Romans and Saxons. Vikings and Normans. Trains and chocolate. Occupied by numerous invaders and a former centre of industry, the grand city of York has one of the most complex histories of any place in Britain.

Join our York tours from London to discover the fascinating stories of the city. Travel in a small-group on a comfortable minibus, in the company of a knowledgable driver-guide. Spend time exploring York and visit the magnificent Minster, stroll through The Shambles and on top of the city walls, take in some of the world-class museums and absorb the beauty of surrounding Yorkshire…

Highlights of our York tours:

York Minster Choir

Visit York Minster

See the imposing Minster, one of the largest and most historic Cathedrals in Britain.

The Shambles Street In York

Stroll through The Shambles

Wander along the most historic street in the city, which dates to the fourteenth century.

National Railway Museum York

Explore the Museums

Visit the fantastic museums, including the Jorvik and the National Railway Museum.

Explore the history of York with our small-group tours from London
Prices From £370

York: a brief history

Set on the river Ouse, the settlement of Eboracum was founded by the Romans in 71ad. This was an important fortress for the Romans where several Emperors held court, including Constantius I, who died during his stay in 306ad. In the 9th century the Danes invaded, swiftly renamed the town Jorvik and quickly the port became a major cog of the extensive Viking trade machine. Two hundred years later saw the Norman Conquest, and initially York rebelled. However, King William ordered the ‘Harrying of the North’; a brutal campaign of destruction where the rebels were defeated.

By the 15th century a rivalry for the English throne had developed between the Houses of York and Lancaster, and a 30 year conflict ensued, known as the ‘War of the Roses’. This included some of the bloodiest ever battles on English soil, and eventually gave rise to the reign of the Tudors. Then in 1605 a group of Catholics created a plan to blow up Parliament with gunpowder and kill King James I. This was a protest following the Reformation of the church, but the plot was unsuccessful. The man caught and tried for treason? York’s most infamous son, Guy Fawkes.

In recent centuries, York became a centre for industry in northern England. Crucially, in 1839 local MP and railway promoter George Hudson secured York as one of the stops for the new East Coast Train Line between London and Edinburgh. This achievement, and beating Yorkshire rival city Leeds in the process, made York a hub of engineering, especially for railway. This in turn led to the development of other industries in the city, most significantly confectionery. Two of the major manufacturers in York saw major expansion, Rowntree’s and Terry’s.

Things to do in York

King George VI described the history of York as the ‘History of England’. Occupied by Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, this is a city with a complex story, making it one of Britain’s most fascinating places. There is much to do and see in York, but its relatively compact geography makes it fairly easy to get around the city once you’re there.

The main landmark of York is the magnificent Minster; an imposing Gothic Cathedral with a history of nearly 1,000 years. It’s the second most senior church in England, a magnificent building and must-see for visitors. The National Railway Museum is also an integral part of any trip. Even for those who are not train-lovers, this museum has one of the world’s greatest collections of locomotives. And it’s free.

A stroll around the heart of the city will take in other highlights. The Shambles is the most iconic street in York, dating back to the fourteenth century. You’ll also find one of the most complete set of city walls in Britain and a walks along the top offers some elevated views. Another fantastic museum is the Jorvik Centre, which tells the Viking history of York. And with a reputation as one of Britain’s most haunted cities, dark tales can be heard on one of the fantastic ghost tours.

The county of Yorkshire is often described as ‘God’s Own County’. A significant part of this label is the areas of natural beauty found in two places: the National Parks of the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors. These areas are two of the most beautiful parts of Britain: home to beautiful scenery, narrow country lanes and great wildlife. A trip to York should include an escape into the surrounding countryside.

Want to go?

Small-group York tours from London:

  • Be immersed in the history of York, one of Britain’s most fascinating cities
  • All trips start and finish in Earls Court, central London.
  • Small-groups guaranteed. This means small group numbers, a more personal experience and more time off the minibus to explore
  • All tours are led by our knowledgeable Driver-Guides, who are experts on local history and folklore and accommodation is included
  • Your five-day adventure also includes the highlights of the Lake District, plus visits to Cambridge, Stratford-upon-Avon and more
  • Absorb the complex story of York and visit one of the many fantastic museums
  • Wander through The Shambles, see York Minster, take a ghost tour and much more
Prices From £560

Join our York tours from London and explore one of Britain’s most historic cities. Travel in a small-group on a comfortable minibus, in the company of our knowledgeable driver-guides. Visit the highlights of the city, including the imposing Minster, the array of fascinating museums, wander along the city walls, through The Shambles and more…

Find out more about our York tours and join us to explore!