Cliffords Tower York Review + Photos

Clifford’s Tower York is the best place to get the perfect view of the city of York. It is located near York Castle Museum and is a brilliant attraction stop on route to other York attractions.

We visited Clifford’s Tower in York as part of our 3 day York pass and out of the many places we went Cliffords Tower had the best views.


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Clifford’s Tower

If you drive through York City Centre, or maybe you have been on the York Tour Bus, you will notice the familiar view of Clifford’s Tower.

It’s a beautiful castle surrounded by grass and before going inside of Clifford’s Tower we must have walked past it a zillion times.

We would also look at the kids running up and down the grass, having a great time in the York sunshine.

We would of course, find out later, that it was not allowed and the most common job of the staff at Clifford’s Tower is to politely ask the kids to stop. But more on that later….

What Is Clifford’s Tower?

Clifford’s Tower is the common name for York Castle and has been around such a long time. In fact, it was originally built on the orders of William the conqueror to keep out the Vikings. It has been added to many times over the years and then has suffered a lot of disasters and an explosion.

It was also well known as a prison up until 1929 and what is left has now been transformed into the main ruin which is Clifford’s Tower and the other remaining buildings have become the castle museum and of course the courthouse.

 Because both Cliffords tower and York Castle Museum were once part of the same castle, we recommend that you do both sightseeing on the same day.

What we did as part of our York Pass was do Cliffords Tower first, followed by York Castle Museum.

Can You Go Inside Clifford’s Tower?

Yes, you can go inside Clifford Tower and visit most days between 10am and 6pm. It can get cold at the top of Clifford’s Tower, so we recommend going in the afternoon.

Also, because its not a long stop its nice to do Clifford’s Tower on the way to somewhere else like we did.

Getting To Clifford’s Tower

We found the easiest way to get to Cliffords Tower was to use the park and ride into York and then walk from there to Tower Street which is where Cliffords Tower is located.

You do have Clifford’s Tower Parking but whenever we have walked past it has always been super-busy and let’s face it, who seriously wants the stress of that?

Plus, if you are doing the park and ride service many of them have a tower street drop off point, saving your legs even more.

Or you can do the hop on and hop off York tours and they have a pick up and drop off from just outside the car park making it ideal.

Arriving at Clifford Tower York

When you do arrive at Clifford Tower York, the easiest option to speed you up and do less steps are to walk across the car park. You will then have York Castle Museum behind you and Clifford Tower in front of you.

Though there should be a small print that there is a lot of steps to get inside Clifford Tower. I am not talking 10 steps either. This is serious step climbing. So take it slow so you don’t look like one of those unfit people when you get to the top and meet the staff!

tackling the stairs up to clifford tower
Here is Sofia attempting the stairs into Cliffords Tower. If you are disabled then York Castle is a no-no as there is a lot of steps going in and then more steps when you are inside.

But before you climb those steps there are staff at the bottom advising you about going inside and how long a wait you have.

I am pleased there is no pre-booking for Clifford Tower, but they also don’t want too many people inside at once, so wait until some come out before letting you in. Plus, the stairs are organised, so that its easy for one lot of customers to be going up as one set comes back down.

Then once you have your turn, you walk up those steps and are greeted at the top. There is a kiosk to pay or to hand over the York passes which is what we did. They then scanned the QR code, swapped us for tickets and we could go inside.

Inside The Castle In York

Once you head inside of the castle in York you will be amazed by its beauty, its culture and what is left of the York Museum and the ruins that sit in front of you.

welcome to cliffords tower york
This is what you see as you first head into York Castle aka Clifford’s Tower. There are stairs that have been added that connect you around the castle and you can choose which way you see everything and how long you take.

Its also hard to make decisions of which order to go around the castle and we found ourselves heading up and going up the other stairs first and then exploring as you walk back down again.

Though it is personal choice as to how you want to walk around Cliffords Tower and take in all the great history.

You will also find yourself going up another flight of normal stairs and then some spiral staircases and some other ones to make it onto the roof to admire the amazing views over York.

spiral staircase at cliffords tower
This is the spiral staircases – OMG my worst nightmare as I am the one that always falls on the stairs!

But those stairs are so worth it for the view at the top. We must have spent 20 minutes at the top of Clifford’s Tower looking at all the different angles and what you can see in the distance. Though the kids saw it as a time to sit down on the benches and have a rest!

cliffords tower from the side view
This is the side shot I took and the first picture I took when we got up high at Clifford’s Tower. Not a good time if you are scared of heights and don’t like being high up!
york minster from clifford tower
You can also have a go at getting some good pictures of York Minster from the top of Clifford’s Tower. Though many other people want to do the same so it is a waiting game.
panoramic view of the city of york
Plus, Dom took a nice panoramic view of the city of York as we sat up top and had a quick rest before heading back down.

There is no rule of the amount of time you must be done at the top of Cliffords Tower. We were about 45 minutes altogether from getting our tickets until leaving.

Exploring Clifford Towers

We have done the top and checked out the amazing views of York and we now made our way slowly back down checking out all the different features.

We went to Edinburgh Castle last year and we have also just been to Scarborough Castle, so it was nice to visit York Castle and see how it compares.

One thing we loved about Edinburgh was being able to get a view out to the distance from the inside. I decided to take the same picture as last year but with York and it looked beautiful.

york castle view
This was one of many shots I did, and I also did lots with the kids to save for a scrapbook. There are many photos you can do like this throughout York Castle.

Then as you go around the castle you will notice many signs with information about the history of York Castle and how it was restored, what it was used for and how it has become the tourist attraction it is today.

stairs around the york castle ruins
There is also plenty of stairs around the ruins for you to explore from, but with a lot of the castle needing to be maintained, some areas are just picture positions from a distance.

If you don’t like heights though, you will be in for a shock whilst you are here 😊

high up at cliffords tower york
For example, here is the view going down from the top level of the tower and how far down it goes. Dom took this as I am not the heights type!

Clifford Towers – Last Bits

Then on our way out, we chatted to the staff and that is when we talked about the kids down the sides of the castle. Basically to the side of where the staff stand, the kids are sneaking through and then running up and down the grass. Because they need to maintain the area, they don’t want people doing that.

kids sneaking through at cliffords tower
This is where the kids are sneaking through and of course, it looks just like a walking track even though it isn’t.

Then as you can see from the bottom the grass is discoloured from where kids are running up and down. Of course, there is no staff to stop them from the bottom.

After a final look around and going back down those stairs, we head over to The York Castle Museum for the next step in our must do York attractions list using the York Pass.

York Pass Attractions Close By

What I do recommend if you are doing the York Pass like we are doing is to do Clifford’s Tower, York Castle Museum, The Army Museum, and the red Sightseeing Bus. They are all within 3 minutes of one another and you would only have a specific time slot for the castle museum and then plan out the rest of your day around it.

Its also much better if you don’t know York very well and want everything close to you.

Clifford’s Tower In York Review

We just LOVED our trip to Clifford’s Tower. Its one of those brilliant viewpoints of York and its also perfect for including in your York Pass if you are planning on visiting York Castle Museum.

When we visited the museum (which we did straight after) there was a lot of mentions of York Castle, so it was nice to find that information relatable because we had already been there.

Clifford’s Tower York Visitor Information

  • Where is Clifford’s Tower located? York’s famous Clifford Tower is located on tower street in York. It’s one of the main drop off points for the sightseeing buses and also a drop off for the park and ride making it very easy to get to.
  • What is the post code for Cliffords Tower? If you are using your Google Maps to navigate to Clifford Tower it is YO1 9SA.
  • Does Clifford’s Tower have parking? Yes, there is parking at Clifford’s Tower but it is limited, so we recommend you use York park and ride instead.
  • How long do people spend at Clifford Tower York? I would say an average of 45 minutes to visit Clifford Tower. This may vary depending on how long you want to spend admiring the view and having a good look around.
  • Clifford’s Tower Tickets. The price for tower tickets is £22.20 for 2 adults and up to 3 kids. Great price for such a great place and of course those ticket prices help towards keeping the castle going.
  • What is York Pass? I have mentioned our York Pass a few times. Basically, it’s a York ticket where you have access to loads of York attractions for a set price. Kind of like when you get a special pass for theme parks. I recommend you read our York pass review here because we explain how to do it and save money as its easy to waste money on it. Plus, we run through all the attractions we did for the pass including our trip to Clifford Tower.

Pin Clifford’s Tower York For Later!

Well, that’s a wrap, do you have any questions then do ask below and if you want to refer back, to this later for planning your York day out then don’t forget to pin it to your travel board or days out board on Pinterest.

Our Trip To Cliffords Tower

You Should Plan A Trip To Cliffords Tower
About the author

Run by Sam, Dom, Kyle, Sofia & Jorge it documents our family’s love for eating out, day trips, road trips and great holidays.

We just love a trip, we love to travel, and here we will show you with a little planning, how to have a great adventure and create new memories along the way!

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