York River Cruise Review + Photos

York River Cruises are located on the banks of the river ouse. It is something different to do on your next trip to York and perfect for relaxing, taking in the view and maybe having a cup of tea at the same time.

We visited the York River Cruise on the river ouse as part of our 3 day York pass and it was nice to have somewhere on the York Pass List where we could relax for a little while.

York River Cruise Review + Photos

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York River Cruise

Up until signing up for the York Pass, we had never heard of the York River Cruise or all the different boat trips you can take when visiting York.

We booked the river cruise for our 2nd day of our York Pass and via the York Pass attractions we did on day 1, we found ourselves getting a glimpse of the beautiful river and just thinking, tomorrow we get to cruise this beautiful river.

york city cruise from the sightseeing bus
This is the view I had of the York river cruise from the top deck of the red sightseeing bus. This was the afternoon the day before we did the cruise and we could show the kids where it was.

What we also found (after looking into the York river cruise) is that there are different drop off points for joining the cruise and that after the cruise you have many places you can sit for a picnic and really enjoy the best of the river ouse.

York Boat Trips

There are of course, many different York Boat Trips that you can do. You can also hire your own boat and go cruising down the river ouse on your own, depending on what you prefer to do.

york boat trip
We spotted some barges all parked up on the side of the river and we noticed there was some York barges to hire.

The York boat trip aka the river cruise is similar to many boat trips that you take when on holiday. It very much reminds of a bigger version of the Yorkshire Belle in Bridlington that my Grandad worked on for many years.

When you come to book your boat trip, there is the option of many pick up points and I know we booked one, and then was told we could come to another.

This saved us some extra time on our York itinerary because we ended up leaving on a boat at 10.40am instead of 11.00am and saved ourselves some extra time.

Getting To The York City Cruise

We recommend that if you are planning a day trip to York that you use the York park and ride. It will seriously make your life easier.

Then once you are in York I have a brilliant shortcut for you. Head to museum gardens which is close to the York Minster park and ride stop. Then walk into minster gardens and follow it to the bottom.

Then turn off onto Dame Judi Dench Walk and then this walk connects you with the river ouse and is only a couple of seconds away from the river ouse and the area where the boats are positioned for your cruise.

Arriving at City Cruises York

When you do arrive at the city cruises, you will see a member of staff outside the boat asking if you have pre-booked and sharing information about when the boat trip is leaving. Also, if you ask, she will answer many of your questions about the cruise and what to expect.

As part of the York Pass we were told we had to book in advance our tickets to go on the cruise. But on arrival many arrived without tickets and got them there and then.

You could go and get comfy on the cruise straight away, though we were there a good 10 minutes before it left.

Giving us plenty of time to choose where we were going to sit and Sofia who doesn’t like boats very much, could see all the lifejacket gear that they had!

city cruise york
This is the York cruise that we went on. Much bigger than what I was expecting and when we cruised it was probably at about 15% capacity so plenty of room for everyone.

Stepping Aboard The York Cruise

Once you step aboard the York cruise you will have a lovely downstairs under cover area and then the outside section.

Indoors is good for when it rains. When we arrived, it was raining in York, but it soon stopped. In the indoor area you have loads of windows so you can fully see outside and see what is going on. They also have indoors speakers so that when they are giving you the talk about York and your journey on the river ouse you can listen along. You will also be surprised by how much seating there is indoors too and its got a café vibe to it.

indoor seating on city cruises
This is the seating in the indoor area. I think there was only two tables occupied during our cruise in York.
river ouse view
This is the window viewing point below. Its not quite as good as up top but you can still have a good look and of course, great for when it is raining.

Indoors also has a café. I would say food kiosk is better suited to it though. And it only had a few basics and most things on the menu wasn’t available, but they still had some tea and coffee along with some crips to buy.

cafe at the york river cruise
There was hardly any drink choices and they had run out of a lot of things. No lemonade, coke etc so Dom just had a coffee to wake himself up a bit!

Stairs and toilets. Then as you head out of the door from the indoors section there is the stairs up to head upstairs and also the toilets on your way. As a mum of three, I am always impressed when I go on an excursion and there is easy to access toilets!

Upstairs and outside is where most people were. You have plenty of seating out here too and this is where you get the birds eye view of the river ouse and a good place to be as you cruise along the river. The tour guide is also the captain of the boat trip and they explain everywhere as you go along the ouse.

the york river cruise outside seating
I’m just loving the outdoor seating and all the space everyone has to enjoy the river cruise. My only concern is that I was convinced Jorge was going to jump over. I have mummy fear lol.

Cruising On Our York River Boat

Once the cruise is going, we felt that the experience of the river boat to be very similar to doing the sightseeing bus. Where you are sat down relaxing and taking a journey around York whilst someone shares with you the history of York.

Though because we had already done the sightseeing bus the day before, we did find it a bit repetitive with the same information and felt like the bus was a better option.

Not because of the tour guide but because on a bus you are getting to the places quicker, whilst on a boat trip there is a few gaps with nothing really to say in between.

Jorge’s highlight though was that there was plenty of kids walking along the river banks waving at the boat, so he got to have a good wave back at them and really enjoying the interaction.

waving on the river cruise york
Jorge giving a wave back to some kids as they walked along the river. I am sure we will go back to York and be the ones on the bank waving back.   
watching more boats on the river ouse
Jorge also had fun checking out all the other boats that were on the river ouse and I am sure he was wondering if he could try out some other boats.
This was another pretty picture I took. To take this I went past the tour guide right at the front of the boat which there was plenty of room to do this. If you look carefully you can see the minster right in the background.

York Boat Cruise Review

We liked our trip on the river ouse on one of their cruises but I doubt we would do it again. It has some good viewpoints of York and its also perfect for including in your York Pass if you are planning on visiting York Minster and other similar attractions. But at the same time, we found it quite boring, and it didn’t make the top 5 of our favourite things to do on a day out in York.

Though the kids liked it more than we did and it was nice to take a break from the rushing around getting to each of our York Pass Attractions on time.

When it comes to booking your cruise, we were told we could very easily change the date and time and also which pick up point we were using which was nice. Because when you are using the York Pass and if something runs over its nice that it can easily be tweaked.

Cruise York Visitor Information

  • Where is York ouse cruises located? They are dotted around various positions on the river ouse. I found it a bit confusing at first to where I was supposed to go. So I asked River Cruises customer services for a post code. Then I later found out there was several boat trip locations.
  • Does river cruises have parking? No, but you have other options such as the York park and ride which is very good and drops off nearby.
  • How long does a York city cruise last? The river York cruise that we went on lasted just short of an hour. Though we recommend you go early and then you can get familiar with where you want to sit and make sure you don’t miss it.
  • Can you walk along the river ouse in York? Yes, you can. What you could do is do the river cruise, then have a picnic by the banks of the river, or even get an ice cream as there are plenty of them for sale by the river.
  • River cruise tickets. The price for your York boat ride is £41 for 2 adults and 2 kids. Great price for an hour on the York river. Plus, you get the chance to take some nice photos and have a break.
  • What is York Pass? I have mentioned our York Pass a few times. Basically, it’s a York ticket where you have access to loads of York attractions for a set price. Kind of like when you get a special pass for theme parks. I recommend you read our York pass review here because we explain how to do it and save money as its easy to waste money on it. Plus, we run through all the attractions we did for the pass including our trip onboard the York City Cruise.

Pin York City Cruises For Later!

Well, that’s a wrap, do you have any questions then do ask below and if you want to refer back, to this later for planning your York day out then don’t forget to pin it to your travel board or days out board on Pinterest.

Our Ride On York City Cruises

You Should Plan A Visit On York Cruises
About the author

Run by Sam, Dom, Kyle, Sofia & Jorge it documents our family’s love for eating out, day trips, road trips and great holidays.

We just love a trip, we love to travel, and here we will show you with a little planning, how to have a great adventure and create new memories along the way!

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