The Most Beautiful Parks in and Around York

Yorkshire Lavender is just one of York's many enchanting green spaces
Yorkshire Lavender is just one of York's many enchanting green spaces | © John Potter / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Elena Alston
20 July 2020

York is best known for its gothic churches, medieval alleyways and ancient architecture. Yet it is also home to a number of parks, some of which lie in areas of outstanding beauty. Our local insiders let us in on the city’s best-kept secret – its green spaces.

Rowntree Park

Park
Map View

Rowntree Park, on the flood plains of the River Ouse, is a myriad of paths and walkways along the river. It was York’s first ever municipal park, presented to the public by sweets company Rowntree & Co to commemorate the 200 members of their staff who died in World War I. If you’re in search of a little exercise during your visit, the park boasts six tennis courts, a skate park, a basketball court, two tennis tables and two bowling greens. The duck pond also makes for an excellent picnicking spot. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

Dean's Park

Park
Map View

Located on the North side of the Minster, Dean’s Park is a quiet, green oasis offering incredible views of the Gothic Cathedral and the Minster Library. Some ruins of a 12th-century cloister – probably from the Old Palace – are still standing. While it originally was accessible only to members of the church, today it’s open to the public. It also hosts events and performances on the regular, such as the Illuminating York Festival and the York Mystery Plays. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

Yorkshire Lavender

Natural Feature
Map View

Cue sweeping fields of glossy green, purple velvet and daffodil yellow meadows. This family-run lavender farm overlooks the Vale of York, stretching on for more than 60 acres (24ha). Set deep within the Howardian Hills, it sits in the shadows of Castle Howard and offers visitors exclusive access to a lavender maze, plant nursery and sculpture gardens. Stop by the tearoom to try the lavender scones and homemade ice cream before you go; they’re a longstanding family speciality. Recommended by local insider David Taylor

Askham Bog Nature Reserve

Natural Feature
Map View

A survivor of Yorkshire’s ancient fenlands, dating back 15,000 years, Askham Bog is considered one of the most ecologically diverse sites in the UK. The bog itself is made of boulder clay and fen peat, while the land around it is home to roe deer, foxes, newts and frogs. Plants include royal ferns, rare gingerbread sedge and whole rivers of water violets. Marked trails around the area provide visitors with some very scenic hikes, and it lies just minutes away from York’s centre. In 2016, when Sir David Attenborough visited, he called it a “cathedral of nature conservation”. Recommended by local insider David Taylor

These recommendations were updated on July 20, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.