Water activity

York: Self-Drive Red Boats

Activity provider: City Cruises York

York: Self-Drive Red Boats

Activity provider: City Cruises York
Likely to sell out
Likely to sell out

From US$ 56.73 per group up to 8

Try your hand at skippering your own boat by hiring one of these nippy little self-drive boats. They are fantastic fun, safe, and easy to drive. Suitable for up to 8 passengers.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Reserve now & pay later
Reserve now & pay later to book your spot without any charges today. Learn more
Duration 1 hour
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
Private group


  • Drive your own motor boat on the same river that the Vikings travelled on before setting up their famous settlement, Jorvik
  • See sights of the city's riverscape at your own pace
  • Enjoy a picnic on board, as you are welcome to bring a hamper and non-alcoholic beverages with you
Full description

Enjoy a leisurely one hour hire, exploring York from the helm of your own self-drive motorboat. Become a captain and explore the sites of York’s riverside in style. Your private boat can accommodate up to 8 people and will provide plenty of room for you all to head out on your own aquatic adventure, exploring the same river that brought the Vikings to this beautiful city. You will receive full instructions on how to operate your motor boat along with safety and river rules, whilst life jackets will be provided for any children. Your boat operating area is along a route that will along you to take in the whole city from the river within the one hour. Additionally, on a half hour hire you can operate within this area and will be able to take in most of the built up section of the Ouse, or make your way down stream to the Millennium Bridge and back to the moorings again. Please note that the boats cannot be taken past Clifton Bridge or the Millennium Bridge. You are not allowed to moor the boat up and disembark at any point on the river other than at the at King’s Staith (where your hire first began).

  • Life jackets (compulsory for children aged 10 and under)
  • Full instructions on how to drive the boat, the area of operation and the rules of the river
  • 40 cash security deposit (you will need to bring this with you on the day)
  • Drinks or snacks (but you are welcome to bring these with you with the exception of alcohol)
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • You must keep social distance while in vehicles

Select participants and date



Meeting point

The Red Boat Hire Point, King's Staith, Tower Gardens, York, YO1 9SN.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Passport or ID card
  • Cash

Not allowed

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and drugs

Know before you go

  • Hires will begin on the hour from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on weekdays and at either 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM on weekends and Bank Holidays (there may be a wait of up to 15 minutes during peak times). The person hiring the boat must be at least 18 years old and be able to provide a valid means of ID
  • People under the influence of alcohol are not permitted on board and no alcohol is to be taken on board
  • You are more than welcome to bring a picnic and soft drinks along with you to enjoy on board
  • You will then be required to bring a cash security deposit with you on the day of travel (minimum £40)
  • Once you have pre-booked online with GetYourGuide, you will still be required to meet the conditions of hire on arrival at the jetty. NOTE: If you do not meet the conditions of hire you will be refused
  • You are welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic drinks and snacks on board
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 296 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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Star rating:

We loved the little red boat self hire it was such a fun and peaceful way to see so much do the river.. absolutely wonderful. I gave it 4/5 as the boats aren’t red and the sign says another boating company so makes it really hard to find. A stressful and unnecessary start to the experience, easily solved by a sign saying the little red boat self hire here

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April 25, 2022

It was a good activity. The freedom to eat and drink was nice, especially with the four little kids I was with. The time and route was decent. Definitely do it again. My only reservation was I paid £45 online the night before, but it was £40 in-person. It doesn't make sense.

April 20, 2022

Really great activity and I would’ve given 5 stars but there were a couple of things which would’ve made the experience perfect: Firstly the boats aren’t red anymore - they are blue. So, if like us, you prebook and are walking around looking for ‘red self drive boats’ bear this in mind! Secondly, the guy working was very abrupt and not overly welcoming or informative… we hadn’t ever driven a boat before and, although it was easy enough, it would’ve been nice to have a little more reassurance from the staff. The boats are quite old and run down looking but once you’re out on the river it really is a fun way to see the city ☀️

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March 27, 2022

Product ID: 132348