What can I do on a day trip to York?
Are you thinking of taking a day trip to York? At Hunts Coaches we are often asked about the places we visit on day trips and short breaks. In this post we wanted to give some ideas of what you could see when arriving in York. Although we’re sure you will find many more of your own.
York is the very model of an English historical town, which is why the best things to do in York sometimes feel like a trip down history lane. When you take a day trip to York expect to see a quaint and pretty place filled with medieval streets, centuries-old fortifications and a grand Cathedral. It’s not hard to see why flocks of visitors from across the world venture this far north.
Best things to do in York
1 – The Ouse
What is it? York’s river, which cuts a path through the city before ultimately ending in the Humber Estuary.
Why go? The Ouse is a picturesque delight. There are riverside routes to walk along. You will see some of York’s local wonders from the Millenium bridge to Clifford’s Tower and make sure to amble through Rowntree Park next to the canal. A good way to really take it all in is on one of the regular boat tours or cruises.
2 – York Minster
What is it? York’s Cathedral, and one of the most striking in the country.
Why go? With its medieval stained-glass windows, glittering artefacts and stone buttresses, York Minster is a marvel. Down in the underground chambers, you can learn more about the area’s Christian history, which dates to Roman times. And if you’ve got the stamina, walk the 275 steps up to the central tower. This leads you to the highest point in York. Most of the tour guides are local history students and will fill you in on the most interesting parts of its story.
3 – York City Walls
What is it? Ancient fortified walls that once protected the city from outsiders.
Why go? The Romans did a lot for us Brits. They built roads, hot-water baths and left York with the longest medieval barrier in the country. Walking the full length of York’s city walls will take a couple of hours, especially if you stop to read the odd plaque and stop to take pictures.
4 – The Shambles
What is it? A narrow, winding, quaint street in York’s historical quarter that attracts visitors in their droves.
Why go? The Shambles, an Old English word for slaughterhouse. Many buildings in this street date back to the fourteenth century and still have butchers’ hooks out front. At first glance, you might wonder who erected these wonky, top-heavy timber-framed buildings. The overhang actually had a practical purpose: to protect the ‘wattle and daub’ walls below and stop the butcher’s meat from going off in the sunshine. For Harry Potter fans the street also houses some wizard inspired shops.
5 – Merchant Adventurers Hall
What is it? One of York’s medieval marvels. A completely hidden gemBuilt in the 14th century, this Grade I listed buildings was one of the biggest of its kind in Britain.
Why go? The Hall has an unusual combination of three rooms serving three different purposes: the Great Hall for business and social gatherings, the Undercroft for charity, and the Chapel for religious devotion. Home to many remarkable collections including ones of silver, furniture and paintings. The contents provide a glimpse into the rich history of the building and the people associated with it. The Hall remains the everyday base for the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the York and you are invited to discover the secrets of this unique guild hall and its 650 years of history.
6 – The Jorvik Viking Centre
What is it? A family favourite for any day trip to York. Take a trip back in time to the days of York under Danish rule and a center for historical education.
Why go? This is a chance to delve into York’s Scandi. In 866 (yes, York really is that ancient) the city surrendered to Danish invasion; this attraction gives a glimpse of what Viking life would have been like. With its moving carriages, life-size dioramas and ancient artefacts, it’s a real trip back in time. They also replicate the smells of the ninth century here and they can be pretty eye-watering.
7 – Clifford’s Tower
What is it? The ruined Norman keep at the center of York Castle.
Why go? Like lots of history, this tower’s name has rather gruesome roots: Roger de Clifford was hanged here for treason back in 1322. But it offers some spectacular views. Should you brace yourself and walk up to the hill’s summit, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of York Minster and the city and, on a clear day, you can see as far as the North York Moors national park.
8 – York Dungeon
What is it? A thrilling, immersive journey through the dark and grizzly parts of York’s past.
Why go? Just like its sibling venues across the UK and other parts of Europe, York dungeon delves into the murky side of history. With a boatload of (terrifying) actors, live shows, special effects and sets that evoke as much horror as history, it’s not for the faint-hearted. As you bravely shuffle through the dungeon you’ll come face to face with some of York’s most notorious characters (including criminals) before heading to the Tavern to calm your nerves. Plus, if you’re a fan of furry rodents, you can have a cuddle with some of the little guys at the Dungeon’s Rat Cafe.
9 – Yorks Chocolate Story
What is it? located in the heart of York, is an entertaining and informative guided tour through the history of York’s most famous chocolate-making families and their finest creations. You’ll discover chocolate’s origins, how to make it, how to taste it like an expert and even the sustainable future of chocolate.
Why go? Uncover a host of surprising secrets and fascinating facts behind York’s greatest chocolate products, from the Chocolate Orange to the globally famous Kit Kat. Once you’ve explored chocolate-making and its history, you can even shop for and indulge in chocolate to your heart’s content. There’s so much for you to enjoy and you could even have a go at decorating or making a chocolate lolly.
10 – National Railway Museum
What is it? A great place for transport enthusiasts like us.
Why go? Anyone with a passion for period dramas, history or design, will enjoy a trip to the National Railway Museum. The biggest railway museum in the UK. There are thousands of pieces of memorabilia, including real life trains that have long been out of service, mocked up stations and perfectly restored carriages, all of which are open to explore. You can also take a ride on the miniature railway outside.
Hopefully this list has given some inspiration for your next day trip to York. If you would like to join one of our regular trips with a selection of Lincolnshire pick up points Click Here.