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Yorkshire Museum Gardens (managed by York Museums Trust) - Parks and open spaces directory


Yorkshire Museum Gardens
Museum Street


The ten-acre botanical Museum Gardens, around the Yorkshire Museum, stretch from the River Ouse up to the back of York Art Gallery, and from Marygate on one side to Museum Street on the other. The gardens are a popular picnic spot.

They were planted in the 1830s, when the Yorkshire Philosophical Society opened the museum.

The gardens are a listed Botanical Garden and contain many varieties of trees, deciduous and evergreen, native and exotic and were laid out to show off the buildings and plant specimens as they were introduced.

Look out for the Common Pear Tree, close to the river, which is thought to be the oldest of all the trees in the gardens. Or examine the trunk of the magnificent Oak Barked Beech planted in 1840s /1850s and see where the bark changes from smooth grey to rough bark.

Buildings within the Museum Gardens

St Mary's Abbey

The ruins of St Mary's Abbey, first built in 1088, are all that remains of one of the wealthiest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England.

Abbey Walls and Gateway

The stone walls that surrounded the abbey were built in the 1260s and they remain the most complete set of abbey walls in the country.


The ground floor of this timber and stone building is medieval and would have served as a guest house or barn to the monastery.

St Leonard's Hospital

St Leonard's Hospital was the largest medieval hospital in England and cared for the ill and infirm of York.

Roman Fortress

When the Romans arrived in York in 70AD, they built this fortress to house the 5000 men of the VIth legion. The fortress was rebuilt in the 3rd or 4th centuries.

York Observatories

The York Observatory was built in 1832 and 1833 and is the oldest working observatory in Yorkshire.

For more information about this site see York Museum Trust.


The gardens are open from 9.00am to 6.00pm everyday, excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day.

Travel and parking


For up-to-date information about local bus routes see the iTravel York website.


The nearest council car parks are:

Please note that a number of surrounding streets fall with Residents' Priority Parking Scheme zones

Managed by
York Museums Trust