York Museums

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The historic City of York is full of heritage, medieval streets, and fascinating museums. If you want to learn more about this ancient city’s heritage, there are plenty of fascinating museums to explore. Some offer free entry and others are available as part of the YorkPass visitor scheme. Check out our top picks below.

Photo by Ann Lee

York Castle Museum

The Castle Museum is right in the heart of the city, next to Clifford’s Tower and the Jorvik Centre. Visitors to the Castle Museum can explore hundreds of years of history. There are several floors of interactive galleries, including a lovingly recreated Victorian street. One of the latest exhibitions focusses on York during World War I. Kids go free if they visit with a paying adult.

The Jorvik Centre

The award-winning Jorvik Centre gives you a glimpse into the life of York at the end of the Viking Age, smells and all. This interactive ride takes you back through the mists of time to the year AD960. You can learn more about multi-cultural York, examine historic Viking artefacts, and learn how York transformed itself after Eric Bloodaxe was sent packing.

The Richard III Experience

You will find the Richard III Experience on Monk Bar, one of the historic gates into the City. Visit this small, but interesting museum as you explore the City Walls. Richard III only reigned for a few short years, but his quest for power was particularly bloody. A family ticket will cost you £10.

Barley Hall

Barley Hall is a medieval townhouse in the heart of York, just off Stonegate. Until the 1980s, the building was a derelict ruin, but thankfully it was discovered and restored in the nick of time. Check out the vast exposed timber ceiling and historic horn window. Take a seat in medieval chairs and imagine what it was like for the Priors of Nostell in the 15th-Century. A family ticket is £20.

The National Railway Museum

The award-winning National Railway Museum on Leeman Road is free entry, but special exhibitions may charge for entrance. The huge Station Hall tells you more about life on the railways. Explore iconic trains such as the Bullet Train, the Mallard, and carriages used by the Royal Family. The museum plays host to fun activities and visiting exhibitions during school holidays, so it is a great place to take the kids.

The Yorkshire Museum

The Yorkshire Museum is located in Museum Gardens. The museum explores the history of York from ancient times through to medieval times. Look out for the Roman mosaic floor and the Middleham Jewel. Children go free with a paying adult.

The York Army Museum

Military history buffs will definitely want to visit the York Army Museum on Tower Street. The museum traces the history of two key regiments: the Yorkshire Regiment and the Royal Dragoon Guards. There are six exciting zones to explore and plenty of interactive displays to keep the kids entertained. Entrance is £5 per adult and £2.50 per child, with a family ticket available for £12.

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