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How to Spend 1 Day in York

How to Spend 1 Day in York

One of England’s greatest ancient and medieval cities, York boasts a rich Roman and Viking heritage and long lineup of historical monuments, all entangled in a web of cobbled streets and narrow lanes. If you only have a day to experience this sight-packed city, here’s how to see and do it all. 

Morning: Round Up the Sights

Make the most of the morning with a York Pass: a sightseeing card that covers entry to 30 top attractions, including York’s medieval showpieces. Buy a 1-day pass and use it to visit must-sees such as 13th-century York Minster or Clifford’s Tower, the last remaining turret of York Castle. The pass also includes a hop-on-hop-off-bus ticket, which lets you cruise easily between the city’s sights and hop off at any of the 20 stops of interest. If all this sounds overwhelming for a single morning, keep things simple with just a hop-on hop-off tour, walking or cycling excursion, or a cruise on the River Ouse. 

Afternoon: Walls, Dungeons, and Chocolate

This afternoon, focus on the city’s second-tier attractions, perhaps using a York Pass—if applicable—for free entry. Prebook a skip-the-line visit to York Dungeon and trace the city’s dark history through exhibits that spotlight its violent Viking era, plague outbreaks, executions, and more. Alternatively, stride along York’s centuries-old walls on a private tour, or uncover its Norse heritage on a Viking-themed walk. Otherwise, lighten the tone at York’s Chocolate Story: unwrapping the city’s chocolate-making credentials and sampling the creations of its chocolatiers.

Evening: Scenic Boats and Spooky Buses

After a busy day’s sightseeing, slow the tempo with a sundown cruise along the River Ouse. Sail this historical waterway as it winds in and out of the old city: passing medieval towers and peaceful countryside as the sun sinks below the horizon. Otherwise, add a spooky twist to the evening by jumping on a vintage-bus ghost tour. Settle onto a lantern-lit double-decker to seek out York’s creepy corners, such as highwayman Dick Turpin’s grave, all as you learn about eerie local legends and ghoulish sightings.

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10 Tours and Activities | All York Tours

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Ghost Bus Tour of York

Ghost Bus Tour of York

star-4.5
Delve into the dark recesses of York’s history on this evening ghost bus tour. With your spooky local guide, visit notorious local haunts of restless spirits, and pass eerie sites such as York Minster, Clifford’s Tower, and the grave of Dick Turpin, infamous highwayman and murderer. Throughout the tour, hear anecdotes and fascinating facts about York’s grisly past, and make key stops for a closer look at the city’s most haunted buildings. 
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.42
From
$24.42
Taking safety measures

York's Chocolate Story Entrance Ticket and Guided Tour

York's Chocolate Story Entrance Ticket and Guided Tour

star-4.5
Perfect for the palates of chocolate aficionados, this experience allows you to discover the history of chocolate in the historic heart of York. Guarantee your entry to York’s Chocolate Story and explore three floors dedicated o the sweet treat: alongside your guide, take an interactive journey through York’s chocolate history and watch a chocolate-making demonstration. This family-friendly, small-group tour is limited to 15 people to maintain an intimate atmosphere.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$18.92
From
$18.92
Taking safety measures

York Walls Private Walking Tour

York Walls Private Walking Tour

star-5
Uncover the medieval marvels of historic York on a bespoke walking tour with a private guide. Learn about York’s rich history as you walk around the centuries-old walls, pose for photos with a backdrop of the city or visit the wall museums (not included). Your private tour is yours to customize as you please, so you could also pay a visit to York Castle, stroll down the atmospheric The Shambles or take a peek inside the magnificent York Minster.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$74.61
Price varies by group size
From
$74.61
Price varies by group size

Private Viking Walk of York

Private Viking Walk of York

star-5
Learn about York's history and legends on a 2-hour Viking walking tour with a private guide, Sigwulf. You'll walk through town to see historical landmarks and listen to stories from the Viking days. Departure time is flexible to suit your preferences.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$74.61
Price varies by group size
From
$74.61
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Ouse River Sightseeing Cruise in York

Ouse River Sightseeing Cruise in York

star-4.5
See the historic city of York from a different perspective during a 45-minute or 1-hour cruise on the Ouse River. Relax during a leisurely sail, accompanied by commentary that details the history and culture of York, and enjoy unobstructed views of landmarks such as Clifford’s Tower and the York Museum and Gardens. Choose from several departure times to suit your schedule.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$14.24
From
$14.24
Taking safety measures

York Walking Tour including York Minster

York Walking Tour including York Minster

star-5
Delve into England’s colorful history and admire architecture dating back to the Middle Ages on this morning or afternoon York walking tour. Follow a guide through the streets of York and discover landmarks including Bedern Hall, Clifford’s Tower, Fairfax House, King’s Manor, the Multangular Tower, St. Mary’s Abbey, Stonegate, and St. William’s College. Hear how Emperor Constantine, Guy Fawkes, and Richard III shaped modern York, and learn of the English Reformation as you explore York Minster.
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  • 2 hours
From
$26.94
From
$26.94

Ouse River 1-Hour Early Evening Cruise from York

Ouse River 1-Hour Early Evening Cruise from York

star-4.5
See the historic city of York from a different perspective during an Ouse River cruise. Setting off in the early evening, sail past ancient landmarks and quaint riverside villages, all the while learning about the area’s Roman and Viking heritage. Keep warm in the heated saloon, where alcoholic drinks, warm beverages, and snacks can be purchased at your own expense.
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  • 1 hour
  • Taking safety measures
From
$15.60
From
$15.60
Taking safety measures

City Sightseeing York Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing York Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4.5
Journey back in time on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of York, England’s quintessential medieval town. Your flexible 24-hour ticket enables you build a custom itinerary of York’s main attractions such as The Stonebow, Clifford’s Tower, Museum Gardens and more. With unobstructed views from the open-top viewing deck and 20 possible stops around town, you have the best of the city at your fingertips.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.70
From
$21.70
Taking safety measures

Guided Bike Tour in York

Guided Bike Tour in York

star-5
With beautiful architecture and medieval history, York is widely considered among England’s must-see cities—but pounding the sidewalks on foot takes time and effort. On this tour, hop into the saddle and spin through the city streets by bicycle, and hit top attractions like York Minster with ease. Follow safe routes inside and outside the ancient city walls, with your guide bringing York’s colorful Roman and Viking history to life.
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  • 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$34.24
From
$34.24

70-Minute York Evening River Cruise

70-Minute York Evening River Cruise

star-3.5
Set sail on a romantic evening cruise along the Ouse River and see York’s historic landmarks from the water. Sip a glass of Prosecco or non-alcholic beverage (depending on the ticket option) as you glide past the illuminated city skyline, and admire the riverside parks and buildings lit up by the boat’s floodlights.
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$20.35
From
$20.35
Taking safety measures