York Museum Gardens

York Museum Gardens

Contact York Museum Gardens by calling the York Museums Trust on 01904 687687 if you have a question to ask about the gardens.

About York Museum Gardens

The York Museum Gardens cover 10 acres of land in the centre of York, alongside the River Ouse. The landscaped gardens occupy the former grounds of the St. Mary’s Abbey building. The Yorkshire Philosophical Society created and opened the gardens and the Yorkshire Museum, which is located within them, in the 1830s. They were designed by the architect Sir John Murray Naysmith. As a separate attraction from the Yorkshire Museum, the gardens have free entry, though they are both managed by the York Museums Trust. Open-air events are sometimes held in the gardens, which may charge visitors an admission fee. The gardens have been a public park since the 1960s, with over one million visitors every year. There are four entrances to the gardens in different corners of the park. Cycling, ball games, and alcohol are not permitted.

York Museum Gardens is comprised of sloping lawns with plants and trees, and several historical buildings around the site. Features of the gardens include rockeries, large beds of flowers and shrubs, and trees such as oak, chestnut, and monkey puzzle. As far as their wildlife, the gardens are populated by 40 species of birds, grey squirrels, and Tansy beetles. The symbol of Yorkshire is the white rose, and appropriately there are beds of these flowers lining the terrace near the Yorkshire Museum entrance. A pink granite boulder is on display near the main gates. Visitors to the gardens can view historical remains from the Roman fort of Eboracum, including the Multangular Tower, city wall, and Anglican tower. There are also the remains of plenty of medieval buildings to see, such as St. Mary’s Abbey Church, St. Olave’s Church, St. Mary’s Lodge, the Hospitium, and St. Leonard’s Hospital Chapel.

York Museum Gardens Opening Times

York Museum Gardens are open to the public for free from 7.30am to 8pm every day. Some entrance gates may close earlier, depending on the season and hours of daylight. The park is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and also on New Year’s Day. It does open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but will close earlier at 4pm for these holidays. Entrance to the Yorkshire Museum requires a paid ticket, at £7.50 per adult, but a pleasant afternoon stroll around the gardens is completely free. You can also find Yorkshire’s oldest working observatory, built in 1832,  in York Museum Gardens. York Observatory is open for visitors to view the refractor telescope and 1811 clock every day, from 11.30am to 2.30pm.  However, this depends on the availability of volunteers to run the observatory, so call ahead to check if it will be open on the day.

Unless there is a private event, you can count on the gardens being open every day for York residents and tourists to enjoy. Since they are close to the railway station and other major attractions, you can easily fit them into a day of sightseeing in York, without having to spend any more money. There is plenty to see for plant lovers as well as history lovers. The gardens have now been extended to the back of York Art Gallery and feature newer additions such as an Artists Garden with outdoor exhibitions, and an Edible Wood (though visitors should not pick or eat the produce!). The flower borders around the gardens are themed, showcasing American prairie flowers, oriental garden design from Japan and China, and a bank of daffodils. One border is designed specifically to attract butterflies. Other spots include a fern garden, a rock garden, and a quiet sheltered area that is perfect for storytelling.

Contacting York Museum Gardens

Call the York Museums Trust on 01904 687687 to make any enquiries about York Museum Gardens. Find out more about the buildings or the botany before you visit, so you know exactly what to look for. Contact York Museum Gardens to learn about any upcoming events that may be happening in the park. If you have questions about the elements of the garden or visitor information, you can also send them by e-mail to enquiries@ymt.org.uk. If you want to visit the York Museum Gardens, you can find them at the address below. Or if you would like to write a letter regarding the gardens, then post it to the York Museums Trust.


York Museum Gardens
Museum Gardens

York Museums Trust
St Mary’s Lodge
North Yorkshire
YO30 7DR