Home Destination Guides York Walking Tours: The COMPLETE Guide

York Walking Tours: The COMPLETE Guide

by Helen
a street in York

From free tours to ghost tours and everything in between, there are so many York walking tours to choose from. I’ve scoured the internet for all the York walking tours I could find and put them all together in this handy guide for you to browse.

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

I love to take a walking tour whenever I arrive in a new city. You can learn so much about a place in a few hours and they’re a great way to get your bearings when you arrive somewhere new. Walking tours are generally run by local people too so you can quiz your guide for the best local tips and recommendations to make the best of your stay.

There are so many different types of York walking tours that I’m certain you’ll find something to enjoy.

Looking for more things to do in York? Check out my ULTIMATE Guide to York!


Cobbled road and the roadside curb just after rainfall

Want to take things at your own pace and stop for all the photographs without feeling like you’re holding the rest of the group up?

Have a specific historical focus in mind that you want the tour to focus on?

Want to choose where to start and end the tour and even pick the sights you see along the way?

Then a private York walking tour is the one for you!

There are SO MANY private York walking tours to choose from. Here’s a roundup of all the exclusive tours that are available in York.

Bespoke York -Private Walking Tour of the Walled City

An exclusive two hour tour York walking tour.

Explore York with your private guide as you take in the complete history of York from the beginnings of Christianity right through to its days as The Chocolate City.

Learn about York’s dealings with the Vikings and the Romans and how these significant events in history have shaped the city we see today.

York Walls Private Walking Tour

A 2-3 hour bespoke tour tailored to your interests.

The walk focuses on the city walls with their spectacular city views and fascinating medieval history, but this walk is free for you to customise as you please.

See areas often missed by tourists, stop off for refreshments in some of York’s best coffee shops, visit the most famous medieval street in the world and take a peek inside York Minster. Whatever you want to do, you can be sure that this will be a fun filled and truly personalised experience of York.

Private 2 Hour York Walking Tour

A fully customisable, 2 hour York walking tour.

The walk is completely tailored to your interests so just let your guide know what you want to see.

If you’re not sure, or you just want an overall York experience, your guide can create a perfect itinerary for you.

See York’s hidden gems as well as its top attractions, all whilst soaking up the historical atmosphere and learning about the city’s rich history and best kept secrets.

Private Viking Walk of York

A two hour private tour with your guide, Sigwulf.

If you want an in depth account of York’s days as a Viking city, then look no further.

Sigwulf will take you on a fascinating York walking tour and teach you things you never knew about how the Vikings influenced the city of York.

Learn about the deeds of famous Vikings such as Ivar the Boneless and discover the origins of those strange street names.

Don’t miss out on the chance to visit an authentic themed Viking bar, built right on top of an original Viking feasting hall!

Private Walking Tour of York

An exclusive 1.5 – 2 hour York walking tour.

Fully tailored to your specific needs and interests, choose your starting point anywhere in the city to begin your adventure.

Gain a fantastic overview of this fascinating city, which will take you on a journey through Roman history, Viking rule and chocolate heaven.

Private York Christmas Walking Tour

This 2 hour fully customisable tour is the ultimate festive treat!

York can get extremely busy at Christmas time but it’s also arguably when it’s at its most magical.

Navigate the crowds with your own private tour guide at your side, learning all about York’s rich and fascinating history and visiting famous landmarks and hidden gems.

Private Walking Tour: York City Highlights & York Minster

The longest of the private tours, this York walking tour is around 4 hours long.

Starting at York Railway Station, this tour packs in the best of York’s top attractions such as the Museum Gardens, Jorvik Viking Centre, The Shambles, Clifford’s Tower, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and finishes at York Minster.

Your ticket for York Minster is included and you can skip the queues to enjoy a private tour of the impressive gothic cathedral.

Private Historical Walking Tour of York

This tour gets great reviews on TripAdvisor.

With hotel pick up at any central location, this historical walking tour covers York’s history, culture, architecture and people, with content tailored specifically to your own interests.

Guides are knowledgable and enthusiastic historians who pride themselves on being able to answer any (York related!) question that’s thrown at them!


shadows on a wall of 4 people walking together

Generally a much cheaper option than a private tour, you can still get so much value from a group walking tour of York.

Just because you can’t choose the itinerary on a group York walking tour doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a York walking tour that suits your interests.

Just like the private York walking tours, there are a whole host of group walking tours to choose from.

Here is a complete roundup of all the available group walking tours of York.

York: A Harry Potter Themed Guided Tour of York

This two hour York walking tour is an absolute must for any Harry Potter fans.

A fun and interactive tour, your guide will entertain you with facts about Harry Potter as well as the history of York itself.

The tour promises quizzes and games with video clips of movie scenes, costume pieces and re-enactments. You’ll be taken to some Harry Potter themed sites as well as seeing and learning about some of York’s main historic attractions.

York: 1 Hour Evening Walking Tour

This one hour York walking tour allows you to soak up the history and charm of York after most of the other tourists have retreated back to their hotels for the night.

A great introduction to York’s colourful history, this tour will take you through the snickelways and backstreets to show you all of York’s main historical sites.

York Minster & City Walking Tour

This two hour walking tour offers a fantastic journey through York’s fascinating history with entrance to York Minster included.

Most of the tour guides are history students from York University, and their enthusiasm and knowledge about their subject will shine through.

Dig deep into York’s history and marvel at the stunning architecture whilst exploring all the major historic landmarks in the city.

Best of York on Foot

A fantastic introductory tour of the city, this 1.5 hour York walking tour is a great option for those wanting an overview of York and its history.

Visit St. Mary’s Abbey, Museum Gardens, York Minster (tickets not included), Stonegate and the Shambles whilst learning about York’s rich history along the way.

Instagrammable York History Experience

Definitely one for the photographers out there, this tour is the perfect mix of history, culture and Instagram worthy backdrops.

With a focus on capturing York at its best, your guide, John promises to take you off the beaten track and show you parts of York that you might otherwise have missed.

With a keen eye for photography, he limits the tours to 10 people so he can create an intimate experience and ensure you capture the perfect shot.

The Bloody Tour of York

See a different side to York on this enjoyable hour and a half walking tour of York’s gruesome past.

Mixing entertainment with education, your guide will teach about the bloody past of York’s top landmarks in this fun alternative city tour.  If you fancy a twist on the traditional historic walking tour, this one is for you!

The Bloody York Gin Tour with Mad Alice

This two hour York walking tour combines history and gin to create the perfect introduction to the city.

With three samples of gin thrown into the mix, you’ll explore the Shambles, see the imposing York Minster and learn some gruesome tales of York’s bloody past.


2 pairs of feet, one wearing black Converse High Tops and the other wearing maroon pumps, walking on flagstones

If you prefer to explore independently but would still like a bit of guidance, then you might like to check out an audio walking tour of York.

Romans, Vikings and Medieval Marvels Walking Audio Tour by Voicemap

VoiceMap is a unique city guide which uses your smartphone’s GPS alongside the VoiceMap app to guide you around the city at your own pace entirely. If your data is restricted, the VoiceMap app will also work offline.

If you were to take the tour in one go, it would last around 1 hour 15 minutes, but you can stretch this one out for as long as you like. Stop for a coffee when you want, visit a museum if it takes your fancy, jump on a river cruise if you feel the need. The app, and the rest of your tour, will be waiting for you when you’re ready to pick it back up again.

A Fatal Feud – An Immersive Treasure Hunt – Style Murder Mystery – The Secret City

Based on a real murder trial that took place around 1491, this immersive treasure hunt style adventure offers you a different way to explore York and see the major sites.

Riddles are sent to you via a smartphone app for you to solve as you explore York and take in the incredible historic sites around you.

There are two optional pub breaks along the way, and help is at hand if you need some help or find yourself lost. Your progress is also timed so it’s a great way for groups of friends to challenge each other!


A signpost outside the York Minster
which way next?

As well as the options that require you to pay upfront, there are also a number of ‘free’ York walking tours available.

I’ve been on many a free walking tour in cities all over the world. I’ve had some great experiences and some experiences that have left me just wanting to run away at the first opportunity! It can be a bit of a gamble but thankfully, it’s usually worked out ok for me.

Although these York walking tours are technically free, there is the expectation that you will offer a donation to your guide at the end of the tour based on what you feel the tour was worth. I always have an idea of what a paid walking tour would have cost and base my donation around that. If you do it this way, you won’t necessarily end up paying much less for a free tour than you would for one of the paid options, but doing it this way seems fair to me.

Here is a list of the all the available free walking tours in York.

Association of Voluntary Guides to the City of York – this tour really does appear to be free in the true sense of the word. The website states there is really no need to offer a tip at the end!

Footprints 2 Hour Free Walking Tour of York

White Rose York


tour guide on the ghost tour telling a ghost story
The Original Ghost Tour

Being a city with such a gruesome past, there is little wonder that there are many tales of ghosts and ghouls which haunt the streets of York.

Capitalising on this, there are several different ghost walks that take place around the city in the evening.

I really enjoyed the Original York Ghost Tour during my recent short break in York. It was just the right mixture of informative, entertaining and spooky.

I’ve put together a list of all the ghost tours available in York.

The Original Ghost Walk of York

Shadow of York Ghost Walk – voted best small attraction in York

Ghost Hunt of York

The Ghost Trail of York

Ghost Creeper

Ghost Keeper


There are other ways to see York that don’t involve so much walking. If you want to give your feet a rest, take a look at some of these other options for tours in York.

York & Yorkshire – Full Day Guided Walking and Minibus Tour

Guided Cycling Tour of York

York Hop On Hop Off Bus


That just about concludes my complete guide to York walking tours!

As you can see, there are plenty to choose from and you’re almost guaranteed to find something that suits both your interests and your budget.

Which York walking tour will you choose? Drop me a message and let me know!

A York walking tour is a fantastic way to see the city. Click here for a roundup of the best York walking tours available! #york #yorkshire
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