Looking to stretch your legs? You’re in the right place.
There can’t be a better spot than York for yomps. With fantastic city walks, great countryside and lovely coastal routes all close by, there is every reason to explore the great outdoors.
And the best thing? It’s free!
Here are some of the best walks in and around York to try…
In and near the city
York city walls
Start at any point on the walls
An oldie but a goodie. The length of the walls is less than three miles, and for that you get two millennia of history.
Start in Marygate car park
Explore some of the lesser travelled streets of York, including Ogleforth, Bartle Garth and Precentor’s Court, and discover the hidden history.
Start at Low Lane, Heslington Main Street
A simple walk on the edge of York which takes you out of an ancient village and back again, via Common Lane.
Start at Fulford Main Street
1.5 miles miles
The quickest of these walks, this is a jaunt around the Fulford Ings. Features boathouses and a variety of wildlife – but sometimes flooded after heavy rain.
Stockton on the Forest
Start at Stockton on the Forest Main Street
With names like Bean Land Lane and Nova Scotia Farm this walk has a charm of its own. And you can visit Brockfield Hall in the summer months.
Start at Bishopthorpe Library on Main Street
Here you get to explore Bishopthorpe itself (with plenty of places to eat and drink, skirt the river and walk along the edge of York Racecourse.
Holy Trinity Church, Holtby
Just a stretch of the legs, this route takes you from the Vale of York village across to Dunnington Hall and back.
Start at Intake Lane, Dunnington
This walk takes you into Hagg Wood, and who knows what adventures await in there…
Start at Low Mill car park
This is the famous ‘daffodil dale’. Between mid-March and mid-April the whole route is lit up by the yellow flowers, leading you to the Daffy Cafe, but it’s a lovely walk at any time of year.
A great one for families too.
Around Beningbrough Park
Start at Newton-on-Ouse
Only a 20 minute drive from York city centre this walk is suitable for all ages.
Takes in the open parkland around Beningbrough Hall, York’s country house now owned by the National Trust.
Thornton le Dale and Ellerburn
Start at Thornton le Dale car park
One of the prettiest villages in the North York Moors National Park, Thornton le Dale is a beautiful spot to start and finish this walk.
It takes you to the hamlet of Ellerburn and its ancient church, and features stretches along the wooded riverside.
White Horse and Kilburn Woods
Start at the marker for the White Horse Bank walk
Up to an hour
Ideal for those with younger children, a chance for them to see the white horse will easily get them excited about this spectacular walk.
Start at the eastern end of the village
This more challenging walk offers a chance to climb hills, explore deep dales all the time while benefiting from great countryside views.
Car parking available, and dog-friendly too.
Hutton le Hole and Lastingham
Start at Hutton le Hole car park
With its undulating grass banks where sheep roam free, Hutton le Hole is like something created for the James Herriot World of Adventures.
Also on this charming walk check out Ryedale Folk Museum and Lastingham’s St Mary’s Church.
Start at Terrington Village Hall
Hidden valleys and unexpected
viewpoints await. The seclusion of Mowthorpe Dale and the peaceful limestone villages of Terrington and Ganthorpe provide contrast during your walk.
Start at Ripley car park
Easy to moderate
Rolling countryside dotted with isolated farms, with some glimpses of the castle estate on the way. Food, drink and history at the castle itself.
Start at Brimham rocks car park
Brimham Rocks – as everyone knows who’s been there. Look out for flashes of blue as kingfisher fly past, and brown trout in the waters as you walk along the river path. Featuring panoramic views across the dale.
Start at the car park near Newton under Roseberry
It’s a fair climb up the charmingly odd Roseberry Topping hill, but you are rewarded with a great spot for a picnic and some wonderful views.
Welburn with views of Castle Howard
Start at the eastern end of Welburn village
Lots to see on this walk near the famous Castle Howard, including the Temple of the Four Winds, dating from 1738, and Ray Wood, a woodland garden with plants from all over the world.
Start in Thixendale village
A nice walk with a few steep inclines along the Wolds Way. Who wouldn’t be enchanted by views across Honey Dale?
Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey
Start at the Cleveland way car park
This circular route provides a walk with diversity – town views, a flora-filled wood, quiet villages and ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.
Levisham Moor and the Hole of Horcum
Start at Saltergate car park
A classic route over the North York Moors, and lots of history too. Lockton, three miles away, offers the closest refreshments.
Londesborough Village walk
Start at the Towthorpe picnic area
Explore the old estate village and enjoy the tranquility of a former deer park.
Takes in part of the Wolds Way.
Start at Sawley Village Hall
This circular walk takes you to and from the picturesque village of Sawley, between Pateley Bridge and Ripon. Along the way you’ll pass through woodland and along country lanes with sweeping rural views.
The Yorkes of Bewerley
The car park at the Pateley Bridge showground
This walk takes you around what were once the extensive gardens and grounds surrounding Bewerley Hall which, until it was demolished in the 1920s, was the home of the influential Yorke family.
The designed landscape, developed in the 18th to 20th centuries, included parkland, pleasure gardens, woodlands, ponds, walled kitchen gardens – and a folly.
Fearby, near Masham
Start at the Black Swan, Fearby
3 miles (short loop) 8 miles (long loop)
1.25 hours/4 hours
A short walk around Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including The Black Swan free house which runs regular beer festivals.
Malham National Park Centre car park
Moderate to difficult
It starts with the climb up the 400 steps to the top of Malham Cove, then across the limestone pavement towards Gordale Bridge.
From there it is definitely worth the short linear detour to the impressive Gordale Scar gorge and waterfall. The return route through Janet’s Foss is a complete contrast through heavy deciduous woodland. And then your choice of pubs, the Buck Inn and the Lister Arms.
Start at West Avenue car park
Filey creates for a magnificent coastal walk away from the hustle and bustle of a city. The beach is so long that it could never be overcrowded with people.
This dog-friendly walk includes stretches of open countryside too.
Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay
Start at Ravenscar National Trust Coastal Centre
Make a day’s walk of it. From the craggy heights of Ravenscar the route runs across Howdale Moor for some classic moorland scenery before dropping down to the old Scarborough-to-Whitby railway line and along to the famous smugglers’ haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay.