York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum

Contact York Castle Museum on 01904 687687 to make enquiries about the museum, including displays, facilities, or admission rates.

About York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum sits on the former site of the York Castle fortress. All that remains of the castle today is Clifford’s Tower, which sits on the hill just a few minutes’ walk away from the museum. Clifford’s Tower is a separate tourist attraction managed by English Heritage. York Castle Museum is managed by the York Museums Trust, which operates a few other major attractions and venues in York. The museum was founded in 1938 with the help of Dr Kirk, who donated his extensive collection of historical objects from the area. His vision for museum displays to present objects in recreations of their original context has influenced museums worldwide ever since. A street of reconstructed shop fronts and interiors in the museum, Kirkgate, was named after him in tribute.

The buildings which house York Castle Museum are both Grade I listed. They are former prisons made using stone from the ruins of the castle in the 18th century. Redevelopment plans are underway to link the two prison buildings and make improvements to the interior and exterior of the museum for visitors. If successful, the project should be completed in 2026. As well as the reconstructed Victorian market street Kirkgate, there are several other exhibitions focussing on specific time periods. Visitors can get a taste of what life was like in the prison, during World War I, and in the 1960s. There are displays based on toys and fashion. The museum hosts family-friendly events such as themed talks and guided activities. York Castle Museum also has a gift shop and a cafe.

York Castle Museum Opening Times

York Castle Museum is open for visitors every single day from 9.30am to 5pm. However, opening times are restricted around Christmas and New Year. The museum will close earlier at 2.30pm on 24th and 31st December, and is closed completely on 25th – 26th December and 1st January. It takes around 2.5 – 3 hours to view all of the exhibitions. Cafe 68 is also open daily, but closes at 4.30pm. It offers homemade cakes, coffee, and various light lunches with hot and cold options. They can cater to most dietary requirements. The onsite gift shop is open while the museum is open. Visitors can purchase souvenirs including books and food from themed ranges matching the displays in the museum.

Admission is free for Yorkshire Museum Trust cardholders. Otherwise, entry to the museum costs £10 per adult, or £11 if you choose to add a Gift Aid donation. Each paying adult can bring up to 4 children under 16 years old with them for free. Any additional children over 5 will need to pay for a ticket, at £4.50 each. Access Day Tickets are available, with a 50% discount for visitors who are 17 – 24 years old or receive Pension Credit or Universal Credit. York residents can gain free admission upon providing proof that they live in York. York Castle Museum welcomes group bookings for adults or children on educational school trips, with discounted admissions and exclusive group activities for an extra fee.

Contacting York Castle Museum

Visitors can call 01904 687687 in advance to get more information about the museum to help them plan their visit. Alternatively, visitors can send their questions by e-mail to enquiries@ymt.org.uk. To make group bookings, group leaders should complete a booking form then e-mail it to groupbookings@ymt.org.uk. The group bookings helpline opens from Monday to Friday on 01904 687633. Find car parking or public transport information on itravelyork.info before you visit.  The staff at the museum will be able to explain accessibility restrictions if you contact them. York Castle Museum is easy to find in the centre of York. You can also send letters to the museum postal address below:

York Castle Museum
Eye of York