York is absolutely my favourite city in the UK! We lived in York in our twenties and even now we are parents we keep returning to York as it is a great city to visit with kids! Over the years of frequent weekend breaks in York and the greater Yorkshire area we think we have perfected the ideal York 48 hour itinerary to help you have an awesome weekend in the city! But on our last few visits we have had a bit more time to play with and have started in embracing days trips from York. In this guide but if you have a bit longer to explore the area you might one to consider one of these best day trips from York!
Best City Day Trips from York
Another place we have lived in Yorkshire is Hull and in my opinion it is one of the most underrated cities in the whole of the UK! I am not sure why it has such a bad reputation because it is actually a really beautiful city with a beautiful Georgian Quarter, fantastic museums and for those travelling with children a world class aquarium in the Deep!
While there you must try the fish and chips at Bob Carvers – this place is an institution in Hull and are in my opinion the best fish and chips in the whole of the UK!
My ideal day in Hull starts at the Deep, followed by a wander along the sea front and then onto lunch before finally seeing some culture in the museums.
There are a variety of museums to choose from my personal favourites are the archaeology museum and the Streetlife Transport museum – particularly great for those travelling with kids! But on top of that there is a world class art museum at the Ferens Art Gallery, a maritime museum and also a museum dedicated to the life of William Wilberforce – the man responsible for the abolition of slavery in the UK!
Hull can be reached from York by car or by train. There is a car park next to The Deep which is reasonably priced and close to the main attractions or it takes around an hour by train which arrives in the centre of the city!
For a full article on the amazing things to do in Hull check out this post!
Leeds – a great city day trip 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! On the train it only takes around 25 minutes and the station is very centrally located. Although we have never lived in York, I have worked in the city and like to think I know how to show it at its best to tourists!
Leeds is great for culture vultures and shopaholics alike! There are some great shopping attractions in Leeds such as the beautiful Corn Exchange – renowned for its boutique shops and also the large Kirkgate Covered Market! But my favourite shopping venue in Leeds is the Victoria Arcade. I love the Victorian arcades around the country to wonder through as I just live the architecture!
If shopping isn’t your thing then there are lots of museums in Leeds to visit. The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is home to one of the largest sculpture galleries in Europe, while the Leeds City Museum (admittance free) offers a unique insight into the city and its past.
A slightly further walk out of town is the Royal Armouries Museum. The armouries museum is a must for military history nuts. Highlights of the collection include Henry VIII armour!
For those that have decided to use a car or are happy to jump on the bust there a few more out of town museums to visit including the Abbey House Museum – a social history museum about Leeds which can be coupled with a visitor to its neighbour – Kirkstall Abbey – a ruined monastery, or the Temple Newsam Museum.
Ok, it’s a town not a city but I’m counting it here anyway! Harrogate is a beautiful Georgian spa town and must for any visitor to the town is to take a dip in the famous Turkish Baths!
And if you haven’t had chance to visit it while in York, why not go to the famous Betty’s tea room for afternoon tea!
Best Seaside Day Trips from York
Fancy heading to the beach from York. Here we round up the best and closest beaches to York that are perfect for a day trip! The beaches here are listed in closeness to York. For those interested in doing a road trip across North Yorkshire beaches and dependent on time you have I would do them in this or reverse order!
Personally I prefer to visit the beaches when we have a car but many are doable via public transport!
Scarborough is an easily accessible beach town from York! In the car it takes around an hour to drive to but parking can be a little tricky however if you want to visit more than one beach in a day then this is your best bet. If you are only heading to Scarborough however the easiest way to get to the town is probably by train and it only takes 45 minutes and takes you right into the centre of the town!
Scarborough is a classic seaside town with classic British seaside entertainment. On top of that there is a fabulous castle to wonder around.
Robin Hoods Bay
Robin Hoods Bay is a 30 minute drive from Scarborough and is one of the most beautiful coves on the North Yorkshire coast! It is a small fishing village and expect a steep walk down to the village and cove!
Whitby is one of my favourite places along the North Yorkshire Coast! Most famous for its Dracula connections, the abbey that towers above the town is a must for any visit to the town! To get to the abbey there is a steep almost 200 step climb up the hillside! There is a fee to enter the Abbey but you can walk around the outside of it for free! Be sure to stop at Russell’s Traditional Fish and Chip shop for a traditional British seaside meal!
This is probably as far North as I would go for a day trip from York but Staithes is a beautiful seaside village! Famous for two things – most notably being the birthplace of Captain Cooke but for parents who are forced to watch Cbeebies – it is the home of Captain Jack from Old Jack’s Boat! The village is perhaps one of the most photogenic on the North Yorkshire coast and has a small but lovely sandy beach.
On top of that children will love watching the working fishing port!
Best Day Trips From York for History Lovers
One of the closest places to go on a day trip from York! The Castle can be explored on the inside but also has extensive gardens to be explored which means you can really spend a whole day here!
It is a misnomer that it is a castle as it is actually a stately home but a seriously grand one!
For film buffs you may recognise the castle as the setting for the adaption of Brideshead revisited!
Notes: This day trip is best reached by car and will take you about 30 minutes by car from the centre of York!
You can buy your tickets online for Castle Howard here!
Day in Beverley
This is one of my favourite small towns in Yorkshire! If you haven’t had enough of old buildings and quaint Yorkshire towns in York then you will want to head to Beverley! The town also has a lovely Minster – not as large as York’s but worthy of a visit none the less! The Beverley Minster isn’t a cathedral and is free to enter as an added bonus!
If possible I would recommend visiting on a Saturday or a Wednesday as these are the days the Beverly markets are held!
Also be sure to stop at the White Horse Inn – the oldest pub in Beverly having been around since the 1600s! The pub is lit by gas light should make it onto your one day Beverley itinerary!
There are no direct trains to Beverly from York so the best option to drive or take the X46 bus!
As a teenager one of my favourite books was ‘Wuthering Heights’ so one of my all time favourite day trips from York is to Haworth on a Bronte Sisters pilgrimage! Haworth is the home of the Bronte Sisters and now you can visit the Bronte Parsonage where Emily Bronte’s father worked!
The Parsonage is now a museum dedicated to the sisters and is well worth a visit to find out more about the life of these incredible women!
For my British readers you may recognise the town of Haworth from the old Warburton adverts! The winding old street that runs down the centre of Haworth is picture perfect and a truly Yorkshire gem!
Founatins abbey is certainly worthy of a day trip as it has been designated a UNESO world heritage site. The abbey is 12 miles north of Harrogate so could be combined with a day trip to Harrogate from York!
North York Moors Railway
The North York Moors Railway is iconic in Yorkshire and can be rides from Pickering to Whitby! The train steams long 18 miles of track through the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside!
You don’t have to ride the full length of the track however depending on how long you have! Depending on your time and inclination this could either be a full or half day trip!
This is also a must for Harry Potter fans visiting Yorkshire as the station at Goetheland was used as the station at Hogsmeade in the first installment of the movie franchise!
For more great filming locations to visit in the UK check out this post!
Countryside Day Trips From York
Holmfirth and the Pennines
If you are willing to travel a bit further via car then a perfect countryside day trip is to the quaint town of Holmfirth nestled in the Pennine Hills! Holmfirth is famous as the setting of the classic British sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, and visitors to the town can have tea in Sid’s Cafe or the Wrinkled Stocking Tearoom (the home of lead character Nora Batty).
However, if you like me aren’t a fan of the sitcom, Holmfirth and the Pennines is a great place to head out into the countryside and take in some outdoor pursuits. There are some great countryside walks such as Diggeley Reservoir, and some nearby fantastic pubs for lunch – our favourite is the Fleece at Holme!
And if you like cycling then this is a great place for you as the ascent to Holme Moss was used as a stage in the Tour de Yorkshire!
This is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life!
Best Organised Day Tours from York
While some of the day trips listed above are possible to do on public transport others do require a car. If you are travelling to York without a car then below are some of the best organised day tours from York that you can take!
- Organised North Yorkshire Moors Day Trip
- Haworth and the North Yorkshire Moors Day Trip
- Yorkshire Dales Day Trip
- Robin Hoods Bay and Whitby Day Tour from York
- Fountains Abbey Day Trip
What is your favourite day trip from York? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!