5 Unusual and Unique Things To Do In York- Hotel Indigo York

5 Unusual and Unique Things To Do In York

When you think about a visit to York, you’ll probably have York Minster and Clifford’s Tower in mind. From York’s Chocolate Story to Jorvik, the amazing Viking museum – there’s lots to explore! But, if you fancy doing some more unusual things on your visit to York, we’ve compiled a list of 5 unique and quirky things to do all year round.

At Hotel Indigo York we’re experts on our neighbourhood, meaning we have the lowdown on activities and experiences you might not have heard of before. That’s what we do – quirky hospitality for curious travellers. So, let’s get curious…

Explore Cabinets of Curiosities at York’s Antique Centres


If you’re curious at heart, then the first idea on our list is just the thing for you. York is home to many intriguing antique centres. You never know what you might find. 


Our top two antique picks are The French House, located just outside the city centre and Red House Antique Centre which is on Duncombe Place in the heart of the city. The French House, as you may have guessed by its name, is home to loads of fantastic French antiques. You may just spot something fascinating for your house – much better than a traditional souvenir! 

From unique crystal glasses to fantastic spice pots, every nook and cranny of the shop has something interesting hidden away. The family business is a treasure trove of 17th to 20th-century French items and is open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. You can find The French House’s website here

The Red House Antique Centre is another amazing place to find some peculiar pieces. This shop is just a two-minute walk from the Minster, making it super easily accessible if you are exploring the city centre. It’s owned by TV’s very own Tim Hogarth and is home to over 60 different dealers. If you visit on a Tuesday, you might just get to meet him (no promises, though). You can visit the website for The Red House Antique Centre here.

Image of antiques like you'd find in antique centres in York

Get in Touch With Nature on a Quirky Carriage Ride

This unique and unusual activity in York takes place 20 minutes away from the city centre and could make for a once-in-a-lifetime romantic experience. Imagine yourself sitting in your very own carriage looking out at the gorgeous countryside. Well, if you want to feel like a film star, then you can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride complete with prosecco and strawberries for £93 for up to four people in Skipwith. 

The itinerary includes a photo stop, a guided tour, and some gorgeous scenic views along the way. If you’re lucky, you could spot deer, buzzards, or even red kites during the journey. The experience lasts for around an hour and the organiser can even arrange picnics or cream teas – but make sure to pre-order if you want these extras. 

Imagine the memories and all the social media-worthy pictures that you would take to impress your friends! It’s the perfect activity for families and couples, and even by yourself if you fancy some quiet alone time. You can find out more information and book your experience here.

Be Brave With A Comedy Ghost Tour

The third unusual excursion on our list is maybe not quite as romantic as the horse-drawn carriage! However, this one is sure to be memorable, provide lots of laughs, and send chills down your spine. 

Have you ever thought about going on a bus that is not just a ghost tour but also a comedy/horror show? No? Well, neither have we! Which is exactly why this is a must-do. If you’re brave enough, you can take a seat on the ghost bus and enjoy 75 minutes of spooky sightseeing in the city. 

This is the perfect balance between fun and horror with bone-chillingly gruesome stories of York’s past. You’ll travel in style on a 1960s Routemaster bus while the onboard actors and eerie decorations will immerse you in the action. Hear about all the ghosts that reside in the medieval walls and even visit Dick Turpin’s grave. 

The best bit? The ghost bus tour is only £20 per person and the tour starts from outside of York Station, making it super easy to find – just down the road from our hotel in York. You can book here if you dare!

An axe sticking into a piece of wood to demonstrate the axe throwing in York

Show Off your Skills with an Axe-Throwing Experience

How about an hour of axe-throwing? Don’t worry, you won’t be throwing axes at each other. Instead, you’ll be targeting them on a wooden board, competing for the best accuracy! Unique, but fun, can you name a better duo? 

This experience is inclusive, being suitable for families with children over the age of 13 and also for couples. The place is even dog-friendly to boot. The Hilt offers exciting axe-throwing sessions inspired by York’s Viking history. The hour costs £25 per person or £28 per person on a Saturday. 

There is also a fabulous street food bar at Hilt called SNAFL where you can enjoy sausage-inspired dishes and a fully licensed bar for a pint or a nice glass of wine after your axe-throwing extravaganza! This amazing venue is open Tuesday through Sunday and isn’t too far from our York hotel. If you are up for an adventure, visit their website here.

Stir The Magical Pot at The Potions Cauldron

Our fifth and final unique and unusual thing to do in York takes the shape of a magic experience. As seen on Dragon’s Den, York is lucky enough to call The Potions Cauldron home. What exactly is this place? It is a mystical apothecary tucked away in 9¾ Shambles. The Shambles (England’s oldest shopping street) is the real Diagon Alley. Even if you’re not a fan of Harry Potter, this is a must-visit! 

As soon as you step into The Potions Cauldron, you are greeted with a spectral experience. From £5.99 per person, you can indulge in magical potions and visit the Potion Room. If you’re a couple over the age of 18, you can even indulge in 50 magnificent minutes of the Adults Cauldron Experience. This includes a welcome tipple, two magical potion cocktails, and a visit to the Secret Potion Room. 

If you feel like you have some magical blood running through your veins, why not give this experience a try? You can check out more information here.



York is a city packed with unique and exciting activities. You’ll find something memorable around each corner. But if you’re looking for a quirky spot to spend the night, why not take a look at our hotel in York? With chocolate-themed rooms and even a mini community library, it’s a stay that is a little out of the ordinary. 

Take a look at our website and book your next city escape here.

Food & Drink in York

Sip on local gin, craft ales, familiar favourites, and creative cocktails at No.88 Walmgate. Pair with one of our delicious Rustic Pizzas.

Explore more

We proudly stand in the historic neighbourhood of Walmgate, just a short walk from all the city has to offer.

At one point Walmgate had 20 pubs on the street, today it is a cool mix of independent restaurants, bars and shops and continues to Fossgate – which boasts even more independent shops, delis, bars and restaurants. Walmgate Bar proudly stands at the end of the road. It is the only existing bar in York with a Barbican and forms part of the York City Walls walk.

Explore more

York Hotel's Chocolate Story

Discover the history of chocolate, how to make it and how to taste it like an expert at the York’s Chocolate Story.

Explore more

Hotel Indigo York's Latest Special Offers

Chocolate Package

Sweet dreams are made of this! Enjoy an indulgent stay in York and explore the city’s confectionary history. Snack on a complimentary box of chocolates, and wake up to a full English breakfast.

Book now