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York Museum Gardens

Relax in a tranquil park that houses one of the most popular museums in York and offers peaceful lawns that border the River Ouse.

Take a break from sightseeing in York Museum Gardens, a green park that spreads out around the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey. Visit just to enjoy the colorful flowers and relaxing picnic areas or come to take in sights such as the fascinating regional museum and the 19th-century observatory. 

The gardens were established in the 1830s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, who sought land for building a museum. The land was sold on the condition that these gardens should be created. Wander them today and imagine them as they were then. 

Stroll through the gardens at different times of year to see them in a variety of colors. Look for borders lined with North American plants, a garden bursting with star-shaped flowers and beds with flora designed as homes for butterflies. The park attracts over 40 species of bird, including treecreepers and sparrowhawks, as well as the endangered tansy beetle.  

Take some time to explore the medieval ruins in the gardens. St. Mary’s Abbey was built by wealthy Benedictine monks in 1088. St. Leonard’s Hospital, built around the same time, is said to be the largest medieval hospital in Northern England. Elsewhere in the gardens lies the Multangular Tower, which was a Roman fortress, and the Hospitium, a medieval guesthouse. 

Spend hours exploring the Yorkshire Museum, which can be found in the heart of the gardens. It is one of the earliest purpose-built museums in the U.K. and it holds archaeological and paleontological artifacts that trace the natural history of the region. Learn about the history of stargazing in the York Observatory.

Join one of the weekly tours around the gardens, run on Sundays by local experts. Tours are free and will shed light on the history of the abbey and the different plant species growing here. 

York Museum Gardens are free to enter and open daily. Walk here from York Station in under 10 minutes. Other attractions such as the York Minster and York Art Gallery, are located on neighboring streets.

Make the most of your visit to York Museum Gardens. Below is a list of some of the best things to do:

Why don't you consider purchasing a York Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour? It's one of the most exciting experiences available here.

For even more activities, examine our York things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Yorkshire Museum Gardens


Map

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The Grand Hotel & Spa €154
The Grand Hotel & Spa

The Grand Hotel & Spa

Station Rise, York, England
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of York, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Wheel of York, York Minster, and York Theatre Royal. Shambles and Jorvik Viking Centre are also within 15 minutes. York Station is only a 3-minute walk.

    Hilton York €92
    Hilton York

    Hilton York

    1 Tower Street, York, England
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in the historical district, this hotel is steps away from Fairfax House, Jorvik Viking Centre and York Castle Museum. Shambles and York Barbican are also within 10 minutes. York Station is 13 minutes by foot.

      Hampton by Hilton York €81
      Hampton by Hilton York

      Hampton by Hilton York

      Toft Green, Yorkshire, York, England
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of York, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Micklegate Bar, Jorvik Viking Centre and York Theatre Royal. York Minster and Shambles are also within 15 minutes. York Station is 6 minutes by foot.

        DoubleTree by Hilton York €80
        DoubleTree by Hilton York

        DoubleTree by Hilton York

        St Maurices Road, York, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of York, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Shambles, York Minster and Merchant Adventurers' Hall. York Dungeon and Jorvik Viking Centre are also within 15 minutes. York Station is 15 minutes by foot.

          Park Inn by Radisson York City Center €80
          Park Inn by Radisson York City Center

          Park Inn by Radisson York City Center

          North Street, York, England
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in the heart of York, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of All Saints Church, Shambles, and York Minster. Jorvik Viking Centre and York Theatre Royal are also within 10 minutes. York Station is 7 minutes by foot.

            Staycity Aparthotels Paragon Street €61
            Staycity Aparthotels Paragon Street

            Staycity Aparthotels Paragon Street

            Paragon Street, York, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in York, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of York Barbican, York Castle Museum and Jorvik Viking Centre. Shambles and York Minster are also within 1 mile (2 km). York Station is 21 minutes by foot.

              Principal York €134
              Principal York

              Principal York

              Station Road, York, England
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of York, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of York National Railway Museum and York Minster. York Dungeon and Jorvik Viking Centre are also within 15 minutes. York Station is only a 1-minute walk.

                Holiday Inn York City Centre €61
                Holiday Inn York City Centre

                Holiday Inn York City Centre

                53 Piccadilly, York, England
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of York, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of York Barbican, Shambles and York Castle Museum. York Minster and Jorvik Viking Centre are also within 15 minutes. York Station is 18 minutes by foot.