Clifford's Tower, York

Things to see and do

Welcome to Clifford's Tower

We have introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you’re a Member, your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. To book your visit, click here.

Although things might be a little different when you visit, you’ll still be able to enjoy exploring the places where history really happened. And you’ll still be given a warm and safe welcome by our friendly – if socially distant – staff and volunteers.

Please click here for more information about the safety measures you can expect when visiting as well as our FAQs

  • Tower - The tower remains open as usual for you to enjoy
  • Shop - The shop remains open with limited number of people allowed at any given time.
  • Face coverings - Face coverings must be worn in Clifford's Tower's indoor shop and all other indoor spaces. We won't be able to give you a face covering so please come prepared so you don't miss out.
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A mother and son enjoy the views from the top of Clifford's Tower

Wall Walk and Views

Climb right to the top of the tower to reach the open-air wall walk, once used as a vantage point for castle guards.  Imagine who they were on the look-out for and how they would have raised the alarm when they saw enemies approaching.

Now it provides wonderful panoramic views over the city of York, including the majestic York Minster. It is also the best place to see the layout of the medieval castle.

From the wall walk you can see the 18th century buildings that form the 'Eye of York'. These are the Assize Courts, the Female Prison and Debtors' Prison. The two prison buildings now form the Castle Museum.

Children in costume playing with swords at Clifford's Tower

Discover Famous Connections

Built by William the Conqueror to strengthen his military grip on the north, the mound of Clifford's Tower is all that remains of his original castle. It was one of the two motte and bailey castles he built in York in 1068-69. The mound of the second, now known as the 'Old Baile', can be seen across the river from the tower.

The tower housed some famous prisoners during its time as a gaol. George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, was held here for two nights in 1665.

Also imprisoned in the tower was the notorious highwayman, Dick Turpin, captured under the alias 'Palmer'. However a letter he wrote from the tower allowed his true identity to be revealed, through his handwriting, and he was executed in York on 7 April 1739.

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