Try these fun activities if you plan to visit York this Summer

The clocks have finally changed meaning that the nights are now set to be lighter, and the good news is that if you’re visiting the UK this summer you should be in for warmer weather. 

As we head towards this (hopefully) gloriously warm time of year, many of us will be busily making plans in a bid to make the most of any time off, and there’s no better place to spend your downtime than in the charming city of York, UK.

Located in North Yorkshire, a short drive from Leeds or the vibrant coastal towns of Scarborough and Whitby, York consistently ranks as one of the best family-friendly day out locations in the UK. A quick look at the sights and attractions on offer and it’s not hard to see why.

Striking architecture, delightful restaurants and vibrant bars dominate the cityscape and that’s without mentioning the stunning River that penetrates the city centre.

From fascinating museums visits to retail therapy and more, here’s a taste of what you can see and do this summer in York.

Yorkshire Museum & Museum Gardens

York, and the county of Yorkshire more widely, is steeped in rich history and nowhere is this celebrated more than at the iconic Yorkshire Museum.

Home to a collection of magnificent Medieval treasures, including the fascinating Middleham jewel, a visit to the museum is a great day out for kids and grownups alike. As well as marvelling at Medieval jewels, you’ll be able to walk on a genuine Roman mosaic floor before marvelling at the biggest Roman hoard of its kind in the UK.

Currently, and in a move guaranteed to appeal to dinosaur lovers, there’s even a stunning Jurassic World exhibition that invites visitors to learn more about these incredible creatures via cutting-edge interactive technology.

No trip to the Yorkshire Museum would be complete without embarking on a gentle stroll around the lovely Museum Gardens. The gardens are renowned for boasting a stunning array of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs-planted amongst the backdrop of the enchanting ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.

If spending an afternoon up close and personal with dinosaurs has stirred up your appetite you’ll also be conveniently placed to visit one of York’s top restaurants The Star Inn The City. Located on the edge of the Museum Gardens, this award-winning riverside brasserie serves up delicious seasonal food with ingredients sourced from the local Yorkshire countryside and coast. The restaurant even boasts a lovely outdoor terrace that serves as an idyllic spot to enjoy a refreshing beverage.

York Races

If there’s one British pastime that’s nearly as old as time, it’s enjoying a day out at the races. Luckily, York is home to one of the UK’s most popular racecourses and there are plenty of exciting meets taking place this summer to look forward to.

In May, the Dante Festival rolls into town at York racecourse and this event marks the start of the racing season. Later in the month, May Spring Saturday takes place and there’s even an Abba tribute band playing hits after the horses have returned to the stables: will the winners really take it all?

Fast-forward to June and the popular John Smith’s Cup and the June meeting are set to take place; don your finest attire and enjoy a glass of champagne in the stands. Finally, in late August the world-famous Ebor Festival arrives before the season concludes with the October Finale, taking place between 13th-14th October.

After a glorious day at the races head into York City centre where you can enjoy drinks, al fresco dining and much more.

City Cruises

Although available all year round, there’s no better time to enjoy a relaxing and serene cruise down the Ouse than in summertime. 

As you float down the city’s historic river network, you’ll discover all about York’s intriguing past, including how it once prospered as a bustling inland port, delivering many things, including cocoa, to the iconic York-based Rowntrees.

If you’re in no rush, and you want to feel the thrill of navigating the river ripples yourself, hire a rowing boat and muscle your way under the striking Lendal Bridge. If you fancy something a little more gentile, hop on a daytime sightseeing cruise and enjoy live, on-board commentary from a knowledgeable captain. During your daytime cruise you can even indulge on snacks, hot drinks, and a selection of beers, wines, and spirits.

As a gloriously sunny day transforms into night-time (British weather permitting), you’ll even have the option of putting on your dancing shoes and enjoying a fun-filled party cruise. Perfect for hen dos, stag parties, or just a good old fashion catch up with friends, enjoy alcoholic beverages aplenty as you glide down the Ouse accompanied by classic party anthems and great company.

If you’re thinking of heading on a city cruise we recommend booking online in advance as this generally tends to be a bit cheaper. However, you can still hop on board a vessel on the day; head down to the Lendal Bridge area and purchase a ticket.

Summer Shopping

If you’re in need of a summertime wardrobe makeover, home decor items or gifts then you’ve come to the right place. York is a haven for shopaholics, blessed with a plethora of quirky indie shops complemented by all the high street fashion chains you know and love.

In the heart of town, you’ll quickly find that Parliament St is lined with plenty of fragrance shops and electronics suppliers, as well as a big M&S; there’s even a Disney shop if you need a place to keep the kids entertained for half an hour.

York City centre is also home to Coppergate, an indoor shopping centre that boasts Fenwick, Pavers, and budget fashion chain Primark. Whilst in Coppergate you’ll also encounter plenty of places to enjoy a coffee and a pastry including Café 21 and Harrisons of York.

Away from the centre of town, since opening in 1998 York Designer Outlet has enticed thousands of visitors looking to bag discounts on a whole range of designer goodies. Brands such as Levis, Michael Kors and Paul Smith has a presence here, whilst there are plenty of good restaurants where you can grab a bit and rest your legs.

You’ll discover more about all this history, as well as picking up some local knowledge, thanks to live, on-board commentary from our home-grown skippers. During your cruise, treat yourself at our on-board bar, stocked with a selection of beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks and snacks.