Now is the perfect time of year to embark on a ghost tour: the weather is starting to turn, the evenings are getting darker, and there is a distinct air of spookiness in the air as Halloween approaches.


York is one of the most haunted cities in the UK, with The International Ghost Research Foundation even declaring York the most haunted city in Europe at one time.

Founded in 71AD by the Romans, York has a 2,000-year history stained with murder and torture, not to mention witches and highwaymen. It’s said that York has over 500 haunted spots within the city walls, mostly due to Viking invasions, the Norman Conquest and the civil war.

So if you like to walk on the spooky side of life, why not book yourself a ghost tour around York? We’ve selected some of the best the city has to offer, including walking tours and bus tours.

For more spooky experiences, take a look at the best Edinburgh ghost tours, the best UK zombie experiences, and the best Halloween events.

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What is a ghost walk?

A ghost walk is a great way to see the sites of a city, while learning about its dark past. The structure of a ghost walk is typically as follows: yourself and fellow ghost-fanatics will meet at a specific start point, and the group will be guided around some of a city’s most haunted and infamous locations by an expert tour guide. As you move along the ghost walk, the guide will tell you plenty of anecdotes and secrets about the city’s history, and there will be opportunities to ask questions, too.

How long is a ghost tour in York?

The ghost walking tours and bus tours the team have selected typically run from 60-minutes to 75-minutes, with the longest one being two hours.

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Best ghost tours in York at a glance:

Best York ghost walking tours to try in 2023

A street in York
York has many atmospheric streets. Andrea Pucci via Getty Images

The York Dungeon

We couldn’t create a guide to the spookiest things to do in York without including The York Dungeon, now, could we? At The York Dungeon, you’ll walk through 10 terrifying live actor shows from Isabella Billington, York’s most infamous witch, and Guy Fawkes, just to name a few, who will all tell stories of the city’s dark 2,000 history.

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The Deathly Dark Ghost Tour of York

The English city of York has a rich history, from the plague to Vikings, and it has plenty of dark happenings, too, like murder and butchery. Despite its brutal past, this specific ghost tour is a funny one — it’s led by a guide who is known for his dark sense of humour, and it’s a family-friendly experience. In The Deathly Dark Ghost Tour of York, you’ll visit locations like York Minster, the Shambles, and Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma Gate (yes, that’s its real name).

It’s worth mentioning, too, that this walking tour is the 2023 winner of a YorkMix Award.

Buy The Deathly Dark Ghost Tour of York tickets from £10 at Viator

Take a look at the best London walking tours for more sight-seeing inspiration.

Shadows of York

What do you call an alleyway? In Nottingham, we alternate between using the word ‘jitty’ or ‘twitchel’, and in York, they’re called snickelways. In the Shadows of York ghost tour, you’ll visit these snickelways and head down lesser-known streets to hear all about York’s dark past, but with the guided tour, you’ll be sure you won’t get lost! There’s the chance to ask questions throughout this ghost walk, and you’ll learn things you wouldn’t usually on an ordinary trip to the north-eastern city.

Buy Shadows of York tickets from £12 at Viator

The Bloody Tour of York

Like all medieval cities, York has a bloody past, and you can learn all about it in The Bloody Tour of York ghost walk. In this immersive guided tour of York, you’ll hear alternative stories of witches, murderers and queens, centred around top tourist attractions such as the Shambles, York Minster, the Jorvik Viking Centre, and more.

Buy The Bloody Tour of York tickets from £13.50 at Viator

The team like to try out the things we recommend, just take a look at our BBC Earth Experience review and candlelight concert review.

York Witches & History Walking Tour for Two

A witch standing in front of York Cathedral
York Cathedral. Virgin Experience Days

Are you a fan of things that go bump in the night? Then look no further than this witchcraft tour around York, one of the most haunted cities in the UK. This 60-minute walking tour has a special focus on witchcraft, telling you stories about the spooky Witches of Yorkshire as you wander along the streets of York’s Medieval Old Town.

Buy York Witches & History Walking Tour for Two for £24 at Virgin Experience Days

For monthly Virgin Experience Days deals, stay up to date with our guide.

York Witches Tour & Cauldron Experience for Two Adults and Two Children

A witch standing in front of The Potions Cauldron
The Potions Cauldron. Virgin Experience Days

Did you know there’s also a cauldron experience in addition to the York Witches walking tour? As well as the ghost walk, you’ll enter The Potions Cauldron in York’s city centre for a drinks making experience; the immersive event challenges you to create the perfect potion.

Buy York Witches Tour & Cauldron Experience for Two Adults and Two Children for £52 at Virgin Experience Days

Take a look at our The Cauldron review and 2:22 A Ghost Story review for more supernatural experiences.

Dark Chronicles Horror Walk of York

Ghost walks are brilliant ways to cover ground of a city you might not have visited before, and a great chance to learn stories which won't be frequent in many walking tours or history books. Dark Chronicles Horror Walk of York takes you on a trip of York’s famous sites, as well as lesser known ones, to find out secrets of the city by an experienced tour guide.

Buy Dark Chronicles Horror Walk of York tickets from £10 at Viator

Private Ghost Tour of York

If you’re visiting York for a short time only, we’d recommend trying this Private Ghost Tour of York experience to make the trip that little bit more special. Plus, if you’re short on time, this tour is perfect as you can choose your own start point and start time.

With the Private Ghost Tour of York, you can customise your experience, and learn about things that are of special interest to you. You can choose to visit locations of haunted spots with a notorious reputation, such as the Castle and Battlements.

Buy Private Ghost Tour of York tickets from £65 at Viator

Best York ghost bus tours to try in 2023

The moon in front of a dark sky
Brandon Rosenblum via Getty Images

Ghost Bus Tour of York

Want to experience the ghoulish sites of York and hear the terrifying tales but walking isn’t really your bag? Then why not try a ghost bus tour instead? Choose from either an afternoon or evening departure on this vintage bus, and drive by eerie sites such as York Minster, Clifford’s Tower, and the grave of Dick Turpin (the infamous highwayman and murderer), all while listening to fascinating stories from an entertaining tour guide.

Buy Ghost Bus Tour of York tickets from £20 at Viator

To transport yourself to another world, take a look at the best immersive experiences and best VR experiences. Plus, check out our what is Frameless? explainer.

The Ghost Bus Tours

All aboard, ghost fans, this spine-tingling tour is sure to have you shivering in the seats of the 1960s Routemaster bus. The 75-minute bus tour is hosted by a creepy conductor as well as on-board actors, and they will share with you some of York’s darkest secrets.

If your preferred way of seeing a new city is by bus, take a look at the best London bus tours. Or check out the best London scavenger hunts and best London boat tours.


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