Discover York With These 5 Offbeat Walks

Discover York With These 5 Offbeat Walks
The cityscape of York, England, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ghosts to cat statues, rare books to ancient Roman remains, get to know York on these trails

OT Staff
January 23 , 2020
03 Min Read

One of the oldest cities in England, York has many charms waiting to be explored. For instance, the grand railway station, York Minster, one of Europe’s largest cathedrals, and The Shambles with its medieval houses and lanes. Here are five offbeat walks which will help you discover this ancient city.

Spot The Cats


Did you know that cats have played a part in York’s history? Many buildings have cat statues which have been around for centuries. The statues were supposed to frighten away rodents that could spread the plague. They are supposed to ward off evil spirits, and bring good luck and health. You can go on a cat-spotting trail around the city. Several walk operators organise one, check out the Fabulous York Cat Trail – they give you a map of York with a list of clues. And some history about each cat.

Live out your ghostbuster dreams on the York Ghost Tour Bus

Hunt For Ghosts

York is supposed to be one of England’s spookiest cities. Choose a night of mystery, be a ghostbuster and walk around exploring haunted spots of York. The trail goes through some great locations - from tombstones with strange faces to one of the most famous pubs in Britain. Or take the York Ghost Bus Tour, a theatrical sightseeing tour. You will be on board a classic 1960s Routemaster bus, listening to some pretty sinister stories about some of the most famous landmarks including York Minster. Step aboard this comedy horror show around York, discovering its dark and terrible secrets.

Circle The City Walls

This is a circular walk around the perimeter of the old city in York following the remains of the original city walls. The walk can be started anywhere along the route and broken off at any point to explore the city's many fine teas shops for a break!

Browse Old Books And Antiques

A great way for bibliophiles to discover the city is by hunting out its old books and antique stores. Walk around its historic streets, ginnels and snickelways and see if you can find a rare book. Hit up Stonegate which used to be the printers and booksellers street. The Minster Gate Book Shop’s seven rooms house a vast collection of rare and secondhand books. At Bootham is Janette Ray Rare Books which specialises in architecture, design and gardens. If you like collecting antique furniture, porcelain orjewellery, head to the Red House Antiques Centre in Duncombe Place which houses over 60 antique dealers under one roof. Or try the York Antique Centre in Lendal which has independent dealers selling antiques.

Signage at Guy Fawkes Inn

In The Footsteps of Guy Fawlkes

We all know about Guy Fawkes who planned to blow up Westminster, and the king. York is where he was born (in April 1570). Check out the Guy Fawkes Inn, on High Petersgate who claim the location of their restaurant is where he was born. And St Michael-Le-Belfrey church where he was baptised. Also hit up Union Terrace car park. Fawkes attended St Peter’s School - it was located on the corner of Gillygate and Lord Mayor’s Walk, where the Union terrace car park is located today. York Minster has a connection too - the bodies of Fawkes’ father and paternal grandparents are buried in the area around the minster.

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