York Minster Small group activities

Our most recommended York Minster Small group activities

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: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

3. York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

Early evening is the most atmospheric time to experience York, the shops have closed, the tourist hordes have departed, the ancient streets lie at your disposal. This hour-long walking tour is for anyone seeking a concise, informal and entertaining introduction to York in the company of an expert local guide. Discover why the Minster is known as a Minster rather than a cathedral, why all the streets in York are called Gates and all the gates are called Bars. Start your tour in Exhibition Square, and see 2000 years of history simply by turning in a circle. Take in all the must-see sights including the Minster, the medieval walls and the Shambles, the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Take the opportunity to enter the maze of ancient cut-throughs and back-passages, or Snickelways as they are known locally.  Although this isn't a ghost tour there are plenty of gruesome true stories to be heard. By the end of the walk you will be ready for your dinner reservation having tasted the full flavour of a city which still has Viking mud on its boots and a tang of cocoa in the air.

3-day Yorkshire Dales and Peak District Tour from Manchester

4. 3-day Yorkshire Dales and Peak District Tour from Manchester

Day 1: Travel to the Peak District. In the late morning, you will arrive in Castleton. This quaint old town attracts travelers from all over the world for its quintessential English charm. Nearby, there are caves, a beautiful view up a valley, and an insightful information center. Venture to the beautiful valley at Monsal Head. There’s an old rail line viaduct that emerges from the green hills. It’s a gorgeous structure with an impressive history. If you’re hungry, then you’re in luck, because you’re stopping for lunch in Bakewell. Not only is this town delicious to look at, but it’s also the home of one of England’s most famous desserts, the Bakewell Pudding. After savoring every last crumb, head over to Chatsworth House. This luxurious stately home is incredible; you can admire the architecture, get lost in a massive maze, or praise precious art. Finally, head off in the early evening to your overnight stop in York. Day 2: Full-day Tour of York Spend your morning in York. Visit a chocolate museum, find out about the Vikings, or just stroll around the ancient walls. Around midday, leave York and head to Goathland. This town was used in the Harry Potter movies and is situated in one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the UK. Your next stop is Whitby. This is the type of town everyone dreams of retiring in. There’s a beautifully-located, ruined abbey; old stone steps curving around viewpoints; and a lovely little beach to play about on. After exploring all the nooks and crannies of Whitby, travel to Robin Hood’s Bay. They doubt if the real Robin Hood ever came here, but there are still plenty of smugglers tales dotted around this remarkable harbor village. Finally, arrive back in York in the early evening. Day 3: Touring, Lunch, and Returning to Manchester Take the road to Fountains Abbey. This is one of the largest ruined abbeys in England and part of an important UNESCO Heritage site. Then find yourself surrounded by some of England’s most lovely waterfalls at AysgarthEnjoy a delicious lunch of Wensleydale's famous cheese and crackers. After lunch, travel past the epic Ribblehead railway viaduct before having a short snoop around the old castle-topped town of Clitheroe. In the evening, arrive in Manchester.

Other Sightseeing Options in York Minster

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What people are saying about York Minster

We have visited York before but this is the first time we have had a guide and it was definitely worth it! We learnt a lot more about the history and saw things that we hadn't noticed on previous visits. Sarah was very knowledgeable and friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour. Thank you Sarah.

Brilliant Tour, cannot recommend enough. Our guide Sarah had such an enthusiasm for local history it was infectious. She was also very gracious in answering our many questions. We learnt a lot in an hour!

Cecil lead a reasonably paced trip through the city of York and provided lots of interesting information. There was some mild rain, but it did not impact the tour. Very informative and great exercise!

An excellent tour! Sarah really brought to life the history of York. The smaller sizes of the tour gave us the opportunity to ask lots of questions.

Really good ans informative tour with a great, engaging ‍♀️ guide