River Ouse

River Ouse: Our most recommended tours and activities

York: River Ouse Early Evening Cruise

1. York: River Ouse Early Evening Cruise

This 1-hour Early Evening Cruise is an entertaining and informative tour of historic York from the River Ouse. Enjoy the city from a different perspective as a friendly and knowledgeable team guides you leisurely up and downstream. During the cruise, the captain will keep you entertained with live commentary about the sites you pass. Learn about York’s history of flooding and its prosperity as an inland port, as you sail along the river that brought the Romans and the Vikings to this site. You’ll sail on a vessel that features an enclosed and heated saloon, rest rooms and a fully stocked bar serving beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks and snacks.

York City Pass: Access 20 Attractions for One Great Price

2. York City Pass: Access 20 Attractions for One Great Price

York is a city with over 2000 years of history to explore, choose your own adventure in this amazing city. After purchase, your York City Pass gives you free entry to over 20 attractions in York.  Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in York and see the best of the city. You can visit Jorvik Viking Centre, York Dungeon, York Minster, Barley Hall, and more. You can also hop on the City Sightseeing Bus or the York City Cruises. With a variety of different options of things to do in see, you can thoroughly explore York. The York Pass also gives you discounts on taxi fares, BOBH day trips from York, Mountain Goat Tours, City Cruises Evening Tour, York Cycling Tour, escape rooms, and ghost walks. Inclusions: • Pizza or pasta at Ask Italian, with purchases (terms and conditions apply) • The Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre • Barley Hall • Bedern Hall • Beningbrough Hall • Clifford’s Tower • Castle Howard • DIG • Fairfax House • Golden Tours York 24-hour ticket • Jorvik Viking Centre • Mansion House • Merchant Adventurers’ Hall • Railway Museum Road Train • Roman Bath • The Hilt Axe Experience • Treasurer’s House • Van Gogh Experience • York Army Museum • York City Cruises • York City Sightseeing 24-hour ticket • York Dungeon • York Minster • Yorkshire Air Museum • Yorkshire Museum • York Castle Museum

York: River Ouse City Cruise

3. York: River Ouse City Cruise

The York City Cruise provides an entertaining and informative tour of the historic city as seen from the River Ouse. Enjoy the sights from a different perspective as a friendly and knowledgeable team guides you leisurely up and downstream. Your cruise departs from the King's Staith landing. Admire the scenery from the comfort of the enclosed saloon or the upper deck and treat yourself to a refreshing drink from the bar. The duration of the cruise is either 45 minutes or 1 hour and is determined by the weather on the day and by demand. Your ticket will be valid for whatever duration is offered on the day of your visit. Typically the 1-hour cruise follows a route that heads upstream to Clifton Bridge on the northern outskirts of York city and then downstream as far as the Millennium Bridge on the city’s southern outskirts, before returning back upstream to the original landing stage. The 45-minute cruise operates in the same area without going quite as far in either direction, passing through the center of the walled city. During the cruise, the captain will keep you entertained with live commentary about the sites you pass. Learn about York’s history of flooding and its prosperity as an inland port, as you sail along the river that brought the Romans and the Vikings to this site. You’ll sail on a vessel that features an enclosed and heated saloon, restrooms, and a fully stocked bar serving beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks, and snacks.

York: River Ouse Floodlit Evening Cruise

4. York: River Ouse Floodlit Evening Cruise

Relax and enjoy a romantic end to your evening in York on this 70-minute Floodlit Evening Cruise. Your ticket includes a choice of refreshments; adults and concessions aged 18 and over can choose from a hot drink and a biscuit or a glass of Prosecco. Children and concessions aged under 18 can choose from a hot drink and a biscuit or a soft drink and a biscuit. Boarding commences at 20:45 and the boat departs at 21:15 from the King’s Staith Landing in central York. The boat returns to the departure location at 22:25. Sail a circular route on the River Ouse, as you enjoy a relaxing mix of jazz and swing background music. The on-board floodlights will illuminate landmarks along the water edge, as you take in the historic sights of York from a different perspective. You’ll sail on a vessel that features an enclosed and heated saloon, rest rooms and a fully stocked bar serving beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks and snacks.

York: Self-Steer Boat Rental

5. York: Self-Steer Boat Rental

Enjoy a leisurely one hour hire, exploring York from the helm of your own self-steer motorboat. Become a captain and explore the sites of York’s riverside in style. Your private boat can accommodate up to 8 people and will provide plenty of room for you all to head out on your own aquatic adventure, exploring the same river that brought the Vikings to this beautiful city. You will receive full instructions on how to operate your motor boat along with safety and river rules, whilst life jackets will be provided for any children. Your boat operating area is along a route that will along you to take in the whole city from the river within the one hour. Additionally, on a half hour hire you can operate within this area and will be able to take in most of the built up section of the Ouse, or make your way down stream to the Millennium Bridge and back to the moorings again. Please note that the boats cannot be taken past Clifton Bridge or the Millennium Bridge. You are not allowed to moor the boat up and disembark at any point on the river other than at the at King’s Staith (where your hire first began).

York: Bishopthorpe Palace Christmas Cruise

6. York: Bishopthorpe Palace Christmas Cruise

The Bishopthorpe Palace Christmas Cruise is an ideal way to escape the busy shopping streets and step into the Christmas spirit. Your ticket includes a choice of hot drink (tea, coffee or hot chocolate) and a mince or apple pie.The one-hour relaxing cruise features traditional Christmas songs, punctuated with live captain’s commentary. Leave from old port district at King’s Staith, pass underneath the Millennium Bridge before leaving the outskirts of the city and sail past the site of the Battle of Fulford, arguably one of the most significant in the history of the United Kingdom. Experience a fantastic chance to look out for wildlife including swans, cormorants and kingfishers, as you leave the city centre and sail downstream to the village of Bishopthorpe. The vessel turns at the glorious 13th century Bishopthorpe Palace, official residence of the Archbishop of York. Your vessel will be equipped with an enclosed heated saloon, at least two toilets and a fully stocked bar serving beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks and snacks.

Other Sightseeing Options in River Ouse

Want to discover all there is to do in River Ouse? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about River Ouse

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,633 reviews

Would 100% recommend!! My first time in York and the York pass is definitely worth it. I would say book and plan, although activities are fairly close to each other we needed to book over the October half term, plus the taxi companies all said it is a very busy city all the time. Do as much as you can and we managed to do some spontaneous things too. York minster had a light show on one night £7. We also managed to do a cocktail experience in the potion shop we paid just over £20 and so worth it!

What a fabulous tour! We loved Andy our tour guide. He was hilarious, and also very kind to wish our friend a happy 60th birthday. Introducing her as a Queenager!!! The tour was very informative and we were made to feel very comfortable on board. Andy’s team were also friendly and accommodating. A thoroughly enjoyable tour, which we would all highly recommend.

We booked a river cruise last minute and were pleasantly suprised by how enjoyable if was. The trains-obsessed skipper was highly amusing with his commentary which really made the trip for our family.

Glorious day , all staff were so helpful and friendly , and the commentary throughout the sailing was very interesting and informative.

Lovely enjoyable cruise with an informative onboard talk/guide as we cruised up and down river. Weather in our favour so Sat top deck.