15 York Day Trip Travel Itinerary Ideas

With so much to do and see in York, we thought that it might be helpful to give you a few itinerary suggestions so you can plan your next day trip in York with ease.  The York day trip travel itineraries are broken down into various interests, so there should be something for everyone to enjoy!

1.  Architectural Wonders

York is blessed with an abundance of superb historic buildings, every corner you turn you’ll be discovering layers of history.

  1. york minsterYork Minster is a prime example spanning from Roman remains in the foundations through its time as a Norman Church and of course the 250 year period it took to complete.  It is the largest medieval Gothic Church north of the Alps.
  2. Treasurer’s House, just across from York Minster, portrays a whole range of periods within the facade of a mainly 17th Century house.  Built on the site of the original Treasurer’s House the house fell into disrepair, until rescued by wealthy businessman Frank Green.
  3. york shambles shoppingThe Shambles, once a former street of butchers, is now one of the most photographed locations in York. A Medieval street with half-timbered buildings which at some points almost touch each other.  Nowadays The Shambles is full of unique shopping opportunities and tea shops and it’s hard to imagine the butchers’ remains which used to litter the street back then..
  4. Fairfax House, a stunning 18th Century interior with outstanding Georgian furniture.  This is one of the finest historic house museums in England, dating back to 1750 created by the architect John Carr. York is blessed with an abundance of superb historic buildings, every corner you turn you’ll be discovering layers of history.

2.  Shopping in Style

york shoppingWhat better way to pass the day than soaking up the atmosphere of this historic city with some retail therapy and eating out!  Start the day with a coffee and croissant Delifrance.

York has a superb selection of shopping from unique special interest shops, quality department stores such as Browns, Fenwicks and one of the largest Marks & Spencer stores in the country.  No shopping expert should overlook Mulberry Hall, with fine china and glassware.

There are distinctive shopping quarters, including Stonegate, Coppergate, Swinegate, all offering tempting choices of fashion, gifts and souvenirs.

  1. Stop for a spot of lunch in the Patio, located in a courtyard off Swinegate with fine food to sample or while away a few hours in the garden terrace at Oscar’s Wine Bar & Bistro.
  2. Not forgetting the Shambles, probably one of York’s most photographed streets, once a place of butchers’ shops, now full of souvenir and gift shops and with easy access to Newgate Market.
  3. To rest a while why not call into Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms for afternoon tea where waiting staff serve in traditional attire and there’s a mouth-watering selection of cakes and pastries on the trolley.
  4. York also boasts three of the most modern and impressive shopping centres, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet where much sought after designer label fashion can be bought for a fraction of the price, Monks Cross and Clifton Moor, both multi store complexes featuring popular names in retail and late night shopping.

3.  Evenings & Entertainment

York BarbicanWith so much to see and do on an evening it’s no wonder you will want to make the most of all the early bird restaurant offers with an early dinner, followed by your choice of entertainment.

With theatres, cinemas and venues galore you will not be short of things to do once the day’s sightseeing is over.

Choose from wide-ranging classics to West End Shows at the Grand Opera House and Theatre Royal or pop concerts and comedy at the Barbican Centre.

  1. The City Screen complex on the Waterfront offers an excellent array of films in the city centre or travel to the Warner Cinema up at Clifton Moor for a multi-screen venue with all the latest films.  Borders Books also offers a programme of events including lectures and book signings, pop along to a jazz evening at the Red House Antiques Centre or check out a band at Fibbers.
  2. For those who dare?  Try an evening ghost walk and join one of the many tours on offer at either 7.30pm or 8pm.  You will be escorted around the narrow ginnels and snickleways of York, delving deep into the tales of one of Europe’s most haunted cities.
  3. If you don’t fancy walking? Hop aboard a YorkBoat for a ghost cruise or a floodlit evening cruise and simply sit back and relax.
  4. Alternatively York Brewery runs tours on a regular basis from Monday to Saturday, so why not sample a taste of ‘Yorkshire Beer from Yesteryear’.
  5. To round off the evening there is a superb range of olde-worlde pubs, trendy bars and clubs to frequent until the early hours of the morning!

4.  Family Days Out

kids activities in york today

  1. For a fun-packed day with the kids start off with the JORVIK, whizz around the reconstruction of the viking settlement & experience the sights, sounds and smells’..
  2. Move onto the ARC, Archaeological Resource Centre, to continue in the viking era, sifting, sorting and recording real finds.
  3. Take a break for some lunch – from carveries and cafes to bistros and bakeries.  There’s a huge choice for all tastes.
  4. Once you’ve regained your energy it’s time to do the locomotion!  Firstly visit the York Model Railway,  with up to 14 trains running at the same time. Secondly the award-winning National Railway Museum, from classics such as Stephenson’s Rocket and the Mallard to Eurostar, and with free entry – it’s a great day out for all the family.
  5. To round off the afternoon travel out to Murton Park, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, children will love this with an impressive collection of farm machinery,  a ‘real’ Roman Fort, Brigantium and the Danelaw Dark Age Village.

5.  First Timers (Must Sees!)

  1. On arrival to York a visit to the Minster is a must, this is Northern Europe’s largest Gothic Cathedral and took over 250 years to complete.  Guided tours can be taken and last around an hour.
  2. Just around the corner is St William’s College & Restaurant where you can enjoy a coffee and lovely surroundings in the shadow of the Minster.
  3. york city wallsNo visit would be complete without having walked the walls.  Try the stretch from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar, you will not be disappointed.
  4. Re-opened in April 2001, the new JORVIK literally flies visitors through a reconstruction of the Viking Age.
  5. Time for lunch?  Why not sample a traditional British Carvery at Russells Restaurant.
  6. Delve into York’s past with a trip to the fascinating Castle Museum, from an Edwardian pub, Victorian Police Station and Dick Turpin’s prison cell to an exhibition on chocolate!
  7. Next stop the National Railway Museum, complete with a brand new wing called ‘The Works’.  You will find all the classics here from the Mallard, to Queen Victoria’s Royal Carriages to modern day examples such as Eurostar.

6.  Ghost and Ghouls

York is known to be one of the most haunted cities in Europe.  For those who dare a trip back into York’s murky past is a must.

  1. The most horrible place to start is of course York Dungeon.   Full of torture, plague, massacres executions and death!  Live actors lead you through this ghastly experience, tales of the Roman Legion, Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin will haunt you forever!!
  2. Stop for lunch if you will at one of our haunted local taverns, complete with 2 ghosts – the Black Swan, Peaseholme Green will be pleased to serve you.
  3. This afternoon why not walk the city walls take in a visit to the Micklegate Bar Museum which has stood sentinel over the city for 800 years.  See where the heads of  ‘traitors’ once adorned the battlements.  Further along the walls you will come across the Richard III Museum which needs you to decide the truth behind the man, was he an evil monster guilty of brutally murdering the ‘Princes in the Tower’ or was he unfairly maligned by history?
  4. As darkness falls the essential part of any visit to York is a ghost walk taking in all the dark and mysterious snickleways. Our entrepid ghost hunters are ready and waiting to whisk you off into the night and disturb your sleep forever with haunting tales.
  5. During the summer months you can also board a Ghost Cruise on YorkBoat.  The cruise lasts for one hour and a costumed storyteller will thrill and entertain you.

7.  Hidden Gems

  1. Begin with Fairfax House, a stunning 18th Century interior with outstanding Georgian furniture.  This is one of the finest historic house museums in England.
  2. york Barley HallDisappear into the Snickleways of York to find Barley Hall, a wonderful medieval townhouse, now restored to its former glory.  Discover how life was in the home of Alderman William Snawsell with an audio tour featuring Dame Judi Dench and Robert Hardy.
  3. Take lunch at the Red House Antiques Centre, this prestigious building houses over 60 antique dealers and their wares.  Lectures on a whole array of topics can be arranged at the Centre with specialist guest speakers. The Red House Dining Room serves delicious light lunches, afternoon teas and suppers.
  4. Continue on this afternoon to Sutton Park in the village of Sutton on the Forest.  Home to Sir Reginald and Lady Sheffield, it has a very lived in feel to it and the owners have been known to dine with their overnight visitors on special occasions!  The house is early Georgian style and contains examples of exquisite hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and a wonderful collection of porcelain including Meissen and Sevres.  Enjoy a stroll in the gardens which overlooks spacious parkland which is thought to have been designed by Meikle, a follower of Capability Brown.

8.  Historic Houses & Gardens

  1. Discover the splendour of Castle Howard, set in the Howardian Hills in one thousand acres of breathtaking parkland, adorned with rose gardens, lakes and fountains.Castle Howard is home to the Howard family and has been richly furnished throughout.  Filming here has included the well-known TV series ‘Brideshead Revisited’ and more recently the ‘Antiques Roadshow’.
  2. Travel into Malton for a spot of lunch at the Talbot Hotel in this quaint market town.
  3. Visit the National Trust property of Beningbrough Hall, enjoy the Hall, herbaceous borders, walled garden, parkland and Victorian Laundry. With a wilderness play area, plus shop and restaurant.
  4. This afternoon relax in the peaceful atmosphere of Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington to the East of York.  Home to the National Collection of Waterlillies, there are over 80 varieties to be spotted in the 2 lakes.The Gardens themselves are maintained to a high standard with fine features such as a walled garden, Victorian bedding area, rock gardens and heather beds.  The Stewart Collection within the Gardens is a unique display of sporting trophies and memorabilia collected by the late Major Stewart.

9.  Medieval York

  1. Picture this, the Medieval City of York surrounded by walls with four ‘bars’ or gateways into the City.  The good news is that’s exactly how it is now!  York enjoys almost 3 miles of walls in excellent condition and ready to be walked upon!
  2. Whilst on the walls why not call into the Micklegate Bar Museum, a fascinating museum devoted to the history of York.  Alternatively at the Monk Bar call into the Richard III Museum, where you can make your own decision about this much-maligned monarch.
  3. York Merchant Adventurers HallFor a fine example of medieval architecture in York visit the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall.  Built in 1357-62 the Merchant Adventurers is the largest timber-framed building in the City and tells the story of the city’s growth, prosperity and power.  Today’s Guild still meets here.
  4. Not to be missed is St Mary’s Abbey within the Museum Gardens.  The original abbey dates back to the 11th Century, however the remains there now date from 1270. Visit the Yorkshire Museum to see how the Abbey would have looked.
  5. Disappear into the Snickleways of York to find Barley Hall, a wonderful medieval townhouse, now restored to its former glory.  Discover how life was in the home of Alderman William Snawsell with an audio tour featuring Dame Judy Dench and Robert Hardy.
  6. To see York from a different angle climb up to Clifford’s Tower, perched above the city.  Steeped in religious history, Clifford’s Tower was built by Henry III in 13th Century.

10.  Out & About (York as a touring base)

York is the ideal location for touring the surrounding area.  Be it the coastal towns of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey or the scenery of the Dales and Moors, you will be spoilt for choice.

  1. Travel North into James Herriot Country and discover the 1950s home of this famous vet at the World of James Herriot in Thirsk.  Climb Sutton Bank and head into the North Yorkshire Moors to the pretty market town of Pickering. Take a trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, moving into Heartbeat Country.  Enjoy 18 miles of stunning scenery in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, stopping at picturesque stations such as Goathland and Grosmont en route.
  2. Travel onwards up to Whitby for a fish and chip lunch and a breath of sea air, this quaint fishing village is overlooked by its Abbey and can also boast strong connections with Count Dracula!
  3. Enjoy the coastal scenery on the way back via Robin Hoods Bay towards Scarborough.
  4. Plenty of attractions to choose from off the A64 heading down towards York, Eden Camp, modern history theme museum or Castle Howard with its wonderful gardens and lakes.

11.  Outdoor Adventure Action

  1. If you are looking for an action packed day out, look no further.  From clay pigeon shooting organised for you by one of our top outdoor pursuits providers North of England Activity Centre, to the thrills and spills of Quad Biking or 4 x 4 Off Road Driving.  Sandwood Sport also offers a wide range of outdoor adventure sports from canoeing and climbing to abseiling and rafting.
  2. Let off some steam at the Yorkshire Paintball and Quad Centre ‘watch out for the Predator’, this 7 foot monster will spice up the action during the paintball sessions..
  3. To really round off the day with something special travel to Rufforth to the York Gliding Centre and experience a glider flight over the City of York.  You will be in the capable hands of an Instructor and you may even have a chance to take over the controls!
  4. Unwind with a tour of the York Brewery, try a taste of Yorkshire beer from yesteryear from Millenium Bug Bitter to Centurion Ghost Ale.

12.  Railway Buffs

What with railway heritage galore, York is a must for all railway enthusiasts.

  1. National_Railway_Museum_yorkFirst stop the National Railway Museum, voted “European Museum of the Year 2001”.  You will find all the classics here from the Mallard, to Queen Victoria’s Royal Carriages to modern day examples such as Eurostar.  Plus the new arrival of ‘Shinkansen’, the world famous Japanese Bullet train, capable of more than 200 mph.
  2. To continue with the rail theme pop into the York Model Railway Museum with up to 14 trains running at once.
  3. For a glorious trip back in time, step aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Pickering and travel by steam train via Goathland to Grosmont. Stunning scenery as you journey through 18 miles of North Yorkshire Moors National Park, calling at picturesque stations on the way.

13.  Romantic Weekend Break

Wanting to treat your partner then look no further!

  1. Arrive Friday evening in time to check into your accommodation and check out the local restaurant scene and maybe sample one of the 365 pubs on offer!
  2. Saturday morning enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading into the city for a stroll along the cobbled streets and snickleways.  Take a walking tour with local guide to get acquainted with the city.
  3. Delve into York’s vast array of fabulous shops to buy something special for the one you love, Monkgate Chocolatiers will provide a perfect gift, plus plenty of coffee shops to grab a cappuccino or cafe latte whilst meandering through the Shambles and daily open market.
  4. Hop aboard YorkBoat to capture views of the city from the river Ouse and while away a very pleasurable hour.
  5. You are spoilt for choice for lunch, there’s everything from Mexican to Chinese.
  6. This afternoon travel out to Harewood House for a turn round the gardens and a tour of the house.  Magnificent bird gardens too and even the chance to row on the lake!
  7. For the ultimate in experiences treat your partner to a glider flight over York.  The York Gliding Centre is at Rufforth on the outskirts of York and offers flights over the vale of York with fully qualified instructors.
  8. York Theatre RoyalBack to the hotel to relax before the evening’s entertainment, take in a performance at the Theatre Royal or Grand Opera House or simply enjoy the busy waterfront area for a few drinks and bite to eat before a film at the City Screen.
  9. Sunday morning wind your way up into the North Yorkshire Moors for a romantic ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
  10. Depending on how you are feeling either travel up to the coast to Whitby for a seafood lunch and stroll around the harbour or alternatively head back towards York and visit Castle Howard, home to the Howard family and full of magnificent art and antiques.  Wonderful gardens and parkland.

14.  Viking York

During the Viking era prosperous York was known as ‘Jorvik’, a vibrant, thriving centre of trade. It was an obvious target for the Vikings to descend upon in 866.

A great proportion of York’s street names are of Viking origin, ‘gate’ meaning street for instance Coppergate,  Skeldergate and Goodramgate.

  1. JORVIK-viking centreEven today you can discover the sights, sounds and smells of that period in the JORVIK.  The new 5m redevelopment of Jorvik is a fascinating trip back in history.
  2. Move onto the ARC, Archaeological Resource Centre, to continue in the Viking era, sifting, sorting and recording real finds.
  3. To round off the afternoon travel out to Murton Park, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming which includes an impressive collection of farm machinery,  a ‘real’ Roman Fort, Brigantium and the Danelaw Dark Age Village.
  4. Every year the city celebrates its Viking heritage with the Jorvik Viking Festival in February.  See the things to do in York guide for dates.

15.  World War II and Military Memorabilia

  1. Follow the trail of destruction left by World War II with a visit to the award-winning Eden Camp at Malton.  Experience the sights, sounds and smells of life during wartime Britain, you will be transported back in time to a series of original huts from a Prisoner of War Camp built in 1942.  The huts detail all aspects of the war from the rise of Hitler to women at war, the Blitz and a replica MKIX spitfire.York Cold War Bunker
  2. Move on to the Yorkshire Air Museum at former RAF Elvington.  This is one of the largest WWII Bomber Command Stations open to the public.  British, French and Canadian aircrews flew to missions on the continent from here.  You can visit the control tower, sit in a cockpit of a Jet Provost or Canberra.  Don’t forget the impressive Barnes Wallis collection of the ‘Dam Busters’ fame.  Lunch can also be taken in the NAAFI self service restaurant.
  3. If you prefer travel into York for a bite to eat.   Why not sample a Fat Rascal at Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms, where staff will serve you in very traditional waiting attire in gorgeous surroundings in the heart of the city.
  4. To continue in the military theme a stop at the Regimental Museum is a must.  Weapons, medals and uniforms trace the history of the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Prince of Wales’s own Regiment.

York Day Trip Travel Itinerary Conclusion

We hope that the 15 York travel itineraries we have presented have given you a ew ideas of what to do in York the next time you are visiting.  There should be something for everyone but if not, send us some suggestions on our contact page, as we are always looking for new ideas for day trips to York.

More Information

Looking for something new to do in York?  Take a look at more of Yorks attractions and events in our other York tourism and travel information guides, you are bound to find something to make your day:

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