Castle Howard & Fountains Abbey


This fantastic day trip from York is operated as a small-group tour you’ll enjoy a truly personal experience on our day trips from York, as we never use big coaches or buses.

Discover two of the most spectacular locations in England on this grand tour from York. Explore the majestic ruins of Fountains Abbey, surrounded by a truly breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage landscape, before travelling across the countryside to Kilburn for a leisurely lunch or an invigorating walk around the famous White Horse. Spend the afternoon at Castle Howard, the historic home of the Howard family which is recognised as Yorkshire’s finest stately home.

Full-day tour from York  just £45 per person*


  • Fountains Abbey –
  • Castle Howard –
  • Knaresborough Castle –
  • Kilburn, home of the Mouseman –
  • White Horse walking option.

Full itinerary:

On this grandest of tours from York, you’ll visit two of the most enchanting destinations in Britain.

We’ll drive out of York and through the market town of Knaresborough, stopping briefly at Knaresborough Castle to enjoy the stunning views of the Nidd Gorge. We then continue through the countryside to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site which combines the majestic and historic beauty of the Cistercian Abbey ruins with the impeccable Georgian Water Garden and the true charm of the medieval Deer Park. Spend time among the incredibly well preserved ruins of the ancient abbey, imagining how life was for the monks who lived here several hundred years ago. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Georgian Water Garden on a gentle stroll, appreciate the views as you indulge yourself with coffee and cake at the Lakeside Café and then enjoy a drive through the medieval Deer Park as we look for the different herds of deer.

5 Reasons to visit Fountains Abbey

We leave Fountains Abbey and travel through the small city of Ripon and the market town of Thirsk, before we follow the narrow countryside roads to the village of Kilburn. Located on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, Kilburn is a small village with genuine rural charm. It is famous for its association with a horse and a mouse.

Leisurely Option: The Mouse
Enjoy a relaxed lunchtime in Kilburn village, where you can discover the amazing craftsmanship on display at the Mouseman Visitor Centre. The original home of Robert Thompson known as “the Mouseman of Kilburn” the visitor centre and workshop showcases some of the amazing woodwork that has been produced here over the years. The Visitor Centre Tearoom is also a delightful place for lunch.

Walking Option: The Horse
Join your guide for a magnificent walk around North Yorkshire’s famous White Horse. On a clear day the walk will treat you to inspiring views across the majestic Vale of York as you climb to the top of the White Horse. As gliders soar over your head, you’ll follow the walking route along the top of Sutton Bank before descending through woodland to Kilburn.

Our journey continues in the afternoon as we travel through the countryside, passing the village of Coxwold and enchanting Newburgh Priory, before we enter the Howardian Hills an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which surrounds our final stop of the day; Castle Howard.

We arrive at Castle Howard, where your guide will give you a brief orientation and introduction, before allowing you to explore the expansive estate at leisure. You can tour the house with the help of the informative Castle Howard guides, stationed throughout the different rooms of the house. Walks through the estate will reveal monuments, statues, temples and amazing landscaped gardens.

At the end of an enthralling day we return to York city centre.

What’s included:

  • Return travel from York
  • Scenic stop at Knaresborough Castle
  • Visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park (entrance ticket not included)
  • Visit to Castle Howard (entrance ticket not included)
  • Lunchtime stop in Kilburn, home of the Mouseman
  • Optional guided walk around the White Horse
  • The services of a local guide throughout the day

Cost: £45 per person*


Not included:

  • Meals/Drinks
  • Entrance tickets (Discounted entrance to Castle Howard available through your guide – or free with a valid York Pass – see for details. Entrance to Fountains Abbey is free for members of English Heritage or National Trust)

For Terms & Conditions, click here.

*Plus booking fee

How it works:

The tour begins at the meeting point in York city centre at 9:00am, where you’ll meet your guide for day and board the executive minibus. Leaving York, you’ll travel through the North Yorkshire countryside to Fountains Abbey. We’ll spend two hours at Fountains Abbey, including a drive out through the medieval deer park at Studley Royal.

Leaving Fountains Abbey, we drive through Ripon and across the countryside to the village of Kilburn, where we spend an hour over lunchtime. You can enjoy a leisurely lunch in Kilburn or join the guide for an exhilirating walk around Yorkshire’s famous White Horse.

From Kilburn we take a beautiful drive past Temple Newsam and through the villages of Coxwold and Hovingham as we head to our final destination of the day: Castle Howard. Here your guide will provide you with an introduction and orientation, before you have approximately two and half hours at Castle Howard to explore at leisure.

We then return to York, arriving back in the city centre at approximately 5:30pm.

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