15 Best Walks in York (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks in York (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

York is a city that has been buzzing with activity since Roman times.

It’s full of history, culture, and incredible sights – perfect for those seeking an adventure!

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an invigorating hike, York has it all.

Here are 15 of the best walks in this stunning city, guaranteed to give you a taste of freedom.

1. The City Walls

Through the City Walls
Photo by DS Pugh

Take a step back in time and explore one of the oldest cities in England on foot.

York’s city walls have stood for centuries, and walking them is an absolute must-do when visiting this historic city.

Not only will you get a feel for the past, but also spectacular views across York.

Stretching almost 2 miles around the city, the walls are punctuated by four main gates – Monk Bar, Walmgate Bar, Bootham Bar, and Micklegate Bar.

You can start your walk at any of these entrances, so why not make it extra special and opt for Monk Bar?

It’s the largest and one of the best-preserved gatehouses in England!

As you wander along the walls, be sure to look out for the numerous towers that line them; they were all built between the 12th-13th centuries and each has its own unique story to tell.

York’s City Walls offer a unique insight into its past, as well as breathtaking views across the cityscape.

From here you can easily spot York Minster as well as some of its other stunning churches.

With plenty of things to do along your walk – from discovering hidden gems like St Mary’s Abbey to spotting wildflowers along your route – you’re sure to have a wonderful day exploring this fascinating part of Yorkshire.

2. The Cat Trail

St Mary's Abbey, York
Photo by Philip Halling

Leaving the City Walls behind, you’ll find the Cat Trail beckoning you to explore York’s unique history.

This walk is especially popular with visitors, as it takes you through some of the most beautiful and interesting parts of town.

The trail begins at Bootham Bar, one of four remaining gatehouses that were built in the 14th century as part of the city walls.

From there, you can follow a path that leads past some fascinating old churches, crosses over the River Ouse, and finally stops at St Mary’s Abbey.

Along the way, you’ll get stunning views of York Minster and other landmarks in the city.

The Cat Trail isn’t just about sightseeing though – it’s also about discovering hidden gems nestled among centuries-old buildings.

During your stroll, keep an eye out for quaint tea rooms and pubs tucked away down alleyways or cobbled streets.

You may even come across a few old cathedrals or statues that have been preserved since medieval times!

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adventure into York’s past, this is definitely a walk to add to your list.

3. York To Bishopthorpe

Across farmland to Bishopthorpe
Photo by DS Pugh

The walk from York to Bishopthorpe is one of the most beautiful in the area.

It offers breathtaking views of the countryside, rolling hills, and lush green fields as far as the eye can see.

The route takes you along a winding path that follows a gentle incline, allowing you to take in the scenery at your own pace.

As you make your way through the picturesque villages of Elvington and Copmanthorpe, you’ll be greeted by friendly locals who are always willing to share their knowledge of their beloved home.

Stop for a bite to eat at one of the welcoming pubs and cafes along the way – it’s a great place to relax and soak up some local atmosphere.

Once you reach Bishopthorpe, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over York Minster and its beautiful surrounding grounds.

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With its pleasant mix of rural beauty and urban sophistication, this is an ideal spot for those craving a little freedom from everyday life.

4. Deighton And Naburn

Continuing on from York to Bishopthorpe, the next stop is Deighton and Naburn.

This picturesque route offers stunning views of the River Ouse and the surrounding countryside.

The vibrant landscape is perfect for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike.

The walk begins at Deighton Bridge and follows the paths along the riverbank.

As you wander, take time to appreciate nature’s beauty – magnificent trees, lush green meadows, and wildflowers in bloom.

Along the way, look out for local wildlife such as herons, ducks, swans, kingfishers, and even otters!

At Naburn Lock, pause to admire the 17th-century lock keeper’s cottage before heading back along the towpath towards Deighton Bridge.

Enjoy a picnic or simply sit back and soak up the scenery before returning to York.

This delightful walk will leave you feeling refreshed with a newfound appreciation of nature’s wonders and beauty!

5. Elvington

The beauty of Elvington is undeniable.

It’s a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, offering hikers the chance to discover its hidden gems.

From rolling hills to lush meadows, there’s something for everyone here.

The fresh air, stunning views, and natural wildlife are enough to make anyone feel truly free.

If you’re looking for a walk with more adventure, try exploring Elvington’s secret pathways.

These winding trails offer great opportunities to take in the area’s unique landscapes and observe some of its native inhabitants – deer are often seen grazing in the fields!

The paths can be tricky at times but they lead to some truly remarkable locations, such as breathtaking waterfalls or secluded lookouts overlooking the surrounding countryside.

Don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture these special moments!

No matter how you choose to explore Elvington, it’s sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired by nature.

So why not take a break from everyday life and get lost in this beautiful part of York? You won’t regret it!

6. Fulford

Fulford is a great spot for a leisurely walk with plenty of stunning views.

The River Ouse is on one side, offering a tranquil and scenic backdrop, while the other side is lined with rolling hills and green fields.

The trail takes you past some of York’s most iconic landmarks, including the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey and the impressive Fulford Gatehouse.

Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the sights and sounds of rural life, with cows grazing in the meadows, ducks splashing in the river and birds singing in the trees.

There’s even a pub or two where you can stop off for refreshments if you’re so inclined!

This walk will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed – perfect if you need to get away from it all!

7. Castle Howard Circular

The Castle Howard Circular is a stunning route that takes you through the breathtakingly beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

It’s the perfect way to take in some of the incredible sights of this part of England.

You’ll start your journey at Castle Howard, a magnificent stately home and garden estate built in the 17th century.

From here, you’ll walk along footpaths and bridleways, exploring woods and meadows as you go.

As well as offering up plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities, the route also takes in several villages including Slingsby and Ampleforth, allowing you to get a taste of local life too.

As you make your way around this circular route, be sure to keep an eye out for the many attractions it has to offer, including historic sites such as Byland Abbey and Nunnington Hall.

The Castle Howard Circular will leave you with some unforgettable memories – from its picturesque landscapes to its fascinating history – making it one of York’s best walks.

8. Yearsley Moor

Next on our list of the best walks in York is Yearsley Moor.

This is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and explore the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

The moor is home to an abundance of wildlife, from red grouse and curlews to skylarks and lapwings.

The moor has a wide variety of habitats including marshland, heathland, woodland, riverside meadows, and upland grasslands.

There are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching, as well as stunning views across the surrounding hillsides.

The nearby village of Yearsley also offers a range of cafes, shops, and pubs for a bite to eat or a refreshing drink after your walk.

Yearsley Moor is perfect for those looking for an adventure with its many paths offering something for everyone – from gentle strolls along the riverbanks to more challenging hikes up onto the moorland plateau.

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Whether you’re looking for an invigorating walk or just some time away from it all, this is one outdoor activity that won’t disappoint!

9. Allerthorpe Wood Circular

Allerthorpe Wood Circular is a stunning walk that takes in some of the finest views of York.

It’s ideal for anyone looking to stretch their legs and take in the beauty of the city.

The path winds its way through picturesque woodland, with plenty of flora and fauna to admire along the way.

You’ll also pass by Allerthorpe Common, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer and badgers.

As you make your way around the circular route, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views across the rolling countryside and historic city skyline.

The walk starts off from Allerthorpe Wood car park, before passing through fields and woodlands as it meanders around for two and a half miles.

Along the journey, you’ll come across several benches and picnic spots where you can sit back and take in your surroundings.

At certain points throughout the walk, you may even catch sight of some ancient ruins – a reminder of York’s long history.

Once completed, you can return back to where you started feeling invigorated and refreshed after exploring this beautiful landscape.

10. York Minster To Cliffords Tower

Starting at the stunning York Minster, visitors can take a leisurely stroll to the historic Clifford’s Tower.

This journey begins on Petergate, one of the city’s oldest streets and home to many historical sites.

Along the way, be sure to take a moment to admire the half-timbered buildings and quaint cobblestone paths.

The next stop is Clifford’s Tower, a Norman castle situated atop a hill overlooking the city.

The views from here are simply breathtaking – with the sights of York stretching for miles in all directions.

Take in this majestic sight as you explore the ruins of this ancient castle.

As you meander around its grounds, imagine what life was like centuries ago when it served as an important fortress for the city’s defense.

This walk offers an unforgettable experience that will make you appreciate why York is considered one of Britain’s most beloved cities.

From its beautiful architecture and history-rich streets to its captivating vistas and vibrant atmosphere, it’s no wonder why so many people flock here every year.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day out or something more adventurous, there’s something for everyone in York.

11. St. Martin To York Minster

If you’re looking for a rewarding walk that takes you from the city center to the outskirts and back, St. Martin to York Minster is an ideal choice.

The route begins at York’s iconic 13th-century church, St. Martin’s-on-the-Hill, where you’ll have sweeping views of the city before setting off.

Heading out of town, it won’t take long before you find yourself in the rolling countryside of North Yorkshire.

You’ll pass through peaceful woodlands and pastures filled with sheep and cows as you make your way toward the village of Haxby.

Once there, take time to explore its neat cobbled streets and quaint pubs before continuing on your journey towards York Minster – one of England’s greatest Gothic cathedrals.

After taking a few moments to admire its grandeur, wander across Dean’s Park to St Mary’s Abbey and enjoy a moment of reflection among its ruins.

From this tranquil spot, it’s just a short walk back into York’s bustling center – where there will be plenty of places to rest up after your enjoyable stroll through some of England’s most beautiful scenery.

12. Riccall Circular Walks

The next best walk in York is a series of Riccall Circular Walks.

This scenic route will take you on an exploration of the area’s tranquil countryside, offering up views and sights that are simply breathtaking.

You’ll start at Riccall, a peaceful village near Selby, and make your way through a network of meadows, woods, and fields.

As you wander around, look out for ancient trees like oaks and elms, while spotting wildlife such as foxes, roe deer, and badgers.

Take the time to stop and admire the spectacular views of the distant hills or explore some of the hidden gems along the way such as King’s Mill Reservoir or Cliffe Castle.

This circular trail is perfect if you want to escape into nature while still being able to stay close to home.

Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike you’re after – this walk has something for everyone!

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So get out there and explore this beautiful part of Yorkshire – you won’t regret it!

13. The Aldwark Ramble

The Aldwark Ramble is a beautiful walk through the heart of York.

Starting from the city center and stretching east along the river Ouse, this meandering route will take you past many of York’s historical landmarks.

Along the way, you’ll find yourself in the midst of some stunning scenery, from ancient ruins to rolling hills and spectacular views across the city.

As you make your way around The Aldwark Ramble, you’re sure to be captivated by its rich history and culture.

Take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of York Minster towering above you, or marvel at Clifford’s Tower as it stands proudly above the surrounding landscape.

There are plenty of interesting nooks and crannies to explore, too – including the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, a treasure trove of medieval artifacts.

Take your time and savor every step – The Aldwark Ramble promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Whether you’re looking for an invigorating hike or a leisurely stroll with friends, there’s something here for everyone.

Make sure to pack a camera – this is one journey that deserves to be captured in all its glory!

14. Clifton Walk

First-time visitors to York will find the Clifton Walk a great way to explore the city.

This scenic route takes you along an old Roman road, giving you a glimpse into the history and the beauty of the local landscape.

The walk has plenty of interesting sights along the way, including an ancient castle, a park, and some stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The walk itself is relatively easy to follow and can be completed in around two hours.

Along the way, you’ll get to take in some stunning views of York Minster Cathedral, pass through some lovely wooded areas, and cross a few bridges over tranquil rivers.

There are also plenty of places to stop off along the way for refreshments or just to take in the scenery.

At its end point, Clifton Walk leads to Clifton Ings Nature Reserve – a perfect spot for those who appreciate nature’s beauty.

Here you can enjoy peaceful walks through meadows filled with wildflowers or wander among tall trees with birdsong filling the air.

With its unique blend of historical sites and natural beauty, this walk is sure to leave visitors feeling relaxed and inspired by their time in York.

15. Nunnington

Nunnington is a beautiful village located in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.

It’s home to one of the best walks in York – a 4-mile route that takes you up to Nunnington Hall and back.

This walk is perfect for anyone looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The route begins with a gentle climb up to Nunnington Hall, where you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Once you reach the top, you will be treated to panoramic views of the village below.

From here, you’ll pass by rolling hills, meadows, and streams as you make your way back down toward Nunnington.

Along the way, look out for local wildlife such as rabbits, hares, and even red deer!

The walk provides an excellent opportunity to get away from it all and take some time out to appreciate nature at its finest.

Enjoy spectacular views, experience the sights and sounds of wildlife in their natural habitat, and revel in the freedom that comes with exploring nature on foot – it’s easy to see why this is one of York’s best walks!

Best Walks in York – Final Thoughts

Wrapping up our journey through the best walks in York, it is clear that the city offers something for everyone.

From exploring ancient walls to meandering through green spaces, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Whether you’re a history buff or nature lover, there’s something to suit all tastes.

York is an ideal destination for a walking holiday and I highly recommend it as a great place to explore on foot.

You won’t be disappointed – the city has some incredible trails, each with its own unique charm and beauty.

Take your time to appreciate the stunning views and discover hidden gems along the way.

These 15 best walks in York are sure to leave you with lasting memories of your trip.

So why not pack your walking shoes and take a stroll around this beautiful city?

You won’t regret it!


What are some easy walks in York?

Some easy walks in York are Bishopthorpe, Fulford, and Holtby.

What are the best circular walks in York?

Some of the best circular walks in York are Riccall Circular, The Aldwark Ramble, and Beningbrough River Walk.

What are some good family walks in York?

Some good family walks in York are York City Walls, York Cat Trail, and York Museum Garden.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.