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St Mary's Abbey, York

St Mary's Abbey, York: Our most recommended tours and activities

York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

1. 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: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Guide

2. York: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Guide

See York and its most iconic sights without the expense or time constraints of a group tour with this affordable audio guide. Stroll past the city's most iconic landmarks, including the Shambles and York Minster. Start at York Art Gallery and travel back in time through 2000 years of history as you stroll. Experience Roman, Viking, and medieval York, and see the city's great sights as well as its hidden gems. Learn the history of this city and the central role it has played in the history of England. Continue past iconic sights like the Shambles, one of the world's best-preserved medieval streets, and spot the story of Adam and Eve carved into York Minster’s Great West Door. Uncover some of the most important characters in York's development along the way, from its humble beginnings as a riverside Roman settlement, to its turbulent takeover by the Vikings, and on to its thriving medieval period of commerce. Feel free to start, pause, or restart at any time and complete your visit at your own pace. If your travel plans change, you can use the audio guide at any date of your choice or use the virtual in-app option for an at-home experience.

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What people are saying about St Mary's Abbey, York

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 8 reviews

Unfortunately a very last minute occurrence caused us to miss the tour. Too late to cancel. Emailed the tour guide was communicating prior with details and Sarah was going to get us into a later tour that we could not make as we were leaving York. Bottom line cudos for trying to help us!

1st time we had used the audio tour but would definitely use again. Easy to use even though we aren’t the most tech savvie. No problem following directions or stopping at a site or for a coffee break. Saw places down alleys we would never have known to look down! Well worth the money.

A fab way to get to learn more about the history of York! Lots of things pointed out & seen which we’d never have found without the expert knowledge of our guide!

If you like history this is the tour for you. 2000 years in an hour and a half. If you want to know who lived where or which films were made in York, maybe not.

Good local guide obviously proud of her city. She happy to deal with lots of questions !