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Shambles: Our most recommended tours and activities

York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

1. York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

Join your characterful witch guide and hear the true historical tales of suspected Yorkshire witches across the ages. Delve into fascinating pieces of York's history along the way too; secrets of St Crux Church, York Minster, Petergate, Swinegate and so very much more await on this character led walking tour. Your friendly costumed guide will enchant you on this exciting escapade, seamlessly weaving history with vibrant storytelling. Did these Yorkshire witches deserve their fates? Cross York’s cobbles and uncover the truth about the likes of Mad Alice – was she driven to insanity? What about John Wrightson, was he really a "Wrong-son"? Mary Bateman; wise woman or murderer? And did Margaret Clitheroe really deserve her fate…? You make your own mind up on this magical educational journey to the past. Be transported through the twists and turns of York's gates (streets!) and snickelways. You will shuffle down Shambles, hop through King's Square, amble along “Bookbinders Alley” and saunter down Stonegate. The breathtakingly iconic York Minster cannot be missed, and your faithful guide will happily point out a pub where a very famous plotter lived. You’ll learn of hauntings, meet a certain little red devil and discover a building that was hidden away for decades… In an experience that brings together true stories, history, and a wisdom that we can learn from our terrible ways of the past, you are sure to be enthralled by this enchanting city and Yorkshire’s rich witchy chronicles. *Please note this is an outdoor walking tour so dress for the weather, my dears.

York: Dark Chronicles Devilishly Gruesome Ghost Walk

2. York: Dark Chronicles Devilishly Gruesome Ghost Walk

Explore with our medieval Monk Mort, apprentice to the grim reaper. There are shadows on every corner to be explored as we uncover the ghostly tales of York, uncover it's gruesome murders, hear tales of legendary beasts, plague victims and persecution. York has a devilishly dark and occasionally bloody history... Battles, plague and heads on spikes, torture, there is death on every corner. Suddenly as night arrives this beautiful city reveals its hidden secrets. Follow Mort down its dark snickleways as he beguiles you with tales that curdle the blood. Yorks tragic hauntings and devious past await every night, (not Monday) outside The Golden Lion, Church Street. Explore Europes most haunted city with our experienced Monk...If you dare! Please arrive 10 minutes before your chosen departure time. We do not call out inside the pub. Suitable for friends, couples, those single travellers and families of all ages. (over 5 recommend) The tour will run whatever the weather and dogs are welcome! 80-90 minutes duration. Tours attended at visitors own risk. we take no responsibility for accidents or lost belongings on the tours. Children should be supervised by parent/carer at all times.

York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

3. York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

Why follow the crowds? At Yorktour we believe a great tour should also be a fun conversation, which is why we guarantee there will be no more than eight participants so everyone can ask questions and no-one needs to worry about being left at the back! This family-friendly walking tour includes all the key sights - including the exterior of the Minster and the celebrated Shambles - though we will also lead you deep into the medieval maze of ‘Snickelways’ to follow in the footsteps of the Romans and Vikings who created York. Hidden behind the starting point of the central library we enter the tranquil, green oasis of the Museum Gardens - a Victorian botanic landscape which contains the remains of the Roman fortress, a Saxon-era tower 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 (please note admission to the Minster isn't included, but we'll give you all the details from the outside). The Minster lies at the heart of a warren of ancient streets whose layout is Viking in origin. You’ll hear tales of Nordic 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: City Chronicles Historical Walking Tour

4. York: City Chronicles Historical Walking Tour

Immerse your self in a tour 6000 years in the making! Discover York on this highly rated tour as we head off the tourist beat to discover the real history of York. From the cities origins, we look at the defences, and architecture, Robert the Bruce, Oliver Cromwell, Constantine the Great, kings and queens and many others who would shape the cities rich past. Along the way you'll see the flora and Fauna, city walls, and snickleways as we debunk the cities myths and walk in the footsteps of Romans to tourist! No stone is left unturned on this exciting story of York.

York: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Guide

5. 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.

York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

6. York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

Embark on a self-guided treasure hunt for a fun and unique way to explore York outdoors at your own pace. Get clues sent to your phone and search your surroundings for the answers as you are led on a beautiful route through fabulous places. Start your treasure hunt in the fabulous Museum Gardens in the center of York. Play using your phones, on which you’ll meet Captain Bess, a snarky pirate who’s testing out new recruits to join her ship. Receive beautiful treasure maps leading you from one spot to the next. Find yourselves sneaking through a series of small streets and footpaths, passing medieval churches, and guildhalls. Use the sent clues to search for your surroundings. When you get the right answer, move on to the next place. Don’t worry, if you get stuck you can ask for a hint to help you on your way. Learn some interesting facts and stories along the way about the things you're spotting and get a better understanding of the history of York.

Shadows of York: Ghost Walk and Horrible History.

7. Shadows of York: Ghost Walk and Horrible History.

Embark on a walking tour of York. Meet your guide outside St Michael Le Belfrey Church, between the York Minster and Guy Fawkes Inn on High Petergate. Follow your guide around the streets, including lesser-known areas with stops to hear the grim history and haunted stories of the area. Enjoy a tour that fluctuates between comedy and seriousness, with dark and very detailed stories. Hear gripping tales of suicide, execution, plague, child death, and other extremely cruel realities of times gone by. Along the way, see famous landmarks such as the Minster and the Shambles, ending on or near the Shambles depending on how busy the area is.

York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

8. 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.

York: Smartphone Guide with Riddles and Discovery Walk

9. York: Smartphone Guide with Riddles and Discovery Walk

Embark on an interactive discovery experience as you explore the charming city of York. Open the web app and start the challenge from the York Art Gallery. Stories and riddles will guide you through the history of the town, give you and inside in the sweet traditions of the town and will bring you to places where the Vikings settled. Curious facts: Get to know more about the city, discover the secrets of the main attractions, and learn about curious facts that you won't read elsewhere. Find monuments and hidden secrets: Our local creator created an interactive walk through the city. Cryptic indications make you wind through the cities streets, inviting you to pay attention to details which you usually won't notice. Once you've arrived at the next stop, you will have to solve a question: open your eyes and mind and use your location to find the right answer! Enjoy: While doing this discovery trail, you will get to know the city from another point of view. Even locals discover new facts while doing secret city trails! Solve 12 riddles created by our local creators. Sharpen your senses and appreciate the most wonderful (and little) details around you. Whether you know York or have just started exploring here, get a perspective on the discovery that will inspire your curiosity wherever you go next.

York: Self-Guided City Walk & Interactive Treasure Hunt

10. York: Self-Guided City Walk & Interactive Treasure Hunt

Explore the streets of York's city centre and unlock a hidden trail by finding clues, solving puzzles & completing challenges, earning points along the way all self-guided through the Go Quest Adventures app. See the area's highlights, explore it's hidden gems and learn some insider history and fun facts along the way (even locals will discover something new!). Famous for its Roman walls, Viking heritage, medieval splendour and of course the beautiful and grand Minster, York has over 2000 years of history and a city abundant in character and experiences.  Although small in size it’s a city full of old traditions, quirky details and lasting charm which makes it the perfection destination to explore. As the Quest is self guided you can: * Start your Quest whenever you want, get instant access with nothing to print off from home * Go as fast as you want and try to top the leaderboard, or go at your own pace, stopping for rest breaks along the way. Your Quest will begin in the beautiful Museum Gardens with the incredible remains of St. Mary’s abbey, then winds you through the city’s historic walls, in and out of its unique snickelways, down the famous Shambles and back to the iconic Minster. During your Quest you might discover York’s secret cats, learn about a quirky collector and where Roald Dahl received some inspiration and, as one of the most haunted places in Europe, hear a ghost story or two!  So grab your Viking helmet put on some comfy shoes, and get ready to explore the sights, discover hidden gems and ultimately, conquer your York  Quest! This is an ideal outdoor activity for couples, families, groups of friends, school groups and can be the perfect team building or corporate activity. Customised Quests and group packages are available by emailing Get Questing today!

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What people are saying about Shambles

Overall rating

(576 reviews)

Really informative, fun tour around the centre of York. We were in a group of about 30 which was ideal as the guide projected his voice above the local nightlife to create a mysterious feel. Suitable for all ages and gets you walking for 90 minutes. Shame that we could not give a tip as the guide mysteriously disappeared into the night at the end! 10/10.

Highly recommend this tour. Our first visit to York. We went on this tour on the first morning of our visit. We learnt so much about this beautiful city and its history from Sarah that we really enjoyed our 3 days here.

Very worthwhile enjoyed the historical side but also gave another view to York. Great guide especially as my husband is blind. Alfred made sure everyone was catered for thanks so much

Fantastic evening with our guide Josh, thoroughly enjoyable with my two daughters! Funny, scary and historical all in one! Thank you

This is an exceptional tour with an animated host. I learned all about York and it’s witches— highly recommend!