Day Trips From Manchester - York and Leeds

If you’re in Manchester looking for some day trip ideas, York and Leeds are fantastic options with many fun and interesting things in each city! Check out our York and Leeds recommendations and how to make the best of your time in each place!


Table of Contents



How To Get Here

It’s an easy 1 hour and 30 minute train ride from Manchester to York traveling with TransPennine Express. You’ll depart from Manchester Piccadilly and arrive into York Station. 


What To See

York Minster

york minster

One of the world’s largest Medieval Gothic Cathedral, York Minster is one of the UK’s most visited attractions.  The giant Rose Window, Octagon Room, Chapter House ceiling, and towering stained glass windows are all sights to behold.

york minster
york minster

Make sure you do the hike to the top (278 winding steps!) for the fantastic 360 degree views of York.


York’s Chocolate Story

yorks chocolate story
yorks chocolate story

In this eye-opening, educational, and tasty chocolate experience - you get to learn about the history of chocolate, how York became the epicenter of the UK’s chocolate scene, and at the end of it you get to sample some freshly made chocolate!


The Shambles

york shambles

One of Europe’s best preserved examples of medieval architecture, this winding maze of narrow streets takes you back in time and was used as one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley from Harry Potter.


JORVIK Viking Centre

jorvik viking centre
jorvik viking centre

In the 8th century, Viking armies invaded Jorvik, or York, and settled the land, forming Viking towns. For the next couple hundred years, the Vikings mingled with the locals, creating an Anglo-Scandinavian culture in the area. The JORVIK Viking Centre is a great educational and entertaining place to spend an hour or two. The highlight is a moving tour amongst a Viking Town full of animatronic based figures. 


Where To Eat

Shambles Kitchen

shambles kitchen

While exploring The Shambles, a must stop is the Shambles Kitchen. Their 10 hour cooked pulled pork sandwich is comforting and delicious! 


Los Moros

los moros york
los moros york

For a taste of delicious North African food, check out Los Moros. Highlights include the Persian Chicken, which is bursting with flavor, and the homemade hummus. 


Where To Stay

The Grand

the grand york
grand york rise restaurant

York’s only 5 star hotel - you’ll be pampered by the attentive service, lovely original Edwardian architecture, and perfect location in the city center.


The Principal

principal hotel york

Located right next the train station, the Principal has a lovely Victorian brick exterior and a modern, comfortable interior.  



How To Get Here

An hour from Manchester - you’ll board the TransPennine Express train from Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds Station.  


What To See

Tiled Hall Cafe

tiled hall cafe

Part of the Leeds Central Library, the Tiled Hall Cafe was originally a reading room. The ceiling was so magnificent that the library administration feared most readers would spend more time gazing at the ceiling rather than reading. They were probably right! This place is dazzling!


Leeds Art Gallery

leeds art gallery

Right next to the Tiled Art Cafe, the Leeds Art Gallery is worth an hour or two of your time. They have an eclectic collection of modern art here and it’s all free!


Leeds Corn Exchange

leeds corn exchange

Originally used as an actual corn exchange until the 1990’s, the Leeds Corn Exchange is now a thriving retail space with spacious public seating in the center. 


County Arcade

county arcade leeds

One of the most beautiful Victorian shopping arcades in all of England, even people who don’t like shopping will admit to the beauty of the pristine architecture here.


Kirkgate Market

kirkgate market

One of the largest covered markets in Europe - it’s worth walking through to see the massive amount of goods on offer here. The original Marks & Spencer was started here and maintains a presence to this day here.


Kirkstall Abbey

kirkstall abbey

A well preserved example of medieval Cistercian abbey architecture, Kirkstall is a short trip away from Leeds. Here you can walk around the abbey and learn more about 12th century monk life. 


Where To Eat



For well-made and authentic Japanese food, Issho definitely fits the bill. There are several yakitori grills in action, which are worth trying. The sushi nigiri were fresh and delicious as well. Also, the sweet potato appetizer is melt in your mouth good.


Lost and Found Leeds Club

lost found club leeds

With one of the most well decorated interiors we’ve ever been in, the Lost and Found Club is full of ambiance and character. On top of it all, the drink menu tastes just as good as it looks!

lost found club leeds


tattu leeds
tattu leeds

Not your grandmother’s Chinese restaurant - Tattu’s out of this world decoration and Chinese inspired menu will leave an indelible impression on your taste buds and eyeballs (in a good way).


Ivy Victoria Quarter

ivy victoria quarter

If you’ve ever wanted to dine in a lavishly decorated and colorful restaurant, Ivy Victoria is your place.


Where To Stay

Quebecs Hotel

quebec leeds
quebec leeds

Located just steps from Leeds Train Station, this historical building retains many of the original details from it’s days as the Leeds County Liberal Club. 


Radisson Blu City Centre

radisson blue leeds city centre

Located centrally, you’re steps from the Leeds Art Gallery and Central Library. Try to get a room on the west side facing the Clock Tower. 


We were graciously invited to York and Leeds as guests of Visit Manchester, Virgin Atlantic, and Visit Britain. All opinions are our own.

Henry WuComment