Have you booked a trip to York but want to venture further afield from the walled city? Do you live in York and fancy exploring more of what Yorkshire (and further afield!) has to offer? Well, no matter whether you’re a local or a tourist, you’re in luck because there are so many amazing day trips from York to choose from.
We’ve compiled nineteen of the best day trips from York to suit all types of people. So whether you’re a beach bum, history nerd or a keen hiker, sit back, relax, and get ready to explore.
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Hannah Ludlow.
How far away is it? 17 miles
How long does it take to get there? 35 minutes by car or 29 minutes by train
If you’re in York, a day trip to Knaresborough should be high up on your agenda, particularly if the sun is shining! This pretty little town has a wealth of activities to keep you entertained all day!
I’d recommend a punt down the river in your own rowing boat, which you can hire out for £7. Row peacefully down the beautiful river Nidd, passing underneath Knaresborough’s immense viaduct.
Afterwards, you can walk through Knaresborough’s medieval streets, on which you’ll find loads of quaint shops, including Art in the Mill, a contemporary art gallery and shop, and The Farm Dairy which sells delicious fresh produce. Knaresborough is also full of charity shops if that’s your thing!
In the afternoon, round up your trip by visiting Mother Shipton’s Cave and the Petrifying Well, England’s Oldest Tourist Attraction.
Finally, head to Knaresborough Castle and Museum to learn more about the history of the beautiful town.
How far away is it? 46.9 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour 15 minutes by car
Whitby is famous for its crumbling abbey which towers over the sea and inspired Bram Stoker’s famous novel ‘Dracula’.
The gothic ruins will not disappoint, and the impressive site is fascinating to explore, along with its adjoining English Heritage Museum.
If you take the 199 steps up to the Abbey, you’ll also be able to look around St Mary’s Church and sit on a bench that looks out across the beautiful sea.
Back in the main town, I’d recommend grabbing some classic fish and chips and eating it on the seafront. I mean, it’s got to be done, right?
Shovel down your chips before walking down Whitby Pier and marvelling at the dramatic Abbey atop the hill. The Captain James Cook monument on West Cliff is worth a visit, as is the Captain Cook Memorial Museum if you’re into your nautical history!
3. Robin Hood’s Bay
How far away is it? 50.2 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour 20 minutes by car
Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing village on the Yorkshire coast, home to plenty of wildlife, beautiful coastal views and cute little shops.
If you’re visiting Whitby, I’d recommend taking the twenty-minute drive to Robin Hood’s Bay to complete your day out.
Here you can experience the breath-taking scenery over Fylingdales Moor. You might even be lucky enough to spot sea birds and even seal colonies!
Robin Hood’s Bay also has a museum and a ghost walk which are both equally entertaining. And Old St Stephen’s Church is a beautiful site to add to your itinerary too!
After exploring the village, round off your day trip with a visit to Flamborough Cliffs and Spurn Point, two of Yorkshire’s wildlife trust reserves, to try and spot more wildlife.
4. Castle Howard
How far away is it? 15.1 miles
How long does it take to get there? 30 minutes by car
Castle Howard, a huge and impressive country house situated around thirty minutes from York, was described by The Telegraph in 2018 as ‘one of the top 10 buildings you must visit in your lifetime’ – and I’d agree.
The beautiful gardens, intricate architecture and flawless interior make for a memorable visit. There’s plenty to explore so I’d recommend a guided tour around the house as the best way to explore the history of Castle Howard.
Once you’ve seen the house, there’s a beautiful circular walk around the estate, with stunning views of the house, gardens and surrounding countryside.
You can stop for a bite to each at one of Castle Howard’s many cafés, including The Coffee Shop, The Boathouse Café, The Fitzroy Café and The Courtyard Café. And don’t forget to pop into the Castle Howard Farm Shop for a memento from your visit.
If you’re taking kids, I’d also recommend the Skelf Island Adventure Playground. Tucked away in the gardens of the estate, it’s great fun for adventurous little ones!
5. Yorkshire Wildlife Park
How far away is it? 49 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour by car
This is definitely one of the more unforgettable day trips from York that you can go on. A trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, situated near Doncaster, will allow you to get up close with over 450 animals of seventy different species, including endangered lions, tigers, leopards, giraffes, rhinos and red pandas.
You might be happy to hear that Yorkshire Wildlife Park is not a zoo. Instead, it’s a conservation centre that invests money from ticket sales into breeding these endangered species, slowly introducing them to their natural habitats and eventually releasing them back into the wild where they belong.
Perfect for kids and adults, the 150 acres of land makes a great day out, as you walk through each different land and witness the beauty of all the animals.
Lands include Into Africa, Lion Country, Project Polar and Experience Ethiopia. You can even enter the enclosures of more tame animals to get a closer look at them.
Grab some lunch at one of the many eateries in the park, including the Masai Coffee House and the Safari Café. Just make sure to pre-book your trip to avoid disappointment!
6. Piglets Adventure Farm
How far away is it? 6.4 miles
How long does it take to get there? 15 minutes by car
Piglets Adventure Farm is one of the cutest day trips from York and is great for all ages – trust me, I’m 21 and I had a ball!
With farmyard animals such as piglets, ponies, goats and chickens, there’s loads to explore at the farm.
And you can even get involved, by petting and feeding the animals, stroking bunnies and guinea pigs, brushing the Kune Kune pigs and milking the cows.
Perhaps the cutest of them all, Piglets Adventure Farm is also home to two alpacas called Juno and Bandi! Tickets are around £10 on a weekend and must be booked online.
The Piglets Coffee House is perfect for a coffee or lunch, and the Ice Cream Parlour provides delicious ice creams to enjoy while you’re walking around the farm.
How far away is it? 46.4 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 20 minutes by car
Haworth, a small village in Yorkshire where the Bronte sisters lived, is one of the best day trips from York for those interested in the writers, or for anyone looking for some family fun!
You can’t visit Haworth without a trip to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, where the sisters wrote some of their most famous books. Full of furniture, clothing, manuscripts and diary entries that provide an insight into the lives of the sisters, and those who lived in 19th century Haworth, the museum is fascinating.
East Riddlesden Hall is also worth a visit if you’re into your history and heritage. The 17th-century manor house has beautiful gardens full of flowers, and intricate tapestries to explore.
Haworth is also home to some quirky events throughout the year, such as Scroggling the Holly Weekend, Pipes, Bows and Bells Weekend, and the Bronte Village Gathering. Keep your eyes peeled as you might be lucky to find yourself experiencing a Haworth tradition.
If you fancy some shopping, I’d recommend the old fashioned sweet shop at the top of Main Street, or Hawksby’s for some quirky items.
Finally, round off your trip with a ride on a Keighley & Worth Valley Railway steam train, which featured in the Railway Children.
8. North York Moors National Park
How far away is it? 25 miles
How long does it take to get there? 40 minutes by car
Hundreds of miles of beautiful moorland make for loads of brilliant hiking and cycle routes for all the family to enjoy.
The Centre is a historic building that can be found on the River Esk, near Danby. Here you can relax by the river before or after your trip on the moors!
From the Centre, you have gorgeous views of moorland, woodland, farmland, historic buildings and miles of hedges and drystone walls, that you’ll quickly be keen to explore.
Entry to the centre is free, and you can use their toilets, gallery, outdoor adventure playground, indoor soft-play area, climbing wall and Park Life Café from 10 am to 5 pm.
This is a fantastic opportunity to spend the day outdoors, experiencing all the nature and wildlife the moors have to offer.
9. North Yorkshire Moors Railway
How far away is it? 40.3 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 5 minutes by car
If you’re into trains or want to learn more about Yorkshire’s vibrant history, North Yorkshire Moors Railway might just be one of the best day trips from York for you.
Preserved by volunteers since 1967, you can hop on and off the railway at your leisure with the Freedom Ticket between Pickering and Whitby.
The stations have tea rooms and gift shops, toilets and onboard facilities, and boarding the train provides stunning views of Yorkshire scenery, as well as an opportunity to experience trains that were used in the 19th-century.
You can also book experiences to enhance your day trip, such as the Pullman Dining Train, digital photography workshops, tours of the trains and stations, and the Steam or Diesel Experiences.
These provide an insight into the golden age of steam on a heritage steam locomotive footplate or allow you to experience the workhorses of Britain’s railways, as you take a footplate ride in the cab of a heritage Diesel locomotive.
Peak tickets are around £40 for an adult and £20 for a child, but get cheaper in off-peak seasons.
10. Harewood House
How far away is it? 20.8 miles
How long does it take to get there? 40 minutes by car
Built in the 18th-century, Harewood House is a breath-taking estate, situated in the heart of Yorkshire.
Renowned for its art collections, rare Bird Garden, Farm Experience and 100 acres of beautiful land, it makes for one of the most exciting day trips from York.
The interior of the house is awe-inspiring, with a beautiful music room and galleries to explore. You can even see an old kitchen which provides an insight into the running of a country house.
The house also contains a plethora of paintings, furniture and ceramics for those intrigued by masters of the Italian Renaissance.
You can also expect to see family portraits and modern art collected by the current Earl and Countess. The famous Thomas Chippendale furnished the property in 1767, and his pieces are still in great condition to view.
The gardens and landscape are award-winning and are worth a visit too. Here you can enjoy plenty of wildlife, family fun at the Adventure Playground, and The Capability, a boat that tours the lake on weekends and bank holidays.
How far away is it? 41.4 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 10 minutes by car or 50 minutes by train
Like Whitby, Scarborough is another of Yorkshire’s brilliant coastal towns.
If you fancy a day trip filled with ice cream, beach strolls and beautiful views from the towering cliffs, take the one hour journey to Scarborough.
The arcades are great for some family fun, and walking up to Scarborough Castle requires some effort but is worth it for the spectacular views at the top.
Alongside two beaches to explore, I recommend a visit to The Rotunda if you want to learn more about the natural history and fossils that have been found throughout the Yorkshire coast.
How far away is it? 25 miles
How long does it take to get there? 45 minutes by car or 23 minutes by train
Located only a 25-minute train journey from York, Leeds is a great city if you fancy exploring somewhere bigger and busier for the day.
With hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants, from well-known chains to small businesses, Leeds has something for every occasion.
Some of the best attractions in Leeds include the Royal Armouries Museum at Clarence Dock, Roundhay Park if you’re looking for a nice walk, Temple Newsam for some beautiful topiary, and the RSPB St Aidan’s Nature Reserve to spot some wildlife!
How far away is it? 70.5 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 30 minutes by car or 40 minutes by train
If you’re looking for a smaller town to visit, then Durham should be top of your list of day trips from York.
With its historic university, beautiful river and quaint streets filled with shops and cute cafés, Durham makes a delightful day trip.
No trip to Durham is complete without a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site located at Durham Cathedral and its adjacent castle. Here you might even be lucky enough to spot a filming location for Harry Potter!
I’d also recommend visiting the Durham Dales, the Vale of Durham, and The Living Museum of the North for an exploration of England’s largest open-air museum.
14. Lake District
How far away is it? 85 miles
How long does it take to get there? 2 hours by car
For the more adventurous types, one of the best day trips from York is to the Lake District.
The Lakes encompass so many different types of adventure. From swimming in beautiful lakes, such as Wastwater, to trekking up the Lake District’s highest mountain Scafell Pike, there’s something for everyone.
In fact, there’s so much to do that you’ll quickly be inspired to make many more return visits. Any excuse to explore more of this stunning National Park, right?
On Lake Windermere, you can hire a boat, such as motorboats, rowing boats or even paddleboards if you’re feeling more adventurous. Or you could try your hand at archery, laser clay or mini-golf!
However, if you fancy more of a relaxing trip, you can take a boat cruise across the lake. Instead of rushing about, you can enjoy refreshments on board and soak up the beautiful scenery.
Grizedale Forest is also worth a visit, with ten walking trails and nine cycle trails to choose from.
15. Peak District
How far away is it? 51.2 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 5 minutes by car or 1 hour and 30 minutes by train
The Peak District, encompassing towns such as Buxton and Bakewell, is home to some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside.
A ninety-minute train from York to Sheffield will take you into the heart of the Peak District. Here you can undertake some amazing walks across the rolling hills of the Peak District.
I’d recommend visiting Bakewell (for some Bakewell tarts, of course), and the small village of Baslow which has some great pubs for a Sunday roast. You could also visit Chatsworth House, where films such as Pride and Prejudice were filmed.
And of course, you can’t leave the area without embarking on one of the best walks in the Peak District.
How far away is it? 58.3 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 15 minutes by car or 1 hour and 10 minutes by train
If you make the trip to Sheffield, but fancy a city day rather than venturing into the Peak District’s countryside, then I’d recommend a day of shopping at Meadowhall, Sheffield’s huge shopping centre with hundreds of shops to choose from.
The city itself is home to the Crucible, the Antiques Quarter, Kelham Island, and a bustling city centre, so there is plenty to explore on this day trip! Sheffield Botanical Gardens are a beautiful sight, as is the Winter Garden which promises a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
I also love a visit to the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre, which both kids and adults will love.
How far away is it? 71.1 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 30 minutes by car or 1 hour and 20 minutes by train
Manchester, another vibrant Northern city, is one of the best day trips from York. There are endless things to do there that you can visit again and again without getting bored!
From unique bars and clubs to the Royal Exchange Theatre to hundreds of museums and art galleries, there’s plenty to keep you occupied all day.
If you’re into your beers and spirits, the City of Manchester Distillery is a great place to go with your mates for a boozy afternoon out!
18. Bolton Abbey
How far away is it? 37.4 miles
How long does it take to get there? 1 hour and 10 minutes by car
Bolton Abbey is a fantastic family day out, consisting of woodland and riverside walks, afternoon tea, and exploring the historic Priory Church and Ruins.
Walking around the estate provides a day of entertainment in itself. With sixty stepping stones to cross the river, the Valley of Desolation (a dramatic waterfall), and forests full of bluebells, there’s definitely no chance for you to get bored.
I’d recommend walking to Strid Wood, with stunning views of the river Strid. Use the interactive map to explore the site, which also has a beach where kids can play and paddle in the river!
There are trail maps, such as the ‘I Spy’ card to entertain children as they walk around, spotting wildlife and enjoying the natural environment.
Top tip: keep an eye out for the events that Bolton Abbey put on at different times of the year. From Easter Egg Hunts to Welly Walks to Pumpkin Trails, there’s plenty to keep the little ones entertained.
How far away is it? 21.5 miles
How long does it take to get there? 40 minutes by car or 30 minutes by train
Last on our list of the best day trips from York is the Victorian spa town of Harrogate, and the nearby medieval city of Ripon, renowned as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Grab some lunch at one of Harrogate’s famous eateries, such as The Tannin Level with its beautiful outside area, or The Fat Badger, a top two AA rosette restaurant situated within an exquisite Georgian manor house.
After lunch, why not squeeze in as many sites as possible, such as the RHS Garden Harlow Carr if gardening is your thing, or the Mercer Art Gallery if you’re into art and design? Containing over 2000 works of art, the latter is well worth a visit.
No trip to Harrogate is complete without a visit to the Victorian Royal Baths, a beautiful grade II listed building which contains the renowned Turkish Baths and Spa. With stunning interiors and even the opportunity to experience a relaxing treatment, it’s the perfect way to unwind and decompress.
And that marks the end of our list of the best day trips from York. I hope you find some inspiration for your ideal day trip from this list. Whether it’s a walk down the beach, a peruse around a stately home, or a visit to some local wildlife, you’re guaranteed a great time. Wherever you end up going, I hope you enjoy your day trip!
READY TO SAVE MONEY FOR TRAVEL?
Get access to my free eBook filled with tips and tricks to help YOU save money to travel the world.