The Best Day Trips From York, England

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is home to Damien Hirst's 'Charity'
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is home to Damien Hirst's 'Charity' | © Martin Williams / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Daisy Dobson
7 July 2020

With the museums, galleries, architecture and fantastic shops on offer in York, you won’t have a chance to get bored in this historic city. However, York is perfectly placed in North Yorkshire to explore some of the best the county has to offer. A short car journey takes you to theme parks, picturesque seaside towns, award-winning sculpture parks and some of the most beautiful, scenic countryside in the UK. Our local insiders have rounded up the best day trips from York to give you an adventure out of the city.

Flamingo Land Resort

Amusement Park
Map View
Flip flop ride at Flamingo land resort near Pickering in North yorkshire uk. Image shot 04/2012. Exact date unknown.
© veryan dale / Alamy Stock Photo
After a 40-minute drive from the city centre, through stunning North Yorkshire countryside you arrive at one of the county’s most unique attractions. Flamingo Land Resort boasts an award-winning zoo and a massive theme park, what a combination! With over 140 species of reptiles, birds and mammals you’ll see a huge breadth of the animal kingdom. When you’re done watching the ring-tailed coati and the red pandas you can head over to the theme park and take your pick from more than 40 exhilarating rides. The mix of attractions here means that there is never too much of a queue for your favourite ride. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

Castle Howard

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark
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Castle Howard house and gardens which are a popular tourist attraction in North Yorkshire
© Martin Williams / Alamy Stock Photo
The Howard family have been calling this impressive building, and it’s 8,800 acres (3,561ha), home for over 300 years. They’re still residents now so some of the house is off limits, but you’re free to explore the expansive grounds complete with lakes, temples, fountains and a mausoleum. Often cited as one of the most spectacular stately homes in the UK, it has been used as a TV location, most recently as the Marchman family home in Brideshead Revisited (2008). With an onsite café, farm and gift shop and a garden centre, you can spend a whole glorious day here. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Park, Architectural Landmark
Map View

A wander around the world-famous Yorkshire Sculpture Park leaves you feeling inspired, impressed and very grateful that somebody had the idea of putting jaw-dropping works of art in this beautiful slice of countryside. Featuring internationally renowned artists’ work from the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore and a host of visiting artists, there is something incredible around every corner. It is free to visit, just pay for parking, and the on-site café is delicious. Recommended by local insider David Taylor

Bolton Abbey

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark, Natural Feature
Map View

William Wordsworth and JMW Turner visited Bolton Abbey for inspiration and peace; you’ll get the same at this incredibly picturesque spot. The ruins of the abbey are worthy of a visit alone, and it’s a great spot for a picnic next to the river. Make sure to leave time to explore the surrounding land. Acres of countryside and miles of walkways circle the abbey so you’re spoiled for choice with routes. The café onsite serves the cake and hot drinks of your dreams for after your ramble. Recommended by local insider David Taylor


Natural Feature
Map View
whitby harbour town abbey ruins and small boats whitby yorkshire england uk gb eu europe
© eye35.pix / Alamy Stock Photo
There is a lot to say about Whitby. It’s synonymous with Dracula (the town inspired Bram Stoker’s story), smuggling and pirates, the intrepid explorer Captain James Cook and award-winning fish and chip shops. This is Yorkshire seaside at its finest! Wander the cobbled, old streets, spend time on the golden sands and soak up the stories of this historic town. Work off your battered fish and vinegar-drenched chips by taking the 199 steps up to the abbey, the views are worth it. No day at the seaside is complete without a dip in the sea, while there keep your eyes out for Whitby Jet, the precious stone found among its rocks. Recommended by local insider David Taylor

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