History-steeped York is home to more than medieval turrets, Roman relics, and half-timbered houses—it beckons with interactive museums, river cruises, and the stunning North York Moors on its doorstep. See below for our ideas on how to explore the city’s highlights in just two days.
Day 1: City Sightseeing
Morning: Begin with a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour around York’s landmarks. Pass sights such as Exhibition Square and the Monk Bar gateway, and alight at Clifford’s Tower to roam this last remnant of York Castle. Alternatively, do the rounds on a bike tour, river cruise, or guided walk that includes a foray into glorious, 13th-century York Minster.
Afternoon: Now’s the time to focus on York’s museums. Buy a York Pass that includes admission to 30 attractions, choosing a 1- or 2-day pass according to your plans. Then, use the card to unearth York’s Viking legacy at the Jorvik Viking Centre or its medieval heritage at historic gems such as the heavily beamed Merchant Adventurers’ or Barley Hall.
Evening: Love ghost stories? York has them in droves. Choose a private walk around its darkest corners with your very own guide to shed light on their paranormal history, or join a vintage-bus tour for a fun-yet-frightening drive around the most haunted hot spots.
Day 2: Dig Deeper or Venture Farther
Morning: Spend today discovering York’s countryside or concentrating further on the city. Book a day trip into the North York Moors that includes a steam-train ride through its windswept moorland, or opt for a private tour showcasing the city’s Roman walls or Viking past.
Afternoon: If you chose against a day trip this morning, this afternoon is great for covering York’s other sights—perhaps with a York Pass that includes admission. Learn about York’s chocolate-making history at York’s Chocolate Story, or roam the York Dungeon where dioramas bring Viking pillages and other grisly events to life.
Evening: End your stay in relaxed fashion with a sundown River Ouse cruise. Board a comfortable boat, buy drinks from the bar, and admire York’s sunset-washed towers and countryside as you wend along the river—the perfect finale to your stay.