With a history spanning 2,000 years, York has much to delight visitors, from Roman walls and one of England’s grandest Gothic cathedrals to the pull of Yorkshire’s wild and rugged national parks and coastline. If you’re planning on spending three days in the city, here are our tips for getting the most from your stay.
Day 1: Get to Know York
On your first day, view York’s headline acts on foot with a guide: perhaps walking along its ancient walls or roaming its cobbled lanes and grandiose York Minster—one of England’s greatest Gothic cathedrals. Alternatively, take a bicycle or hop-on-hop-off-bus tour to cover the must-sees in less time. In the afternoon, chart York’s place as a chocolate-making center at York’s Chocolate Story, or reel at the horrors of medieval life at the York Dungeon. If you want to pack in lots of sights during today or throughout your stay, buy a 1-, 2-, or 3-day York Pass, which includes entry to 30 attractions and activities, including a hop-on-hop-off tour. Finish your day aboard an afternoon-tea or sunset river cruise through the city.
Day 2: Discover Yorkshire’s National Parks
On your second day, journey deep into the wilds of the North York Moors National Park and visit the seaside town of Whitby on a convenient day trip, which might include a steam-train ride through the moorland. Alternatively, venture into the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s stone villages and emerald valleys, stopping to sample its famous Wensleydale cheese en route. History buffs might prefer a tour that includes the ruined 12th-century Fountains Abbey, while bookworms might choose one that stops at Haworth’s Brontë Parsonage—the former home of the literary Brontë sisters and where Emily Brontë penned Wuthering Heights.
Day 3: Ease Down or Expand Your Sightseeing Net
Use day three to wind down, discover more of Yorkshire, or pursue any special interests.
If you’re a beer lover, perhaps set off to sample various Yorkshire ales on a sociable bus tour of the region’s breweries. If you’re eager for a final foray into local history, visit the medieval market town of Helmsley and atmospheric ruins of nearby Rievaulx Abbey. As dusk falls, take a ghost tour on a vintage bus to learn why York holds the title of England’s most haunted place.