7 Best Walks in York

One of the best ways to explore York is on foot. York in North Yorkshire is a very walkable city – all of the main sights are just a short stroll from each other. However, there are also wonderful woodland walks in York. Many are within a short drive from the city and some are slightly further afield but well worth the journey. So, whether you are into strolling the city streets or wandering through the woodlands, here are some of the best walks in York,

7 Scenic Walks in York

1. Little Viking I Spy Trail

If you are looking for a great walk to do with children in York, then download the Little Viking I Spy Trail map and put on those walking shoes. On this walk through the city centre, you’ll discover shining stars, clambering cats, silly street names and gruesome facts, and the children can tick them off the list when they find each one. It’s not only a lovely walk and fun day out, but it’s educational too!

best walks york

2. Millennium Bridge to Bishopthorpe return trail

Beginning at Millennium Bridge, one of the most popular walking and cycling routes in York, this 6-mile route should take you around 2 hours to complete. You follow the River Ouse path through several fields full of colourful flowers. It is a very pretty walk, and tranquil too. You’ll also skirt alongside York Racecourse, Knavesmire Wood and the former Terry’s Chocolate factory. When you make it back to Millennium Bridge, have a picnic in historic and colourful Rowntree Park.

Millennium Bridge, York at Sunset

3. Poppleton to Redhouse Wood return trail

This 9-mile walk starts outside the Lord Nelson Inn in the village of Poppleton and should take about three and a half hours to complete at a leisurely pace. Follow the public footpath which runs adjacent to the River Ouse and keep your eyes peeled for lots of wildlife, including otters, especially around Redhouse Lagoon. Then you enter Redhouse Wood, which is brimming with wonderful flora and fauna and is particularly great for bird watching. Make sure you bring those binoculars. The walk continues past the Red House Estate, Thickpenny Farm and New Farm. You’ll then rejoin the riverside path for the peaceful walk back to the beginning. This is one of the best walks in York for wildlife lovers.

4. Sutton Bank and the White Horse at Kilburn

Sutton Bank National Park Centre is less than 30 miles north of York. It is one of the most popular spots for a walk in the North York Moors. This looped woodland walk starts at the Visitor’s Centre and takes in the White Horse at Kilburn. This is a white horse that is carved right into the limestone of the hillside. You’ll also come to the spot known as ‘England’s Finest View’. This is just a short walk from the car park. Make sure you have your camera ready as the lush vale of York and Mowbray roll out before you and the Pennine mountains appear brooding in the distance.

best walks york

5. The Yorkshire Arboretum

Love trees? Then you’ll love this wonderful walk amongst them in The Yorkshire Arboretum. This sprawling woodland area is a wonderland with ponds, lakes and a terrific collection of trees of all shapes and sizes from around the world. The path is relatively flat so is suitable for those with reduced mobility, but you can also stray from the path and go off the beaten track. Get up close and play around the trees or sit underneath the branches and relax just listening to them rustling in the wind.

6. Bishopthorpe to Acaster Malbis return trail

Start on Ferry Lane in Bishopthorpe and then follow the path beside the River Ouse. You’ll walk under old railway bridges, pass boat-filled marinas and the Naburn Swing Bridge. You’ll also walk along part of the National Cycle Network which is home to the Solar System Walk. This features scale models of our solar system’s sun and planets plus two replicas satellites. As you can see, there are lots of interesting sights along this 4.5-mile scenic walk in York.

7. Heworth Holme and Tang Hall Beck trail

Looking for a short but sweet and scenic walk in York? Then head over to Heworth Holme and stroll the one-mile trail that follows alongside the Tang Hall Beck. On this 30-minute walk, you’ll pass under elegant willow trees and you’ll see and hear kingfishers and woodpeckers. Keep your eyes peeled for tawny owls and bats too. This serene woodland walk is wonderful for wildlife lovers and those seeking peace and solitude.

scenic walks york

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

View stories