The Ultimate Guide To York Castle Museum

A window into 400 years of York’s history, the York Castle Museum is a must-visit on your trip to York. One of the most prominent features of this museum is that it quite literally transports you back in time with recreations of some of the most historic objects and places in Victorian York.

The York Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 was converted into a castle museum in 1938. The York Castle Museum is located near the city centre and spans the prison buildings of the castle, as well as the grounds of the castle. John Kirk, an amateur archaeologist, was looking for a place to display his collection in 1931, and this castle museum proved to be the perfect place to do that.

There’s an exhibit called When The World Changed Forever, where you’ll find several objects from the first world war and World War II, and even a recently added permanent exhibition on how food and clothing have shaped our bodies over the years. There are also exhibitions like the Toy Stories exhibition which displays famous toys that children loved throughout the years, as well as The Sixties exhibition which shows the momentous time that was the 60’s decade.

Highlights Of The York Castle Museum

Kirkgate

kirkgate york castle museum
Image Credit: York Castle Museum

Kirkgate is the exact recreation of a Victorian street from the past of 19th century York, complete with stores that actually existed back then, such as traditional sweet shops, extravagant costume stores, and pharmacies with the most ancient cures. Old Victorian streets were full of shops like these and people walking around to get necessities like fresh bread every morning. This is truly the most immersive experience in the museum of the Victorian era.

York Castle Prison

clifford's tower york castle museum prison

York Castle Prison’s museum buildings used to be a Georgian Prison and are now a place for you to learn the disturbing crime history of the region, and also to learn a lot about the different inmates of the prison cells. The prison itself is divided into a debtor’s prison and a female prison. The debtors’ prison is a three-story building and used to be where the famous English Highwayman named Dick Turpin was incarcerated in the 1730s. You can visit his cell in the exhibition and learn more about him. The Female Prison is the former women’s prison here. A part of the castle museum area, known as ‘the drop’, became the spot where executions were held and criminals were hanged to death.

Yorkshire Museum

yorkshire museum
Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Yorkshire Museum was built in 1830 to house the collections of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. Built on St. Mary’s grounds, this museum specializes in displaying regional findings of archaeology and science. It holds archaeological treasures found in the UK, especially from the Roman period, the Viking period, and even medieval times. The famous Middleham Jewel is among these treasures.

Raindale Mill

raindale mill york castle museum
Image Credit: Wikipedia, Raindale Mill, York Castle Museum

The Raindale Mill was moved from the North York Moors to the Castle Museum grounds in the 1960s. This is a flour mill that was run by the mill pond around the year 1915. The mill has since been opened for public viewing as part of the castle museum.

FAQ

How long does it take to visit York Castle Museum?

It takes approximately 2 hours to thoroughly enjoy everything the York Castle Museum has to offer.

Do you have to pay to go in York Castle?

Yes, you do have to pay for tickets to enter the York Castle Museum. You can book tickets to the museum prior to your visit on their website and also choose your preferred time of arrival. The tickets are cheaper online compared to buying them at the site.

Do you have to pay for York Castle Museum?

Yes, you do have to pay for tickets to enter the York Castle Museum. You can book tickets to the museum prior to your visit on their website and also choose your preferred time of arrival. The tickets are cheaper online compared to buying them at the site.

What is the nearest park and ride to York Castle Museum?

The closest parking spot for your car to York Castle Museum is the Castle Parking Lot behind Clifford’s Tower, located on Clifford Street.

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