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3 Days in York - rough itinerary

I'm slowly working on narrowing down my itinerary for my York/London trip in late August. This is what I am thinking about right now...comments and suggestions are much appreciated, especially as I have never been to York before! Some of my interests for this trip are castles and Medieval England. Mon Aug 22 - plane lands in Heathrow ~6:30am, I'm expecting to arrive in York ~2/3pm. Is this a good estimate of how long it would take to leave the airport, go into London, and hop the train to York? Follow the RS self-guided walk. Tues, Aug 23 - touring York: York Minster, Yorkshire Museum, stroll the Shambles Wed, Aug 24 - take the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam train - has anyone ever taken this from York using public transportation? Thurs, Aug 25 - morning to be spent in York for any last minute sites, or should I just go straight to London?

Posted by
1599 posts

Hi Bonnie, Are you taking the train from Kings Cross to York? If so, that is what we did last summer. Our plane also landed at LHR early morning. I believe we took a 2:00 train to York. This gave us a time cushion if the plane was late. Since it was on time (ours was), we visited the British Library which is only 2-3 blocks from Kings Cross, then had lunch at St. Pancras station, which is worth a visit just to see how they have renovated the station. There is a pleasant Italian restaurant on the 2nd floor of St. Pancras and a "left-luggage" facility around the corner from Kings Cross.......In York, we enjoyed the Multi-angular Tower (Roman) and the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, just across the wall from Yorkminster. Be sure you visit the crypt at Yorkminster; we didn't think the top of the Tower was worth the effortview partially obscured by a fence and not that exciting a view anyway! The best part of the walls is the section that runs from Yorkminster over to the King Richard museum. We enjoyed two meals, one at Cafe Rouge (it's a chain, but very nice anyway) and the other at the White Swan which is very ancient.........Skipped Clifford's Tower because its history creeps me out.......a good read is The Apothecary Rose by Candace Robb.

Posted by
1986 posts

cant determine whether it is in your schedule, but be sure to walk the walls. very nice section from the gate (nearest the river) then past the Minster and keep walking as far as you can (you end up near the Castle museum as i recall). You can do all this on the Tuesday. Thursday, I would stay in York until after lunch and then train down to London, just to re-visit sights, or be sure I havent missed anything There is also a bit of a flea market (i am probably being unkind) at the end of the Shambles if that is of interest, I just enjoy roaming the streets.

Posted by
26411 posts

I'd have thought an hour or so to get out of the airport, about an hour on the Underground. If you don't buy your train ticket in advance, or use a pass, I should have thought you could expect to hop onto a train at Kings Cross at around 0900 if your plane's on time. If you want to arrive at around 1400 you will be joining the noon or 1230 train, so it looks to me that you will have 3 to 4 hours spare at Kings Cross. Of course, if you are buying non changeable advance tickets you will want to leave plenty of wiggle room.

Posted by
31319 posts

Bonnie, Your time estimate from London to York is probably close. A lot will depend on how long it takes you to clear the airport and get to the station. You probably won't have the energy for a lot of touring on your arrival day, due to jet lag. Plan on an early bedtime and a good start first thing the next morning. For your first day, you might also consider taking one of the local walking tours, that depart from the square in front of the T.I. The Guides are excellent and they provide a really good overview of the history of York. I'm not sure when they're held, but you might try an EvenSong Service in York Minster (they're awesome). You'll receive a Certificate for climbing the Tower (it's a narrow circular staircase). For your second day, you'll need to get to Pickering for the North York Moors Steam Railway. The distance is only about 25 miles, and I believe there are Buses on that route, but I don't have any details. You might check with the T.I. when you arrive. I had a rental car on my last visit. If you want a photo of the trains from the bridge over the tracks, be careful or you'll get blasted with hot smoke and steam! As I recall, it's possible to buy a "Day Ticket" on the Railway, that allows passengers to hop on/hop off at different towns. One town thast you might like to have a look at is Goathland, which is where the TV show Heartbeat was filmed (it's one of my favourites). On the Thursday, you might consider visiting the incredible Railway Museum in York. As I recall, admission if free. Be sure to have a look at The Mallard, which set a land speed record "back in the day". The Jorvik Viking Museum is another option, and of course (as you noted) walking about in The Shambles. There are some nice restaurants in that area. Happy travels!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Bonnie. I think the best museum in York is the "Castle Museum". You said you want to travel in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam train. The North Yorkshire Moors is not located close to York. If I were to ride on that train, I would not plan to return to York in that train the same day. I recommend just stay in York.

Posted by
4898 posts

We were in York a few weeks ago, came by car so I can't help re the train from London, but it seems as if you'll have enough time. I think your priorities are right: the Minster (including crypt and Evensong), the Yorkshire Museum (and surrounding garden with abbey ruins and Roman artifacts), Shambles and nearby pedestrian streets. We didn't take the North York Moors train but we asked about it -- the TI has bus schedule to Pickering and I recall they were frequent enough to connect to the train. The York Castle Museum (not to be confused with Yorkshire Museum) was disappointing to us, though RS rates it higher; Clifford's Tower also not really worth it. We didn't visit Jorvik but it seemed kid-oriented. We went to the railroad museum and it would be great for train buffs but we're really not (see above). Good places to eat -- Ristorante Barri on the Shambles, Meltons Too on Walmgate, Cafe Concerto on Petergate. Lots of nice pubs too. We stayed at the Abbey Guest House and liked it, especially the riverside setting. Be warned: this year York is "Celebrating Severus," commemorating the 1800th anniversity of the death of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, in York, in 211. This is the kind of timewarp I love about Europe, it sets us arriviste Americans back on our heels!

Posted by
349 posts

you mention the train trip you do know there is the national Rail museum in York . There is or was 2 bus routes to Pickering one stops at the little villages along the way ,the other is more direct, I found the milk route very nice . I got soot all over a cream colored coat while watching steam train be careful . Have fun--- my info is 20 years old

Posted by
119 posts

Thank you all so much for your wonderfully informative replies! I completely forget that I do want to book the train tickets from Kings Cross ahead of time to save money, so I think I will do as Cynthia did and if the plane is on time then I can head over to the British Library and then there is one less thing on the schedule for my later London visit! (And thank you too Cynthia for the book recommendation, I just requested it from the library!) I'm not really a train buff, but the steam train ride sounds like it would be fun. Ken - Goathland is one of the reasons I want to take the ride, but for the Harry Potter connection! And it sounds like a nice village to see. I was a bit worried about being able to make it back by bus to York; I will make sure to stop at the TI on the Tues and decide if it is doable. Thank you again to everyone who replied, you are all so very helpful!

Posted by
970 posts

Heathrow is busy early in the morning, but 60-90 minutes is a reasonable time to spend getting out of the airport unless disaster strikes. Travel into London usually takes about an hour, unless you take the Heathrow Express (15 minutes) or the Heathrow Connect (30 minutes). Once in London you will need to get across town to King's Cross Station to catch the York train. Figure on 30-45 more minutes by taxi. (And 20 pounds.) The trip to York is 2 hours. If I was doing it, and I took the slowest transport from Heathrow, I'd figure on being at King's Cross around 10am. Add an hour of padding and your York arrival of 2pm is looking pretty good. BTW, the York station is very close to the city center, but I recommend taking a cab to your lodgings. Won't cost much and will keep you from getting lost. I also recommend avoiding the Tube if you have more than a carry on.