Last Updated on 28/04/2021
Spanning almost 12,000 square kilometres, Yorkshire is the UK’s largest county. It is a region packed with beautiful countryside, dramatic landscapes and historic towns. To help narrow down the overwhelming choice, here are 15 stunning Yorkshire destinations you need to visit.
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15 Beautiful Yorkshire Destinations
The county of Yorkshire is located to the north of England, roughly a 4-hour drive or 2-hour train ride from London. This beautiful region boasts a diverse mix of unspoiled countryside, historic towns, and bustling cities. With such a vast variety of beautiful destinations throughout the region, it’s difficult to pin down where to start when visiting Yorkshire.
Yorkshire people are first and foremost friendly and we do things without much fanfare. We are understated and love the countryside here. One of the special things about Yorkshire is that a lot has not changed. You can go to the Dales and, apart from the fact there are now more cars, they’ve not changed for 20 years and you go back after another 20 and there’s still no change.Alistair Brownlee
I’ve been fortunate enough to call Yorkshire home for my entire life. No matter how many breath-taking destinations I visit around the world, Yorkshire holds a special place in my heart. Here are 15 of my favourite Yorkshire destinations that you’ll fall in love with as soon as you visit.
The seaside town of Whitby is a popular tourist destination and may sound familiar due to its appearance in Bram Stoker’s famous vampire novel, Dracula. This pretty town boasts boutique shops, an impressive harbor, and world-famous fish and chips! No trip is complete without climbing the 199 steps to the dramatic ruins of Whitby Abbey and admiring the spectacular panoramic views.
The market town of Beverley in East Yorkshire is a beautiful place to take a stroll. Market days are bustling and full of activity, or, if you opt for a quieter day, you can grab a coffee and a cake in one of the many independent coffee shops.
The town has an impressive minster, which is one of the largest parish churches in the UK and is regarded as a Gothic masterpiece. Alternatively, you can pass the time at Beverley Westwood, a large outdoor space at the edge of the town.
Located inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Malham is a striking natural attraction. Malham Cove is a large limestone formation that was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago. You’ll need to climb up 400 irregular stone steps at the side of this 80-metre cliff face to take in the spectacular limestone pavement.
This bizarre, scarred landscape is made up of a series of limestone rocks with deep caverns between them, also formed by glaciers during the Ice Age. You can teeter your way across the pavement, hopping from stone to stone and appreciate the contrasting greenery of the surrounding landscape. This limestone pavement may look vaguely familiar, most famously, it can be spotted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Leeds is Yorkshire’s largest city and is the perfect place to visit to experience the more lively side of Yorkshire. The city is renowned for a fantastic range of shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs, so it the perfect city for a weekend break.
Not only that, but the city also has some stunning architecture, and fascinating museums, including the Royal Armouries. If you’re planning a visit to Leeds, check out our guide on what to do in Leeds…from a local!
In 2017 Hull shocked the world by being announced as the UK City of Culture. For many, Hull was known as the ‘end of the line’ destination that you only travelled to, never through, and as such, wasn’t exactly renowned for its tourist appeal.
Despite this, Hull put on a spectacular display and showed the doubters exactly why it was deserving of the accolade. There is an impressive number of attractions to fill a visit to Hull, including several free museums, the world’s only submarium, and the iconic suspension bridge spanning the Humber.
The cobbled warren of medieval streets makes Knaresborough a real gem. The viaduct makes a dramatic backdrop as the town sits proudly alongside the River Nidd. When you visit Knaresborough, you need to visit Mother Shipton’s cave to see items turned to stone and learn about this local profit and her predictions, including her prophecy about the end of the world…
The industrial town of Halifax in West Yorkshire is not normally considered a tourist hotspot. Although often overlooked, this historic market, mill and minster town is well worth a visit. The highlight of any trip to Halifax is the recently redeveloped Piece Hall.
This historic listed building was originally designed as a cloth hall for local weavers to sell their fabrics. Today, it is a unique shopping experience filled with boutique stores and independent bars and coffee shops. It’s an ideal place to source some unique gifts and is perfect for Christmas shopping!
The city of York is the ideal destination for anyone with an interest in history. First founded by the Romans in 71 AD, York is a city with a whole lot of history! There are a whole host of museums in the city that delve into the origins of the city, right up to the modern-day, which most notably includes the Jorvik Viking Centre and the National Railway Museum.
And as a city that takes pride in its history, York doesn’t shy away from the gory bits. You can discover the darker side of York at the Dungeons, or hunt ghouls on one of the many local ghost walks. You can even call in at the local ghost merchants in the Shambles and choose a ghost to take home with you!
If you want to get the most out of your trip to York, check out our York bucket list for the top-recommended attractions.
Robin Hood’s Bay
This picturesque fishing village is located just 6 miles south of Whitby. It is a beautiful little spot that is well worth tying into your visit. Filled with adorable shops and surrounded by spectacular views you can easily pass an hour to two appreciating this pretty destination.
Yorkshire’s East Coast boasts a dramatic coastline. The chalk headland of Flamborough Head makes for stunning beaches alongside impressive cliffs. This idyllic spot is ideal for admiring wildlife and appreciating the stunning natural architecture.
The tiny market town of Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale is the quintessential English market town. As a testament to the slow-moving nature of the town, it claims to be home to the oldest sweet shop in England, where stepping through the doors is like stepping back in time. The town is also only a short distance from Brimham Rocks, a spectacular collection of natural rock formations you can admire and climb!
For a market town, Hawes has loads to offer visitors! Being the highest market town in England, it is in a prime position for some stunning waterfalls including Hardraw Force, Cotter Force, and Aysgill Force. Most famously though, the town is home to the Wensleydale Creamery, where you can observe this popular cheese being made – and sample some too!
Bolton Abbey is the perfect destination to fully appreciate the spectacular Yorkshire countryside. Nestled inside the Yorkshire Dales, this remote escape is the ideal location for a quiet break. There are several beautiful walks in the area, not to mention the impressive priory ruins which you need to visit.
You can tiptoe across the river on a stepping stone bridge to take a stroll through the woodland before grabbing some delicious food from a local cafe. You can make your visit even more memorable by taking a ride on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.
This bustling town in North Yorkshire is a great place to shop and eat while doing a spot of sight-seeing. Cycling enthusiasts will have spotted it as the backdrop for the Road Cycling World Championships in 2019 and it has become a popular area for the sport. If cycling isn’t your thing though, grab an afternoon tea at Betty’s instead and watch the cyclists go by!
Despite the town’s modern and thriving outlook, if you scratch below the surface, its prosperity has grown from its spa history. If you know where to look, you can step back in time to explore Harrogate’s roots and appreciate where this town has grown from. Indulge in a luxurious treatment at the Turkish Baths to fully appreciate the town’s history!
Wondering how best to spend a day in Harrogate? Check out our one-day itinerary for the perfect visit to this pretty spa town.
This beautiful village in West Yorkshire is one to appeal to book lovers. Home of the Brontë sisters, Haworth has changed very little since they lived there in the 1800s. Their home in the parsonage is now a world-famous museum, where you can learn about the lives of these three literary greats.
If you’re feeling inspired by the Brontës, you can follow in their footsteps and enjoy a scenic walk to Top Withens. This ruined farmhouse is a 4-mile walk from the parsonage and claims to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw family house in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
Get Your Yorkshire Destination Essentials
If you’re planning a trip to these Yorkshire destinations, don’t forget to pick up your travel guide and Yorkshire essentials before your visit!
15 Yorkshire Destinations
So these are 15 of my favourite Yorkshire destinations! There is so much to see and do in Yorkshire. These are merely scratching the surface of what the county has to offer!
If you’re feeling inspired to visit Yorkshire, you can see all of our Yorkshire Travel Guides here. Or if you’re looking for something a little more ‘off the beaten track,’ check out our Hidden Yorkshire series. Discover some of the amazing hidden gems throughout the county and how to find them.
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