Five things to do for free in...York
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York, voted one of the best places to live in the country due to its classic architecture and friendly atmosphere, is situated in the middle of North Yorkshire between the equally as popular towns of Harrogate and Leeds. With the coast only an hour away by train, York is the perfect place to visit for a weekend or simply a day trip.
But where to visit? When money is tight, York is a delight with many free activities to partake in on every street. Here's some of our favourites:
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is situated a stone's throw away from the city's train station, making it the perfect location to visit before travelling home.
Due to its size, you can easily fit in a quick walk around the beautiful old vehicles at 12pm and still have time to make it back for the 13.41 train to Manchester. Yet if you want to explore the hidden gems of the museum, a full afternoon may be needed. My personal favourite section of the building is where they keep all of the vintage posters and memorabilia signs, which is always quiet as most are congregated around the large vintage trains, but that's the beauty of this site - there's so much more than just trains to keep you entertained, and better still, it's free!
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Kings Manor, a beautiful Grade 1 listed medieval building located a five minute walk from the Minster, is a little bit of a secret location in York. Located in the city centre but leased by the University of York to house their Archeology department, it's a quiet hidden find that's oozing with history and free to walk around, whether you study in York or not. Originally housing the abbots of St Mary's Abbey, Kings Manor has since been used by Henry VIII as the Council of the North and later by the Yorkshire School for the Blind until 1963, when the university leased the location. Kings Manor is open daily, and the window seats in the upstairs library look out onto years of history that will make any other study location seem pale in comparison.
Goodramgate is a street not many talk about when discussing tourism, but that's part of its beauty. It might feature one too many charity shops, but from here you can get one of the best views of the Minster in the whole city, without any selfie stick waving tourists ruining your pictures. If you're about those Instagram likes, there are plenty of little independent cafes on the street, while for those of you who appreciate long distance walking, two stairwells to the famous city walls are at the end of the street, complete with a small gift store hidden inside a turret.
With so much history, walking around the city is a breeze and something everybody should do once. From the Shambles, officially the most picturesque street in the country, to the Musuem Gardens and the two rivers that run through the city, there's an unmissable view everywhere you turn, especially at sundown when the whole city is bathed in orange light reflecting from the rivers Ouse and Foss. Simply sitting and appreciating the atmosphere is easy to do in York, with buskers on every corner and dedicated outdoor stages at Kings Square, where circus-esque acts perform daily.
York holds regular festivals all year round, ranging from the Jorvik Medival Festival, which pays homage to the origins of the city, to the famous St Nicholas Festival, which brings visitors from all across the world to York so that they can experience the festive Christmas markets. Another favourite is the Great Yorkshire Fringe, where national performers gather on stages across town to bring laughter to the masses, all without charge.