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Best Day Trips from York UK by car or train!

Best Day Trips from York UK by car or train!

Are you looking for the best day trips from York UK to take? I love a day trip and having lived in York, I took a lot from the city both by car and train. In this guide we will round up the best easy day trips to take from York with info and tips on the best way to do them.

Now York is a great city and it is easy to spend a long weekend in the city alone, however if you have a longer York itinerary you may want to add a day trip into the mix. 

York is a very easy city to travel to via public transport, and much of the city centre is pedestrianised so we know that not every visitor will have access to a car. For this reason we have split our day trips into those that can be taken by car and those that can be done easily via public transport both via train and bus. 

Easy Day Trips to Take from York by Train 

Most of the day trips that can be done via public transport will be done by train. Where they are also doable by bus we will note it. 

The train station in York is in the centre of the city. And if you are staying in central accommodation and are fit you will be able to walk to the station to catch your train.  

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Hull is one of the closest cities to York but is often overlooked by many Yorkshire tourists but it really is worth a visit and has something on offer for all sorts of travelers. 

Hull is great for cultural tourists as it is a city that is full of amazing museums with something on offer for all interests. The Ferens Art Gallery has some great artworks on display as well as a great program of temporary exhibitions.

But other highlights include:

  • The William Wilberforce House – a museum dedicated to the life of William Wilberforce, Hull’s famous anti-slavery campaigner, 
  • Street Life – a museum dedicated to transport, 
  • Hull Maritime Museum – shipping was previously the main trade of the city and this museum tells the story of the trade that went in and out of the city, 
  • Hull & East Riding Museum – a museum dedicated to archaeology 
  • Hands On History – a social history museum with lots of interactive experiences and 
  • the Spurn Lightship and Arctic Corsair, two ships that you can actual board. 

But if museums aren’t your thing there are plenty of other things to do. Whenever I am in York with kids, I head over to Hull, another of my favorite cities to visit with kids in the UK, to visit the Deep, an amazing aquarium that the whole family will enjoy. 

For lunch, our favorite place to head is to the famous Bob Carver’s fish and Chips. It is an institution in Hull and is a must for any visitor to the city.

How to do a day trip from York to Hull: Personally I always find it easiest to travel to Hull from York by train. Both stations are centrally located and are easy to reach the main tourist attractions from and only takes around an hour each way. 

Alternatively you can reach Hull by car. I usually book car parking near the Deep. 


View of the empty Victorian shopping arcade in Leeds UK

Best day trips from York by train

The other nearby city worth visiting is Leeds and is a city that is great for shopaholics and culture vultures alike. 

One of the reasons I love Leeds is the great shopping. Not only does it have a large shopping centre but some amazing independent shops at the Corn Exchange and the Kirkgate Covered Market. These are beautiful Victorian shopping arcades that are beautiful but also great for buying Yorkshire souvenirs. 

But if shopping isn’t your thing, Leeds is also home to lots of amazing museums such as the free Leeds City Museum, the amazing Henry Moore Institute, one of Europe’s largest sculpture galleries. and the Royal Armouries Museum which is a must for military history fans. A highlight for me here is seeing the armour of Henry VIII. 

How to do a day trip to Leeds from York: Leeds can be reached by car or train, but parking in the city centre can be difficult and expensive so I would recommend visiting from York via train. The train to Leeds only takes around 25 minutes and the station is very centrally located. 


View of the railway viaduct over river nidd in Knaresborough

Best day trips from York UK

Harrogate is a beautiful Yorkshire town that can be reached in 45 minutes or less from central York. Harrogate is famous for being a spa town and during the Victorian era people would head there to bath in the healing water. Even today one of the best things to do in Harrogate is to head to the Turkish Baths for a spa day. 

We also love to stop at Betty’s for an afternoon tea. Although there is a Betty’s in York, I prefer the one in Harrogate. The Betty’s in Harrogate is actually the original one and I find the experience to be more enjoyable and slightly less crowded than at the York branch. 

It is also worth combining a day trip to Harrogate with the nearby town of Knaresborough which is known its stunning views and the viaduct that runs over the river nidd. 

Best way to reach Harrogate from York: Harrogate can be easily reached by a direct train from York in around 30 minutes or driven in around 45 minutes dependent on traffic. 


Scarborough view of boats and ferris wheel

Scarborough – best beach day trips from York

If you are visiting York in Summertime you may want to do a day trip to a beach. There are actually lots of beaches that are accessible from York but one of the most popular destinations is Scarborough. 

Scarborough is a classic British seaside town and gets really busy in summer. We recommend arriving early to get a good spot on the beach, and after a day being spent on the beach we love to indulge in fish and chips and an ice cream. 

For those that want to add something cultural to your seaside visit you can walk up the very steep hill to visit Scarborough Castle, an abandoned medieval royal fortress. 

How to get to Scarborough from York: although York is accessible by both car and train, we recommend heading to Scarborough by train especially in Summer. In Summer Scarborough gets really busy and it can be hard to find parking unless you arrive very, very early. For this reason we recommend going to Scarborough via train. 

Best Day Trips from York UK by Car

North Yorkshire moors railway

View of the North York Moors Steam train approaching a station

Best Day trips from York by car

York is a great place for train lovers. The National Railway Museum in York is a must, but for those with more time on their hands I recommend heading out into the beautiful Yorkshire countryside to Pickering to visit the North York Moors Railway.

This train route is iconic and steams through 18 miles of beautiful North Yorkshire countryside and picturesque villages from Pickering to Whitby. You can choose to ride the full length of track or just part but we recommend doing the full trip. 

Depending on what time of year you are traveling it is worth looking out for special themed steam train rides such as an afternoon tea ride, Santa train and more. 

Also if you are traveling with a Harry Potter fan you are going to want to watch out for the Goetheland Station stop. Fas of the film franchise will recognise it from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where it served as Hogsmeade station. 

How to get to North Yorks Moors Railway – to get to the Pickering station of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway you will need a car. From central York it takes around 45 minutes. 

Castle Howard

View of castle Howard with river in foreground

Castle Howard day trip from York

Castle Howard is one of the most beautiful stately homes in the UK and took over 100 years to build. It has been the residence of the Howard Family for 8 generations but today is open for the public to explore the house and also the grounds including the gardens, follies and fountains. 

Fans of the hit Netflix series Bridgerton will also recognise Castle Howard as it was the filming location for Simon Hasting’s home Clyvedon Castle. 

How to get to Castle Howard from York: despite being only 13 miles from York, Castle Howard is really only accessible by car. In a car it takes less than 30 minutes to drive to Castle Howard and there is ample parking on site.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Railway viatduct in Yorkshire Dales

York itinerary

The Yorkshire Dales is the first of two National Parks that are easy day trips from York. (Note: The Peak District is also reachable from York howeverI think this makes for quite a long day trip and would advise doing a weekend trip from York to the Peak District instead). 

The Yorkshire Dales are full of quaint villages and amazing hiking trails so if you love the outdoors this is the day trip for you. The Yorkshire dales are not accessible by train but there are some buses servicing the area. However we recommend using a car to get the most out of this day trip.

Visit the North York Moors

View of Fountains Abbery

Day trip to Fountains Abbey from York

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is one of the best places to visit  for nature lovers in Yorkshire. Covering a huge 554 square mile / 1,430 km it is an amazing place to go hiking near York. 

Some of our favorite villages to visitare: 

  • Helmsley 
  • Malton and 
  • Pickering (we go here to pick up the North Yorks Moors Railway to Whitby). 

One of our favorite attractions to visit in the North York Moors is the ruined Rievaulx Abbey. It is a great place to visit if you love history and makes for some stunning photographs. 

How to see the North Yorkshire Moors from York: although there are some buses and of course the North Yorkshire Railways here the North Yorkshire Moors are really only accessible to those with a car. 


Again if you love British literature then you can’t visit Yorkshire without visiting Haworth. Haworth was home to the world’s most famous literary sisters, The Bronte sisters who wrote classics such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. 

In Haworth you can for to the Bronte Parsonage, a musesum dedicated to the sisters as well as take a height up to Top Witherns, which was the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.

How to get to Haworth from York: Haworth can only be reached by car and takes around an hour and a half. 

Robin Hoods Bay

Robin Hood’s bay is one of my favorite beaches in North Yorkshire and one of the most beautiful coastal towns, however it is only accessible to those with a car. Robin Hoods Bay is a beautiful fishing village, that is lovely to walk around as well as spending time on the beach. 

From York, it takes around an hour and 15 minutes to drive the Bay. We recommend arriving early if you plan on coming here in summer as parking is very limited. 


The seaside town of Whitby is another great classic British seaside resort town. The beach is beautiful here but those that love British  literature, will want to make a pilgrimage up to the famous Whitby Abbey and St. Mary’s Church which is renowned for its Dracula connection. In fact the town actually has a Dracula convention every year. 

But be warned it is a steep walk up to the abbey with almost 200 steps to climb but it is worth it for the view of the town and beautiful countryside. 

Other musts in town including boarding the replica of the Endeavor ship, the shop Captain Cook sailed to Australia on and visiting the Captain Cook Museum. 

Whitby is also famed for its seafood, and is particular known for it’s scampi. My favorite place to eat this in Whitby is at Russell’s Traditional Fish and Chip Shop which has won many awards for its seafood but there are lots of amazing seafood places in the town.

How to get to Whitby from York: there is no direct train to Whitby from York so you are best traveling there by car. It takes around 1 hour 20 minutes. Again, if you are visiting in summer we advise heading there early in the day as there is limited parking. 


Staithes - best day tour from York

This is probably as far North as I would go for a day trip from York in a car. However I think Staithes is worth the drive. Staithes is a beautiful seaside village that is famous for being the birthplace of Captain Cooke. But parents of toddlers and small children will also recognise it as the home of Captain Jack from the Cbeebies classic series Captain Jack’s boat.

In my opinion it is one of the most photogenic villages in North Yorkshire. 


Beverly is another beautiful Yorkshire town that is great for a day trip from York. The town has a beautiful Minster, and while it is not as large as York Minster it is still worth a visit. Also it is free to enter, unlike the York counterpart which is great if you are on a budget. 

If you can time your visit to Beverly to be on a Saturday or Wednesday we would recommend it so you can visit the Beverly street markets while there. 

How to get to Beverly from York: Beverly is a short drive from York or can be reached by taking the X46 bus.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is well worth a visit. Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruins of a Cistercian Monastery in England from its dissolution during the reign of Henry VIII. 

The abbey is 12 miles north of Harrogate so could be combined with a day trip to Harrogate from York. 

How to get to Fountains Abbey from York: Fountains Abbey is not reachable by public transport but is only just over an hours drive away. 

Best Organised Day Tours from York

We have listed the above day trips into groups over whether they can be reached via public transport or car. However if you are looking for an organised excursion then there are plenty of options too: 

What is your favourite day trip from York? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!