Everything you need to know for your City Cruises York experience 

We are all about the fun but safety is our number one priority.  

For your own safety and the safety of others, you must follow the instructions given by our crew when embarking/ disembarking or on board any of our vessels.

Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about our cruises.


General Ticketing and Cruises

Are you not called "YorkBoat" anymore? Are my tickets still valid?

“YorkBoat” was acquired by City Cruises in May 2017. We now operate as City Cruises York. We are still the same friendly, customer focused company that we have been for over 30 years.

Any existing bookings made when we operated as YorkBoat are still valid so please don’t worry if your ticket bears a different logo to our new one. Please call us on 01904 628324 if you have any further questions about our new name.

What classes as a concession?

A concession is classified as a Student with a valid Student card, and Adult aged 60 and over, a disabled passenger or a member of the Armed Forces Currently free with a valid ID card.

How old is a child?

We classify a child as aged from 5 years old up to 15 years old. Adults are classified as aged 16 and over (although if they have a valid student card then they are classified as a concession). Children aged under 5 sail for free on our sightseeing cruises, with a maximum of 3 Under 5’s sailing for free with every 2 adults.

Do I have to pay as a carer if I’m with a disabled person?

Disabled passengers sail with us at the Concession rate. Each disabled passenger is then permitted to have one carer to sail with them free of charge on either our York City Cruise or Early Evening Cruise (this does not apply on special event cruises, such as the Santa Experience, Ghost Cruise on the Ouse or Party Nights Afloat). Carers are required to display some form of ID or other relevant proof of entitlement such as a blue badge or a Personal Independence Payments letter (issued by the DWP benefit office).

If a disabled passenger has more than one carer with them, then the additional carer(s) would have to pay the concession rate.

How many people do we need to qualify for a group for a discount?

We will provide a group discount for our sightseeing cruises for groups of 20 or more people. However, we would not be able to provide group discounts after 12 Noon on weekends and during school holidays or at any time on a Bank Holiday or during a Bank Holiday weekend.

When can I use the York Pass?

The York Pass is valid for any of our daytime York City Cruises. You may also use your York Pass to gain a discount off full price tickets for our Early Evening and Floodlit Cruises.

Is it cheaper to pre-purchase tickets for your sightseeing cruises?

Yes, it is cheaper to pre-purchase tickets for our daytime and evening sightseeing cruises. These can be pre-purchased online prior to arriving at our moorings. Please print your ticket out when purchasing.

What do I do if I don’t have a print out of my online ticket? Can I use my smartphone?

Please remember to print your tickets. Tickets presented on a mobile phone might not be accepted.

Can I pay by card on the boat for tickets and at the bar?

You can pay by card for tickets at both of our landings.

Unfortunately, we also cannot process payment for Red Boat hire by card.

Do you sell Gift Vouchers?

Yes we do! Gift Vouchers are available all year round on our website. Find out more here. Alternatively, you can call our Sales Office on 01904 628324 to purchase a gift voucher.

Can I bring a dog on board?

Well behaved dogs are welcome free of charge on board our daytime sightseeing cruises, provided that they are kept on a lead.

However, dogs are not permitted on board all of our dining cruises.

Can I bring a picnic on board?

Yes, you are more than welcome to bring a picnic on board with you to eat during a daytime York City Cruise or when hiring a Red Boat.

What do you do when the river is in flood?

York is famous for flooding and this can have an impact on our daily operations. We will always attempt to sail for as long as it is safe to do so. There can come a point where our smallest boat can no longer fit underneath the bridges.

Depending on the height of the river, we may have to close our Lendal Bridge Landing and operate from our Boatyard, around the corner instead. We will always communicate where possible on our website, via our social media and using advertising boards at our moorings.


General Facilities and Access

What facilities do the boats have?

Each of our boats have an enclosed heated saloon, at least two toilets and a fully stocked bar serving beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks, hot drinks and snacks.

Four of the fleet have an open top deck, whilst the Captain James Cook has an enclosed upper deck with an opening roof and removable windows.

Are your boats wheelchair accessible?

2 of our boats are wheelchair accessible; River Palace and River Duchess. River Duchess also has a wheelchair accessible toilet. However, we only have wheelchair access at our King’s Staith Landing.

For directions to our King’s Staith Landing, click here. To confirm the sailing times of River Palace and/or River Duchess, please call our office on 01904 628324 or speak to a Quayside Manager on the day of your visit.

Can wheelchairs go on all your cruises?

We will always provide at least one wheelchair accessible boat operating our York City cruises, from our King’s Staith Landing Stage. The only time that this may not be possible is if the river is in flood (although on these occasions we may be able to accommodate wheelchairs boarding at our Boatyard).

We always try to provide a wheelchair accessible boat for our Early Evening cruise and Floodlit cruise. To confirm this however, please call our office on 01904 628324 or speak to a Quayside Manager during the daytime on the day of your visit.

Unfortunately, we do not have wheelchair access for the Party Nights Afloat or Christmas Nights Afloat cruises or our River Bus Service from the Naburn landing (The Acaster Malbis landing is wheelchair accessible).

Unfortunately, the Afternoon Tea Cruise does not sail on one of our wheelchair accessible vessels and so there will be some steps before you get to your table.

Can I take a mobility scooter on your boats?

Unfortunately, we cannot store mobility scooters on board our boats.

However, if you are sailing from our King’s Staith Landing, we will be able to store your mobility scooter on one of our landing stages.

If you are hiring a Red Boat, you will be able to store your mobility scooter on the quayside next to the access ramp to our pontoon and our Red Boat Team will keep an eye on it for you while you are out on the river.

We cannot accept liability for any damage caused if your mobility scooter is stored at any of our premises.

Where is the nearest parking?

We operate from? two different locations. At the Northern side of the City Centre is our Boatyard and Sales Office and our Lendal Bridge Landing. The closest car parks to these are:

Marygate Car Park: YO30 7DT

Esplanade Car Park: YO1 6FZ

At the Southern end of the City Centre are our King’s Staith and Red Boat Landings. The closest car parks to these are:

St Georges Field Car Park: YO10 4AB

Castle Car Park: YO1 9SA

How far are your landings from the railway station?

We operate from two different locations:

Our Boatyard and Sales Office and our Lendal Bridge Landing are just 5 or 6 minutes’ walk from the railway station. To reach them; turn left out of the station, follow the road under the City Walls. Continue to your left, crossing Lendal Bridge. At the end of the bridge on the left-hand side there are steps leading to our Lendal Bridge mooring and our Boatyard and Sales Office. At the bottom of the steps turn left to reach the Lendal Bridge Landing and turn right to reach our Boatyard and Sales Office.

Our King’s Staith and Red Boat Landings are towards the Southern end of the City. To get to these from the Railway station; turn left out of the station, follow the road under the City Walls. Walk straight ahead onto Rougier Street, turn left at the T Junction onto Bridge Street. Walk across Ouse Bridge. The King’s Staith Landing is down the steps on the right-hand side of the bridge, near the King’s Arms Pub. A short walk further along the river from here you will find the Red Boat Landing.

Can coaches and minibuses drop people off at your moorings?

For our Lendal Bridge Landing, there is coach drop off and pick up available outside the War Memorial Gardens on Leeman Road, near York Railway Station.

For our King’s Staith Landing there is coach drop off and pick up available at the St George’s Field Car Park.


Sightseeing Cruises

How long is the daytime York City Cruise?

Our York City Cruises sail for either 45 minutes or 1 hour. The duration of the cruise is determined by the weather and demand. When booking your ticket online it will be valid for whatever duration cruise we are operating on the day of your visit.

Where does the York City Cruise go and what do you see?

Our 1 hour cruise will usually operate a route heading upstream to Clifton Bridge on the northern outskirts of the City and then downstream as far as the Millennium Bridge on the southern outskirts of the City, before returning upstream to the landing stage that you departed from.

Our 45-minute cruise will operate in the same area as the 1 hour cruise without going quite as far in either direction, passing right through the centre of the walled city of York.

During your cruise, your Captain will keep you entertained with a live commentary. They will attempt to point out or describe the following landmarks and events:

York’s 15th Century Guildhall

The famous King’s Arms Public House

York Minster

St. Peter’s School

The National Railway Museum

Scarborough Railway Bridge (1875)

Lendal Bridge (1863)

The Bonding Warehouse

Skeldergate Bridge (1881)


The Millennium Bridge (2001)

Rowntree’s Park

The Museum Gardens

The Yorkshire Gazette and Herald Printing Works

The impact of flooding on the city and surrounding area

York’s Roman and Viking History

York’s Industrial Heritage

The route that the Captain takes and the content of the commentary can be determined by factors such as the weather, the volume of traffic on the river, the time of year and closures of sections of the river due to rowing events and other occurrences. Ask our crew on the day for more details.

Where do the sightseeing cruises sail from?

Our York City Cruises sail from both of our landing stages; the King’s Staith Landing and the Lendal Bridge Landing. Your cruise will always return to the same landing from which it departed and in some instances may call at both of our landings at the end of the cruise. Ask the crew on the day for details.

For directions to both of these departure points, click here.


Red Boats

Where do I hire the red boats from?

The Red Boats can only be hired from the Red Boat Landing at King’s Staith; they are not available to hire from our boatyard.

For directions to our Red Boat Landing, click here.

How old do I have to be to hire a red boat and why is there a security deposit?

The person hiring the Red Boat must be at least 18 years old and be able to provide a valid means of ID. People under the influence of alcohol are not permitted on board and no alcohol is to be taken on board. You are more than welcome to bring a picnic and soft drinks along with you to enjoy on board.

Can I book one of the red boats?

Morning Pre-Booking:

Pre-booking is available for Self-Drive Red Boats on a Monday to Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon and from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on a weekend or Bank Holiday at the Early Bird price (must be pre-booked by 8:00 a.m. on the day of travel).

Afternoon Pre-Booking:

Pre-booking for afternoon hires is availble online between 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays, excluding Bank Holiday Mondays. 

When booking online you will only pay in advance for the boat hire itself. You will then be required to bring the cash security deposit with you on the day of travel (minimum £40). Once you have pre-booked online you will still be required to meet the conditions of hire on arrival at the jetty. If you are deemed to not meet the conditions of hire, then you will receive a full refund electronically from our Sales Office, not at the jetty.

What is the security deposit for?

The security deposit is there in case you cause deliberate damage to the boat whilst you are hiring it, return the boat to the Red Boat Landing later than the agreed time, return the boat in such a state that additional cleaning time is required before it can be hired out again, unduly harass other river users or deliberately flaunt the rules of the river. In any of these instances, you risk part or all of your security deposit being retained.

Where can I go on a Red Boat?

Red Boats may be operated between Clifton Bridge and the Millennium Bridge. They may not be taken past either of these points. Full instructions and directions including a map are provided prior to the hire.

Can I pay by card for a Red Boat?

Unfortunately, we cannot process payment for Red Boat hire by card.

Do I need a Boat License or any previous experience to hire a Red Boat?

No, full instructions are provided by the Red Boat Team. The boats are easy to drive but please pay full attention to the Red Boat Team during the operations and safety briefing, this is for your benefit and will help you to enjoy your time on the river all the better.

Can I moor the boat up somewhere and have a picnic on the river bank?

Although this sounds like a lovely idea, because the river can be shallow close to the banks you are not permitted to moor it up anywhere other than back at the Red Boat landing at the end of your hire period. Attempting to stop or moor elsewhere could damage the boat resulting in the loss of your deposit.

Please by all means bring a picnic and some soft drinks with you to enjoy on board but remember, you cannot bring alcohol on board, or hire a Red Boat if you or other members of your party are under the influence of alcohol.


Private Charters and Hen Parties

What is the longest length of time that we can charter a boat for?

During the daytime, you can only charter a boat for 4 hours (12 noon to 4 p.m. only).

In the evening (7 p.m. onwards), you can hire the boat for between 2 hours and 3.5 hours (Sunday and Thursday), whilst on a Friday or Saturday you can hire for between 3 hours and 3.5 hours.

Can we bring our own alcohol?

The only alcohol that can be brought on board for a private charter is wine or sparkling wine/Champagne. This must be agreed in advance with the office and the corkage charge (£6.80 per bottle of wine/£9.90 per bottle of sparkling wine/Champagne) must be pre-paid to the Sales Office. The wine would then need to be dropped off at our Sales Office at least one day before the cruise.

Any guests bringing alcohol on board that has not been agreed and pre-paid with the Sales Office will have the alcohol confiscated as they board. It will then be returned to them at the end of the cruise as they disembark.

Can we provide our own catering?

Unfortunately, you cannot provide your own catering for a private charter. However, you are welcome to order from our extensive list of menus, which you can view here.

What is the latest time that our private charter can finish?

Our latest available private charter finish times are 10:15 p.m. at King’s Staith and 10:30 p.m. at Lendal Bridge.

Can we order a “Butler in the Buff”?

Hen parties, or other private charters, are welcome to order their own “Butler in the Buff” to be on board during their cruise. However, the group organiser is wholly responsible for the booking of and payment for the “Butler”. The organiser would also be required to pay a £25 “entertainment license” to City Cruises York. Due to the public location the "butler" has to wear trousers.


EU nationals travelling to the UK after EU Exit

EU nationals travelling to the UK after EU Exit

Leaving the EU means that a number of changes will affect businesses and individual citizens but we want to reasurre you that travel to the UK will still be possible with ease.

We will do our best to keep you informed but please for more information visit the HM Government website here