Tours & activities


Association of Voluntary Guides to the City of York

Tours led by volunteer guides are FREE. There really is no need to tip at the end unlike many other tours who promote themselves as free but the expectation is you will tip at the end. Volunteers are locals who genuinely want to share their love of York, the people and its history. The tour takes in many of the major sites and normally end in the famous Shambles. We can highly recommend.

Tour times

1 November – 31 March: 10.15am and 1.15 every day, 1 April – 31 October: 10.15am and 1.15pm every day1 June – 31 August: Additional tours daily at 6.15pm

Meeting point: Exhibition Square (at the front of York Art Gallery)

Brewtown Beer Tour

If you’re a lover of craft beer and real ales, this small group beer tour should appeal. You will visit some of Yorkshire’s best breweries and meet the makers, sample 3-4 beers and benefit from a local tour guide who’s passionate about Yorkshire beers and ales.

The York / Malton tours run Tuesday to Friday, They also run a tour to Leeds on Saturdays.

Cost: £60 (18+ years)

Cycling Tour

One of the many things we love about York is that you can cycle all around it. Why not consider a cycling tour whilst you’re visiting? York Cycling Tours takes you off the beaten track to fascinating historic places you won’t see on a typical bus or walking tour.

Daily tours – depart 1030hrs and 1400hrs from the rear of the Gillygate Pub in York City Centre.

Ghost Tour

…..Back in 1953 a plumber called Harry Martindale was tasked with installing central heating in the cellars of the building. As he worked he heard the sound of a horn off in the distance. He shrugged it off at first and continued working, but the horn grew louder and louder as if drawing closer. Then, a phantom carthorse suddenly emerged from the cellar wall followed by an entire legion of Roman soldiers who he describes as looking like they had been cut off at the knees…….

Source: Top 8 Most haunted places in York

Is York truly haunted? Stroll down many of York’s famous streets, with buildings dating back to the 14th century, it’s easy to start believing. Whether you’re a believer or not, one of the most popular tours of York is the Original Ghost Tour, beginning at 8pm each night from the The King’s Arms Pub and costing just £5 for adults, £4 for children (no need to book, just turn up). The walk explores a world of folklore, legend and dreams. Discover the hidden magic of this medieval city through great story-telling. York’s atmospheric cobbled streets and ancient buildings are without a doubt, an ideal backdrop for such a tour. This is a unique tour to find out more about York’s fascinating spooky history.

Grand Yorkshire, +44 (0)7773975299

Grand Yorkshire offers small group day tours to some of our favourite places close to York–  Castle Howard, Whitby, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (the region’s famous steam railway), the Yorkshire Dales and the UNESCO Heritage Fountains Abbey. This is a great option if you’re planning to explore Yorkshire but don’t want to hire your own car.

Prices: Adults ¢40, Children £35


A great way to explore York is by following the cat trail. Pick up a copy of the trail at one of our favourite independent shops for gifts, The Cat Gallery where you will spot the first cat on the trail. Young ones will love this. If they finish and return to the shop, they’ll receive a small gift. Cats can be spotted on window ledges, roofs, walls all over York. We’ve enjoyed this trail on at least 3 occasions with my daughter and her friends. I think on the last one, we found 27! History tells us cats have been part of York’s landscape for nearly 2 centuries and were thought to be included to keep rats away. More recently, famous architect Tom Adams included many on his buildings. So look up!

Malton Food Tours

The Market town of Malton is located about 30 minutes from York and is fast becoming known as one of the foodie capitals of Yorkshire. It’s a delightful town to explore and sample all the wonderful artisan products and produce. There are monthly food markets and multiple food festivals throughout the year. The Talbot Hotel hosts 2 food tours, the Artisan Food Tour and Gin O’Clock Tour.

Artisan Food Tour

With a local guide you’ll visit a selection of ‘Made in Malton’ producers and specialists shops sampling a range of seasonal delights that could include brownies, vegetarian pastries, home made chorizo and scotch eggs, Yorkshire cheese, freshly ground coffee, championship beer, whisky, gin, macarons and gelato plus a surprise dish from the Talbot kitchens.

Gin O-Clock Tour

With a local guide you will visit a varying selection of ‘Made in Malton’ producers and specialist shops, sampling a range of seasonal delights that could include;

McMillans of Malton – Gin Emporium
Malton Cookery School
Fat Chef Pizzeria
Cocktails at Cafe 46
3 Gin Tasting at Maison du Vin
Liquor and Seasonal treat at the Talbot Malton
Macaroons with Florian
Distillery Tour at Rare Bird

You can view and book these tours here

Yorkshire Chauffeur Company, +44 (0)1937 831114

If you would like to explore some of the stunning Yorkshire country-side in style, The Yorkshire Chauffeur Company offer chauffeur guided tours in luxury range rovers.  They have 3 tours you can choose from:

or you can go completely bespoke.

Prices start from £240 per day / per vehicle.

York Conservation Trust Self-guided walking tour

If you’re particularly keen to learn more about all the historic buildings in York, buy a copy of the York Conservation Trust’s Walking Guide, available from Visit York, Waterstones or WH Smiths.

Cost: £9.99

Why not take advantage of our booking service so we can confirm tours, secure your chosen accommodation during your break in York and book you in to the best restaurants in town?


Chocolate lollipops

Create your own chocolate lollipop anytime between 10am and 6pm at York Cocoa House. Lost of fun for all ages and great value.

Cycle York’s Solar System

There’s a fantastic scale model of the solar system you can discover by bike. It’s a 6.4 mile circuit along the old East Coast railway line. Parking is available at the Askham Bar Park and Ride, which has direct access onto the cycle bath. You cal also easily reach the beginning of the circuit from Rowntree Park, heading towards the villa of Bishopthorpe. Stop along the way at The Brunswick Nursery where there’s a cafe. You can hire a bike from Cycle Heaven outside the railway station.

Photography workshops

If you’re into photography or want to be, this is a great late afternoon / early evening workshop. A good friend of ours recently signed up to Mark Bulmer’s photography workshop and she absolutely loved it. She’s passionate about photography and travel and showed us some magnificent photos she took whilst on this workshop.

Hire a self drive red boat

If you fancy exploring the River Ouse by boat, why not hire a little red boat for an hour? Young ones will love it – a bit of fun in between walking around the city. You can also pull up to the Two Hoots Ice-cream boat near the Millenium Bridge to buy an ice-cream from late May through to early September. The boats can seat up to 8 people.

Prices from £30 per hour

Kayaking and Aqua Park

Melbourne Road., Allerthorpe, Pocklington, York YO42 4RL, +44 (0)1759 301444

Allerthorpe Lakeland Park is a great day out if you’re keen on water sports. It’s an easy 30 minute drive from York. There’s pedalos, kayaks, paddle boards, sailing boats, and catamarans for hire along with a brand new inflatable obstacle course. There’s also fishing and open swimming (check their website for times).

There’s a cafe with a lovely terrace and a children’s play area. Pack a picnic and head here for a full day of water fun.

Prices: £2 admission, £5 family; AquaPark £15 per person, kayaks £8, canoe £12, paddle boarding £10, pedalos £10 (30 minutes)

Opening times: Summer Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm, Open Bank Holiday Mondays & During School Holidays

Open Water Swimming: Mid April – October Mornings: 9:00 – 10:00, Every morning excluding Mondays, Evenings: Monday and Wednesday 17:00 – 19:30

Berry picking 

Stamford Bridge Road, York YO41 1NB, +44 (0)1759 373023

Balloon Tree Farm, located a short drive outside York, offers pick your own berries during summer months. There’s strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, red currants, blackberries and much more. Check out this page of their website for what berries are ready for picking during different months. There’s also a lovely farm shop selling a great range of Yorkshire produce and a lovely cafe, with a large terrace and children’s play area.

Prices: by weight

Opening hours: Farmshop: 9 – 6 Mon – Sun, Cafe: 9 – 5 Mon – Sun