Virgin trains London to York
I booked our train tickets from London to York about a month and 1/2 in advance on Virgin East Coast, one direction I got the lowest fare which is £13 one way which is on Virgin East Coast, for the other way the price had gone up to £20 for my choice which says it's on Grand Central Railway. Tickets on most routes are available 12 weeks before travel although a couple of long haul routes are on sale 6 months in advance. On the left hand side of the screen there's a show me button which you can use to find the lowest fare on your days of travel. This is a trip you absolutely do not want to book last minute, the cheap tickets will likely be gone and for today the walk up price appears to be 103.30£ return compared to the lowest price which is £26 return.
My fare is two advance singles which are non cancellable and changeable for a fee before departure. Trains from London leave from King's Cross.
When we arrived at King's Cross for our train, the Grand Central train was cancelled and they said to use the 8:00am Virgin train instead of the cancelled 8:02am train but we lost our seat reservations, not a problem since there was room for us. It's always advisable to give yourself a little cushion of time when taking trains. En route, the train's parking brake overheated and we were delayed 45 minutes or so, they announced that people could apply for partial refunds but as I wasn't booked on a Virgin train, I'm not sure if I qualify.
On the way back, a different train was cancelled and it's passengers dumped onto our train, making us a bit late again. Our outlet to charge phones or use laptops was busted and overall it wasn't as pleasant of an experience as I had the 1st time I took Virgin.
Daytrip from London
June 2015 update, trains are now run by either Grand Central or Virgin East Coast
Although there are buses that go from London to York, the only feasible way to do the 200 mile trip on a daytrip from London is to take the train. Better yet, spend the night, you will find yourself wanting more time in York!
The ride from London's King's Cross station takes 2 hours. Tickets are MUCH cheaper if you purchase them in advance, I found a 19£ round trip fare on my 1st visit and 22£ on my 2nd visit. Booking 3 weeks in advance, there was only one day that had the cheap fare left and the times were pretty limited so book far ahead. If you purchase the advance fare, they say you must take the train that you've booked or you'll pay full fare. Seats are reserved so check your tickets for the seat number.
If you are visiting from outside the UK, you can purchases tickets in advance. They won't deliver the tickets to you but they send you a code via email that you use in conjunction with your credit card at the King's Cross Station. It was extremely easy to pick up the ticket, it took less than a minute to print out my ticket. Good thing since a serious tube delay (and a little underestimation on my part) left me with about 3 minutes to get the ticket and get over to the platform!!!!
York to Whitby
When I decided that I wanted to visit Whitby, the landing place of Dracula, I was overwhelmed with choices on how to get there thanks to VT members Britannia and Leics who then walked me through all the options.
The most direct way is the York Bus, bus number 840 runs there several times a day, the one I was looking at took 2:23 between the two and cost 14.50£ return.
But then I started thinking that we might want to see something else along the way and I started looking at options that stopped in Scarborough and Robin Hood's Bay. The route uses the train to get between York and Scarborough and then Arriva buses from Scarborough to Robin Hood's Bay and then onto Whitby. The return train fare is 17.90£ off peak return for the train and 7.70£ for a North East All Zones day ticket, a family ticket which cover 2 adults and 3 children (you don't need to have any children with you) is priced at £13.50. There are cheaper options for the train but they required picking specific trains and only saved ____ and there is a more expensive peak return ticket.
Finally, there is an option to take a bus to Pickering, take the North York Moors Railway from Pickering to Whitby. This option allowed us to get off at Goathland which was a place where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed as well as a British TV show. It was very tempting as it seemed like a more scenic route.
North Country Flexi Rover
This ticket allows 4 days unlimited travel in an 8 day period from York and is exceptional value for the low price and the potential the ticket offers over such a massive area. Adult £90, Child £45 and with a railcard £59.40. Not vaild of Hull Trains or Grand Central and after 08.45.
Limits of area are Berwick on Tweed - Carlisle - Bishop Auckland - Saltburn - Whitby - Scarborough - Hull - Barton - Cleethorpes - Gainsborough - Retford - Sheffield - Huddersfield - Halifax.
- Budget Travel
North East Rover
If you would like to explore from York by train the North East Rover may be of use. This ticket offers 197 miles of travel on the East Coast Mainline from Retford to Berwick on Tweed. The area covered is bounded by Newcastle - Carlisle - Settle - Bradford - Halifax - Huddersfield - Sheffield - Retford - Cleethorpes - the North Sea coast plus Newcastle and Berwick on Tweed. York falls within this area.
Any 4 days in 8 - £94, child £47.00 and with a railcard £62.05. Not valid on Hull Trains or Grand Central trains and only after 08.45.
Any 7 days £109, child £54.50 and with a railcard £71.95. (2015 prices)
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East Yorkshire Round Robin
Unlimited train travel from York - York to Scarborough to Hull to Selby to York (or reverse). 2015 prices are adult £23.50, with a railcard £15.50 and child £11.75.
This ticket is valid on First Hull Trains.
- Budget Travel
York has a famous railway station - I've passed through it and changed trains there far more times than I've actually visited the city. It's a hub of north England and a stop on the busy London to Edinburgh route. The current station dates back to 1877 and with its 13 platforms was the largest in the world in its time. For most stations in the world, 1877 would be historic, but in fact York station replaced an even older incarnation - from 1839. It gives you an idea that just visiting this station is to take in a piece of vital industrial history.
Trains from York go east to Scarborough and west to Manchester, north to Edinburgh and Glasgow and south to London and Southampton.
Trains in York
A number of train companies operate trains to and from York. Since privatisation the UKs rail network has been split up in to many companies - on one journey across the UK you could travel on the trains of several companies if you had to change trains. So companies using York are East Coast for south to London and north to Newcastle and Scotland. Transpennine Express for west to Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool or north to Middlesborough, Newcastle or Scarborough. Northern Rail to Hull or Harrogate. Cross Country south to the midlands and south west or north to Newcastle and Scotland. Tickets are valid on all trains so if you are going north to Newcastle and a Cross Country train is departing before an East Coast train you can use your ticket (unless you are specifically booked on an East Coast train)..
Check each companies websites for details of offers they may have.
Steam train to Scarborough
A different way to travel to Scarborough is by vintage steam train and through the summer of 2014 old steam trains will run to the town from Normanton, Castleford, Wakefield and York.
The trains do not operate every day of the week and the cost is higher than the standard service train but of course this is a unique way to travel. Children travel free with an adult paying passenger.
The website has all the details you need for the 2014 season.
- Family Travel
Moors Bus is an initiative to allow people without cars ( or those with who want to let the bus take them out) to places both well known and others not so well known in the North Yorkshire Moors National park.
This is an excellent and very cheap way for visitors to the city , especially those from overseas who are not driving, to reach usually inaccessible places such as Castle Howard or Farndale.
The buses interlink quite well but you do have a read through the very informative but long website to get details.
Summer only and some buses disabled friendly. Recommended.
MOORS BUS WILL NOT RUN IN 2014 DUE TO GOVERNMENT CUTBACKS
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- Road Trip
From London to York by bus
We started from Sussex Gardens in London at 8.00.
We drove along the A1(M) motorway that connects London with Edinburgh.
Then we followed A64 and A19 towards York.
The distance is about 400 km. It took us 5,5 hours to get to York.
It was very amazing to watch left-hand traffic as a passenger. Don’t know what I would feel if I was a driver, haha!
You can watch my 2 min 55 sec Video London-York by bus out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
- Road Trip
To York by train
I travelled to York by train, taking a regional train to Cologne, then ICE to Brussels, EuroStar to London and then an East Coast train from London to York. The journey from London Kings Cross to York takes about two hours and I found it very enjoyable, the views were nice and the train very comfortable.
During my stay in York, I often used the TransPennine Express, a First train that connects Liverpool and Newcastle, but also has several shorter branches. I used this service to go to Scarborough, Durham and Leeds. Depending on your destination, trains go every hour or much more frequently.
York's train station is very convenient, there is a nice seating area close to the entrance. There are some small restaurants, and free toilets that were always very clean. There is also a WHSmith which has a good selection of books. The station is only a short walk from the city centre.
I pre-booked all my tickets on www.nationalrail.co.uk, you can save a lot if you book early.
Walking in York
Within York's city centre, walking is definitely the best mode of transport. Exploring all those little streets and alleys, interesting corners, museums and churches and the river banks is best done on foot. I seriously think I never walked as much in any destination before, which means that in the evening of each day, my feet really hurt... So comfortable foot ware is a must! Be aware that the streets in York are very old and can be tricky, so pack shoes you feel secure in, and definitely no high heels or such things.
Something else you will need is a good map of York. I found the map you get for free in the information centre very good, and I can read maps quite well, but I still got lost once or twice each day simply because York is such a cobwebs of small streets and it can be quite confusing at times. So be sure you get a map as soon as possible. There are signposts, too, but I would not rely on them as my only source of information.
The Coast Liner is a bus that, as the name says, goes all the way to the Yorkshire coast. There are several lines, but the main route, served by all those lines at least in part, goes from Leeds to Whitby. The main stops along that route are Tadcaster, York, Malton, Scarborough and Pickering. Some busses also stop in Filey and Bridlington.
I used the Coastliner to go to Pickering, from there I took the steam train to Whitby and in the evening returned to York by Coastliner again. Both journeys were very comfortable, as the busses were very modern and new. There are several tickets just as one way and return tickets as well as "freedom tickets" and weekly tickets. I used single tickets on both journeys - the ticket from York to Pickering was £8 and from Whitby to York it was £10. The first journey took about one hour and fifteen minutes and the journey back about two hours.
I also liked the bus journey because the views were absolutely wonderful - the rural, green areas on the way to Pickering, and then the fascinating and enchanting Yorkshire Moors on my way back. I must admit that I thought the views from the bus more interesting than those from the railway, and so if you are mostly interested in the landscape, I recommend the bus rather than the train!
The bus leaves in front of York Railway Station, Stop C.
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- National/State Park
Yorkboat operate river trips on their distinctive red boats from their staithes at Lendal Bridge and Kings Staithe in the city centre. The river cruises operate from February to early December and give a different perspective to this attractive city by letting visitors see the city from the river.
There are several city cruises each day that last 45 minutes and once a day in the summer a cruise to the Bishops Palace.
You can sit in the open on the upper deck but if it is cold there is a warm seating area downstairs with a cafe bar.
The captain performs a running commentary and we found this very informative. The prices can be found on the website. The boat sails north initially and then south again to the Millenium Bridge from where it returns to the city centre.
Disabled access only from Kings Staith only - beware of steep steps at Lendel Bridge.
- Family Travel