5 of the Best Walking Tours in York

by Paul Joseph  |  Published April 27, 2023

Famous for its huge Gothic cathedral and medieval walls, the city of York in northeast England is best explored on foot – with a wide choice of guided walking tours available.

(Photo: The Wizard of York)

Achingly pretty and intriguingly historic in equal measure, York is one of the UK’s most popular mini-break destinations, with enough to see and do to keep visitors entertained for days on end. What’s more, the compact centre is eminently walkable, with plenty of cafes, public squares and green spaces on hand for respite, too. Below are 5 of the best organised walking tours of the city currently on offer.

The Wizard of York 

Join award-winning entertainer and magician The Wizard of York on a spell-binding hour of fun featuring magic, comedy and a dash of York’s fascinating history. During the tour, you and your small group will be tasked with helping find several magical creatures hidden among some of the city’s various nooks and crannies as you traverse the York streets. Suitable for kids aged around 5 and upwards, there are no spooky ghosts or scary stories – just fun and laughter for all the family. Tours can also be upgraded to include Wizard Wand Kits, so children can practice their own spells and learn new tricks once they get home. Private tours are also available. From £9 per person.

Book at Wizardwalkofyork

City Highlights Small Group Walking Tour

(Photo: Yorktour / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

York concentrates 2,000 years of history into a remarkably small area. This 90-minute tour begins at Bootham Bar, the city’s northern entrance, from which every period of York’s development is visible. You’ll then enter the tranquil, green oasis of the Museum Gardens – a Victorian botanic garden which contains an 18th Century observatory, the remains of a Roman fortress and the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. From here it’s a short walk to the Minster – the largest medieval gothic cathedral in the country – situated among a warren of ancient Viking streets. Hear tales of Viking invasion while delving into the maze of secret passages known as ‘Snickelways’, before emerging into the Shambles, York’s best-known cobbled street, to bring your tour to an end. From £18 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Hidden Gems Foodie Tour of York

York has a vibrant culinary scene and visitors can discover it for themselves on this immersive 3-hour walking tour. Starting at the statue of the Roman Emperor Constantine, which can be found directly outside York Minster, you’ll be taken on a fun-packed foodie adventure around the city, stopping at five different independent food outlets to sample an eclectic mix of artisan fare whilst meeting the chefs and food producers behind the scenes. During the tour, your guide will offer fascinating stories and facts about the city’s food heritage. From £60 per person.

Book at Viator

The Dark Chronicles of York Guided Walking Tour

(Photo: Britannia Routes Tours Ltd / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

As with almost every city, York has a dark underbelly. This 1.5-hour tour offers fearless visitors the chance to embark on a journey through York’s terrifying secrets, while getting to see some of its most notable landmarks including Shambles Market and York Minster in a spooky new light. Over the course of the tour, your guide will regale you with grim stories and the untold truths of a long-forgotten age. Learn what happened to the city’s most notorious criminals, as well as the often grisly fate of the innocent, and what really takes place in the shadows of York’s mysterious alleyways and streets. From £12 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Private Guided Walking Tour

For a more intimate and exclusive experience, this private 2-hour walking tour allows you and your select group of family or friends to see York’s most important landmarks and places of interest in the company of an expert guide all to yourselves. Explore the labyrinth of medieval streets and ‘snickelways’, discover a Roman fortress and ruined abbey within a Victorian botanic garden, and wander through the Shambles – one of England’s most unique streets. All the while your guide will be on hand with interesting snippets and ready and waiting to answer all of your questions about this remarkable city. From £90 per group (max 8 people).

Book at GetYourGuide