Important Notice: Please be aware that Sunday November 11th is Armistice Day and the 100th anniversary of the guns falling silent at the end of World War I. There will be a 2 minute silence at 11am and we, as a company, choose to observe this. As a result the tour will begin once the silence has completed. Please also be aware that the area around our starting point is part of the parade route for the day, and we will be working around whatever arrangements are in place, so we may be a little more difficult to locate than usual. We recommend you arrive a little early.
“The best walking tour I have ever experienced”
That’s according to one of the many excellent reviews our guests have left us on Tripadvisor and other review sites. In six months we went from being a brand new company to being the highest rated historical walking tour company in York, and second highest rated tour of all. And we did it by emphasising quality over quantity. Unlike some free walking tour companies, we don’t cram guests onto the tour and herd them around like cattle behind students reciting a script. Our guides are historians and history enthusiasts, and we try to keep our groups small enough that everyone feels like they have had a personal experience, and we make our tours three hours because we believe York is a city to be savoured, not hurried.
Stepping through the streets of York is like taking a tour through all of England’s history. The Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans all remade the city to their own purposes. The Tudors and the Stuarts made themselves welcome here. The Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War left their mark. For two thousand years, York has been at the heart of the nation’s affairs, and our self-employed guides will bring that history to life as they lead you through lush parks and narrow lanes, past grand churches and palaces and ruined castles and abbeys and along the historic city walls. Come with us on our three hour walking tour, and you will understand why they call this city the Capital of the North.
What’s On The Free Tour?
On our free tour of York you will see and hear the history of one of the most fascinating cities in Britain or anywhere else in the world. The tour lasts three hours, and this includes a break for refreshments just after half way. If you do not feel like you can last the full tour, please feel free to come with us for the first half, and then see how you feel! Our free tour includes:
- York Minster and the Liberty of St Peter
- The City Walls* and Gatehouses
- St Mary’s Abbey and the Museum Gardens
- The Shambles
- York Castle
- Roman and Viking Invasions
- Catholic Saints and Martyrs
- English Kings and Queens
- Dick Turpin and the truth about the Moonlight Ride
The tour commences every morning (year round) at 11am and every afternoon (from April 1st to October 31st) at 3pm. Also, additional tours run Fridays and Saturdays at 1pm. All our tours start outside the West Entrance of York Minster (the end with the two towers), under the tree on the wide pavement opposite the groups entrance and close to Cafe Concerto. Just look for our sign, or for the guides in our distinctive blue “White Rose York” tee-shirts. Our friendly and helpful guides are there to help get you registered on the tour and answer any other questions you may have.
(* Note that the City Walls are sometimes closed in inclement weather or for certain events. In this case we use an alternative route through the Dean’s Park.)
There is no need to book in advance, however if you would like to let us know you are coming so we can keep an eye out for you and provide you with a warm welcome, please feel free to use the form on our contact us page, letting us know which tour you would like to join and the number in your party. We would love to hear from you.
How It All Works
The Free Tour movement is the fastest growing sector of the tourist industry. All across Europe, and now all across the world, free tours are springing up in every major tourist city providing a great deal for tourists and tour guides alike. Our guides are self-employed and self-motivated, they provide a tour that mixes in-depth historical knowledge and story-telling with an entertainment style. And because the tour is free, and the guides work for tips only, it means that they ensure that you get the best and most entertaining tour possible.
Our guides will never pressure you to tip, because we believe that you understand the value of the service they provide you. We believe that money should be given freely, in proportion to the value of the tour and the budget of the traveler. And that in the end you will see that you have had great value for money, whether you gave a little or a lot.
Our tours run every single day of the year (except Christmas and Boxing Day), come rain or shine, at 11am from outside the historic York Minster (and also at 1pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 3pm April through October). No need to book*, just turn up around 10 to 15 minutes before tour time and look for our sign, or our guides who you can tell from the blue tee-shirts with the White Rose York logo on the front. Speak to any of them, they will be glad to help you get registered on the tour, or answer any other questions you may have.
(* Because we try to keep tours to a reasonable size, private advance bookings are required for groups of more than 8 persons. Please phone or email using the details on the contact page.)