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York, England Small group activities

Our most recommended York, England Small group activities

York's Chocolate Story: Guided Tour

1. York's Chocolate Story: Guided Tour

Make your way to York’s Chocolate Story in the historic heart of York. Meet the guide and spend 1 hour and 15 minutes on an entertaining tour of the attraction. Discover the secrets of making delicious chocolate as you explore the facility’s 3 floors filled with interactive exhibitions. Join a guided tour to explore the history of chocolate, from the discovery of the cocoa bean thousands of years ago to the world famous chocolate-making families of York. Listen as your knowledgeable guide brings the process to life, and hands out the occasional taster, of course. Towards the end of your visit you’ll have a chance to make your own chocolate creation and watch a chocolatier at work, perfect for adults and children alike. At the end of the guided tour, visit the cafe and gift shop, bursting with artisan chocolate and other delicious creations.

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.

York: Self-Steer Boat Rental

3. York: Self-Steer Boat Rental

Enjoy a leisurely one hour hire, exploring York from the helm of your own self-steer 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).

From York: Moors, Whitby, and the Yorkshire Steam Railway

4. From York: Moors, Whitby, and the Yorkshire Steam Railway

Leave the city and travel through the Vale of York, learning about life in Yorkshire as you head for the first stop in the traditional National Park village of Hutton-le-Hole. Pass the 16th-century Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge at the highest point of the moors. See some of the pretty villages on the way to Whitby and hear stories from the seaside town’s history. Choose how you want to spend your two and a half hours in Whitby. See the Abbey, visit the Captain Cook attractions, shop for gothic fashion or enjoy a fish and chips lunch, the choice is yours. Opt to spend less time in Whitby and climb aboard a steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at a special discounted rate, paid locally on the day. See Hogsmeade Station from the Harry Potter movies and more. Alternatively, journey to Goathland by minibus in time see the other passengers arrive by steam train. Explore the fictional village of Aidensfield from the TV show, Heartbeat. Learn the history behind the mysterious RAF Fylingdales Pyramid on Snod Hill and see the Hole of Horcum before heading back towards York through the Howardian Hills with panoramic views of Castle Howard.

From York: Full-Day Yorkshire Dales Tour

5. 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

6. 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.

York: York Cocoa Works Guided Tour and Tasting

7. York: York Cocoa Works Guided Tour and Tasting

Learn how chocolate is made at York Cocoa Works with the Chocolate Manufactory Tasting Journey. During your visit, you will be show around the Chocolate Manufactory by a team of chocolate lovers who will share the secrets of cocoa and the transformation into chocolate. You will discover cocoa origins from around the world, learn the rich history of chocolate making in York before taking a peek into the manufactory and watch the chocolate being made. This session concludes with a special tasting conducted by a cocoa connoisseur, sampling chocolate crafted on site with different cocoa flavour notes and strengths to explore the full chocolate tasting experience. Following the journey, you are invited to join us in our Chocolate Cafe where you can use your ticket to enjoy further discounts across our whole product range.

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

8. 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.

Guided Cycling Tour of York

9. 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.

3-day Yorkshire Dales and Peak District Tour from Manchester

10. 3-day Yorkshire Dales and Peak District Tour from Manchester

Day 1: Travel to the Peak District. In the late morning, you will arrive in Castleton. This quaint old town attracts travelers from all over the world for its quintessential English charm. Nearby, there are caves, a beautiful view up a valley, and an insightful information center. Venture to the beautiful valley at Monsal Head. There’s an old rail line viaduct that emerges from the green hills. It’s a gorgeous structure with an impressive history. If you’re hungry, then you’re in luck, because you’re stopping for lunch in Bakewell. Not only is this town delicious to look at, but it’s also the home of one of England’s most famous desserts, the Bakewell Pudding. After savoring every last crumb, head over to Chatsworth House. This luxurious stately home is incredible; you can admire the architecture, get lost in a massive maze, or praise precious art. Finally, head off in the early evening to your overnight stop in York. Day 2: Full-day Tour of York Spend your morning in York. Visit a chocolate museum, find out about the Vikings, or just stroll around the ancient walls. Around midday, leave York and head to Goathland. This town was used in the Harry Potter movies and is situated in one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the UK. Your next stop is Whitby. This is the type of town everyone dreams of retiring in. There’s a beautifully-located, ruined abbey; old stone steps curving around viewpoints; and a lovely little beach to play about on. After exploring all the nooks and crannies of Whitby, travel to Robin Hood’s Bay. They doubt if the real Robin Hood ever came here, but there are still plenty of smugglers tales dotted around this remarkable harbor village. Finally, arrive back in York in the early evening. Day 3: Touring, Lunch, and Returning to Manchester Take the road to Fountains Abbey. This is one of the largest ruined abbeys in England and part of an important UNESCO Heritage site. Then find yourself surrounded by some of England’s most lovely waterfalls at AysgarthEnjoy a delicious lunch of Wensleydale's famous cheese and crackers. After lunch, travel past the epic Ribblehead railway viaduct before having a short snoop around the old castle-topped town of Clitheroe. In the evening, arrive in Manchester.

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Frequently asked questions about York, England

What top attractions are a must-see in York, England?

What are the best day trips and excursions from York, England?

The best day trips and excursions from York, England are:

Whitby

Other Sightseeing Options in York, England

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What people are saying about York, England

Sarah really took the time to educate you you through the experience …my kids loved it too!

Lots of fun! Our guide was fantastic, interesting history facts with great theatrics!

Was a fun tour. Richard the tour guide was excellent, funny and informative.

Wonderful experience, the guide was brilliant and full of knowledge

Delivered as advertised. Driver very knowledgeable. Beautiful trip.