York
Walking Tours

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Our most recommended York Walking Tours

York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

1. York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

Contained within a ring of medieval stone walls, York concentrates 2000 years of history into a remarkably small area. This ninety-minute tour begins at Bootham Bar, the city’s northern entrance, from which every period of York’s development is visible, from Roman times to the present day. You’ll then enter the tranquil, green oasis of the Museum Gardens - a Victorian botanic garden which contains an 18th Century observatory, the remains of a Roman fortress and the spectacular ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. From here it is a short walk to the Minster - the largest medieval gothic cathedral in the country - which has dominated the city’s skyline for over 900 years. The Minster lies at the heart of a warren of ancient streets whose layout is Viking in origin. You’ll hear tales of Viking invasion while delving deep into the maze of secret passages known as ‘Snickelways’; passing an unhappy mermaid and a little red devil as well as catching a glimpse of a 15th Century banqueting hall. Finally you’ll emerge into the Shambles,York’s best-known cobbled street - once a row of butchers, now instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans as the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

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York: A Harry Potter-Themed Guided Tour of York

2. York: A Harry Potter-Themed Guided Tour of York

Get sorted, play quizzes and games.  Experience some fantastic costumed re-eanactments, and learn about the Harry Potter universe and history of York. Set off on your journey around town, enjoying Harry Potter trivia quizzes from your guide along the way to earn points for your house. With an animated scoreboard, video clips of movie scenes, costume pieces, and reenactments, this is an interactive experience that allows you to live out your Harry Potter dreams in York. You also have the chance to use your spell knowledge to outwit members of other houses. Marvel at locations, such as the fictional Diagon Alley, invisible to the Muggle world, platform for the Hogwarts Express, soak in the views from the city walls! Explore the fantastic Harry Potter shop! And so much more!

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York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

3. York: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt

Embark on a self-guided treasure hunt for a fun and unique way to explore York outdoors at your own pace. Get clues sent to your phone and search your surroundings for the answers as you are led on a beautiful route through fabulous places. Start your treasure hunt in the fabulous Museum Gardens in the center of York. Play using your phones, on which you’ll meet Captain Bess, a snarky pirate who’s testing out new recruits to join her ship. Receive beautiful treasure maps leading you from one spot to the next. Find yourselves sneaking through a series of small streets and footpaths, passing medieval churches, and guildhalls. Use the sent clues to search for your surroundings. When you get the right answer, move on to the next place. Don’t worry, if you get stuck you can ask for a hint to help you on your way. Learn some interesting facts and stories along the way about the things you're spotting and get a better understanding of the history of York.

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York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

4. York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

Early evening is the most atmospheric time to experience York, the shops have closed, the tourist hordes have departed, the ancient streets lie at your disposal. This hour-long walking tour is for anyone seeking a concise, informal and entertaining introduction to York in the company of an expert local guide. Discover why the Minster is known as a Minster rather than a cathedral, why all the streets in York are called Gates and all the gates are called Bars. Start your tour in Exhibition Square, and see 2000 years of history simply by turning in a circle. Take in all the must-see sights including the Minster, the medieval walls and the Shambles, the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Take the opportunity to enter the maze of ancient cut-throughs and back-passages, or Snickelways as they are known locally.  Although this isn't a ghost tour there are plenty of gruesome true stories to be heard. By the end of the walk you will be ready for your dinner reservation having tasted the full flavour of a city which still has Viking mud on its boots and a tang of cocoa in the air.

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Guided Cycling Tour of York

5. Guided Cycling Tour of York

Explore the ancient city of York on a thoroughly modern bike with an entertaining and knowledgeable guide. This tour will take you off the beaten track to fascinating historic places you won’t see on a typical bus or walking tour. You will travel at a safe and leisurely pace, staying on cycle paths and designated lanes for most of the ride. York has always been a magnet for visitors. There were the Romans, of course, who first settled in the area in AD 71. In the 9th century, the Vikings dropped in for an eventful 200-year stay. The year 1068 saw the arrival of the besieging forces of William the Conqueror, and in the 17th century, York was a hotspot in the English Civil War.   Although today’s residents much more fun to be around, those of the past have all left their marks and their stories. Although factual, the cycle tours are designed as a good-humored look at the fascinating and often grisly past of York. The tours take about 2 hours, and our average traveling speed is 900 years an hour.

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York: Private Socially Distanced Guided Walking Tour

6. York: Private Socially Distanced Guided Walking Tour

The story of York is the story of England in wood, stone and chocolate. Constantine the Great became emperor here. Viking raiders left their chaotic street plan. Quaker confectioners invented the KitKat. No wonder it can be hard to know where to begin. How about the spot where it is possible to take in 2000 years of history simply by turning in a circle? And you don't have to walk much further to see how York was shaped by Romans, Normans and Tudors; as it is all laid out within the grounds of a Victorian botanic garden. Only in York can you be transported from a legionary fortress to a ruined abbey and a medieval hospital by crossing a lawn. Who needs a Tardis?  Ever wondered why the Minster is known as a Minster rather than a cathedral? Puzzled why all the streets in York are called Gates (and all the gates are called Bars)? This entertaining and informative walk provides the answers while taking in all the key sights including the Minster, the medieval walls and the Shambles - the precariously crooked street that provided the inspiration for Diagon Alley. A true highlight, in every sense, is the elevated walkway running around the city wall (don't worry, there are safety railings, but this part is not obligatory if you suffer from vertigo). The route will also veer off the beaten path and into the maze of ancient cut-throughs and back-passages known locally as ’Snickelways’. These tiny, winding streets are the life-blood of the city and the side of York you would never be able to experience from an open-topped bus.

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York: Private Bespoke History Walking Tour

7. York: Private Bespoke History Walking Tour

Walk through the streets of York which feels like taking a tour through the history of England. The Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all remade the city to their own purposes. The Tudors and the Stuarts made themselves at home here. The Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War left their mark as well. Experience the history of one of the most fascinating cities in Britain. For 2,000 years, York has been at the heart of the nation’s affairs. Listen to your guide that will bring its history to life as you are walking through lush parks and narrow lanes, pass grand churches, and palaces to ruined castles and abbeys. Enjoy this tour that offers a private experience for larger groups or families who would prefer the personal touch. The tour takes in all the main sights of the city and provides an in-depth look at the history behind them. Your guide will happily customize the tour to your requirements, depending on what you would like to see.  Receive the services of your own personal professional guide and benefit from their local knowledge.

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York: Private Walking Tour with Student Guide

8. York: Private Walking Tour with Student Guide

Discover York and learn about the city’s rich history on a private tour. Be led through the streets by a local student guide, passing the most important sites. Meet your guide in the city center to begin your private experience. Pass the City Gates, York Castle, St. Mary’s Abbey, York Minster, and more. Admire the beautiful architecture as you wander between landmarks. Discover the city’s medieval roots and modern history from your informative guide. Find out about Constantine, the emperor who converted Rome to Christianity. Hear how Richard III plotted his campaigns during the Wars of the Roses. This private experience can be tailored to the needs and interests of your group. Your walking tour ends back at the original meeting point, where you’re free to continue exploring on your own.

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Other Sightseeing Options in York

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What people are saying about York

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 161 reviews

Alan was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was three hours well spent and an excellent way to kick off a week dedicated to exploring York!

Lovely tour. Sarah was really friendly and knowledgeable. We got to see all the sites and was just the right amount of time.

Sarah was our guide and she made sure that the tour was quite interesting and funny. Would definitely recommend

Caroline was an excellent tour guide, we had lots of fun and learned quite a few new things!

This was an excellent tour. Albert was very knowledgeable. We really enjoyed it.