York Minster | Kidadl

York Minster

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Government Guidelines

  • York Minster is one of the largest Church of England cathedrals in Northern Europe.
  • Its monumental site has been an integral place of worship for nearly 2000 years.
  • Famous for its medieval stained glass windows, Roman roots and striking Gothic architecture, the Minster has become one of the top York attractions for tourists and families worldwide.
  • You can discover the rich history of York Minster in its fascinating Undercroft Museum, as well as climbing the 275 steps of its Central Tower during your visit.

landmark place of worship since the 7th century, York Minster has become an icon of its North Yorkshire city centre and a must-see for people visiting York from all over the world.

Located in Deangate, York, the Minster sits at an impressive 525 feet long and 72 metres high and is one of the largest of its Gothic kind in the northern region of Europe. More formally known as The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, the York Minster is, in fact, a cathedral too and is a denomination of the Church of England. The rich York Minster history dates all the way back to the 600s when King Edwin was baptised and later buried in the small church at the initial Roman fort site. The cathedral as we know it today began to be built from around the year of 1225 by Archbishop Walter de Gray, and the construction project took approximately 250 years, finally being completed in 1472. Later, four fires struck the religious building between 1753 and 1984, and during the World Wars, the Minster's famous medieval stained glass windows had to be removed to protect them from destruction. Following extensive engineering works during the late 20th century to repair the cathedral's magnesian limestone work, York Minster once again stands strong and it still making history today with the first BAME Archbishop in the Church of England, Dr John Sentamu, and some of the first female choristers in the UK.

York Minster remains the centre point for Christianity in the north of England, but as well as the renowned services, religious events and regular worships that continue to take place within the cathedral walls, there is also plenty more for members of the public to explore and discover on-site. With its Gothic architecture, the famous Great East Window and 72-metre high Tower, this monumental structure is a wonder for visitors old and young to behold. The Minster invites you to step inside its great walls and explore its colossal archways, intricate stonework and towering ceilings of the domed Chapter House for yourself, where little ones will marvel at the medieval stained glass of the cathedral's unmissable Great East Window. To learn all about the history of this iconic place of worship, you can also visit the fascinating Undercroft museum which traces the cathedral's Roman beginnings to its present-day through specially selected artefacts and objects that are over one thousand years old. Families with older children can even take a trip up the famous Central Tower to get an immersive experience of the York Minster if you can brave the 275 spiral steps to the top!

The stained glass windows at York Minster.

As well as the regular carol concerts, organ recitals, choir performances and weekly worships that take place on-site, York Minster also hosts a range of cultural events and exhibitions in its historic space, such as the Heart of Yorkshire craft collection exhibit showcasing local legacies and talent. Real history buffs can also explore the 300,000 objects that make up the cathedral's historical collections, uncovering the archived stories of 2000 years of history and leaving no limestone un-turned. If you'd like to learn more about the ongoing conservation of the Minster, the range of people behind it and get involved yourself, you can go behind the scenes with the volunteers and staff that care for this important landmark and maybe even meet some of the skilled craftspeople and choir members at its core.

If you are visiting North Yorkshire, then this truly special Minster is a fascinating, awe-inspiring and unmissable thing to do in York that will leave the whole family mesmerised. Explore the delights of Chapter House and revel at the colourful Great East Window before relaxing on the surrounding Dean's Park lawns for a picturesque family picnic. For even more stunning medieval landmarks in the region, don't miss the National Trust and World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden.

What to know before you go

  • York Minster is open to the public from 11am to 4.30pm on Mondays to Thursdays, 10am to 4.30pm on Fridays to Saturdays, and 12.30pm to 2.30pm on Sundays.
  • Worship hours are between 7.30am and 6pm Mondays to Saturdays, and 10am to 4.30pm on Sundays.
  • You do not have to pay to enter York Minster to pray, attend a service or to light a candle, but all other general visitors must pay an entrance fee that supports the running of the cathedral. York residents, York students and children under 16 years old can enter for free.
  • York Minster aims to be as accessible as possible for its visitors. There is a ramp into the venue, and the majority of the building is accessible via wheelchair or mobility scooter and with a buggy, with lifts and ramps throughout. Accessible toilets can be found beyond the North Transept.
  • Unfortunately, the Minster Central Tower is not accessible via wheelchair as it is up 275 stone spiral steps, which have a handrail alongside them. There is an extra entrance fee to enter the Tower, and you must be aged eight or over to climb it.
  • Tactile plans and models, Braille information, audio descriptions and hearing aid induction loop systems are in place at York Minster to assist sight and hard of hearing visitors.
  • Assisted guided tours are also available if booked ahead with their specially trained guides.
  • Please note that sometimes the cathedral will have a louder organ playing and some areas may have low light levels.
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities are located towards the east side of York Minster.
  • The cathedral is breastfeeding-friendly throughout, and there is also a special chapel for family use on site - the St Nicholas' Chapel.
  • Food and drink cannot be consumed within York Minster, but you are welcome to set up a picnic in Dean's Park just outside.
  • There is no café on site, but plenty of family-friendly cafes and restaurant can be found nearby such as Côte Brasserie, The York Roast Co., Wagamama, Eagle & Child, Little Italy, Hole In Wall York, Café Concerto and many more.
  • The York Minster shop is open every day offering souvenirs, gifts, books, cathedral information, accessories and stationery.
  • Souvenir guide books are on sale at the venue or via their website for you to really make the most of your visit.
  • Large luggage items are not permitted in the Minster.

Getting there

  • York Minster is located in Deangate, York, within the city centre.
  • The Minster is a 10-minute walk from York Railway Station, which connects to all major cities.
  • Many buses run through York city centre, and the nearest bus stops to the venue are located at St Leonard's Place, serving the routes 1, 5, 5A, 6 and 40.
  • There is no car park on site, but parking near York Minster can be found at the NCP York Tanner Road car park.

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