The city of York in the north of England is one of the most historic in the UK. York's attractions, such as York Minster, the National Railway Museum, Clifford's Tower, and the cobbled streets of The Shambles, make this walled city one of the most popular in northern Europe with visitors who like to explore the past. Plus, the surrounding countryside of the Yorkshire Dales makes the city a great place to visit for hikers and bikers. And as a modern metropolis, you can also enjoy the best shopping in York here.
A big part of the appeal of York is its ambiance. And the heart of the ancient city is relatively small, making it a great place to wander around and just take in the atmosphere. But if you're willing to explore, you'll also find some great attractions outside the city of York. And if you're wondering how to get to them, you've come to the right place.
York has a good public transportation system that makes it easy to get just about anywhere you want to go. To make things easier on yourself while you take advantage of the city's bus services and cycle routes, make sure you drop off your belongings at a Bounce luggage storage in York. will make it much easier to navigate the city center and anywhere else you want to visit in York.
How to get around York by train
York Railway Station was the largest in the world when it opened in 1877. Halfway between London and Edinburgh, it was a major junction station for trains from all over the UK. And although it is no longer the largest in the world or even in the country, York Station remains an important rail hub for trains from all over the UK.
Best of all, York Railway Station is located just outside the city walls, right in the heart of York. A 15 to 20-minute walk will take you over the River Ouse to The Shambles and the Jorvik Viking Centre, and it's only a little further to York Minster. As a result, York Railway Station is the gateway to the city for millions of visitors every year. In fact, the station transports around 10 million passengers every year, making it a very busy place.
Trains stop at York Station from around the UK. Regular service from London calls at the station, with the fastest trains completing the journey in just under two hours. Intercity trains also run to other major cities like Leeds, Manchester, and Edinburgh. As a result, it's easy to reach York Station from just about anywhere in the country.
York Railway Station also functions as a hub for many of the city's bus routes and public transport infrastructure. Plus, you'll find taxi ranks along Station Road if you prefer not to get around on foot.
Despite its popularity with foreign tourists, York doesn't have an international airport of its own. Instead, most visitors arrive in either Manchester or London and travel to York by bus or by train. There is a direct train from the station at Manchester International Airport to York Station that runs every half hour and takes a little under two hours to complete the journey. Bus route 757 connects Leeds Airport to York Station. And from the London airports, you'll need to make your way to King's Cross railway station, and catch a direct train from there to York Station.
How to get around York by bus
York isn't a big enough city to have its own tram or metro lines. Plus, it's basically impossible to dig anywhere in York city center without hitting some significant archaeological ruins. Therefore, York buses are one of the only ways to get around York without driving.
York has an extensive network of bus routes administered by the private company First Bus. First Bus runs buses both inside the city center and to the outlying areas. For visitors to York, though, it's the heart of the ancient city that has the highest concentration of tourist attractions, so that's where you'll probably spend most of your time.
It's important to note that York city center is completely pedestrianized. Not even bikes are allowed in the old streets in the heart of the city. Therefore, York's bus routes skirt the core of the city center. You'll find many bus stops right outside York Station, and others along Clifford Street and Piccadilly. There's also a good selection of bus stops close to York Minster and the Yorkshire Museum, which lie outside the pedestrianized area. But to get to The Shambles, Newgate Market, and other centrally located tourist attractions, you'll need to get off the bus and walk a little.
Using buses in York isn't complicated. You can buy tickets from the driver as you board. Make sure to tell the driver where you're going and whether you need a single or return ticket. You can also buy short-term travel passes that will make it easier to use the bus services in York and mean you won't have to fumble for cash every time you get on board. An All York pass will allow you to get on any bus in the city, whether it's operated by First Bus or not. A day pass costs 5 pounds and can be bought on board any bus. You can also buy a two-day or five-day pass online, which works out a little cheaper. Weekly and monthly tickets are also available. You can also buy a family pass that gives you unlimited travel for two adults and three children under 16.
For the latest information on York's bus network, check out the First Bus website. There's a useful trip planner that helps you figure out which bus you need to get where you want to go. Bigger bus stops will also have maps that can help you figure out the network while you travel. The iTravel website is also a great resource for both bus routes and walking maps that can help you get around the city.
How to get around York by car
Thanks in part to its age, York is not a great city for driving. After all, the streets of the city center were laid out long before cars were even thought of. And because the historic heart of the city is completely car-free, you won't be able to drive into the heart of York. Instead, you'll have to find a place to park, and affordable parking is never easy to find in this city.
However, hiring a car can be helpful if you want to discover the Yorkshire Dales and the countryside around York. In that case, it's a good idea to choose a hotel that has its own parking. That way, you can leave the car at the hotel and catch a bus or even walk into the city so you don't have to worry about traffic and parking restrictions.
The city also offers park and ride services administered by York Council with the goal of getting people out of their cars and onto public transit. This park and ride network is the largest in the UK, due in part to the difficulty of driving in York. The park-and-ride sites offer free parking and free Wi-Fi to keep you occupied while you wait for your bus. You'll find locations at Ashkam Bar, York Designer Outlet, Monks Cross, and other key locations in the city. The buses run into the center of the city, with most of them stopping at York Station.
Can I get around York on foot?
Not only is it perfectly possible to get around York on foot; in some places, it's essential. The old streets in the city's historic heart are closed to all vehicles, and even bikes have to be walked rather than ridden. Even delivery trucks are heavily restricted in the pedestrian zone.
What this means is that York is an absolutely fantastic city to explore on foot. You won't have to share the narrow streets with vehicles of any kind, and you can focus on enjoying the unique atmosphere of the city. In fact, taking a walk through the center of York is one of the best ways to spend time in the city, and it allows you to really appreciate the historic buildings and unique atmosphere of this remarkably well-preserved town.
The city of York encourages this kind of wandering with several themed walks that are great for families. You can hunt for the statues of cats that are distributed around the city center or take part in the Little Vikings walk. The self-guided walks give you a great tour of the city and let you experience the pedestrian zone for yourself. It's also good to know that you can easily and safely walk through the heart of the city after enjoying some unmissable things to do at night in York. York is a very safe city to visit, and wandering around the old town at night offers a completely different experience to what you'll have during the day.
If you prefer to give your feet a break, you could also take advantage of the many bike rental companies you'll find in the city. Outside of the pedestrian zone, York has cycle routes that will let you get around the city easily. And even within the pedestrian zone, all you need to do is dismount your bike and either lock it up or walk it with you anywhere you want to go.
Additionally, TIER operates a scooter and e-bike rental service in the city. Download the app and it will guide you to the nearest scooter or bike. The app will unlock the scooter, and you'll be ready to go. Once you're done, you can drop your scooter or bike in the designated parking spots or leave it somewhere safe on the sidewalk. The TIER network offers a very convenient way to get around York without having to drive or take a bus.
With its pedestrianized historic district, York has to be one of the most walkable cities in the UK. And its historically important rail station means the city is incredibly well-connected to the rest of the country, with trains arriving from just about any major city in the UK to the heart of York. The city's bus service can make it easier to get around, especially if you want to visit outlying areas. But in general, the best way to experience York is by walking. After all, that's what York's inhabitants have done throughout history, from Romans to Vikings to Victorians.
That's why it's a good idea to drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in York. Traveling light makes it much easier and more enjoyable to take a stroll through the old city and soak up the atmosphere. Leave your bags behind and let yourself really enjoy everything York has to offer.