* Prices may differ from that shown
When organising a 'Mother & Daughter' trip to York for me and my Mum, I hadn't given much thought to what we were going to do when we got there (apart from shopping, obviously). I've got a tendency to just wander around and see whatever comes along.
While booking our hotel room at the Ramada Encore York, I saw they'd got an offer called 'The York Pass Package'. This package included a twin or double room for 2 nights and 2 two day adult York Passes which give free and discounted entry into a number of attractions. All this for a total of £196. I thought this seemed ideal and would give us something to do on our 3 day trip.
When we arrived and checked in at the hotel, the receptionist handed us The York Pass Guide for 1009/10 which included our 2 York Passes tucked into the back of the book.
The York Pass looks just like a credit card with a chip in it and it is used in a similar way. When you arrive at an attraction you simply hand the staff your card and they slot it into their machine (except you don't have to type in a PIN). However, before you can use your pass you need to sign and date it on the first day of use (on a 2 day pass you can then use it for that day and the next). The York Pass Guide explains all of this in the front of the book in English, French and German. There is also a "Key to Symbols" so you have an idea of what attractions have disabled access, parking nearby etc. While the book holds a wealth of information (including a city centre map at the back), it is small enough to carry easily in a handbag or large pocket.
The York Pass Guide book is split into 3 main sections: City of York Free Entry, Beyond York Free Entry, and Special Offers.
Each attraction has a page (in some cases, 2 pages), including a small map of the area it's in, opening times and other useful information. The Guide is in alphabetical order, so if you're after a particular attraction it will be easy to find.
As we had arrived in York by train, we kept to the city centre attractions, but there are plenty of attractions "Beyond York" should you arrive in York with a car (or you can use one of the special offers in the guide book and hire an economy car for the day for just £20 including insurance!).
Over the 2 days we used the pass (one being half a day because we didn't arrive until lunch time), we visited the following places (I will list each attraction with the entry price we'd have each had to have paid if we hadn't got the York Passes):
Barley Hall (£4.50)
Fairfax House (£6.00)
JORVIK Viking Centre (£8.50)
Merchant Adventurers' Hall (£3.00)
Roman Bath (£2.50)
Quilt Museum and Gallery (£6.00)
Yorkboat Daytime City Cruise (£7.00)
York Castle Museum (£7.50)
York Minster and Undercroft, Treasury & Crypt (£8.00)
Yorkshire Museum (£5.00)
We also used a voucher out of the York Pass Guide book to go on the York City Sightseeing open-top bus for just £5 instead of the usual price of £10.
If we'd have bought the York Passes ourselves, each pass would have cost us £38 for the 2 days. So we'd saved ourselves £25 each in 2 days and had a great time at the same time!
The York Passes can also be used to gain free entry to places as The York Cold War Bunker, The York Dungeon (which I'd have loved to have visited!), Yorkshire Air Museum, York Walk, Black Sheep Brewery, Castle Howard, Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum, Fountains Abbey, Sealife & Marine Sanctuary, Wentworth Castle Gardens, and many more.
There are also a range of special offers available to York Pass holders such as a 10% discount on kart racing, £1 off a Ghost Hunt of York tour, 10% discount off tickets at York Theatre Royal, 15% discount on all food & drink at D.C.H. & Court Cafe Bistro, 20% off your food bill at The Living Room, and more.
Obviously, we didn't have time to visit everywhere included in the York Pass Guide book, but we did give it a good go! I would certainly think about going back another time and getting another York Pass to visit the places we didn't make it to this time.
Our York Passes were the 2 day ones (£38 for adults and £22 for children), but they are also available in 1 day (£28 for adults and £18 for children), 3 day (£44 for adults and £26 for children) and 6 day passes (£68 for adults and £44 for children). They can be booked online at www.yorkpass.com or bought from the Tourist Information Centres in York (or through a hotel such as the Ramada Encore York, with your room).
Both Mum & I found the York Pass incredibly useful and money saving. I can only hope that other cities come around to this idea too as it would make tourism in the UK a lot cheaper. I have taken a look at the London Pass, but it doesn't seem as worth while as the York Pass.
If you're visiting York for a day or two, or even longer, and you want to do touristy things, I would definitely recommend getting a York Pass each. It would definitely be worth while!