Our One Day Itinerary offers a basic introduction to the feel and history of the city. With two days, you have the option of taking in more places, and to complement that with guided tours, according to taste. You can also, of course create your own individual York experience with the help of our Itinerary Building Guide.
Guided Walking Tour
There are a number of guided tours available: see our Tours Guide.
• The free guided walking tour with voluntary guides (2-3 hours) leaves from in front of the Art Gallery at 10.15.
• Alternatively join one of the YorkWalk tours with 11/2 – 2 hour long themed walks (Essential York / Roman York / Snickelways Tour) outside Museum Gardens gates at 10.30 am.
(Both guided tours also offer an afternoon alternative if you prefer it.)
Before that, apart from enjoying a leisurely breakfast and stroll round the city, the nearby Tourist Information Office may be worth a visit to start your trip.
Tip For cyclists there is another take on the city tour: Two companies offer guided bike tours. (See our York Tours Itinerary Guide.)
Walking tours generally finish near the Shambles. Convenient places for a light lunch would be at one of the cafés in Fossgate, or walk along Fossgate to Walmgate, where the excellent, informal Sardinian restaurant Il Paradiso del Cibo awaits. Carry on a little further and you will find quality vegetarian lunches and snacks at Bicis y mas.
For an alfresco alternative, make your way to Henshelwood’s Deli near the markets. (Deans Park behind the minster is a good picnicing spot.) Vegan Goji near the minster on Goodramgate would also be a convenient option.
If your tour finishes near Museum Gardens, The Star Inn the City would be a great place for a leisurely lunch.
After lunch would be a good time to view the minster. You could follow the guided tour provided as part of the admission charge, or follow our suggested tour route and pages to guide yourself. Don’t forget to take a short walk round the exterior of the building, before, or after your visit.
Tip Your admission ticket is good for further visits for a year, so you can spread your minster experience over more than one visit.
Tip If your group includes children, don’t forget to pick up a free backpack young minster explorers kit to enhance the visit.
Tip If you have a head for heights, and are not daunted by the thought of climbing the stone steps, buy a combo ticket with the roof visit included.
===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.
A short visit to hidden little Holy Trinity Goodramgate makes quite a contrast after the grand cathedral. (To get to Goodramgate, walk beyond the minster visitor entrance at the south door, and past the Minster School.)
After Holy Trinity, it’s a short walk to Monk Bar (with its optional Richard III experience). This is a good place to start a short exploration of the Walls in the minster area, back round the minster towards Bootham Bar. You’ll find a description of the route in our Walls Walk itinerary.
Having finished your walk at Bootham Bar, this would be a good opportunity for a well-deserved afternoon tea. Options: round the corner in Gillygate, there’s Café No. 8 bistro (who also run the café in the nearby Art Gallery, if you decide to visit it.) A five minute walk down Stonegate would take you to the famed Betty’s Tea Rooms, either in Stonegate itself, or at their main café at the end of Stonegate in St Helen’s Square.
Following tea, you could visit either the Art Gallery or take a leisurely stroll and take in the Yorkshire Museum. (NB You might need to reschedule your afternoon slightly – or even forgo afternoon tea – if you want to visit, however, as both gallery and museum close around 5pm.)
For a relaxing dinner in the minster area, try French Rustique, either in Lendal or in Castlegate, or the ever creative The Star Inn the City. Betty’s is usually open till around 9pm, with piano music on some evenings. For a lively and informal meal City Screen is popular with locals and visitors alike. For a pub meal, there are a number of pubs near the minster, on High Petergate and Stonegate.
If however, you’re still up for an evening walk, a quick meal and one of the entertaining Ghost Walks mentioned in our Tours Guide might be a memorable part of your total York experience.
The second day focuses on some of the attractions of the city round the Castle area, with the option of including a boat tour or a visit to the National Railway Museum.
Castle and Station Areas
Jorvik Viking Museum – Cliffords Tower – Castle Museum + Merchant Adventurers’ Hall / Boat Tour / DIG / National Railway Museum
There is often queueing for admission at later times of the day at the popular Jorvik Viking Centre, so either pre-book a time, or start the day with your visit there. (Note, though, that due to flooding this is undergoing renovation in 2015). Round the corner is Cliffords Tower (Follow the passageway from the Coppergate shopping centre by the side of Fenwick’s department store.) A visit to the keep will not take more than an hour, but provides good views over the city.
Across the way is the Castle Museum, a favourite of both adults and children for its take on social history.
Families appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the Spurriergate Centre (five minutes away from the Castle Museum). Cafés on Fossgate are also nearby for a light lunch.
For your final afternoon choose from four alternatives:
• Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in nearby Fossgate: An insight on the Middle Ages
• DIG: A children’s archaeological adventure
• A Boat Tour: For another view of the city for the foot-weary
• The National Railway Museum: Of wider appeal than the name might suggest
(To get to the National Railway Museum, either follow signs to the Station. Alternatively take the Train Bus from Duncombe Place near the minster.)
Tip If you are catching a train after a visit to the National Railway Museum, there is a rear entrance to all platforms up the stairs by the NCP car park after the tunnel from the museum.