Idyllic Day Trips: Places to Visit & Things to Do Near York

York, a historic gem set in the heart of North England, is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and captivating culture. Yet, beyond its ancient walls and cobbled streets lies a world of things to do near York waiting to be explored.

Thanks to York’s advantageous geographical positioning, visitors searching for things to do near York can easily find themselves immersed in pristine nature, wandering the streets of bustling cities, or stepping back in time in nearby historic towns.

With seamless transport links connecting York to the surrounding wonders, day trips become a breeze for those searching for places to visit near York. And for those looking to base themselves amidst the city’s charm, Wheelwright’s holiday apartments in York city centre serve as the perfect home away from home.

Dive into our curated list of day trips of places to visit near York for families and the local area to find the perfect adventure to complement your York stay.

Top 5 Places to Visit Near York

Beyond the historic charm of York’s cobbled streets, the surrounding areas beckon with a variety of enchanting attractions. Whether you’re in the mood for the fragrance of blossoming lavender or a deep dive into modern history, there’s a nearby destination that’s just right for your days out near York. Here’s our curated list of the top 5 places to visit near York:

Yorkshire Lavender

 Breathe in the intoxicating aroma and let your senses be overwhelmed by the purple splendour of Yorkshire’s premier lavender gardens. Apart from the vast fields, the grounds offer sculpted gardens, a nursery, and even a specialist plant shop for those looking to take a little piece of paradise home.

Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum

Transport yourself back in time and experience the sights, sounds, and even smells of World War II Britain. Housed within an original prisoner-of-war camp, this award-winning museum offers an interactive and immersive journey through modern history.

Castle Howard

Located just 15 miles from York, Castle Howard is an 18th-century residence that stands as a testament to time. Adorned with stunning architecture and breathtaking gardens, it boasts a rich family history that resonates throughout its rooms. Every corner of Castle Howard has a tale to tell, and the gardens provide tranquillity at every turn. Castle Howard draws numerous visitors during the festive season with its grand Christmas display. Additionally, the live concerts held throughout the summer serve as a major attraction, often leading guests to extend their stay in the nearby areas.

North York Moors National Park

Perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, this sprawling moorland offers a serene escape for those planning days out near York. With picturesque walking trails, ancient woodlands, and a plethora of wildlife, it’s a nature lover’s dream.

Helmsley Walled Garden

A hidden gem, this five-acre garden situated at the foot of the North York Moors is over 250 years old. From fragrant rose gardens to therapeutic horticultural areas, it’s a haven for both plant enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

With such diverse attractions just a stone’s throw away from York, every day promises a new adventure, ensuring your trip remains etched in memory for years to come.

Best Walks Near York

York’s surrounding countryside offers some of the most scenic and diverse walks near York in England. Within just a 30-minute drive, one can find themselves amidst serene woodlands, along historic pathways, or traversing the vast open spaces of the moors. If you’re keen to stretch your legs and take in some fresh air, here are our top picks for the best walks near York:

Studley Royal Water Garden and Deer Park

A short drive away, this World Heritage Site offers an enchanting blend of landscaped gardens, tranquil lakes, and roaming deer. Among the attractions near York, the various trails lead visitors past ornamental lakes, cascading waterfalls, and grand historic buildings, making it a prominent thing to do near York.

Sheriff Hutton Circular Walk

This delightful 6-mile circular walk begins in the historic village of Sheriff Hutton, taking you through the peaceful North Yorkshire countryside. Among the things to do near York, you have the chance to see the impressive ruins of Sheriff Hutton Castle and the beautiful St Helen and Holy Cross Church, both notable attractions near York, along the way.

Brayton Barff Woodland Walk

An ancient woodland, Brayton Barff is a haven for flora and fauna. The circular route of about 3 miles is relatively easy, winding through a mix of broadleaf and coniferous trees. Listen to the woodpeckers, watch for roe deer, and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this woodland gem.

Wheldrake Ings Nature Reserve

Ideal for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, this wetland reserve boasts a diverse array of bird species throughout the year. Among the attractions near York, the walking trails provide fantastic views across the reedbeds, wet grasslands, and open water.

Kirkham Priory and the River Derwent

Starting at the historic ruins of Kirkham Priory, this picturesque route meanders along The River Derwent, offering serene river views, abundant wildlife, and insights into the region’s rich history.

So, if you’re looking to discover the scenic beauty and things to do near York on foot, these walking routes promise rejuvenating experiences and captivating landscapes.

And for those wishing to bring their furry friends along on their adventures, Wheelwrights York offers pet-friendly accommodation options that ensure a comfortable stay for both you and your pet.

Castles to Visit Near York

The surroundings of York are steeped in history and majesty, and nothing quite exemplifies this like the grand castles near York that dot its landscape. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture admirer, or someone looking for a fairy-tale day out near York, these castles promise to transport you to a different era.

Here are our top picks for days out near York:

Castle Howard

Not a traditional castle in the mediaeval sense, Castle Howard is a stately home of grand proportions. Built over 300 years ago, it remains one of England’s most exquisite baroque masterpieces. Wander through its opulent rooms, marvel at its art collections, and take leisurely strolls in its captivating gardens that span over 1,000 acres. An essential visit for those looking for castles near York.

Helmsley Castle

Located in the market town of Helmsley, this historic Norman fortress tells tales of kings, wars, and changing fortunes. Over the years, Helmsley Castle has evolved from a medieval fortress to a luxurious Tudor mansion, to a Civil War stronghold. Today, its ruins stand as a testament to its rich past, making it a perfect day out near York with its interactive exhibition offering a deep dive into its history.

Pickering Castle

Nestled on the edge of the North York Moors, Pickering Castle is a classic example of an early motte-and-bailey castle. As one of the prominent castles near York, with its well-preserved walls, towers, and chapel, the castle offers insights into the life and times of the medieval era. The panoramic views of the Ryedale countryside from its walls are an added treat.

Sheriff Hutton Castle

Although now in ruins, the storied walls of Sheriff Hutton Castle have seen much. From being a focal point during the Wars of the Roses to housing Richard III’s council, its historic significance is undeniable. Wander amidst its ruins for a memorable day out near York and let history come alive.

Clifford’s Tower

Part of York Castle, Clifford’s Tower stands tall in the heart of York. Climbing to the top, you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of the historic city. Though it has witnessed various roles over the centuries, from a royal mint to a prison, its architecture and position remain iconic to York’s skyline and ranks high among castles near York.

Embarking on a castle tour near York offers more than just historic architecture; it’s a journey through time, tales of intrigue, and breathtaking landscapes.

Stately Homes Near York

Nestled within the scenic landscapes near York, opulent stately homes near York stand as a testament to the grandeur and elegance of bygone eras. These magnificent homes offer a journey into the lives of their erstwhile residents, set amidst architecturally stunning backdrops and sprawling gardens.

For those wishing to immerse themselves in history, beauty, and the allure of the English countryside, here are the top stately homes near York to visit:

Beningbrough Hall

Situated just a short drive from York, Beningbrough Hall is a beautiful baroque mansion set amidst lush gardens and parkland. As one of the popular things to do near York, as you explore its grand rooms, you’ll be greeted by impressive art collections from the National Portrait Gallery. Outside, the walled garden, orchard, and labyrinth offer tranquil spaces to wander and unwind.

Nunnington Hall

Located on the banks of the River Rye, Nunnington Hall exudes charm and elegance. This manor house offers an intimate glimpse into its storied past, with its rooms showcasing collections of miniature rooms, contemporary art, and more. The organic garden, with its themed rooms, adds to the allure, as does the resident peacock that roams the grounds.

Exploring these stately homes near York provides not only an immersion into history and architecture but also an opportunity to soak in the natural beauty and tranquillity that accompanies them.

For those seeking a blend of history, art, and nature all in one, the stately homes near York promise an experience like no other. To further inspire your adventures and plan memorable short breaks in the region, delve deeper into our curated recommendations on Wheelwrights York’s Inspiration for Short Breaks.

Photo by Chris Johnson on Unsplash