York from London – Ultimate Travel Guide

If you’re looking for a place that effortlessly blends quaint charm with a rich tapestry of history, then York is your next stop. This gem in the heart of North Yorkshire feels like stepping into a living, breathing postcard, full of charmíng cobblestone streets. This city is a treasure chest of hidden gems, from its ancient walls and shadowy lanes to the coolest cafes and shops, making it the perfect place to explore from London.

Things you should know about York

York is one of the most accessible yet popular places to that provides a mix of charm with plenty of fun things to explore! Getting there takes a little under a 2-hour train journey from London. Having lived in London for a few year, I can easily say York from London is one of the best most easily accessible trips from London!

I would recomend spending at least 2-3 days in York to get the most out of it. One day is far too rushed to see everything and get back to London, although it is possible. So here is perfect 48 hour itinerary to get a good taste of the York and experience some English charm!

York from London

How to Get From London to York

Embarking on a journey from the bustling streets of London to the historic charm of York promises an adventure worth every moment. Kick off this unforgettable trip by catching a train, the most hassle-free way to traverse the scenic route. Head over to King’s Cross Station, where direct trains whisk you to York in just about two hours. Imagine settling into a cozy seat, coffee in hand, as the English countryside unfolds outside your window.

For those who love a good road trip, renting a car offers the flexibility to explore at your own pace. The drive takes roughly four hours, giving you the freedom to make pit stops at quaint villages or take in the stunning landscapes along the way. Picture cruising down the motorway, your favorite playlist on blast, and endless conversations filling the car.

London to York via Train

For a swift and straightforward trip from London to York, hop on a train at King’s Cross Station. Look for services operated by LNER (London North Eastern Railway), which run directly to York in around two hours. These trains offer a comfortable and efficient way to travel, letting you relax or catch up on some reading while you speed through the countryside.

London to York driving

If driving is more your style, set your GPS from central London to York. The journey covers approximately 200 miles and takes around four hours, depending on traffic. Use the M1 and A1(M) motorways for the fastest route.

London to York via Coach/ Bus

For those looking to save some cash, consider taking a coach from Victoria Coach Station. National Express and Megabus both offer services to York, with the trip taking roughly 4 to 6 hours. It’s a longer journey, but you’ll save money and still arrive right in the heart of York.

York Castle

Travel tips to York from London

  • If you are travelling by train, make sure to book your tickets ahead of time, as these will be slightly cheaper than buying last minute. I recomend using trainline app as this provide you with digital ticket which has a qr code for scanning, rather than having to pick up physical tickets at train station, saving you some time!
  • Make sure you download google maps mark out where you wan t to go ahed of time!
  • Although most things can be arranged on the day, I found its worth booking in advance any tours and musem visits!
  • If you plan on doing a lot of tourist acitivities, consier getting a York pass, which provides free entry to over 30 of York’s top sights, including York Minster, the JORVIK Viking Centre, and the York Castle Museum, making it an invaluable tool for maximizing both your time (no lining up!) and saving money. Prices for the York Pass vary depending on the duration of the pass you choose—1, 2, or 3 days—with adult passes starting at around £75 for a two-day pass. These can be purchased from York Pass official wesbite here (https://yorkpass.com/buy-now/)

York Minister

No trip to York can be complete without visiting its most famous site – York Minster, one of the largest and most magnificent Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe.

York Minister

York Minster is most famous for its breathtaking Gothic architecture and its remarkable stained glass windows, which are among the finest in the world. The Great East Window, in particular, stands out as a masterpiece of medieval stained glass art. This cathedral is also known for its towering central tower, which offers panoramic views of York for those willing to climb its steps.

Stained glass

Opening Times:
Monday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Sundays 12.45 – 3.15 Sundays.
The cathedral might open for sightseeing after Sunday services around 12:45 PM. Note that these times can vary due to special events or services, so it’s wise to verify before your visit
Ticket Costs:
Admission tickets to York Minster generally include access to the cathedral, the undercroft, and the interactive galleries.
Adult: £16
Children (under 16): Free when accompanied by a paying adult
York Tower Trips:
For breathtaking views over York, consider up to York tower, available at an additional cost. These are subject to weather conditions and physical fitness, as it involves climbing a lot of stairs.
*You also don’t need to go insiade York Minister to admire its beauty, I would the best shots I took in York were actually from Outside York Minister, admiring its gothic architecture from the York Minister Gardens just adjacent to it.

York City Walls

For the perfect experience, kick off your journey early in the morning. This not just beats the crowds but also catches the walls in the soft, golden light – a dream for photographers. Starting at Micklegate Bar gives you a sense of grandeur right from the get-go, leading you through layers of history with each step.

York Castle walls

As you meander along, Bootham Bar is a must-stop. Here, the juxtaposition of ancient stones against the bustling city life makes for an Instagram-worthy snapshot. Don’t rush; the beauty of York’s walls lies in the leisurely pace, allowing for stops to admire the views or to delve into a little history.

Midway, make a detour to the York Minster. It’s not directly on the wall path, but this architectural masterpiece is too mesmerizing to miss. Plus, the surrounding gardens offer a serene spot to rest and perhaps enjoy a quick snack.

Continuing on, the stretch near Monk Bar offers panoramic views of the city. It’s an ideal spot for those postcard-perfect shots, capturing the essence of York from an elevated perspective.

York Castle walls

Conclude your walk as the sun begins to dip, finishing at Clifford’s Tower. The golden hour light makes the tower glow, providing a stunning backdrop to end your adventure. Here, the vibrant atmosphere is palpable, with nearby cafes and restaurants buzzing

York Art Gallery

Located at exhibiton square, close to York Minister, the York Art Gallery offers an unexpected sanctuary away from the bigger tourist crowds. The gallery, with its welcoming facade, promises a dive into both contemporary and classic art forms, delivering on every front. For those looking to immerse themselves in the art scene, this spot is a must-visit.

Art Gallery

Navigating the gallery’s collections, were were amazed at the diversity and range of the exhibitions showcased here! Our highlights were the video immersives and the Japanese Ukiyo prints exhibition.

Opening Hours
10am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday.
*the gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Tickests: £7 for adults

The Shambles

Shambles

Wandering down the Shambles (aka ‘Diagon Alley’ for the Harry Potter fans) in York feels like stepping straight into a storybook, with its overhanging timber-framed buildings and cobbled streets offering a glimpse into medieval life. This remarkably well-preserved street, often bustling with curious visitors, holds a charm that seems to whisk you away from the modern world and into the heart of historical enchantment. Each twist and turn reveals quaint shops, inviting eateries, and hidden nooks that promise tales of old.

For fans of the wizarding world, the Shambles holds an extra layer of magic. It’s said to be one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series, and a stroll down this narrow lane certainly echoes the enchanting, bustling shopping street where Harry first discovered his magical heritage. The resemblance is uncanny, from the crooked, age-old buildings that lean into each other as if sharing secrets, to the assortment of specialty shops that seem to offer everything from the mundane to the mystical.

The Shop that must not be named
Kiosk coffee

Notable shops in Shambles

  • The Shop that must not be named and Potions Cauldron: Amazing place worth checking out for all the Harry Potter fans! Highly recomend the Butterbeer!
  • Betty Team Rooms: Nestled within the heart of the Shambles, York, Bettys Tea Room emerges as a quintessential stop for those craving an authentic British tea experience. We highly recomened ordering the the tea and scones (with jam and cream) for the quenessential british team experience! With its Art Deco interiors and polished silverware, Bettys offers a warm embrace of tradition amidst the bustling streets of York.
  • Hebden Tea: Best and wide collection of all sorts of funky tea flavours to sample! Honestly of the best stores to sample and buy teas and gifts. They also do amazing sample tastings.
  • Kiosk Coffee: Cute coffee shop servig soe of the best coffee in York!
Shambles tea shop

Brew York

One of the more unique experiences to York which am I so glad I did because it was actually the most memorable and fun evening!

Brew york Brewery

Brew York are famous for their craft beer and have a brewery tasting and tour. This was a fun and interactive tour where we learnt all about the brewing process while sampling some delicious mini beers!

There is an ambiance that exuded warmth and authenticity, reminiscent of the best kind of gathering spots where both locals and travelers converge for a taste of something real.

Brew York
Brew York

It was enlightening to peel back the layers of the brewing process, gaining insights from the passionate brewers themselves, all while we got to sample a nice range of their collection.

My recomendation would be book ahead to ensure you spot! I would also recomend booking an evening slot.There is a lovely outdoor area that spills out across the brewery with great ambienance right by some excelllent bars and restaurants.

York Museum Gardens

Open daily from dawn until dusk, these beautifully landscaped gardens offer a serene escape, free of charge, making it an ideal spot for anyone looking to unwind amid nature and history. The gardens envelop some of York’s most ancient ruins, including the atmospheric remains of St. Mary’s Abbey, providing a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls or impromptu photo sessions.

York Museum Gardens

If you’re interested you can also check out the Abbey itself, it once stood as one of the wealthiest and most powerful monasteries in England at the height of its power. The Abbey’s surviving walls and foundations offer a tangible connection to the past, allowing visitors to marvel at the scale and craftsmanship of medieval architecture.

York Ghost tour

Diving into York’s ghostly shadows with a ghost walking tour is an absolute must. It’s where history meets mystery, turning a night in York into an adventure through the eerie and unexplained. Guides, armed with tales of the macabre, lead you through dimly lit lanes, making the city’s haunted past come alive.

From my research before visiting, the best tours I came across were
The Original Ghost Walk of York, promising chills and thrills, £7 per person
Ghost Hunt of York, where the darker side of the city’s history is unveiled,£8 per person
York Ghost wak experience, blending humour and horror, £6 per person

Each offers a unique perspective on York’s ghostly lore, guaranteeing an evening filled with suspense and surprises. Perfect for those who love a good ghost story. If you’re visiting over hte popular summer months, then definitely book your spot ahead of time.

There you have it, a jam packed 48 hours in York from London! Truely a memorable trip where every corner of the city tells a different story, whether it’s aesthetic medieval alleysway or the cozy tea rooms and everything else in between!

For weekend away packing tips check out our best tips on how to pack a travel backpack.