York Pass Review: Free & Discounted Attractions – is it Worth it?

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Is the York Pass worth it? In this York Pass review in this guide I answer all of your questions and help you decide if you should purchase the York City Pass.

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The beautiful walled city of York lies in the northeast area of the country. With Roman roots, Viking ties, and a medieval old town centre, it’s a great place to discover England’s historic past. And after my day trip to York, found that the city has plenty of modern attractions as well.

Iconic sites are found in abundance, which is why so many travellers purchase a York Pass for their trip, I included. But is it worth it? What does it include? How many days can you purchase it for?

This is my York Pass review, which will answer all of your questions and help you decide if you should purchase it for your UK city break in York.

York Pass Review | What is the York Pass?

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The York Pass is the official sightseeing pass of the city. Once purchased, it includes free entrance to some of York’s top attractions, most of which are found in the city centre.

It also includes a ticket for the 24-hour hop on hop off bus tour, a river cruises of York, and a meal at ASK Italian Restaurant.

You can purchase an adult or child pass for either one or two days. The children’s pass is available for children between 5 and 16 years old.

Adult York Pass: £48 for one day / £65 for two days

Child York Pass: £30 for one day / £35 for two days

How Does the York Pass Work?

The pass only becomes activated once you visit your first attraction. Until activated, it’s valid for 24 months after you purchase it.

This means that if you’re planning a trip to York you can buy the pass beforehand. This is a real bonus if you don’t want to fuss with buying it once you arrive, or if you’re unsure of your dates.

York Passes work on a calendar day basis. So, once you activate the pass, it’s only good for that day, and not for a 24h period. Don’t activate it too late in the day, or you won’t have as much time to fit attractions in.

It’s also good to note that the two-day pass has to be used on consecutive days.

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Where Can I Buy the York Pass?

The easiest way to buy your pass is via the official York City Pass website. Once you’re on the webpage, head to check out and choose the duration you’d like to buy the pass for (one or two days).  

Alternatively, you can purchase the York Pass once you arrive at the following address.

The Visitor Information Centre

1 Museum Street, York YO1 7DT

Hours:

Monday – Saturday: 09:00 – 17:00

Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00

How Do You Get Your York Pass?

If you’re buying the York Pass online, after purchase, it will be emailed to you to use as a digital pass. There’s no need to print anything out, and it’s compatible with all mobile devices. Once you arrive at the attractions or tours included in the pass, you’ll need to have your York Passcode on your phone scanned to gain entry.

If you’re buying the York Pass at the Visitor Information Centre, you’ll be given a printed copy of the pass to carry with you to use.

Can I Buy the York Pass For a Friend?

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Absolutely, and it makes for an excellent gift for someone who’s visiting York England. The pass doesn’t have a name attached to it, so you can simply purchase and send it to your friend.

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York Pass Attractions

There are 17 attractions and activities included in the York City Pass. Most attractions are found in the city centre, just a short walk from each other. This makes it very easy to explore York on foot.

However, since the pass also includes a ticket for the 24-hour York city sightseeing bus tour, you can catch a ride anytime you’d like. A guidebook of York is also included and will help you plan your trip.

Here is the official list of the attractions and activities included in the York Pass.

●      City Cruises York

●      Van Gogh Immersive Experience

●      DIG: An Archaeological Adventure

●      Fairfax House

●      JORVIK Viking Centre

●      Merchant Adventurers’ Hall

●      National Railway Museum Road Train

●      The Roman Bath Museum York

●      York Army Museum

●      24-hour York City Sightseeing Bus Tour ticket

●      The York Dungeon

●      York Mansion House

●      York Minster

●      Yorkshire Air Museum

●      Clifford’s Tower

●      Barley Hall

●      Beningbrough Hall Gallery & Gardens

●      ASK Italian Restaurant – choice of one pizza or pasta meal

 

The Top Attractions Included in the York Pass

Most of the main York Pass attractions can be visited in a few hours. This makes it easy to fill your whole day with sightseeing.

Below is a slightly more detailed description of the popular York attractions included in the pass. But remember not to pass up the smaller points of interest. Sites like the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall only take about 30 minutes to explore and are very much worth seeing.

York Minster

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York Minster is one of the largest gothic cathedrals of its kind in Northern Europe. It also contains the largest expanse of medieval stained glass found anywhere in the world.

The majority of the church was built from 1230 to 1472. It contains a treasure trove of religious relics and historical gems.

JORVIK Viking Centre

JORVIK Viking Centre is a museum that offers a fun interactive experience. Visitors are taken on a carriage ride through different life-size dioramas. You’ll see a recreation of a Viking town and find out what life was like when this ancient population inhabited Britain.

There are also displays you can browse featuring original Viking equipment.

The Jorvik Viking Centre and York Minster are my top picks that you have to see when you visit York. The Viking Centre is actually really interesting to visit, and you’ll learn a lot.

National Railway Museum Road Train

The National Railway Museum Road Train takes guests between the museum and York Minster roughly every 30 minutes from 11:00 to 16:00. It’s a fun experience to either start or end your museum trip with. Note, the National Railway Museum is free to enter.

The York Dungeon

The York Dungeon is a thrilling attraction that shows the city’s dark past. Using state-of-the-art equipment, immersive sets, and actor-led shows, you’ll explore more than 2000 years of dark history.

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Yorkshire Air Museum

The Yorkshire Air Museum is Britain’s largest independent air museum. It outlines almost the whole history of aviation in the UK, from the early years of flight on through to both world wars and the Cold War era.

You can admire an impressive selection of indoor and outdoor aircraft. There are also well laid out exhibits that include artefacts like uniforms, photographs, books, films, and more.

How to Get the Most Out of the York Pass

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To get the most out of your York Pass try and see as much of the city as possible. The more you see, the more you save. That’s what I did, also look where the attractions are location and book attractions in close proximity of each other after each other to save yourself walking across the city multiple times.  

I booked the Viking Centre at 9am (the exhibition is 45mins), so I booked my ticket to Clifford’s Tower at 10:30pm. To give myself enough time to enjoy the interactive take of the Viking centre and also explore the museum and gift. Plus, walk to Clifford’s Tower which was 5 minutes’ walk from the Viking Centre without rushing.

The two-day York City Pass is also a better value compared to the one-day pass. It’s less than double the price and allows for another full day of sightseeing.

Be sure to start using the pass in the morning. The Jorvik Viking Centre is one of the earlier opening attractions. It starts welcoming visitors at 09:00 each day. If you make this your first stop you’ll be off to a great start.  

Also, make sure to check the opening hours of the attractions before you visit. Most close at either 16:00 or 17:00 (some even earlier). And some attractions have limited hours during winter.

Remember, it’s not a fast-track card and doesn’t grant access to the front of the queue. 

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Pros vs Cons of Getting the York Pass

When used as intended, the York Pass allows you to explore the city’s top attractions and save money at the same time. As long as you fill your day with the activities and attractions that it includes, buying the pass is totally worth it.

Also, it saves you time, as you don’t have to worry about purchasing tickets at each of your stops. Your pass is all you need to access the attractions.

The only negative of buying the York Pass is buying it and not using it, or only using it for one or two attractions. To get to the best value for money, you’ll need to use it on at least four attractions, or more.

Be sure to carefully look over the options included with the pass before you purchase it. Not every single one of York’s top attractions are included with the pass. If you don’t see enough things, you’re interested in using it for, it won’t be fully worth it.

How Much Do You Save When Using the York City Pass?

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Let’s break down the savings a little more and go over something called “purse value”. This will give you a better understanding of how much you will save when using the pass.

Each York Pass is subject to purse value. This basically means that there is a certain value placed on it, and its usage is capped at a certain limit.

One day adult pass purse value: £90

One day child pass purse value: £60

Two-day adult pass purse value: £180

Two-day child pass purse value: £120

Seeing as a single day adult York City Pass costs £48 and has a purse value of £90, you’re saving £42 by buying it – which is a great value.

You’ll save even more money if you buy the two-day adult pass. Even though it’s capped at £180, it only costs £65. This gives you a savings of £115, which is a great deal any way you look at it.

York Day Pass Sample Itinerary

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Here is an example itinerary of how much you can save when using the York Day Pass.

24-hour York City Sightseeing Bus Tour: Normally £16.00

JORVIK Viking Centre: Normally £12.50

York Minster: Normally £11.50

National Railway Museum Road Train: Normally £3.00

Pasta or pizza meal at ASK Italian Restaurant: Normally £8.65

The York Dungeon: Normally £16.95

City Cruises York: Normally £10.50

Total: £79.10

Or – just £48 when you buy a one-day York Pass

That’s a total savings of £31.00, and a really great day.

Should I Get the York Pass For One or Two Days?

This depends on how long you’re planning a trip to York for. If you’re only visiting for a weekend, you might want to purchase the pass for just one day. Then, you can spend the rest of your time shopping, dining and exploring the areas off the beaten track.

Or, visit an attraction not included with the pass, like York’s Chocolate Story.

I was visiting York on a day trip from London and found that the one day pass was worth it. I had pre-book 5 attractions that I really wanted to see and was able to show my pass attractions like the hop-on hop-off bus, that was not on my list but I had time to spare and wanted to see the city from a different perspective and rest my legs from all the walking.

If you’re visiting for three (or more) days, or you’re keen to fill two days with as much sightseeing as possible, then the two-day York Pass is absolutely worth it.

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Do You Get Any Extra York Pass Discounts or Savings?

Indeed, you do. For extra value, you can show your York Pass at certain attractions and tours in and around the city for special savings. These include cycle tours, ghost walks, escape rooms, day tours from York, and more.

To access these offers, just show your pass on arrival. Or, if you’re booking by phone, simply relay the pass number. These York Pass discounts will add up to save you even more money.

You can also visit the York Pass website and subscribe to their email list to receive special offers. They occasionally send out York Pass discount codes. Since it’s valid for 24 months after purchase, you could buy it and save it for a future trip.

York Pass Review – is it Worth it? Final Thoughts

As long as you plan on sightseeing during your time in York, the pass is definitely worth it. And, with so many great options included, you won’t struggle to fill your time. Even with the purse value, you’re still going to save money.

It’s also nice that the pass includes an option for transportation (24-hour York City sightseeing bus) and a meal at ASK Italian. If you’re planning a quick day trip from London, or anywhere else, you’ll be all set for a full day of easy sightseeing.

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