Lazy planning: We asked ChatGPT to plan the perfect day out for a student in York

The perfect way to pretend to be a tourist in York for a day

Renowned for its historical, picturesque architecture, York is often considered one of the prettiest places to live in the UK. So, as the weather is getting warmer, why not make the most of your time in York and spend a day exploring the city further? With so much to see and do, instead of using ChatGPT to plan our essays, we put it to much better use, asking ChatGPT to “plan us a day in York”. Here was its response:

1. Breakfast

“Breakfast at a Café: Start your day with a hearty breakfast at one of York’s cozy cafes. You can try Café No. 8, Spring Espresso, or Brew & Brownie for some delicious options.”

With an abundance of cafes in York, this seemed like an obvious suggestion. As a student classic, we had to try Drift-In, as their 10 per cent student discount provides a lovely breakfast without breaking your bank account. From pancakes and granola bowls to a full English breakfast, there is something for everyone, making it the perfect way to start a day out!

2. The Shambles

“Stroll through The Shambles, a narrow medieval street lined with timber-framed buildings that lean into each other. It’s like stepping back in time. Explore the quaint shops selling everything from traditional sweets to Harry Potter merchandise.”

The Shambles is undeniably picturesque and a must visit for all Harry Potter fans. However, as a York student, its charm has definitely worn off after countless walks down this tourist filled street. With pricey gift shops and overcrowded streets, it’s best avoided for a mid-morning activity in York. Perhaps consider venturing down the Shambles in the evening. Whilst shops may have closed, you’ll still be able to appreciate the Shambles’ narrow, cobblestoned paths, just without the crowds.

3. York Minster

“Head to York Minster, one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. This magnificent Gothic cathedral is stunning both inside and out. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and architecture, and don’t forget to climb to the top of the central tower for breathtaking views of the city.”

“Walk along the ancient city walls for panoramic views of York and its historic buildings. The walls offer a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings.”


There’s no better way to appreciate the beauty of York than by walking the city walls. With free entry and stunning views over the Minster, it is the perfect daytime activity. While the two hour walk around the entirety of the walls might seem daunting at first, there is no need to worry. There are a variety of bars and cafes within the walls themselves, offering a chance to rest and have some lunch along the way.

5. Jorvik Viking Centre

“Immerse yourself in Viking history at the Jorvik Viking Centre. This interactive museum showcases the archaeological discoveries of York’s Viking past, including reconstructed Viking streets and artifacts.”

As a history student, I may be biased, but the Jorvik Viking Centre is truly underrated among York students, and it is a great way to learn about the city. If you can get past the slightly musty smell encompassing the place, which apparently mimics a real Viking village, the Jorvik Centre is a must-visit. With an immersive ride taking you around a life size model of York during the Viking age, visiting the Jorvik Centre feels like a step back in time, giving you an escape from the modern day.

6. York Castle Museum

“Visit the York Castle Museum to explore the city’s social and cultural history. Highlights include Victorian street scenes, period rooms, and exhibitions on various aspects of York’s past.”

Ok, Chat GPT might’ve been a bit enthusiastic about this recommendation. The museum is nice to see, but if you’re visiting straight after the Jorvik centre, ChatGPT’s previous recommendation, it might be too much history for one day. After all, if you’re planning a day out in York, you’re probably looking for an escape from all the learning you’ve been doing within your degree. That being said, the York Castle Museum’s recreated Victorian Streets, real-life Georgian prison cells, and exhibitions detailing the horrors of World War One offer an impressive insight into York’s history. So, if you’re into that kind of thing, the York Castle Museum is definitely worth visiting another time.

7. Dinner at a Traditional Pub

“Stop for food at one of York’s traditional pubs for a taste of local cuisine. The Golden Fleece, Ye Olde Starre Inne, or The Lamb & Lion Inn are excellent choices.”

After a long day venturing around the city walls and learning about York’s history, some hearty pub food was well deserved. With York having as many pubs as days in the year, we were spoilt for choice. However, to make the decision easy, we followed ChatGPT’s suggestion, visiting one of York’s most historic pubs, Ye Olde Starre Inne. As far as the pub goes, it was basically what you would expect; a nice, traditional meal in a friendly pub atmosphere, making this a solid suggestion from ChatGPT.

8. River Ouse Cruise:

“Relax with a scenic cruise along the River Ouse. See York from a different perspective as you glide past historic buildings and landmarks. Evening cruises offer a magical atmosphere, especially when the city is lit up.”

Maybe we should have put “student friendly” into the chat before planning this day. While the idea of a river cruise sounds ok, it’s not exactly sparking my enthusiasm. It feels more like something you’d do with your gran while showing her around York rather than something you’d do as a student looking for a fun day out. With prices starting at £15, I can think of a dozen other activities I’d rather spend my money on. Besides, I’ve seen practically every angle of the river from the top deck of the 66 bus. How much more is there to see that I haven’t already glimpsed at in rush hour traffic?

So, what have we learnt? While ChatGPT provided some solid suggestions for a day out in York, a lot could be missed, with the river cruise and mid-morning walk down the Shambles perhaps not being the most popular options for York students. Regardless, with its suggestions of the York Minster and city walls being a must-visit for York students, ChatGPT did pretty well planning a day out, showcasing its uses beyond plagiarising your essays.

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