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10 Best Day Trips From York

by Helen
A train waiting by the platform at a busy York station

Perfectly positioned for visits to countryside retreats, coastal villages, top attractions and other exciting cities, there are some truly incredible day trips from York. Read on to discover the best day trips from York that you just can’t miss.

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York has all the ingredients you need for a great city break: it’s crammed full of culture, it has a fascinating history, enough bars and pubs for every day of the year, amazing food and friendly locals. But York also has something extra that only the best city breaks can offer.

The opportunity to go on some fantastic day trips.

Yes, that’s right. One of the reasons York is such an incredible choice for a city break is because not only is York itself such a brilliant place to visit, but it’s also right on the doorstep of so many other exciting cities, beautiful countryside locations, seaside towns and top attractions.

Read on as I tell you all about the very best day trips from York.

DAY TRIPS FROM YORK WITHOUT A CAR

York is such a compact city that you don’t really need to bring your car. The central location of the main train station in York means that it’s so easy just to arrive by train and either walk the short distance to your accommodation or take a taxi.

Just because you don’t have your car with you doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the many great day trips from York. There are plenty of ways to take day trips from York by public transport.

Day Trips from York by Train

It’s easy to do a number of day trips from York by train. Some of York’s neighbouring cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Durham are all very easily accessible by train.

Coach Trips from York

There are lots of different options for taking a day trip from York by coach or minibus. Many of the options listed in this article offer coach or minibus transport.

The beauty of taking minibus tours or coach trips from York is that you can often cram a lot more into your day. They’re great if you’re short on time, plus you have the benefit of an expert guide to tell you all about the places you’re visiting.

THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM YORK

Sheffield

VIEW OF THE PEACE GARDENS IN SHEFFIELD
Sheffield Peace Gardens
Image by Stanislav Hedvik from Pixabay

Sheffield is about 1.5 hours by train from York.

Sheffield has a completely different vibe to York making it a great option for a day trip from York.

Once a leading industrial powerhouse of the north, Sheffield is now more famous for its music (think Arctic Monkeys and Pulp), fabulous green spaces (there are over 13 woodland and garden parks to visit including the beautiful Peace Garden, Botanical Garden and the Sheffield Winter Garden), art galleries (check out the Millennium Gallery) and its shopping centre.

It’s a fantastic city with more than enough to keep you busy on a day trip from York.

Leeds

view of the corner of Leeds City Market against blue skies
Leeds City Market
Image by Dave Noonan from Pixabay

Leeds is around 30 minutes by train from York.

Leeds is the largest city in Yorkshire and is a really fun place to visit on a day trip from York.

Being a much bigger city, Leeds offers a completely different experience to York and it’s definitely a great place to spend some time.

Wander through the Victorian shopping arcades (check out Victoria Quarter) or spend some time browsing boutique shops in the Corn Exchange.

Explore the independent art galleries or take the Leeds Welcome Art Crawl and stop for some delicious street food at Kirkgate Market.

Enjoy the beautiful parks (make your way to Roundhay Park), take a stroll along the Leeds Liverpool canal, marvel at the stunning architecture of Leeds Minster (yes, Leeds has a Minster too!) or play giant chess or table tennis at Victoria Square.

There’s plenty to do to keep you entertained for at least a day!

Durham

view of Durham cathedral across the river
Durham – a perfect day trip from York
Image by Emphyrio from Pixabay

It usually takes just under an hour to travel to Durham from York by train.

In medieval times, pilgrims would flock to Durham Cathedral and there are still plenty of reasons to visit Durham today.

With its stunning cathedral, fairytale university campus, ancient castles and breezy coastlines, Durham may be a small city but it’s certainly got a lot going on.

Haworth

the main shopping street in Haworth on wet and grey day - the perfect day trip from York
Visit the quirky shops and tearooms in Haworth

Famous for its connection with the Bronte Sisters, Haworth is one of my favourite places in Yorkshire.

Here you’ll find cobbled streets and quirky shops, excellent pubs and many a tasty tea room. You can also visit the home of the Bronte sisters – famous for novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights – which proves a fascinating insight into their lives.

Visit at Christmas time if you really want to see the place come alive and get into the festive spirit – just make sure you wrap up warm!

Recommended Tour
The Bronte’s Parsonage Tour

Whitby

VIEW OF WHITBY HARBOUR TAKEN ON A DAY TRIP FROM YORK
Visit Whitby on a day trip from York
Image by Tim Hill from Pixabay

Whitby is another great day trip from York that I adore.

A picturesque coastal town, Whitby is famous for its amazing fish and chips (expect queues out the door for Hadley’s), steam train and, perhaps unexpectedly, for its connection with Dracula.

Whitby was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, and as such, you’ll find many a reference to Dracula around town. The Dracula Experience is worth a visit just for the pure hilarity of it (for 50p, don’t expect anything amazing – that’s part of the charm!). The town also hosts two goth weekends twice a year and a good few ghost walks.

It’s not all vampires and horror, however. There are boat trips, fantastic seafood, cosy pubs and beautiful abbey ruins with stunning views. Oh, and ice cream. Don’t forget to buy ice cream.

Recommended Tours
North York Moors and Whitby Tour from York

Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby & North York Moors Tour from York

Harrogate

Inside the Harrogate Spa
The ultimate R&R in the Harrogate Spa

If you’re after some true R&R then Harrogate is the place to go.

Harrogate is only around 30 minutes drive from York making it the perfect distance for a day trip from York.

Harrogate is a Victorian spa town and has the most exquisite Turkish Bath experience you can imagine. It’s worth the trip to Harrogate alone just to visit the traditional Turkish Baths.

Having said that, Harrogate is also a beautiful town to walk around with lots of independent shops, eateries and bars. If you haven’t managed to get to Betty’s Tea Rooms in York, make sure you pay a visit to Betty’s in Harrogate for a spot of afternoon tea or a fruity Fat Rascal.

Masham

Pretty Masham Village – The Black Sheep Brewery is well worth a visit!

Spend the day touring the Black Sheep Brewery and Theakston Brewery before heading out to explore the small independent shops in this quaint little village. If you want to carry on the alcohol theme, there is also a shop offering a gin making experience. The cute little sausage dog that lives in the shop is a happy bonus!

Masham is also a great base for some breath-taking walks, and if you visit at the weekend, you can catch the local market in the main square.

North York Moors

North York Moors looking beautiful in the mist - a great day trip from York
North York Moors looking beautiful in the mist

There is so much to do in the North York Moors that you’ll have to choose carefully when deciding what you want to do on your day trip from York!

Choose from pretty market towns, coastal walks, countryside hikes or horse riding over the heathered moorlands.

Take a trip on a steam train, discover castle ruins, see the Kilburn white horse, explore the peaceful Rievaulx Abbey, or take a trip around the filming locations of the TV show Heartbeat.

Spoilt for choice? I thought you might be!

If you want to try and fit a few things in, I’d recommend taking a tour.

Recommended Tours
Heartbeat TV Locations Tour of Yorkshire
Steam Train, Whitby and North Yorkshire Moors
North York Moors and Whitby Tour from York

The Lake District

view of derwent water in the lake district on a sunny day
Derwent Water, Lake District

The Lake District is an area of outstanding natural beauty nestled in the heart of Cumbria. You could spend an entire week here and only just dip your toe in (no lake pun intended!), so you’ll have to really map your day out if you want to make it worth your while coming here on a day trip from York.

In my opinion, the best way to see the Lake District on a day trip from York is to take a tour. That way, you’re not worried about the timings of public transport (to be honest, I’m not sure I’d even attempt public transport as an option if you only have a day to explore), or concerned about where to park your car (not to mention the added expense of parking).

If you’re set on seeing the Lake District (and I can totally understand why – it’s one of the most stunning places I’ve been to), this tour gives you a great introduction to the area. You’ll experience a lake cruise, explore the market town of Keswick, gaze out over stunning landscapes and visit a 4000 year old monolithic stone circle.

It’s a full 12 hours, but the beauty of a minibus tour is that you can have a little snooze in the back on the return journey to York if all that fresh air and sightseeing has worn you out!

Recommended Tours
From York: The Lake District Tour

Yorkshire Dales National Park

AYSGARTH FALLS
Aysgarth Falls
Image by Chris Pedley from Pixabay

The Yorkshire Dales is another of Britain’s beautiful National Parks. Like the Lake District, if you’re only planning on travelling here on a day trip from York, you need to have your activities planned out in advance to make the most of your day.

You’ll need a car for this one (it takes around 1.5 hours from York), but one of my favourite places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is Aysgarth Falls.

I’m not the only one who is fan of this stunning collection of waterfalls either. Renowned poet, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy also visited here around 200 years ago. Not only that, but these waterfalls also appeared as a stunning backdrop in a scene of the Hollywood movie, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

There is nature reserve running alongside the falls and there are several easy routes running through it. There is also a National Park Centre with a café and a car park at Aysgarth Falls making it a dream of a day trip from York.

Recommended Tours
The Yorkshire Dales Tour from York
Yorkshire Dales and Fountains Abbey from York

Other Day Trips From York

  • Saltaire – visit the model village of Saltaire, a World Heritage Site, and browse the exhibitions in Salts Mill
  • Eden Camp – a Second World War Museum housed in the remaining 33 huts of an old prisoner of war camp (skip the queue and buy your tickets in advance)
  • Scarborough – a classic English seaside resort. Think amusement arcades, sticks of rock and traditional fish and chips. There is also a Victorian funicular and a castle with fantastic coastal views (entry to the castle is included with the York Pass).
  • Castle Howard – a large stately home with magnificent landscaped gardens, nature walks and an amazing adventure playground (entrance fee included with the York Pass or you can buy your tickets in advance).

Want to stay in York after all?
Not sure what to do?
Check out my ULTIMATE guide to things to do in York!

MAKE USE OF THE YORK PASS

If you bought a York Pass, you can get free or discounted entry to many of the attractions around York.

If you didn’t buy one but are interested in taking a look, click the button below to find out more.

DAY TRIPS FROM YORK – WHERE WILL YOU VISIT?

I hope this post has given you some inspiration and you can now go ahead and plan your day trips from York.

If you’re considering a tour, click the button below to view a complete roundup of all the tours I’ve mentioned in this article.

As always, I’d love to hear from you so please do let me know if you choose to go on any of these fantastic day trips from York!

Want to plan a day trip from York? Click here for 10 of the best day trips from York including Haworth, the Lake District, Durham and more! #york #yorkshire #yorkdaytrip
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