The museum, which opened in 1938, was named after the former York Castle, which stood on the site. It is best known for its recreated Victorian street, Kirkgate, amongst the castle walls. There really is something here for everyone, as it's rich with history dating back to the 18th century Victorian Era, with its cobbled street, to spooky criminals whose history makes an appearance, then right into the 20th century swinging sixties. The York Castle Museum also has numerous displays and collections of historic toys, fashion, armour, weapons, tools, printing presses, cooking utensils, farming equipment and much more! Giving anyone the chance to learn about York's historic past and with their innovative displays.
A fan favourite of the York Museum is Kirkgate, a Victorian street that literally brings history back to life and it's one of the oldest recreated indoor streets of its kind in the entire world! It may have also been the first to open in Britain too. It combines real shop fittings and stock with modern sound and light effects, to evoke an atmosphere of Victorian Britain. Once you've had your fun at Kirkgate visiting the shops and talking to costumed guides, you can. make your way to the York Castle Prison. Which was part of the Castle buildings and once a Georgian Prison, home to some tragic history. Infamous for its residents and its rough conditions, terrible justice and harsh punishments. Especially their execution process. Conditions in the overcrowded prison were harsh and brutal and the real stories of the prisoners and staff are told in sometimes gruesome detail, so watch out for that if your kids are a bit sensitive!
The museum's past as two prison buildings is also explored here in York Castle Prison, where visitors come face to face with ex-prisoners including highwayman Dick Turpin, who was hanged in 1739 for horse theft. Turpin spent his last six months in the Debtors' Prison, which was built in 1705 and today houses half of the museum's displays. The other half of the museum was originally the Female Prison, built-in 1783.
But other than the tragic history of the prisons, York Castle Museum is the place to be and an incredible family day out if you love a bit of history and admiring the architecture of York's historic buildings and streets.
Monday to Sunday 09:30 - 17:00
Closed 25th - 26th December & 1st January
Eye of York,
Yes, there is parking nearby.
Yes, there are toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities.
Yes, there are baby changing facilities.
York Castle Museum has not told us if you can bring a picnic.
Yes, there is an onsite restaurant.
Yes, York Castle Museum is wheelchair friendly and has accessible toilets.
No, York Castle Museum have stated they are not pushchair friendly.
York Castle Museum has not told us if they are dog friendly.