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York Travel Guide (including essential travel tips, itinerary + map)

Our York Travel Guide includes recommended places to visit and things to do, accommodation options, tips and more for one of the most beautiful of England’s cities. Everything you need to plan your visit and essential reading for any visitor to York!


Located in the county of Yorkshire York is a popular city for visitors from around the globe. With a historical legacy from the Romans and Vikings and medieval streets of cobblestones, this walled city is the perfect place for a weekend visit or to break the journey by train from London to Edinburgh.

If you are visiting York you will find everything you need to plan your trip in this guide plus information about the county of Yorkshire.

Discover everything you need to know to plan your visit to the English city of York including travel tips, itinerary suggestions and a map of the must-visit places.

Map of York

Things to do in York (and Yorkshire)

Discover the best things to see and do in York with my guide to the city, itinerary suggestions plus guide to the best day trips from York.

Places to visit in York include

The Shambles

The Shambles

York Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

Yorvik Viking Centre By Chemical Engineer - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

JORVIK Viking Centre

Cliffords Tower York

Clifford’s Tower

York Walls

York City Walls

York Castle Museum By Jitka Erbenová (cheva) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

York Castle Museum

Bettys Tea Rooms in York are one of the most popular places to visit in Yorkshire

Bettys Tea Rooms

Listen to our Podcast about visiting York

Accommodation in York

Find more accommodation options in my Accommodation Guide for England.

York is easily accessible from London. If you are based in the capital there are a number of options to get to the city.

Option 1 – By car

York is located 200 miles to the north of London.

Plan at least 4 hours to drive between the 2 cities (this will vary depending on traffic but it can be a busy route). Other English cities you will pass along the way are Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds.

Directions can be found here.

If you are planning a short day trip to York I recommend parking in one of the Park & Ride car parks and taking the free bus into the city.

Option 2: By train

York is easy to reach by train from any major city in the UK.

York train station is a 10 minute walk from the centre of the city.

The trip takes an average of 3 hours from London and 2 hours from Edinburgh

It is possible to take a direct train from London to York. Click here for train times and tickets.

Option 3: By bus

It is possible to take a bus from Victoria Coach Station to York. The journey takes approximately 6 hours.

This is the cheapest way to travel to York from London though so if you are on a budget this may be your best option. Click here for coach times and prices from National Express.

Read more Complete transportation guide to the UK

Experiences, tickets and tours in York

With so many things to do and places to visit in York I recommend planning your itinerary and purchasing tours, tickets and experiences as soon as you can to avoid disappointment especially during the busy summer months.

A York city pass is a great option and includes entrance to 25 popular York attractions including the JORVIK Viking Centre, York Minster, York Castle Museum, York’s Chocolate Story. Click for more information about the York City Pass.

  • River Ouse City Cruise – Spend a relaxing hour on the River Ouse and see the sights of York from a different perspective.
  • York’s Chocolate Story: Guided Tour – Explore York’s chocolate history and learn about the origins of chocolate and about York’s founding confectionery families.
  • York Minster and City Walking Tour – This 2-hour walking tour provides you with fantastic insights into the most historic and world-famous sites in York. Start with the Romans then explore the ‘Snickelways’ of York and complete your tour at the magical York Minster.

> Click here for more tickets and tours in York

York Old Houses
York city centre has many old buildings

Best Yorkshire day trips from York

York is the perfect base to explore the surrounding Yorkshire countryside, seaside towns along England’s eastern coast, areas of natural beauty and places of historical significance.

The Yorkshire Dales, the coastal town of Whitby, the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Saltaire, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden are all easy day trips from York.

If you are considering hiring a car and taking a day trip from York these are my top 5 destinations to consider:

  1. Whitby
  2. Ingleton
  3. Castle Howard
  4. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
  5. Saltaire

Read more: 10 best places to visit in Yorkshire

If you prefer to join an organised day trip from York these are just some of the destinations you can explore. *

(*Find more suggestions in my article which focuses on ALL the best day trips and tours from York)

Whitby one of the most popular seaside places to visit in Yorkshire

Where to eat in York

There are many wonderful teahouses, cafes, gastropubs and restaurants in York.

Betty’s Tea Rooms

No visit to York is complete without a visit to Bettys Tea Rooms. Open since 1936 the beautiful interiors are inspired by the Queen Mary liner.

Visit for afternoon tea and sample the delights of Bettys for yourself.

Where – 6-8 St. Helen’s Square York YO1 8QP

Shambles Market

Enjoy York’s growing street food scene at the Shambles Market. There are plenty of options to suit all tastes including Indian, Thai, Mexican.

Don’t miss the burritos from Smokehouse which are priced from just £6.50.

Where – The Shambles Market, 5 Silver St, York YO1 8RY

Bettys Tea Rooms in York one of the most popular places to visit in Yorkshire

Tips for visiting York & Yorkshire

  • If York is just one of the places you wish to visit in Yorkshire don’t underestimate the size of the county! It is England’s largest county and is roughly half the size of Belgium. It can be divided into 4 smaller areas – North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.
  • There are are some large cities in Yorkshire such as York, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford and Ripon but also lots of charming towns and villages too.
  • The Yorkshire Dales National Park covers thousands of square miles (in fact most of the county) and includes moors, valleys, hills, waterfalls and villages within its boundaries.
  • There are numerous hiking trails in the park including the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, Yorkshire Three Peaks and Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. If you are planning a hike ensure you prepare thoroughly.
  • There are two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Yorkshire which are the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale.

Tips for driving in Yorkshire

  • If you are planning to hire a car and drive in Yorkshire it is important to pick the right rental car. In rural areas the roads may be single lane with no central line so don’t choose a large SUV or saloon car if there are only 2 of you.
  • If you wish to stop to admire the views ensure it is safe to do so.
  • In winter the weather conditions can change rapidly and snow can often make the roads impassable. There may also be no mobile signal in more isolated spots so ensure you share your travel plans before setting out.
  • While there are 15 public car parks available around the city of York I recommend accessing one of the 6 Park & Ride services which allow you to park for free in a secure car park and complete your journey into the city by bus. You can find out more about this scheme here.

More UK Travel Guides

Looking for more inspiration for your travels in England? Check out my England Travel Planning Guide which has loads of ideas, tips and resources to plan your itinerary.