York
Architecture Tours

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Our most recommended York Architecture Tours

York City Pass: Access 20 Attractions for One Great Price

1. York City Pass: Access 20 Attractions for One Great Price

York is a city with over 2000 years of history to explore, choose your own adventure in this amazing city. After purchase, your York City Pass gives you free entry to over 20 attractions in York.  Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in York and see the best of the city. You can visit JORVIK Viking Centre, York Dungeon, York Minster, Barley Hall, and more. You can also hop on the City Sightseeing Bus or the York City Cruises. With a variety of different options of things to do in see, you can thoroughly explore York. The York Pass also gives you discounts on taxi fares, BOBH day trips from York, Mountain Goat Tours, City Cruises Evening Tour, York Cycling Tour, escape rooms, and ghost walks. Inclusions: • Pizza or pasta at ASK Italian (terms and conditions apply) • The Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre • Barley Hall • Bedern Hall • Beningbrough Hall • Clifford’s Tower • Castle Howard • DIG • Fairfax House • Golden Tours York 24-hour ticket • JORVIK Viking Centre • Mansion House • Merchant Adventurers’ Hall • Railway Museum Road Train • Roman Bath • Treasurer’s House • Van Gogh Experience • York Army Museum • York City Cruises • York City Sightseeing 24-hour ticket • York Dungeon • York Minster • Yorkshire Air Museum

York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

2. York: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

Join a characterful witch-guide to discover York's history and unearth the secrets of the Shambles on a walking tour, with the option to participate in potion-making. Tread lightly as you walk through York Minster, Petergate, and Stonegate—the very grounds on which these mysterious events occurred. Meet your guide and begin your walking tour. Hear historical tales and legends that focus on witchcraft. Explore the Shambles, as you step back in time and discover the unpleasant origins of this now picturesque street. Watch out on the cobbles as you lend your ear to terrible tales of the witches of Yorkshire. Walk to Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, the smallest street with possibly the longest name in York. It is said the name means "What a street." Then, view the remains of the St Crux Church, originally the largest medieval parish church in York. Continue to King's Square, learning more about the area and hearing the tale of the magical tree with a witchy connection. Next, follow your guide through the old quarter of York, the Minster Quarter, where you pass the vibrant shopping area of the city. Stroll through Low Petergate and High Petergate and listen in awe at the fascinating and chilling stories of the past. Marvel at the grandeur of the world's most magnificent and iconic cathedrals, York Minster. Right opposite that, see the St Michael Le Belfrey Church. Hear some more spooky and witchery tales and a name that might spark some recognition. Gaze at the architecture of medieval buildings, gorgeous Georgian townhouses, and other period styles in Stonegate, one of York's most historic roads. Discover the alleys, ginnels, and snickets of the city and walk through York's longest snickelway (narrow alleys running between York's streets). Feel the chills in the air in the hidden courtyard of Barley Hall. Back to where it all began, this spellbinding old town walking tour lets you discover the wicked history of medieval York. In addition to exploring York, you can also opt to enter the Potions Cauldron for an immersive potion-making experience. Uncover the secret room and get lost in another world as special effects take you on a quest to make the perfect potion.

From York: Full-Day Yorkshire Dales Tour

3. From York: Full-Day Yorkshire Dales Tour

Leave York at 9:00 AM to explore the stunning landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Stop at the 14th-century Bolton Castle, former home of Mary Queen of Scots, to enjoy the magnificent views over Wensleydale. Next, enjoy some free time in Hawes. Sample the cheeses at the world famous Wensleydale Creamery, visit the Dales Countryside Museum, or explore the quaint shops and cafes. Move on to the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Pass through the picturesque villages on the way to Kettlewell, the main filming location for the Calendar Girls movie. Explore the village, learn more about the true story behind the movie, or relax with the locals in one of the pubs and cafes. Finally, stop in the charming town of Pateley Bridge, winner in the Great British High Street Competition in 2016. Visit the oldest sweet shop in the world before heading back to York, arriving at around 5:15 PM.

York: City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

4. 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.

From York: Day Trip to Whitby and The North York Moors

5. From York: Day Trip to Whitby and The North York Moors

The tour heads out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a scenic drive through the Vale of York. The first stop is at the Kilburn White Horse hill figure on the boundary of the North York Moors National Park, where your guide will tell you the story of how it was carved into the hillside in 1857. The next stop is in the picturesque market town of Helmsley, where you can view the medieval castle, explore the quaint shops, or just have a leisurely Yorkshire brew in one of the cafés. After Helmsley, you will head off through Hutton-le-Hole into the heart of the scenic North York Moors National Park for some photo stops, passing the 16th century Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge (the highest point on the Moors) and Ralph’s Cross.   Then, stop in the quaint and picturesque Yorkshire village of Lealholm to see the stepping-stones over the River Esk — a great photo opportunity. It is then just a short journey into Whitby. Whilst hearing stories about the seaside town’s history from your guide, you will also learn about the main places of interest that you may want to visit. As you arrive in Whitby, there will be a brief stop at the Captain Cook Statue and Whalebone Arch on the West Cliff then alternative drop-offs at the harbour or Whitby Abbey (recommended if you wish to start your visit there and avoid having to climb the 199 steps).   You will have a leisurely 3 hours of free time in Whitby where you can visit the town’s newest attraction, The Endeavour Experience — 1 of only 2 full-size replicas of the HM Bark Endeavour in existence. See also the Captain Cook Museum, take the Bark Endeavour scale replica boat trip around the harbour, or view Whitby Abbey, inspiration for the Dracula books. You may also just explore the shops and market of the seaside town and experience fish and chips from the famous Magpie Café. After Whitby, you will head back onto the North York Moors and arrive in the picture-postcard village of Goathland (filming location for Aidensfield in the Heartbeat television series and Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter movies) where you can explore the filming locations, or maybe just grab an ice cream from the village store. The tour leaves Goathland for a final stop to enjoy the stunning views at the Hole of Horcum before heading back to York.

York: 1-Hour Small Group Evening Walking Tour

6. 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.

York: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Tour

7. York: Romans, Vikings, and Medieval Marvels Audio Tour

See York and some of its iconic sites without joining a tour group with this affordable walking tour that lets you explore at your own pace. York is a city that has been at many defining historical crossroads. On this is self-guided walk, you'll hear the extraordinary 2,000 years of history that made the city into what it is today. You'll experience Roman, Viking and medieval York, and you'll see the city's great sights and some of it's lesser ones too. And as you walk you'll learn the history of this great City and the central role it has played in the history of England. From its humble beginnings as a riverside Roman settlement, to its turbulent takeover by the Vikings, and on to its thriving medieval period of commerce - let's uncover some of the great figures and lesser known characters that have shaped this beautiful city by the Ouse River.

York: Private Bespoke History Walking Tour

8. 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.

York: Private Socially Distanced Guided Walking Tour

9. 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.

Heart of England, North Wales and Yorkshire 5-Day Tour

10. Heart of England, North Wales and Yorkshire 5-Day Tour

Discover the Heart of England on a scenic 5-day tour that also crosses the border into North Wales, where you’ll see the magnificent mountains of Snowdonia. Visit some of England’s oldest cities, including the cathedral city of York, the university city of Cambridge, and the medieval town of Chester. Go to Shakespeare’s birthplace, and vist Anne Hathaway’s tudor cottage. Travel by small minicoach, with accommodations in characterful bed and breakfasts for a more intimate experience. Day 1: Depart London and head north to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare and home to the Tudor thatched cottage and gardens of his wife, Anne Hathaway. There will be time to explore the quaint town center, and enjoy lunch at leisure, before driving to the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge close to the Welsh border. Set in a stunning gorge of the River Severn, the historic valley boasts the world’s first bridge made of iron, as well as a host of other attractions. Then, travel to the beautiful town of Shrewsbury to check in to your accommodation for the next 2 nights. Day 2: Today, you will head into the heart of North Wales and visit the picture book castle of Conwy, built by Edward I in the late 13th century. Marvel at the mountain scenery of Snowdonia National Park, including the huge Dinorwic slate quarries and the dramatic Pass of Llanberis in the shadows of the highest mountain peak in Wales. Hear tales of Owain Glyndwr and the Welsh struggles for independence before traveling back through the borderlands into England. Day 3: Leave Shrewsbury and drive to the hills of the Peak District National Park, where you will discover a mix of beautiful villages and rolling moors. Take a scenic route through the park to the village of Castleton. In the afternoon, visit the famous grouds and mansion house of Chatsworth, home to the Duke of Devonshire and often named the UK’s favourite country house. Inside, you’ll find one of the finest collections of furniture and paintings by Old Masters, as well as Neoclassical sculptures. Continue to the historic City of York, your base for the next 2 nights. Day 4: Today you have the option to spend the day at leisure exploring the medieval heart of York. Wander the streets of a city with a rich history that dates back to the time of the Romans, Vikings, and Normans. Visit some of York’s fascinating museums, and the stunning York Minster, or just lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets. Alternatively, join your guide on a half-day excursion into the Yorkshire Dales to visit the pretty market towns of Knaresborough or Ripon. Continue your scenic drive of the remote valleys and rugged scenery of the Eastern Dales, before returning to York for a free afternoon. Day 5: Depart the fair city of York in the morning, stopping in the town of Lincoln, famed for its beautiful historic center and delicious Lincolnshire sausages. Continue to the university City of Cambridge, where you can stroll the medieval streets in the shadow of the dreamy spires of historic colleges, including the famous Kings College Chapel. Walk along the banks of the River Cam, where you might see punters out for the day. Continue to London for an estimated arrival time of approximately 19:30.

Frequently asked questions about York Architecture Tours

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What people are saying about York

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 133 reviews

We had purchased a 2 day York pass for our visit. The passes allows access to the majority of York’s attractions and are well understood by those working in the venues. You do need to pre-book a number of the busier attractions but once done entry is easy. Don’t worry about pre booking the cruise as it’s not required although it says it is on the website.

Alfred was just brilliant. He was so knowledgeable and really brought the whole experience to life. He is so passionate about York the it was a pleasure to share this with him. I would highly recommend him to anyone who wants to find out what York is all about. Great lad

We were given a fantastic tour of York by Alfred. He had a great knowledge of York, and gave a really fascinating story of York’s history (and English history) as we walked around the main sites. I would happily go on the tour again, and thoroughly recommend it!

Our lovely tour witch with the lovely long blonde hair and beautiful different name was extremely informative and very funny … thank you C Shave

Great tour Very informative and knowledgeable guide