Best York tours from London

Take a day trip from London to York to discover everything from ancient treasures to trendy restaurants and cafes.
A bright blue sky above historic buildings in York including a majestic cathedral and people walking along a medieval wall.
Discover beautiful historic buildings in York. © Unsplash/Karl Moran

Days out to York from London

Venture to York, one of England’s best-preserved medieval cities, where its long history and lively culture make for a memorable trip.

Where is York and how can I get there from London?

York is located in the English county of Yorkshire in England, about 174 miles (280 km) north of London. You can travel there in around four and half hours by car or around two hours by train from King’s Cross to York.

What are the best things to do in York?

With a history spanning thousands of years, a visit to the city of York is like stepping back in time. Beyond its medieval walls, you’ll find everything from immersive museums to music festivals. 

Explore the town 

People walk among a narrow street in york with tower medieval buildings in the shambles district.

If you ever desired a window into England’s ancient past, then look no further than York. History buffs will never be short of places to explore, as the city boasts some of the UK’s most iconic historic buildings such as the magnificent York Minster Cathedral and splendid Fairfax House. Be sure to visit Clifford's Tower, once used as treasury, exchequer, mint, gaol and seat of royal power.

Take a stroll along the City Walls and encounter impressive architecture dating back to the 13th century. Once an essential part of the city’s defences against its enemies, the walls have become a crucial part of York’s identity.

From the outskirts of the city to its very heart, spend a few hours wandering The Shambles. Rumoured to be the inspiration behind Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, its winding cobbled streets and captivating crooked buildings are the perfect spot for picking up a special souvenir or enjoying an afternoon tea with a proper Yorkshire cup of tea.  

Museums and galleries

Be sure to stop by some of York’s top museums and galleries, from the world-class collection of artworks at the York Art Gallery to interactive exhibitions at the National Railway Museum.

Two people dressed as vikings stand with a bright yellow and red shield and a man holds ancient tools in a brown workshop.

Don’t miss the chance to discover the fascinating story of York’s most formidable warriors at the JORVIK Viking Centre – take a journey through reconstructed Viking Age streets and uncover thousands of unique artefacts. Or do your best to survive the curse of a wicked witch, come face-to-face with highwayman Dick Turpin and take on The Torturer at The York Dungeon.

Unmissable activities

Hop aboard a Ghost Bus Tour to uncover the more sinister side of York. Your creepy conductor will introduce you to some questionable characters as you do a spot of spooky sightseeing.

Swap your bus tour for a delightful cruise along the river Ouse, or play skipper on a self-drive motorboat seeing the sights riverside style! 

A  group of people stand together with a guide and try different beers in a york brewery,

York has become a haven for foodies thanks to the many exciting eateries on offer. Beer lovers look no further than Brew York to sample your favourite tipple. Take a guided tour of the Tap Room and taste a selection of delicious craft beer.

Learn the art of the chocolatier at York’s Chocolate Story which has everything you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Savour handmade fresh chocolates, from salted caramel to bubblegum, and be sure to grab a cup of its world-famous hot chocolate.

What are the best day trips and tours to York?

Discover a number of day trips to York below, along with tours that you can enjoy once at the destination.   

Discover vibrant culture and fascinating history in York. © Unsplash/Robin Canfield

Explore the beautiful city of York on a round-trip rail journey from London. Upon your arrival, head out to discover this enchanting city at your own pace, popping into a local cafe or restaurant for a bite to eat in between all the exploring.


What's included: Return train tickets from King's Cross Station London to York with the option of adding an Open Top Bus Tour in York and tickets to Clifford's Tower.


Cost and duration: Tickets for this tour start from £96 for children and £102 for adults (aged 15 and over).

Go sightseeing in York on a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

Make the most of your visit to York with this Hop-on Hop-off Open Bus Tour that includes over 20 stops across the city. Tick off all the city's major attractions and historic landmarks including York Minster and Clifford's Tower, enjoying interesting facts and stories told by your professional guide as you sit back and enjoy the view. 


What's included:  A hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour around York and a professional onboard guide. Audio guides are also available.


Cost and duration: Tickets start from £9 for children and £11 for adults – family and concession ticket options are also available. Choose from a 24-hour or 48-hour ticket that is valid from the moment your board the bus.

Hop aboard a Ghost Bus Tour in York. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

Step aboard the midnight black bus where you'll embark on a journey around York, uncovering the more sinister side of the city. On this one hour and 15 minute Ghost Bus Tour, your curious conductor offers up a spooky narrative of the strange places and colourful characters you'll encounter. Discover York's darkest secrets on this comedy horror tour. 


What's included: Ghost bus tour ticket and professional guide and onboard actors.


Cost and duration: Tickets for this tour are £14 for children and £18 for adults - concession and family options are also available. The tour will last approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

Walk the cobbled alleyways of The Shambles on a guided walking tour. © Unsplash/Skylar McKissack

Explore the city's cobbled streets and twisting alleys on a guided Wizard Walk of York tour. Led by the Wizard of York himself, wander York's iconic streets in search of creatures including a phoenix, frog, gargoyle and more. The magical and humorous tour is perfect for families, with regular stops and photo opportunities aplenty!

What's included: 
One-hour and 15-minute guided walking tour.

Cost and duration: 
Tickets for this tour are £10 for children and £10 for adults. The tour will last approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

Take a cruise along the River Ouse in York. © Unsplash/Karl Moran

Admire York's landmarks from the comfort of your seat aboard The York City Sightseeing Cruise as you journey up and downstream. Whilst you enjoy the sights the captain will provide a fun and informing commentary on the historic city.


Enjoy the scenery from the enclosed saloon or the upper deck, whilst treating yourself to a refreshing drink from the onboard bar. 


What's included: One-hour sightseeing cruise and live commentary.


Cost and duration: Tickets for this tour are £13 for adults and £7.50 for children (5 to 15 years). Cruises are available daily and can be boarded at various meeting points along the river.

Hire a motorboat in York. © Unsplash/Sarahlmb

Enjoy a leisurely one-hour ride along the river Ouse on a Self Drive Motor Boat experience, exploring the city from the water.


Take the helm and become captain as you discover the sights from one of the fourteen bright red boats, each with their own name – Tina, Ellen and Penny to name a few! Boats hold up to eight people, with plenty of room for everyone to take a trip down the same river that brought the Vikings to York.


What's included: One-hour self-drive motor boat hire.


Cost and duration: Tickets for a Self Drive Motor Boat cost £45 per one hour session for up to eight people. Boats are available to hire from 10am to 3pm with new times slots every 15 minutes.

See the city from the river. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

Join a York Early Evening Cruise for an hour of entertainment from your captain where you can enjoy historic tales of this medieval city. Grab yourself a drink from the onboard bar and do some sightseeing from the comfort of the heated saloon. 

What's included:
One-hour sightseeing cruise and live commentary.


Cost and duration: Tickets for this tour are £14 for adults (aged 16+) and £8.50 for children (5 to 15 years). Cruises are available daily 17 May-25 Sep departing at 7.30pm or daily 26 Sep-20 Nov departing at 6pm.

Hop aboard an evening cruise in York. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

It's time to sit back and relax on this 70-minute Floodlit Evening Cruise. End a wonderful day of exploring with a ride along the river, enjoying a hot beverage or a glass of bubbles as you listen to a mix of jazz and swing music while spotting illuminated landmarks along the waters edge. 

What's included:
One-hour and 10 minute cruise, a glass of sparkling wine or a hot drink with a snack, comfortable cruise boat with bar and rest room. 


Cost and duration: Tickets for this tour are £15 for adults and £13 for children (5 to 15 years). Cruises are available daily 17 May-25 Sep, departing at 9.15pm each evening.

Enjoy award-winning fish and chips on a York cruise! Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

What better way to enjoy the British classic dish of fish and chips than by pairing it with beautiful views of the Minster city? Accompanied by music and a live capitain's commentary. As you sail through York, tuck into the award-winning Mr Chippy fish and chips while learning about the city's history.


What's included: One-hour and 30 minute cruise, fish and chips or vegan/vegetarian main alternative, on-board bar with local beverages and snacks, music and live commentary.


Cost and duration: Tickets for this tour are £25 for adults and £15 for children (5 to 15 years). Cruises are available Fridays and Saturdays, departing at 12.30pm and 3pm