Medieval city walls, mysterious alleys, and beautiful green spaces among other sights make York a special city to visit.
You can easily spend more than a day in York as this charming destination offers a great variety of activities for couples, friends and families.
However, if you’re planning to stay more than 2 days in York, you’ll want to visit other places in Yorkshire and nearby towns.
If you’re ready to explore beyond this city, in this guide you’ll discover easy and short day trips from York.
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17 Easy Day Trips From York
Distance: 23.9 km
If you want a short and easy day trip from York, and you love historic houses, Castle Howard is the one for you.
This historic house is like no other, its history and splendid architecture have made it a special place to visit.
Have you ever watched Bridgerton? You’ll then recognise Castle Howard. But there are other films and series that have taken place in this amazing location.
During your visit, not only will you explore the palace, but its garden and grounds, and you can relax at one of its lovely cafes while having a hot drink.
How to get from York to Castle Howard
Castle Howard is very close to York, and it’s easy to get there by car or public transport.
If you’re driving, the journey will take you about 25 minutes if there’s no traffic.
Opting for public transport? Take the Yorkshire Coastliner towards Castle Howard, The Grounds from York bus station. The duration of the journey is 50 minutes.
Distance: 27.4 km
Do you love visiting town markets in England? Then, you must add Knaresborough to your list.
This charming market town is situated at only 30 minutes drive from York. It’s the perfect day trip for those who love exploring small but beautiful places.
Despite its size, Knaresborough has incredible things to offer – from visiting the ruins of Knaresborough Castle and walking along the river to exploring one of the oldest attractions in England, Mother Shipton’s Cave.
One of the best activities to do in Knaresborough in late spring and summer is renting a rowing boat. It’s a fun activity for all ages!
How to get from York to Knaresborough
You can get a train from York Railway Station to Knaresborough or drive.
📌 Related blog post: 8 Things to Do in Knaresborough – An Enchanting Town in Yorkshire
Distance: 34.6 km
Another easy day trip from York is Harrogate. This town offers great leisure activities – from having a meal in one of the great restaurants and bars to pampering yourself at Harrogate Turkish Baths.
A visit to Harrogate must include an afternoon tea or coffee break at Betty’s Tea Room. They have a delicious selection of pastries, cakes and cold snacks.
The Valley Gardens Harrogate, awarded with English Heritage Grade II Listed, needs to be on your itinerary. It’s the perfect place to relax or walk around as you see different types of trees and flowers.
It’s especially lovely to visit during spring as you can see the cherry blossoms, and there are more chances that the weather is better.
How to get from York to Harrogate
You can get a train from York Railway Station to Harrogate or drive.
North Yorkshire Moors
Distance: 40.2 km
The North Yorkshire Moors National Park is truly a gem.
What makes it unique from other National parks is the fact that it’s rich in history and heritage.
You can find beautiful Gothic ruins, quaint coastal villages, impressive natural features and fauna too.
The Moors also offer incredible hiking trails and cycling routes that will impress you.
How to get from York to North Yorkshire Moors
The quickest and most convenient way to visit the North Yorkshire Moors from York is by car. The journey takes just under an hour.
There are no direct trains or buses from York to the Moors. However, you can book a day trip to the North Yorkshire Moors and Whitby from York.
Distance: 48.2 km
Leeds is a great city to visit in one day as it’s very walkable and you can find most attractions in the city centre.
Whether you want to have the perfect brunch in Leeds, go on a shopping trip or learn about the culture behind this city, this day trip from York is for you.
Leeds is well-known for its numerous shopping centres and arcades in the city centre. Shop from high-street and luxury retailers at Victoria Leeds or from local independent businesses at the Corn Exchange.
But let’s not forget about the amazing cafes and restaurants across the city. Regardless of your food preferences, you’ll find plenty of food choices in Leeds (traditional British pub food, Thai, Chinese, Indian, etc.)
Although it’s very easy to explore Leeds on your own, you can always book a walking tour with a local guide to learn all about this fantastic city.
If you have extra time in Leeds, you can also explore Harewood House on the outskirts of Leeds.
How to get from York to Leeds
You can get a train from York Railway Station, take a coach or drive to Leeds.
📌 Related blog post: 17 Best Free Things To Do In Leeds You Can’t-Miss
Distance: 53.5 km
Are you looking for an escape to the countryside? The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the area.
Although you’ll only be able to explore a small part of the Yorkshire Dales, it’s worth going on this day trip.
Malham is an unmissable spot in this amazing National Park. Walk around, see the friendly sheep, and climb up the hill to enjoy breathtaking views of the area.
Finish your walk by going to the cosy pub for a delicious and traditional meal.
How to get from York to the Yorkshire Dales
The best way to travel from York to the Yorkshire Dales is by car as there are no train connections between York and the Dales. Driving to the Yorkshire Dales also gives you the opportunity to stop by small and beautiful towns such as Grassington.
Another great way to explore the Yorkshire Dales is by booking a guided day trip from York.
Distance: 60.3 km
Located in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Bolton Abbey is the perfect day trip for all travellers.
Here you can explore the picturesque 12th-century Priory and ruins, cross the challenging 60 stepping stones, have a relaxing picnic or barbecue on a sunny day or go on a hiking trail.
Whether you come by car or coach, there is a fee to pay. If you park in one of its three car parks, you’ll be paying £10.00 (early bird ticket) or £12.50 (admission ticket on the day).
How to get from York to Bolton Abbey
The easiest way to get from York to Bolton Abbey is by car which takes about 50 minutes.
But if you’re relying on public transport, you can still get to Bolton Abbey. You’ll need to get a train to Harrogate and from Harrogate a bus to Bolton Abbey.
Distance: 60.5 km
You can’t judge a book for its cover, and that happens with Saltaire. Despite being a very small village in Bradford, its architecture and history made this place a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When visiting Saltaire, you must visit Salts Mill located just outside the train station. The building has many things to offer on its spacious three floors – from an art gallery and bookshop to its famous Cafe in to the Opera and museum exhibition with textile machines.
Apart from this unique building, the village is surrounded by lush green spaces like Roberts Park where you occasionally can see cricket games and have a tranquil picnic by the lake on a sunny day.
If you love a scenic walk, then the Aire Sculpture Trail is for you. Not only will you enjoy the beautiful canal views but you can also spot 15 sculptures that were inspired by children.
How to get from York to Saltaire
You can get a train from York Railway Station or drive to Saltaire.
📌 Related blog post: 8 Things To Do In Saltaire – A Charming Yorkshire Village
Distance: 60.5 km
Any museum lover needs to go to Hull as there are plenty of free museums to visit in Hull. From the Hull and East Riding Museum perfect for those who are passionate about history to Ferens Art Gallery for art lovers.
You can easily spend a day visiting all these museums, but Hull also has other attractions you may want to check out. For example, its well-known aquarium and sealife centre, the Deep, which families love, or visiting the Anglican minster of Hull.
Hull has also a good variety of cafes that are worth checking out.
How to get from York to Hull
Getting to Hull from York is easy as you can access the city by most transport. The quickest way to get to Hull is by car as it takes just under 1 hour.
However, you can also take the train (1 hour and 10 minutes) or bus (1 hour and 55 minutes).
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Distance: 63.1 km
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is a unique place to visit as you’ll find around 100 impressive sculptures and installations to discover in the open air.
Here you can also enjoy temporary exhibitions and events that you can check on their website.
No matter how you get to YSP, you’ll need to book and pay for your tickets in advance. The tickets are 6 pounds, but those under 18 can enter for free!
How to get from York to Yorkshire Sculpture Park
There are different ways to get to Yorkshire Sculpture Park: car, bus or train. The most straightforward way is by car which takes 45 minutes.
The second best way to get from York to Yorkshire Sculpture Park is by train and bus. Take the train from York to Wakefield which takes about 35 minutes, and then from Wakefield take the 96 bus.
Distance: 66.6 km
Are you looking for an escape to the seaside? Scarborough is one of the most popular coastal destinations in Yorkshire.
Although the weather is very unpredictable, even during the summer months, you can still enjoy a day out in Scarborough.
Not only can you chill at the beach on a sunny and warm day, but do cultural activities like visiting the beautiful Scarborough Castle from which you get incredible views of the coast and town.
Apart from the castle, explore Peasholm Park, play mini-golf, go to the arcades, or have the traditional fish and chips at one of the chippys!
How to get from York to Scarborough
You can get a train from York Railway Station, take a coach or drive to Scarborough.
Distance: 75.5 km
Well-Known for its Dracula stories that come especially from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, this seaside town has many things to offer.
Whitby Abbey is a unique place to visit. To get to the top of the abbey, you need to take 199 steps. Yes, it’s a lot, but it’s completely worth it.
From the top, not only can you visit the beautiful abbey but enjoy the views of the coast and town.
When visiting Whitby, grab some traditional fish and chips or scampi, visit the arcades and relax at the beach on a summer sunny day.
How to get from York to Whitby
The best way to get from York to Whitby is by car. The journey takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
If you’re using public transport, it’s more hassle since there are no direct buses or trains. You can get the train from York but there is a change and the journey can take up to 4 hours.
However, a great way to get to Whitby from York is by booking this guided day trip.
Robin Hood Bay
Distance: 80.7 km
If you love visiting picturesque villages, you must add Robin Hood Bay to your Yorkshire travel list.
This fishing village, located on the Heritage Coast of the North York Moors, has lovely things to do for all types of travellers.
Robin Hood Bay centre is filled with beautiful boutique shops where you can buy unique gifts and antiques, cafes and restaurants.
If you want to learn more about this small village, pop inside the Robin Hood’s Museum.
Are you visiting Robin Hood Bay in the summer? Relax at its lovely beach.
How to get from York to Robin Hood Bay
The car drive from York to Robin Hood Bay is only 1 hour and 5 minutes, which makes this village a short and great day trip.
If you’re using public transport, you need to take the train from York to Scarborough and then the X93 bus from Scarborough to Robin Hood Bay.
Distance: 81.6 km
Quaint houses and local independent shops, cobblestone streets and scenic views summarise Haworth.
This small village is a very unique place to visit.
You can’t visit Haworth without going to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where you can learn about the Brontë sisters.
After a visit to the museum, window shop in the Main Street independent shops, grab a pasty, take pictures of the beautiful houses decorated with ivies and relax at Central Park.
Haworth is also a great place to go on a hike. There are many trails that go through this village.
How to get from York to Haworth
The quickest way to get from York to Haworth is by car as it only takes 1 hour. However, you can also get to Haworth from York by getting a train to Keighley, taking a taxi or going on a guided day tour.
Distance: 91.5 km
About 1 hour and 25 minutes drive from York, Sheffield is a city that you can visit in one day.
In Sheffield city centre you can find great things to do for free – from visiting museums and the cathedral to relaxing at the city square.
One of the best places to visit in Sheffield is the Winter Gardens, an indoor garden with lovely plants, trees and flowers. It’s the perfect place to relax or have a hot drink with a friend on a rainy day.
If you love museums, you’ll love visiting the Millennium Gallery and the Graves Gallery. This last one is a bit hidden as it’s on the third floor of the building where you’ll also find Sheffield’s library.
From Sheffield, you can also visit the beautiful Peak District National Park, which is probably the best thing that Sheffield has to offer.
The Peak District is very big, but if you don’t have much time, you can always visit some of the quaint small villages closest to Sheffield.
How to get from York to Sheffield
You can get a train from York Railway Station, coach or drive to Sheffield.
📌 Related blog post: 7 Best Free Things To Do In Sheffield City Centre
Distance: 113.7 km
Located in northeast England, not very far from Newcastle, this charming city has many historical attractions to visit.
A must-see is Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site building that is famous for its British Romanesque-style architecture.
Durham Castle is another building you can’t miss during your visit to Durham. This 11th-century castle was the residence of the Bishops of Durham and has gone through a lot of history.
Nowadays, the castle is home to the students of University College, part of Durham University.
Other activities to include in your one-day itinerary to Durham are visiting Durham University Botanic Garden, going for a scenic walk on the Durham riverside and exploring the Durham Market Hall which has incredible cafes and shops.
How to get from York to Durham
There are two ways to get from York to Durham, by car or train.
The quickest and more convenient way to get to Durham is by train. The journey takes about 45 minutes.
However, you can also drive from York to Durham. The duration of this journey is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Distance: 114.5 km
Manchester is packed with interesting museums, football stadiums, street art and incredible coffee shops.
The city offers some of the best coffee shops in England. So if you’re a coffee lover, go to the Northern Quarter to grab a coffee!
The Northern Quarter is the go-to place to window shop or to buy vintage things like clothes or CDs, but also to contemplate and take photos of incredible graffiti.
Manchester is also a paradise for football fans as there are two well-known stadiums: Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium; a 4-floor Museum all about football and a shop where you can find old football t-shirts.
How to get from York to Manchester
You can either travel by car which takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes or take a train from York train station. The train journey is also 1 hour and 20 minutes and costs about 24 pounds.
As you’ve seen, there are plenty of great day trips from York for all types of travellers, and for those who don’t own a car and rely on public transport.
Are you adding any of these best day trips from York to your list?
If you have any questions about visiting York or any of the destinations I’ve mentioned in this post, you can always reach me via email or Instagram. I’m happy to help!
Pin these York day trips for later
Helpful resources to plan your day trip from York
- Book train tickets with Trainline here.
- Check out bus fares with Omio.
- Look at free walking tours on GuruWalk.
- Book an activity with Get Your Guide. My go-to for tours and fun experiences around the world.
Frequently asked questions about day trips from York
Which are the best day trips by train from York?
Some of the best day trips from York by train are York Moors National Park, Whitby, the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Saltaire and Durham.
Where should I go after York?
There are plenty of beautiful towns and villages that you can visit after York. Here are some of my favourites:
- North Yorkshire Moors
What can you do for free in Yorkshire?
When it comes to free things to do in Yorkshire, the options are endless. Some of these include:
- Visiting the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
- Walking on York City Walls.
- Relaxing at the Winter Gardens in Sheffield.
- Going on a hike in the Yorkshire Dales or North Yorkshire Moors.
- Visiting the John Rylands Library in Manchester.
- Spending the day at Scarborough beach.
- Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site village of Saltaire.