Fancy a break from the city? Why not explore charming Yorkshire villages, historic houses and wild countryside on a day trip from York?

After meeting at a designated pick up point, you will travel by air-conditioned minibus with your knowledgeable driver/guide to some of the most stunning locations in God’s own country.

North York Moors and Whitby (with optional Steam Train)

This eight and a half hour day trip from York heads first for the west corner of the North York Moors passing the iconic White Horse at Kilburn, before cutting across to the historic town of Helmsley. After a forty-five minute stop it’s back on the bus and up onto the moors as you journey toward Whitby. You’ll be able to enjoy a couple of hours in this charming fishing port where you can visit the Captain Cook Museum or the abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.

After leaving Whitby in mid-afternoon the tour continues to Goathland, whose local train station was used in the Harry Potter films. Passengers have the option to disembark here and catch the steam train to Pickering (journey by rail not included in tour price).

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The beach at West Cliff, Whitby
The beach at West Cliff, Whitby

Yorkshire Dales Day Trip from York

Alternatively you could take a trip out into the Yorkshire Dales. First up is Bolton Castle in Wensleydale, at one time the temporary home of Mary Queen of Scots. Next, and only a short drive away, is Aysgarth falls. This spectacular natural feature was the location for the river scene in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves when Kevin Costner battles with Little John. You’ll also get a chance to visit Hawes – with its renowned Wensleydale Creamery – and Arncliffe – home of Emmerdale Farm’s original Woolpack. Pateley Bridge in the rolling countryside of Nidderdale is the final stop before the tour heads back to York.

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North Yorkshire Moors and Castle Howard

After leaving York this day trip begins at Castle Howard, a spectacular eighteenth century stately home set in the Howardian Hills – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Lunch is spent in the nearby market town of Pickering and you then climb up into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and head toward the pretty village of Goathland. The tour continues to Rosedale Abbey and Hutton-le-Hole before the final stop at Helmsley with its dramatic castle ruins.

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Castle Howard view over lake
View of Castle Howard across lake

Yorkshire Dales and Fountains Abbey

This Yorkshire Dales day tour starts early, picking up from York at 8.45am. The exact itinerary is flexible – to account for inclement weather – but a typical trip will head first deep into the Dales to the Wensleydale Creamery. A two hour tour of some of Yorkshire’s most spectacular scenery follows, taking in Aysgarth Falls, Leyburn and Middleham Castle. The stand-out part of the day is the visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a one-time Cistercian monastery and eighteenth century water gardens – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately entry to the abbey is not included in the tour price.

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Haworth, Bolton Abbey & Steam Trains

This day trip heads out from York into Bronte country and visits Haworth, home of the Bronte Parsonage Museum. After this first stop the tour continues to the picturesque Wharfedale village of Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Lunch is at Bolton Abbey, a ruined riverside monastry – one of my favourite places in the Dales. You will then be taken to the Bolton Abbey railway station – as seen on Great Railway Journeys – where you have the chance to catch a steam train up to Embsay and enjoy the fantastic scenery.

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View of Bolton Abbey
View of Bolton Abbey

Heartbeat Locations Tour

Step back into sixties Yorkshire and relive a slice of small screen history. This six hour day trip from York gives you the chance to visit some of the locations made famous in the television series Heartbeat. The tour first visits Ashfordley – or Whitby as it’s known off screen – before heading to Goathland, the primary location for the fictional village of Aidensfield. You’ll see Aidensfield Station, Bernie Scripps Garage and Funeral Parlour, and have the chance to have a pint in the Aidensfield Arms.

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These are all small minibus tours with a limit of 16 people.

Most of these day trips from York run in peak holiday season between April and October, however some are also available as out of season or winter tours as well.