activity to do with teenagers. There is nothing like a bit of family competition and 10 pin bowling in York is just the thing.
Strikes, Spares, gutter balls are all part of the action. To be honest the weather in England is very unpredictable and indoor activities like bowling are a great option. Find a place to bowl below.
- Tenpin York – Clifton moor Centre, Stirling Road, York YO30 4WZ, United Kingdom. Website: https://www.tenpin.co.uk/our-locations/york/
Purchasing the York City Pass
If you have limited time in a city a great way to plan a thorough visit to York is to purchase the York City Pass. The booklet that comes with the pass is invaluable in planning an epic trip to York.
It gives you all the top places to visit in York and with the York City Pass you get free entry to many places. They are only available for one day only.
There is also a York and Beyond Explorer Pass available in 2, 3 and 6 day passes for you to get out of the city and see more of the area.
In England the power plugs and sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Buy Type G power socket today
You can contact the police by calling 999 to report emergencies or by calling 101 for non-emergencies.
All the mains tap water will be fine to drink everywhere in the UK
At restaurants in the UK, a tip of around 10% is expected if you order at your table. A ‘service charge’ or ‘optional charge’ may be included so check your bi
Where to stay in York
We touched on York accommodation at the top of the article. Here you will find more option for your stay. We stayed at the Ibis York Centre Hotel when we visited. Ibis York is a tourist class hotel with car parking, restaurant and bar facilities. It is a 10-minute walk for the city walls.
You will find all types of accommodation in York, everything from hostels, hotels and apartments to fit every budget. You will find family rooms, doubles and dorms for singles.
Where to eat in York with teenagers
Teenager get hungry and there’s nothing like searching for a place to eat when they have hit the hangry stage.
We found the Wetherspoons chain throughout the UK great and affordable place to have a late lunch or dinner while visiting York. It is based on good traditional Pub Grub with plenty of variety including vegetarian options.
Bennett’s Cafe and Bistro
We stopped here for a classic afternoon tea of scones, jam, cream and not-so-traditional coffee! The scones were amazing and the service was fantastic. Being right over the road from the York Minster we could watch the going on’s from the window seat in the cafe.
The Shambles Market
The Shambles is an old historic York street The overhanging timber-framed buildings dating back the fourteenth century make it a unique attraction in York. The Shambles has always been associated with food as it was once the area of butchers in the city.
I picked up some fresh fruit here and a couple of different snacky foods while we were wandering around. I found it to be a little more expensive than a supermarket but it was delicious.
York Castle Museum Cafe
After having a few hours wandering the Museum we stopped at the cafe for a snack before we continued on for the day. We thought there was a large selection of good hearty food at a really good price. There was plenty of seating as well.
*There is also a small shop just off the Museum Cafe where you can purchase products made in and around the Yorkshire area.
York on a Budget
If you are looking at staying in York on a budget then air bnb may be an excellent option for you.
With an apartment in York you may be able to prepare your meals and snacks for you and your family as you explore York.
You can use Tesco, M&S or Asda to get food to cook in your apartment. They also stock many ready-made meals that are actually really nice with plenty of cut fruit and vegetables as well that you can snack on as you wander the streets of York.
If you are looking at visiting York on a budget then this is an excellent way to do that.
Weather in York England
Yorks weather much like the rest of the country is at best unpredictable. July and August are the hottest months of the year with an average temperature of around 15°C. Average highs and average lows vary between around 10°C and 18°C. Summer temperature. Temperatures will climb in the 30’s, but this is not common.
In winter the temperature often drops to around zero and winter averages vary between around 1°C and 5°C. December and January are the coldest months of the year. A spring average between 5-10 degrees with some days in the ’20s while September and October often see Indian summers.
When is the best time to visit York?
Many people prefer a trip to York in the springtime to enjoy the warmer, bright weather. It is also a beautiful time to be in the city of York with all the flowers blooming through the York city centre.
This time of year will also be peak time so there will be wait times at some of the most popular sights in York. If you can manage a visit during other months you will be likely to have fewer crowds and more of the place to your self.
With so many indoor activities you will always find a beautiful and exciting place to visit in York.
We hope this article on from Wyld Family Travel on our amazing visit to York has made you want to visit. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday with teenagers click through to our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides Page for more brilliant family travel inspiration.
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support .