Are you visiting York on a budget and looking for cheap things to do and money saving tips? Then dive into our money saving guide for visiting York. There’s lots of suggestions of cheap and free things to do as well as tips to save money on days out, accommodation and eating out.

Read on for lots of suggestions.

Do all the Free Stuff

There are so many free things to do in York. Here is a quick list:

The National Railway Museum – The museum tells the story of rail transport in the UK and it’s impact on society. There’s lots to do for everybody of all ages including kids play areas

York Art Gallery – displays paintings spans more than 600 years and works range from 14th century.

Sightsee – walk to see the famous landmarks including York Minster and Cliffords Tower.

The Shambles – The Shambles is an old street in York, England, with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. In recent time it’s known as the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films. There’s lots of quirky shops and boutiques to look at including Harry Potter themed shops.

Museum Gardens – walk around the beautiful museum gardens and admire the remaining architecture from St. Mary’s Abbey

Walk the York walls – York has, since Roman times, been defended by walls of one form or another. To this day, substantial portions of the walls remain and you can walk along them.

Free walking tour – free 2 hour walking tours are provided by knowledgeable guides.

Self guided trails for kids: – including the York cat trail

The Blue Plaque trails for adults

Read these and more ideas in my article on free things to do in York.

Discounts on York Attractions.

There are lots of ways you can get discounts on York attractions. Here is a list:

2 for 1 theme parks and attractions with National Rail

If you register with Days Out Guide and buy a National Rail ticket, you can get 2 for 1 entry on York attractions including, the York dungeon, The York chocolate story, ghost bus tours and city cruises York. Click here to see all the eligible York attractions.

You must pre-book the attraction tickets – on-the-gate purchases are no longer eligible

On the Days Out Guide website, click on your preferred attraction and register or login . A 2 for 1 code will appear onscreen. Copy it, then click to go the attraction’s website. Apply the code to book two tickets online immediately. You’ll need to show these along with a valid train ticket on the same day when you arrive at the attraction.

If you don’t have a valid train ticket on the day at the attraction, you’ll have to buy a second ticket at the entrance.

Even if you are not travelling by rail, it can be worth just buying a cheap single ticket for a few pound which can be significantly less than the cost of an entry ticket (for example the cheapest York dungeon tickets is £17.95).

Simply purchase a ticket at your local station, then show it at the gate with your pre-booked attraction tickets. Your rail ticket must also prove that you arrived at one of the stations closest to the attraction (which in this case will be York)

Buy Kelloggs Cereal to Get Promotion free adult tickets

Kelloggs run a promotional offer most years where you can get a 2 for 1 entry into Merlin attractions one of which is the York dungeon.

You’ll find the vouchers on Kellogg’s cereal and snacks, such as Corn Flakes, Coco Pops, Crunchy Nut, and Rice Krispie Squares (£2ish-£3ish at most shops).

They normally run the promotion in the late spring / early summer time.

Once you have the promotional packet you’ll need to book online to guarantee your entry. The instructions are on the packet but you can do this using the unique 10-digit code printed inside the cereal box.

Most importantly, you’ll need to bring and show your original on-pack voucher when you visit.

Other promotions on food packets

There are always food packets in the supermarkets with these kinds of 2 for 1 offers so it’s well worth having a quick google before you go to your chosen attraction to see if you can find any other offers before you book any tickets, especially to the York dungeons.

The York Pass

If you’re planning on visiting tons of attractions in York, it’s well worth checking out the York pass.

The York Pass entitles you to free admission to up to 40 attractions in York and the surrounding area. You can also use your card to enjoy discounts at particular restaurants and tours around the city.

Is it worth getting?

The answer to this question will vary. I would write down exactly what you want to do while your in York and compare how much you would pay compared to what you would pay for a York pass. Remember there are many ways to get discounts on some of the popular attractions like the York dungeon.

Triple Ticket Offer for Jorvik Viking Centre, Dig and Barley Hall

The JORVIK Group offer a triple ticket, enabling you to visit three of the best city-centre attractions in York including JORVIK Viking Centre, Barley Hall and DIG: An Archaeological Adventure, throughout the year, for one discounted price.

It is still expensive but if you’re planning on visiting all 3 attractions anyway you’ll save some money with this offer.

Use Tesco Clubcard vouchers

If you shop at Tesco, convert Tesco Clubcard points into Tesco Reward Partners vouchers* and on York attractions. You get three times the vouchers’ face value to use on tickets, eg, £5 in points converts into £15 worth of vouchers.

You can find the York attractions where you can use Tesco clubcard vouchers here.

Cheaper attractions

Many attractions cost £10 to £20 a ticket. Here are some that are under £10 for an adult ticket and less for kids and families.

Barley Hall

Barley Hall is a stunning medieval house, once home to the Priors of Nostell and the Mayor of York. The building has been lovingly restored to its original splendour with its high ceilings, beautiful exposed timber frames, and possibly the only horn window in England. There’s often activities for children to do inside. Check out what’s on on their website before you go.

Prices:

Adult £7.50
*Child (5-16 years old) £4.50
Concession £6.00
**Family 4 £21.00
**Family 5 £25.00

York Mansion House

York Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of York, positioned at the heart of city society and civic life for almost 300 years. A masterpiece of 18th century architecture with infamous residents and a colourful history.

Prices:
Adults: £6.50
Concessions (over 65s and students aged 16+ in full-time education): £5.00
Children (age 5+): £3.50
Children (under 5): FREE
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £17.00

Fairfax House

See the splendour of an eighteenth century townhouse and discover one of the finest examples of rococo decoration in England, including the famous Terry collection of Georgian furniture and clocks. Fairfax House often has special events and exhibitions.

Prices:

General admission: £7.50
Children under 16 are free with a paying adult.

Yorkshire Museum

Discover thousands of years of York’s history in one place, from prehistory to the city’s medieval splendour at Yorkshire museum.

Prices:
Adult £8.00
Child £4.00
Child Free £0.00 / All children aged 0-5 years and York children aged 0-16 years (Proof of address required)
Concession £7.20

Save money eating and drinking in York.

Top tip : plan your eating in advance. You’re more likely to spend money if you find yourself starving hungry and looking for a place to eat.

Eat a good breakfast

Whenever we’re away on a city trip we always try to eat out for a good breakfast. Why? Firstly breakfast is the cheapest meal you can eat out on and it fills you (and the kids – if you have any) up for the whole day.

Here are some places to consider eating breakfast and saving money –

The Blue Barbican – kids eat free with a paying adult at breakfast time.
Bailey’s Cafe and Tearoom – a no frills cafe where the full English breakfast is cheaper before 11am
Hotels often offer breakfast at an excellent rate at the time of booking, so book bed and breakfast when choosing your accommodation. The Hampton by Hilton hotel, York  includes breakfast in the price of all their bookings.

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

If the weather is good take a picnic to Museum gardens. You can do this in the evening during the summer months
The York pass includes a dinner at Bella Pasta

Search for restaurant deals and coupons.

Here are links to where you might find some:
Food and Drink offers, York
Money Saving Expert, Restaurant Deals and Vouchers

When to go to York and Save money

You can always save money by going to York in less busy times.

Often booking a hotel for a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday is a lot cheaper than the weekends. Likewise visiting York in January will be cheaper than in August.

If you can go out of school holidays, it’s often much cheaper (and quieter too).

Where to Stay to Save Money

Budget Accommodation

Travelodge York Central Hotel
Premier Inn York

Broaden your range in hotels, consider booking a hotel a little out of York and you may find a cheaper hotel with better facilities. Normally you will get free parking so this can cover your costs of getting into the city centre.

Hostels

Safestay York
The YHA York

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