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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 08 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Will Hide

Originally built in the Roman period as a defensive structure, and still encircling the old city today, York’s 4m-high, 3.4km-long city walls are the best-preserved city walls in Britain.

Open every day, they’re a unique – and free – way of seeing the city; the chance to look down from above and knit together the Roman Streets, Minster and medieval rooftops gives a real sense of the city as it would have been hundreds of years ago.

The imposing stone towers that were the original fortified entryways into York still remain at Bootham Bar, Micklegate Bar, Monk Bar and Walmgate Bar. As you walk, look out for the arrow slits, musket loops, sculptures and mason’s marks, as well as the wonderful rooftop views.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 2 houra

Getting there & doing it

There are several access points around the perimeter, and since the route is circular, wherever you begin from, you will see exactly the same things.

Walking the whole length of the walls takes around two hours, but there are plenty of shorter stretches if you don’t want to do the whole circumference. The Friends of York Walls have a detailed breakdown of 13 short stretches, with highlights to see along the way.

Because there are so many access points to the walls, it’s easy to dip back into town for a coffee or a bit to eat. To walk the wall with a guide, enquire at the tourist office.

When to do it

The walls can get busy at weekends, so you might find yourself having to wait behind slower groups ahead. They open at 8am every day, so if you’re an early bird, you’ll likely have them all to yourself.

There’s no cover on the walls, so walking them on a rainy day isn’t the best idea. If it has been raining, wear sensible shoes with a good grip – the walls are quite narrow in parts and can be slippery.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

York Walls Private Walking Tour

York

York Walls Private Walking Tour
Covid-19 Update : Please note that as this is a private walking tour (just you and your guide) and the entire tour is outside, so we are happy to confirm we comply with all social distancing rules making this the perfect way to explore York. Your own personalized tour guide, taking you on a spectacular trip round the world famous city walls! You are provided a unique guided tour experience - you will be picked up at your hotel, or in town at a place of your choosing, at a time to suit you. You will be taken around the walls, no big groups to tag along with or time schedules to keep, and even arrange coffee/food along the way at some of York's very best food and drink establishments.

Price: £65

Min age: 0

Rating 4.79 / 5 [119 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

York

Yorkshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Medieval, turreted gate with car passing underneath

York’s dramatic past – from Roman settlements to Viking invasions – has created one of Britain’s most beautiful historic cities, home to the world-famous York Minster and the most complete medieval walls in the country.

Round-ups

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Round-ups that include this experience

China travel at Great Wall. Tourist in Asia walking on famous Chinese tourist destination and attraction in Badaling north of Beijing. Woman traveler hiking great wall enjoying her summer vacation.

From traversing sand dunes, to walking on glaciers, through canyons, up mountains and along ancient city walls, here’s our round-up of the world’s best walks. Each walk can be tackled in a day or less with a moderate level of fitness and no technical ability.