Indoor Walking

A Guide to Walking Indoors in York

Are you feeling left in the dark about where to walk when the outdoors isn’t an option? Then read on!

Nothing compares to getting out in the fresh air for a walk. However, whilst we may enjoy the crisper air and the twinkling lights, with less daylight hours during winter sometimes it can be a little daunting and less practical to hit the streets and footpaths we’d otherwise frequent. 

For some of us, wintery conditions can mean a walk outdoors is even very difficult – it could be the lack of light, colder temperatures or slippery ground that leave us feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. 

With this in mind we have put together a list of indoor places and covered spaces in York which are large enough for us to take a stroll in.


The National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum
The Great Hall
The Great Hall

Number one on our list, due to its size and accessibility, the National Railway Museum has ample space to stretch your legs. The huge Great Hall and Station Hall, as well as exhibition spaces and a large reception area are all available to explore.


With plenty of seats if you require rest stops, as well as toilets, picnic tables and a café, you can enjoy your indoor walk in comfort. 


Accessibility: There is plenty of seating around the museum and there are lifts and ramps to access different levels and areas. There are toilets, including accessible toilets. Large print and braille maps are available, as is a hearing loop.


Opening Times: Wednesday to Sunday 10-5


It is free to visit the National Railway Museum but you do need to book a ticket.


York Minster

York Minster
York Minster Nave
Nave at York Minster

A large, gothic building, York Minster’s interior is of ample size for a sheltered walk. With high ceilings, magnificent stained glass windows and incredible stonework, there are a wealth of sights and stories to be discovered on your walk around the Minster.


Accessibility: The main features of the Minster, except the Tower, have level, ramped or lift access. There are toilets, including accessible toilets, and plenty of seating. A tactile site plan, with PENfriend™ audio description and Braille information is available and there are audio induction loops. 


Opening Times: Monday & Wednesday to Saturday 9:30 – 3:45, Sunday 12:45 – 2:45


If you are a York resident then you can visit the Minster for free. You will need to book a date and time to visit and bring proof of your address with you to gain free entry.


Book Here


York Designer Outlet

Designer Outlet
York Designer Outlet
Designer Outlet2
York Designer Outlet Interior

York Designer Outlet is a large indoor shopping centre. There is plenty of space to walk around, although you may want to time your visit to avoid busier shopping periods if you don’t like crowds. You can visit one of the many cafes or restaurants if you want to break up your walk by stopping for a drink, snack or meal.


Accessibility: There are toilets, including accessible toilets. There is seating around the shopping centre and lifts and escalators to the upper level. 


Opening Times: 9.30am – 8pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm


For more information and directions click here


York University Campus

Central Hall
York University's Central Hall
Vari Hall
York University's Vari Hall

Whilst this is an outdoor space, there are some covered walkway areas on the campus of York University. There are also numerous cafes where you can stop to warm up, get refreshments and use the facilities. On your walk there are plenty of things to look out for, such as wildlife and art.


York University grounds cover a large area – a map of the campus is available here. It can be reached by bus, bike, on foot or by car. For more information on transport and parking please click here.


Indoors or Outdoors

Hopefully some of these indoor walking ideas will help to keep you moving throughout winter. If you know of or discover any others then please do let us know.


If indoor walks aren’t for you but you’re still concerned about heading out in the dark then here are a few tips:

Stick to the main streets – they are more likely to be well lit as well as gritted if it is icy

Take a torch – be prepared to light your own way

Carry a mobile phone in case you get into any difficulties

Make sure you’re dressed appropriately – a sturdy pair of well-fitting shoes or boots, waterproof outer clothing if it’s wet and layers if it’s cold. Plus remember your gloves and a warm hat!

If the ice is a real problem then consider investing in some detachable ice grips (crampons) for your footwear


If you would like to volunteer to help someone else to get out of their own home and walking then check out our Move Mates and Wellbeing Walk Leader opportunities here.


Wherever you choose to stretch your legs, we wish you safe and happy walks this winter!

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