Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount
Car-free adventures aroundYorkNorth Yorkshire
Two thousand years ago, a Roman legion, marching north from Lincoln, built a fort where the little River Foss meets the larger River Ouse. Eight centuries later, a Viking army invaded by boat, rebuilt the city and lived there; a thousand years after that, the railway arrived... every era has left layers of history to explore – on foot, by boat, bus, train or bike.
1. Walk (or run!) the city walls
Most of York’s visitor attractions charge for entry, but a three-mile stroll round York’s medieval walls, England’s longest surviving example, will cost you nothing. They stand on the line of earlier fortifications dating back to the Romans and give you great views of the minster and other buildings nearby.
- Cross the road outside the railway station and turn left. At the junction, keep straight over the road towards the white statue and turn immediately right through the arch.
- Climb the steps onto the walls and walk back past the station. Continue round the corner ahead, to Micklegate Bar, one of York’s four main medieval gateways, where the severed heads of traitors once topped the walls.
- Going on around the city walls to Skedlergate, you can visit Clifford’s Tower, the remains of York Castle; the views from the top stretch as far as the North York Moors on a clear day.
- The next big gate is Walmgate Bar, which has a great café inside. At the end of this section of wall is the brick-built Red Tower.
- After this, turn left along busy Foss Islands Road, soon walking by the River Foss. Cross over Peasholme Green to re-join the wall.
- Through the floor of the Croque-Monsieur café built into the gate at Bootham, you can glimpse the Roman defences underneath the medieval walls.
- Keep ahead at the foot of the steps, past the theatre and turn right at the Visit York information centre along Museum Street and over Lendal Bridge to return to the station.
2. Cruise the Ouse
York has plenty of options for visitors who arrive car-free and they don’t all involve walking. The city sightseeing bus stops outside the railway station and takes visitors on a hop-on/hop-off tour of twenty city landmarks, from the racecourse to Dick Turpin’s grave and beyond. The buses run every 15 minutes and are open top so you can enjoy the Yorkshire sunshine.
- To see the city from a different angle, try a York City Cruise along the wide River Ouse. Red and white boats set off from the Lendal Bridge (five minutes from the railway station) four times a day and cost £10 for an hour.
- The commentary can be a mixed blessing, but it’s delightful to escape the busy streets for a bit and float past willow trees instead.
- Show your train ticket and this voucher and you can get two people on board for the price of one.
- There are romantic evening tours too or you can take a spooky bus tour after dark from outside the railway station. A classic 1960s Routemaster bus will take you past some of the most ghost-infested buildings in Europe’s most haunted city on a comic theatrical ride.
- You can get two people on the tours on Tuesday to Sunday at 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Fridays for the usual per-person price of £15 with train tickets and this voucher.