Are you looking for some Yorkshire day trip ideas? In this article, we have compiled the best things to do in Yorkshire including tours and day trips from York. Discover what to do and see in Yorkshire and start planning your itinerary.
Yorkshire or ‘God’s Own Country” as the locals call it is one of England’s most beautiful destinations. Its historic cities, cobblestoned market towns, stunning coastline, national parks filled with woodland and waterfalls, ruined abbeys, moorlands and literary connections make it the ideal place to explore.
In this article, we have chosen the very best things to do in Yorkshire. Our 19 Yorkshire day trip suggestions are based on our own trips to Yorkshire over the years. To help you plan further we have included practical information about how to get to each destination via car or public transport plus tips to make the most of your visit.
Yorkshire is the largest county of England and was historically divided into 4 parts – North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire (called the East Riding), West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. North Yorkshire is the largest of these and incorporates both the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park.
The largest cities in Yorkshire include Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Hull, Harrogate and the historic and very beautiful English city of York.
Market towns such as Malton, Hebden Bridge, Pickering and Helmsley with their cobblestone streets, historic buildings, independent shops, and many eateries are popular destinations for shoppers and foodies.
There are 3 National Parks in Yorkshire – the North York Moors National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park and (located in South Yorkshire) the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park (the remainder and the southern area or White Peak is located in Derbyshire) (Find out more about visiting the Peak District here)
⭐️ If you are short on time and want to see as many of the most popular sights in Yorkshire as possible we recommend taking a tour such as this Yorkshire Dales Tour from York which includes visits to some of the most beautiful towns, villages and attractions in the county including Wensleydale and the twelfth-century Jervaulx Abbey.
- 19 Best Yorkshire Day Trips – Best things to do in Yorkshire for all the family
- More Yorkshire and Northern England Travel Inspiration
19 Best Yorkshire Day Trips – Best things to do in Yorkshire for all the family
Located almost halfway between two awesome UK capitals – London and Edinburgh – the City of York (often shortened to simply York) is the county capital of North Yorkshire.
Previously called Eboracum, York has a history that dates back to the Roman era. It’s one of the most-visited cities in the UK and has a wide range of amazing things to see and do.
History lovers will be delighted in York! You can learn more about the city during the Roman, Viking, and medieval times. York Castle Museum is a fantastic starting point for understanding the city’s long past, and you can also peer into the cell where the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin lived out his last few days. Yorkshire Museum offers even more interesting historic facts.
Take a walk around the old medieval walls which stand on the foundations of earlier Roman fortifications. For more Roman insights, don’t miss visiting Eboracum Legion Bathhouse – the ancient bathing house is one of the oldest places in the City of York.
Travel 1,000 years back in time as you stroll along reconstructed Viking streets at the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre.
The glorious York Minster is the biggest Gothic church in northern Europe. It boasts ornate interiors and exteriors, which include stunning stained glass and intricate carvings. Climb the tower for great city views and descend into the Undercroft to learn more about a Roman fort that once stood on the same spot.
Other medieval gems in York include the exquisite Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, the Treasurer’s House, and the now-ruined St. Mary’s Abbey. Explore the narrow medieval lanes and alleys (known as snickleways) that wind through the city centre.
The National Railway Museum is often a hit with curious children. It’s the world’s biggest railway museum and is home to many engines, carriages, and other railroad memorabilia. York Maze is another family-friendly attraction, while York Dungeon offers a thrilling experience for older visitors.
A hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour is perfect for hitting York’s highlights if time is limited.
Good to know – save money if you are visiting multiple attractions in York with the York City Pass. Click here to find out how to save money with the York City Pass.
Plan your visit to York
🚗 If you are visiting York by car we recommend parking in one of the city’s Park & Ride car parks and catching the bus. Read more about York’s Park & Ride scheme.
🚊 York is on the mainline running between London and Edinburgh. The journey time from London is 2 hours. York is the perfect stop off if you are travelling the UK by train – read our 14 days best of Britain by rail itinerary.
Money-saving tip – If you are planning to spend a few days in York (it makes the perfect base from which to explore Yorkshire) we recommend purchasing a York City Pass which may save you money if you plan to visit some of the attractions mentioned above.
Read more – York Travel Guide
Listen to our Podcast about visiting York
Castle Howard & Yorkshire Arboretum
Castle Howard and Yorkshire Arboretum are neighbouring attractions in the southern part of the North York Moors National Park. They lie 15 miles (24 kilometres) away from the City of York. Close to the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it takes around just one minute to drive between the two attractions.
The handsome Castle Howard is a Grade 1 listed building. A private residence, it has been owned by the Howard family for more than three centuries. The present building dates back to the early 18th century, and it stands on the site of an older castle.
The house is surrounded by a large estate that covers more than 8,000 acres (3,000+ Hectares) and comprises gardens, woodlands, farmlands, and parklands.
Admire the stately home from the outside before stepping through the grand doors to feast your eyes on lavish interiors. The displays and exhibits take you through the castle’s rich history and tell stories about society through the ages. Fine statues, fountains, a mausoleum, a temple, and a chapel dot the grounds, and you can spot diverse flora and fauna across the expansive estate.
You might recognise the dome-topped Castle Howard from your TV screens. It featured in Brideshead Revisited as the fictional Brideshead and also featured in Bridgerton, the Buccaneers, Barry Lyndon, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and an Arctic Monkeys music video, among others.
The beautiful Yorkshire Arboretum is spread across 120 acres (48 hectares). A top destination for people of all ages, there are trees and plants from across the globe, lush parklands, and shimmering lakes and ponds. No member of the family needs to miss out on the fun, as dogs are welcome too.
The Minibeast Discovery Trail is an ideal way for younger visitors to learn more about nature, and your little ones are sure to love letting off steam in the kids’ adventure playground.
Plan your visit to Castle Howard & the Yorkshire Arboretum
🚗 Castle Howard is just 15 miles North East of York and is easily accessible by car from the A64 which connects Leeds, York and the Yorkshire Coast.
🚌 A direct bus service, CastleLine runs from York to Castle Howard.
🚊 Malton is the nearest train station to Castle Howard and York is the closest major train station. Both stations have buses running directly to Castle Howard and taxis are also available from both stations:
- Station Taxis Malton – Telephone: 01653 696969
- Station Taxis York – Telephone: 01904 623332
Check the official Castle Howard website for up to date opening times and costs. Prebooking online is essential.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park
Located in North Yorkshire just outside Ripon, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is managed by the National Trust. Created in the 18th century, today it is one of the most spectacular Georgian-era water gardens in the UK.
Covering 800 acres (323 hectares), Studley Royal Water Park was designed around the ruins of Fountains Abbey. The magnificent abbey has featured in movies, TV shows, and literature.
The Cistercian Fountains Abbey was founded in the 1100s by 13 monks who were expelled from a nearby Benedictine monastery. It grew to become one of England’s richest monasteries, flourishing for many years until King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539.
Today, the atmospheric site offers some of the best-preserved and biggest Cistercian ruins in the UK. Don’t miss the incredible abbey views from the point called Surprise View.
The water gardens are also home to Fountains Hall, a Jacobean mansion that was built in the early 1600s using stones from the ruined abbey. You can also see the Victorian-period St. Mary’s Church, complete with stunning interiors and marvellous stained glass, the Roman-style folly of the Temple of Piety, and many statues, monuments, and garden buildings.
The stunning water gardens were the brainchild of John Aislabie, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. He dreamed of turning his Yorkshire estate into a rare place of beauty and worked hard to turn his dreams into reality. Aislabie took much inspiration from French formal gardens. His son, William, later continued to develop the sublime gardens.
Today, the gardens have changed very little from their original conception, and you can still enjoy the picturesque lakes, meandering waterways, and cascades. Younger visitors are bound to love exploring the ancient woodlands and meeting the deer (along with other wildlife) in the enchanting deer park.
Plan your visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal
🚗 Located 12 miles north of Harrogate follow the brown signs from the A1.
Open every day in summer. Carparks close at 6.30 pm with the last admission at 4.30 pm.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is an award-winning heritage railway that runs for 24 miles (39 kilometres) through the scenic North York Moors National Park. The route operates between Pickering and Grosmont, with several stations in between. On certain days, the train continues onto Whitby.
Open since 1836, it is one of the most popular heritage railways in the UK and is thought to be among the world’s busiest steam heritage railways. Occasionally, diesel engines are used along the line too. In times gone by, horse-drawn carriages toiled along the route.
Before boarding, take time to look around the nostalgic Pickering Station. With a charming 1930s theme, it replicates the original station. Call into the quaint tearoom for refreshments and to soak up the olde-worlde ambience. With even more time to spare, you can also pay a visit to the nearby Pickering Castle, Newbridge Park, and Beck Isle Museum of Rural Life.
It’s well worth hopping off the train at stations along the way. Request to stop at Newton Dale Halt if you want to go walking in the nature-filled Cropton Forest, and jump off at Levisham Station for more great walks along trails lined with fragrant wildflowers.
Goathland Station is one of the more popular stations along the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. You may recognise the pretty station from the former TV show Heartbeat and, more recently, from the first Harry Potter movie. The station remains largely unchanged since it was built in the mid-1860s.
Grosmont Station also has plenty of sentimental vibes, restored to how it would have been in the early 1950s. Take pleasant walks in the nearby woods, especially lovely in the springtime when the ground is awash with colourful bluebells.
Plan your visit to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
If you plan to visit the railway from York and are pushed for time we recommend this “Steam Trains, Whitby, and the North York Moors Full-Day Tour” which departs from York and includes the journey from Goathland to Pickering on the heritage steam railway plus 2 hours to explore the seaside town of Whitby.
This is a great way to see some of Yorkshire’s attractions in one day and a treat for train lovers of all ages.
Malham Cove can be found in the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, overlooking the village of Malham. A unique natural treasure, it’s a gigantic limestone cliff formation that curves to create an amphitheatre-like appearance. The cliff face is some 80 metres (260 feet) high.
At the bottom of the cliff wall, the terrain is rocky and grassy with trees and a small stream. The white of the towering rock is a beautiful contrast with the surrounding greenery. At the top there’s an area where the limestone has eroded in an unusual pattern – this is quite rare in the UK.
Look out for interesting wildlife as you explore the area. There are small creatures and various bird species, including owls and falcons. There are excellent walking trails throughout the area, and you can enjoy the sweeping views from the clifftop pavements.
The beautiful cove attracts avid Harry Potter fans, keen to see where the famous young wizard camped in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While you cannot follow in his footsteps and camp here too (camping is not allowed), there are campsites close by if you fancy a night under canvas.
You’ll find several other natural sites nearby (including some that also have Harry Potter associations). While in the area, visit Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn, and the waterfall.
Plan your visit to Malham Cove
Malham Cove is best visited by car or tour. If you have your own car (or have hired a car) you will find lots of parking (for a charge at Malham Cove)
Tours from Chester and Manchester include a visit to Malham Cove in their itineraries.
These are both full-day sightseeing trips of Yorkshire which include other sights including picturesque towns like Hawes and Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters and the Ribblehead Viaduct.
Bolton Abbey and Priory are located on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. They are in Wharfedale, just outside Skipton. The large site combines history, nature, and fun activities for people of all ages to enjoy. It’s an equally ideal family destination as it is for couples, friends, and solo explorers.
At the heart of the sprawling estate, you can explore the evocative ruins of a historic Augustinian Priory and visit the Priory Church. The priory dates back to the 12th century. It was in operation and a place of residence for monks until the dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s. The church remains an active place of worship.
Elsewhere in the estate, the Bardon Tower is an impressive ruin that makes for a pretty picture. It was once used as a hunting lodge and was a wealthy home in the late 1400s.
The river offers heaps of fun. See the handsome aqueduct, complete with grand turrets, that spans the flowing water, take romantic strolls alongside the river, and spot aquatic wildlife.
Often popular with younger visitors, you can follow in the steps of people from yesteryear and try to cross the gentle river using the ancient stepping stones. There are 60 stones that were once used by workers from the Priory. The water isn’t deep, though you may get wet! There’s a nearby bridge if you don’t fancy your chances with the stepping stones.
Have fun in the outdoors as you explore the ancient woodlands of Strid Wood. Several trails lead through the woods and you’re sure to spot an array of flora and fauna. Head to the heart of the wood to see the Strid an unusual natural water feature. The narrowing of the river causes the water to rage through at high pressure. Be sure to stand well clear of the edges.
Wander across brooding moors to enjoy places like Simon’s Seat, the Valley of Desolation, and Barden Fell. Pause by the delightful waterfall, close to the start of the valley, to soak up the serene ambience.
Plan your visit to Bolton Abbey & Priory
🚗 Bolton Abbey is located off the A59 between Skipton and Harrogate. Park at Bolton Abbey car park which is nearest the Priory Church and stepping stones or Riverside car park close to Strid Wood.
🚊 Travel by train to Skipton or Ilkley then catch a taxi to Bolton Abbey.
Good to know – There is no fee to walk around the Abbey and surrounding area. However, if you arrive by car there is a fee for the car park. Tickets for the car parks cost £10 (advance purchase) or £12.50 on the day.
Tour from York – This “Haworth and Yorkshire Dales Day Trip“ departs from York and includes visits to Bolton Abbey plus Haworth the home to the Bronte Parsonage Museum.
The picturesque Wensleydale Valley sits at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It lies to the east of the Pennines. It’s one of the few valleys in the area not to have been named after its river – Wensleydale Valley is formed by the River Ure – and instead is named after the nearby village of Wensley.
Stretching for 25 miles (40 kilometres), the glorious valley is famed for its natural splendour. There are many activities to enjoy throughout the valley along with a number of charming villages to visit. A hotspot for walkers, the diverse terrain includes mountains and moors. The valley is also home to cultural and historic sites.
⭐️ Many of the day tours to the Yorkshire Dales incorporate Wensleydale into their itineraries including this Yorkshire Dales Tour from York or this Full-Day Yorkshire Sightseeing Adventure from Liverpool. If you do not wish to drive (and hire a car) a tour is the best way to experience the best of Yorkshire.
Hawes Wensleydale Creamery
Hawes is a charming town with a long history as a market town. Visitors can still browse the weekly market, held each Tuesday. Sitting some 259 metres (850 feet) above sea level, it’s one of the highest towns in England. See Gayle Mill, an old water-powered mill from the 18th century and the local St Margaret’s Church. Visit the small Dales Countryside Museum to learn more about rural life in the dales.
A major highlight of a trip to Hawes is visiting Wensleydale Creamery. A major local employer, this is where the delicious Wensleydale cheese is made. The area’s cheese-making heritage spans back as far as 1,000 years! Originally, cheese was made in the dale by French monks who had settled here.
Today, expert cheesemakers use traditional techniques and milk from local farms to follow trusted recipes to produce the world-famous cheese. They also show innovation and creativity to produce new recipes too.
Learn about cheese-making methods, watch processes in action, and sample cheese made on site. You can also buy as much cheese as you like to enjoy later at home – maybe you’ll even love it as much as cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit!
Located close to Leyburn in North Yorkshire, and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Aysgarth Falls is a series of waterfalls along the River Ure. Along the one-mile (1.6-kilometre) stretch, you can marvel at the three distinct falls, known as Upper, Middle, and Lower Force. Although charming at all times, the falls are particularly beautiful following periods of heavy rain and so at their fullest.
Limestone steps along the river create the falls and there are several places from where you can view the natural beauty, both from alongside the gushing river and from in the woodland. The raw natural appeal has inspired poets and artists throughout time, and the falls have featured in several TV and film productions.
Call into the Visitor Centre to learn more about the area’s history, nature, and geology before starting your explorations.
Keep your eyes peeled for diverse nature as you follow woodland and riverside trails. In the autumn you may even be lucky enough to see salmon jumping up the cascades! Deer, squirrels, small rodents, and several bird species are among the creatures that call the area home.
Nearby, pay a visit to St. Andrew’s Church to marvel at its enormous churchyard and painted wood from the medieval era. Round off your visit with refreshments in the café, located next to the visitor centre. Dishes are made using locally sourced produce and they taste great!
For even more waterfall magic, check out Hardraw Force Waterfall in nearby Hawes.
Situated near Leyburn and close to the eastern edges of the splendid Yorkshire Dales National Park, Wensleydale’s Bolton Castle is among the finest and best-preserved medieval castles across the UK.
The stunning castle was built in the late 1300s by a former Lord Chancellor of England, Sir Richard le Scrope. Sir Richard served King Richard III. The castle is still owned by one of his descendants.
Once one of the most lavish homes across the land, the castle has seen plenty of action over its history. It was even attacked during the Civil War by Oliver Cromwell’s forces.
Today, take a journey back in time to the castle’s heyday to see what life was like in the past. You can peer into rooms that have stood the test of time, including the Great Chamber, nursery, armoury, and kitchens. You’re sure to especially love going down into the eerie old dungeons and seeing the former bedroom of Mary Queen of Scots.
There’s lots of fun to be found outside the mighty castle too. Stroll through the well-appointed gardens to discover amazing views and a wide variety of colourful blooms. The maze often proves popular with children, while the charming rose gardens, herb gardens, and vineyards offer different botanical experiences.
To the east of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Jervaulx Abbey lies 14 miles (22.5 kilometres) outside of Ripon. Today a Grade I listed building that is mostly ruins, it was once one of Yorkshire’s fine Cistercian abbeys.
Founded in the mid-1100s by French monks, the abbey was where Wensleydale cheese was first made. The monks used sheep’s milk to produce the delicious cheese. The abbey also gained wealth by breeding horses. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey fell into disrepair and decline.
Visit the impressive ruins and you can explore remains of the church, watermill, and walkways that were once covered (cloisters). As you stroll through the peaceful ruins, imagine how grand the site would have been during its heyday. See how nature has reclaimed the land, with wildflowers, shrubs, and other plants growing freely in nooks and crannies, adding a certain charm to the stone remains.
Pause for a while in the delightful tearooms to ponder your visit and enjoy refreshments. You could also visit St. Gregory’s Church in Bedale, where you can see a window from the abbey, and Aysgarth’s St. Andrew’s Church, which makes use of part of the old pulpit from the abbey.
The Forbidden Corner
The Forbidden Corner not only has a curious name – it is also marketed as “The Strangest Place in the World”! It will capture the attention and pique the curiosity of old and young alike, and there are tons of cool photo opportunities.
Located in the Yorkshire Dales, the Forbidden Corner can be found within Tupgill Park. The garden covers four acres (1.6 hectares) and contains surprises, challenges, tricks, and wonders around every corner.
Initially created as a private garden, it was later opened to the public to enjoy. You can easily spend a whole day discovering the many secrets of the award-winning Forbidden Corner.
The garden boasts cool follies like the entrance tower and the Facetower which you enter by passing through a gigantic caping mouth! There are grottoes and chambers, statues and sculptures, tunnels and caverns, fountains, and more.
Enter the labyrinth, complete with a revolving floor, and try to beat the maze. Stare up at the six-metre-tall (20-foot-tall) oak man, and gaze upon the large dog’s head created from conifers. See a large glass pyramid, explore the Temple of the Underworld, find brass plaques throughout the site, and enjoy plenty of giggles, shivers, squeals, and belly laughs.
Within the North York Moors National Park, Rievaulx Abbey is yet another of Yorkshire’s fine old Cistercian abbeys. What sets Rievaulx Abbey apart, however, is the fact that it was the first Cistercian abbey in North England. Founded in 1132, it is managed by English Heritage in the present times.
In its prime, Rievaulx Abbey was one of the finest monasteries in England. The then-remote location allowed the monks to live a peaceful life of strict prayer away from the world outside, while also following a self-sustainable lifestyle. Monks raised sheep to sell wool, mined iron and lead, and made cast iron. It was once home to more than 600 devotees. The abbey fell when the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s.
Now, the ruins are a popular tourist attraction with other awesome sights close to hand. Park the car in Helmsley and have a look at the medieval Helmsley Castle before walking to the abbey. Stroll along the walkway at the top of the valley to enjoy views of the abbey and to admire two Grecian-style buildings.
You can also make a stop at the nearby Kilburn White Horse, a gigantic horse shape displayed in the verdant hillside that dates back to 1857.
Plan your visit to Rievaulx Abbey
Rievaulx Abbey belongs to English Heritage which means free entry for members. UK residents can find information about joining English Heritage here.
If you are visiting the UK from Overseas an overseas visitor pass may be a cost-effective option if you are visiting a few English Heritage sites. Click here for more information about the overseas visitor’s pass.
The looped Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is situated on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The terrific location is close to the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Arnside and Silverdale AONB.
The well-marked and well-maintained trail runs for five miles (eight kilometres), starting and ending in the village of Ingleton. It’s a fairly easy trail to follow, but sturdy shoes are recommended! The trail follows two rivers – the River Twiss and the River Doe – passing through nature-rich woodland to offer exceptional viewing of the waterfalls along the waterways.
There are several scenic cascades along the route, including Pecca Falls, Pecca Twin Falls, Thornton Force, Holly Bush Spout, Beezley’s Falls, and Rival Falls. Bridges take you across the rivers and you’ll pass farms and natural features.
Look out for the unusual tree in Swilla Glenn – it’s a wishing tree with coins embedded in the bark. The trail offers incredible views of the surrounding scenery.
Want even more of a challenge? Climb to the top of Ingleborough, the second-highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales. You can start the walk from Ingleton or Ribblehead. If you go to Ribblehead, don’t miss seeing the striking viaduct.
While in the area, White Scar Cave is also well worth a visit. The longest show cave in the UK, it’s filled with interesting rock formations. The cave walk takes around an hour and 20 minutes to complete.
Plan your visit to Ingleton
🚗 Ingleton is situated just off the A65 Skipton to Kendal road. Parking is available in the village.
🚊 Travel on the Settle to Carlisle line (one of our top 10 scenic UK train routes) and disembark at Ribblehead Station (this is an option if you are staying in Ingleton just ensure to ask your accommodation provider if they can meet you at the station!)
Alternatively, travel on the Leeds to Morecambe and Lancaster line and alight at Bentham where a taxi or bus can take you the final 5 miles to Ingleton.
Read more – A guide to walking the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
North Yorkshire’s Harrogate is an attractive spa town that has been popular since Victorian times. It’s famous for its floral flair, with numerous floral arrangements throughout the town. Indeed, Harrogate has won awards for its flowery displays and flower shows.
Pay a visit to the lovely Valley Gardens for a beautiful botanical fix. The gardens and surrounding woodland cover some 17 acres (6.9 hectares) and are home to many mineral springs. You’ll find more than 35 springs in the area called Bogs Field alone.
There are many species of flora within different styles of gardens, all enchanting and photo-worthy. There are diverse activities and attractions to appeal to kids too such as an outdoor play area, paddling pool, crazy golf, and boating pool. Challenge your friends and family to a game of tennis or a round of pitch and putt.
RHS Harlow Carr Gardens is another beautiful place to enjoy the sights and scents of flowers. Unwind in the blissful Harrogate Spa Water and pop into the acclaimed Betty’s Tea Room for a drink and bite to eat. The beloved café is even popular with the Queen!
In nearby Knaresborough, Mother Shipton’s Cave is a cool family-friendly attraction. The cave, which is nestled in verdant woodland, is steeped in legends and lore, said to have been home to a local witch who could predict the future.
Learn more about the infamous Mother Shipton and visit the nearby Petrifying Well, which is said to turn objects into stone! There’s a museum where you can see petrified objects, including a few quirky items like an old-fashioned telephone and one of Queen Marty’s shoes.
The wider park area has a kids’ adventure playground, places to eat and drink, lovely woodland walks, and a wishing well.
Plan your visit to Harrogate
🚗 Harrogate is located 45 minutes drive from York and Leeds.
There are 3 multi-storey car parks in Harrogate plus free on-street parking via a disc parking scheme.
If you are unfamiliar with disc parking this information from the Visit Harrogate website explains it perfectly – “Disc parking works through displaying your arrival time on a parking disk when you park and just making sure you have departed within the allotted time. The times for disc parking are between 30 minutes and 4 hours and will be displayed on signs on the street. Parking discs are available from tourist information centres, council offices and a number of participating shops.” For more information about disc parking in Harrogate click here.
🚊 Harrogate is located 30 minutes from train from both York and Leeds. Click here for timetables and prices with the trainline.
A scenic town on Yorkshire’s north coast, Whitby has lots to enjoy on a fun-filled day trip. Fairly small, it’s easy to explore Whitby on foot.
The renowned explorer, Captain James Cook, was born in Whitby, and the town also has associations with Count Dracula! In Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula is said to have first landed in England in Whitby. Further, Whitby Abbey is believed to have inspired the novelist.
Managed by English Heritage, Whitby Castle is a splendid Gothic ruin. The abbey was founded in the first century AD and has been left to the elements since the dissolution of the monasteries. The extensive ruins provide terrific views of the surroundings. The Visitor Centre provides lots of fascinating information about the ruins. You can also visit St. Mary’s Church, close to the 199 steps that lead up to the abbey.
The town has several interesting museums to appeal to diverse interests, including the Captain Cook Museum, where you can learn all about the brave explorer, Whitby Lifeboat Museum, and the Pannet Art Gallery and Whitby Museum.
Spend a day at the seaside, see the historic lighthouses that lie along the shore, build a sandcastle, and sink your teeth into traditional fish and chips.
Read – Best things to do in Whitby
Plan your visit to Whitby
🚗 The main road into Whitby is the A171 which you will join from whatever direction you come. Pay attention as you drive along the route which includes scenic open moorland along the way.
🚊 Travelling by train to Whitby on Northern Rail is not the most straightforward with a change of trains required at Middlesborough or Darlington. The good news is that the station is located in the middle of town!
Book a ride on the North Yorkshire Moore railway and enjoy the spectacular national park scenery on the way to Whitby.
⭐️ Several tours include a visit to Whitby including this small-group guided day trip to Whitby and the North York Moors departing York which also includes time to explore the scenic North York Moors National Park, with stops at the Kilburn White Horse, Helmsley, Goathland, and Lealholm along the way.
Alternatively, this North York Moors and Whitby Tour from York includes the best of North Yorkshire’s villages, market towns and moorlands on a full-day tour to Whitby, Helmsley, North Yorkshire Moors National Park and more.
Robin Hoods Bay
Located along the North Yorkshire coast between Whitby and Scarborough, Robin Hood’s Bay is within the North York Moors National Park. The quaint fishing village is on the Heritage Coast (sometimes known as Yorkshire’s Jurassic Coast or Dinosaur Coast), with rocky landscapes that date back to the Jurassic period.
It’s common to find fossils along the cliffs and sands, and you may even stumble across a dinosaur footprint or a piece of bone from an ancient reptile.
The sandy beaches are perfect for days soaking up the sun and paddling in the sea. Kids will love peering into rock pools and enjoying an ice cream.
Take long coastal walks or cycle along dedicated bike paths. There are also paths suitable for horse riding. Look out for local wildlife – the coast is home to a myriad of sea birds, and it’s possible to spot seals, dolphins, porpoises, and whales in the waters. It’s easy to understand how the scenic vistas have long inspired artists, writers, and musicians.
The village is crisscrossed with enchanting narrow cobblestone streets, once used by fishermen, sailors, and smugglers. Nowadays, however, visitors can enjoy the many small shops, cafes, pubs, and eateries that line the atmospheric streets.
Uncover the area’s past at the interesting Robin Hood’s Bay Museum, and visit the cute St. Stephen’s Church.
Plan your visit to Robin Hoods Bay
🚗 Park in the car park opposite the Victoria Hotel and walk down into the village. Car park charges apply – £6 for 24 hours.
If you are feeling energetic it is possible to walk the 7 miles from Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay along a popular section of the Cleveland Way walking route. Plan 3 hours for the walk. If you prefer not to walk back it is possible to catch a bus to Whitby from Thorpe Lane.
One of the oldest seaside resorts in the UK, Scarborough offers old-fashioned summer-holiday vibes along the North Yorkshire coast. The Victorian spa resort is the third-biggest town in Yorkshire. It attracts many visitors every year many of whom return time and time to enjoy the town’s charms.
Open-top buses connect the town’s highlights making it easy to get from place to place and experience many places in a single day. However, it’s easy to walk between attractions in the two main groups of the town centre and along the seafront.
Laze on the sandy beach and swim in the refreshing sea. If you want fun in the water without the sand in your clothes, check out Alpamare Water Park. It has pools where you can swim and splash around, slides, a wave pool, a relaxing spa, and more.
History lovers will enjoy exploring the 3,000-year-old ruins of Scarborough Castle, and the elevated site offers sublime coastal vistas. Literary fans can pay their respects at the grave of Anne Bronte.
For thrill-seekers, there’s Oliver’s Mount, the only natural racing track in the UK. While you won’t be zipping around the roads in an F1-style, you can enjoy leisurely drives and walks to soak up the scenery.
Spend a few hours at the Rotunda Museum, one of the first purpose-built museums in the world and home to a fascinating geology collection. Relax in the Italian Gardens, admire street art, take kids on the mini railway, stroll around the harbour, see the interesting works in Scarborough Art Gallery, and watch a show at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Plan your visit to Scarborough
🚗 There may be lots of Pay and Display car parks in Scarborough but we recommend that you avoid these and park at Seamer train station and catch the train in (cost of parking £2.50 a day).
The journey by train takes 8 minutes and you will avoid the hassle of trying to find a car parking space. Alternatively, there are 2 Park and Ride sites one on the A165 Filey Road at Osgodby and the other on the A64 Seamer Road.
🚊 Travel to Scarborough from York by train in 50 minutes.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Combine thought-provoking and beautiful art with raw nature and outdoor adventures at the top-class Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Located in the countryside almost halfway between the cities of Leeds and Sheffield, it’s a terrific day trip destination for the whole family.
The landscapes sprawl across 500 acres (200 hectares) of the 18th-century Bretton Hall Estate, and there are several indoor areas, perfect for days when the weather’s being a bit moody. There are more than 100 interesting sculptures and installations to find in the open displays. With temporary features in addition to permanent pieces, there’s always something new and fresh to admire.
Global artists featured (or who have been featured) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park include Damien Hirst, Rachel Kneebone, Joana Vasconcelos, Anne Morris, Joan Miro, Barbara Hepworth, and Hardeep Sahota. Works cover varying themes, including the environment, women’s rights, social issues, race, culture, fashion, and science.
There are several places to eat and drink throughout the park, as well as picnic areas where you can enjoy your own al fresco lunch. Pick up cool souvenirs and gifts in the art-themed shop before you leave.
Plan your visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park
🚗 The park is located in South Yorkshire 7 miles outside of Wakefield and 20 miles south of Leeds. From the M1 exit at junction 38 and take the A637 towards Huddersfield following the brown heritage signs for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
🚊 Travelling by train from London’s King’s Cross to Wakefield station takes around 2 hours. Take a taxi for the remaining 7 miles to the park.
Located just north of Bradford in West Yorkshire’s historic market town of Shipley, Saltaire is a fabulous model village. Travel back in time to the Victorian epoch as you explore the glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site. Allow half a day minimum to truly enjoy the stunning village.
Named in honour of Sir Titus Salt, a wealthy textile mill owner who commissioned the lovely village, Saltaire is a living village; people still live and work here. The gorgeous Italianate village was initially built as a place to house mill workers.
The benevolent Sir Salt was keen to improve the conditions of workers, both in regard to their working lives and living quarters and also to reduce environmental impacts and pollution. His humanitarian and environmental efforts led to him being given the status of baronet in 1869 by Queen Victoria.
Walk along streets named after Sir Salt’s family members, including William Henry Street, Amelia Street, Edward Street, George Street, Albert Terrace, Fanny Street, and Victoria Road.
See the Grade II listed buildings that include the mills, Victoria Hall, 1868 hospital, elaborate Dining Room, homes, stable, school, and U-shaped almshouses. The Grade I listed Congregational Church, from the 1850s, is ornate both inside and out. It is still an active place of worship. Other points of interest include the boathouse, railway station, and park.
Nearby, you can discover the unusual rock formations at the National Trust site of Brimham Rocks. Cattle graze close to the rocks, and you can see rare species of heather, many birds, and plenty of flowers.
Plan your visit to Saltaire
🚗 Saltaire is located 4 miles north of Bradford. Parking for free in the car park of Salts Mill (there are charges in other areas so be sure to park at the Mill)
🚊 Saltaire has its own train station which is located across the road from Salt’s Mill. Change at Leeds or Bradford for Saltaire. Journey time is 15 minutes.
Read more – Guide to the Victorian model village of Saltaire
Brimham Rocks have been popular with visitors for centuries. The curious rock formations were believed to be created by druids and attracted much attention during the Victorian era.
Created through millions of years of erosion the rocks that dot the landscape have names as strange as their shapes and include the Smartie Tube, the Idol, the Sphinx, the Watchdog and the Druid’s Writing Desk.
There is a charge for the car park for non-National Trust members but entry to the site is free for all.
Plan your visit to Brimham Rocks
🚗 Parking costs £6 for 4 hours or £9 for the day but is free for National Trust members.
Refreshments are available from 2 kiosks plus there is a visitor centre and toilets near the stones.
Situated in West Yorkshire’s Upper Calder Valley, Hebden Bridge is a charming market town. It’s within easy reach of the cities of Halifax and Rochdale. It is especially known for its tolerant and progressive attitude and LGBT-friendly nature. It has also long been a magnet for New Age followers, spiritual seekers, environmentalists, and creatives.
Hardcastle Crags is a major site of interest. Managed by the National Trust, the deep gorge and burbling river are surrounded by mossy woodland with hills in the distance. The weir is a pretty place for a picnic, and there are excellent walking trails. Nearby, the 200-year-old water-powered Gibson Mill contains exhibitions and displays about the mill and surrounding nature.
There are plenty more walking opportunities along the Pennine Way and Calderdale Way which lie a short distance from Hebden Bridge.
Take a walk through the town centre to see historic buildings and structures, such as the Grade II listed building of Hebden Bridge Town Hall, the 18th-century Stubbing Wharf Inn (which has literary associations too), and the 16th-century bridge.
The nearby village of Heptonstall is home to the quaint St. Thomas the Apostle Church, where you can visit the grave of poet Sylvia Plath and see the ruins of a church from the 13th century. The small Heptonstall Museum is a top place to learn more about local history.
Take boat rides along the river, shop at the small market Thursday to Sunday), and enjoy a night out at the famous Trades Club.
Plan your visit to Hebden Bridge
🚗 If you travel by car to Hebden Bridge you will find a number of Pay and Display car parks in the town. Parking is generally not a problem though there may be less availability on market days.
🚊 Travel on Northern Train services from Leeds and York to Hebden Bridge. For timetables and prices check on the trainline.
The Yorkshire village of Haworth is located in the Pennines, part of the Bradford metropolitan area and close to Keighly and Colne (in neighbouring Lancashire). It’s famous for having been the home of the esteemed Bronte Sisters, and many literary fans come to pay homage to the great writers.
The charming village manages to retain a rather olde-worlde air making it easy to imagine what life would have been like in the age of Emily, Anne, and Charlotte.
See where the Bronte Sisters wrote most of their works at Haworth Parsonage, now the Parsonage Museum. Visit St. Michael and All Angels Church where their father served as the parson.
Stroll along the cobbled Main Street, and venture just outside of the village and onto the moors to see places thought to have inspired fictional settings in Wuthering Heights. Ponden Hall is believed to have been the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange, while the remote ruin of Top Withens is said to have inspired the farmstead in the famous novel.
The kid-friendly Keighley and Worth Valley Railway makes a stop at Haworth station. The traditional steam railway is a great way to relax and watch as the countryside scenes unfold through the window.
Plan your visit to Haworth
Haworth is a popular destination for tours including this Haworth and Yorkshire Dales Day Trip from York with visits to the Bronte Parsonage Museum and Bolton Abbey.
🚊 The nearest principal station for Haworth is Leeds. In the summer there is a daily steam train which runs between Keighley and Haworth (Keighley is the nearest local train station to Haworth) Otherwise catch the Bronte bus (B3) from Keighley to Haworth or a local taxi.
Sitting on the banks of the River Ure, Newby Hall is a grand stately home in North Yorkshire. Built between the late 1600s and early 1700s, it’s a terrific place for fans of history and heritage.
The mansion is one of the UK’s best examples of an Adamesque house with striking neoclassical designs. Originally built by Sir Christopher Wren, the house underwent many changes by Robert Adam.
Step inside to marvel at the gorgeous Georgian rooms, complete with period furnishings and décor. The Grand Entrance Hall is sure to impress! The library, dining room, tapestry room, billiards room, and statue gallery are just a few of the other indoor sections to discover.
You can also visit the serene and attractive Christ the Consoler Church, which dates back to the 1870s and features colourful stained glass and intricate carvings. Coo over the cute collections in the Bear House, home to many teddy bears, and feel pangs of nostalgia when you view the collection of dolls, dollhouses, and miniature items in the Dollshouse Exhibition.
Take time to wander through the beautiful award-winning gardens too. There are many enchanting sections to enjoy including the fragrant Rose Garden, the tranquil Water Garden, the formal Sylvia’s Garden, the wild East Rock Garden, the nature-filled Woodland Garden, and the pretty Tropical Garden. Kids can let off steam in the Adventure Playground, and the miniature train will please people of all ages.
Plan your visit to Newby Hall
Several ticket types are available for Newby Hall including tickets for the gardens only, tickets for the house and gardens and season tickets. Click here for the official Newby Hall website.
Newby Hall and Gardens are located a few miles from the A1(M) near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Travel time from York by car is around 40 minutes and around 30 minutes from Harrogate.
More Yorkshire and Northern England Travel Inspiration
Yorkshire is the largest county in England and one of 9 regions into which the country is divided.
Our detailed guides are linked below:
- Yorkshire Travel Guide
- York Travel Guide
- 10 places to visit in Yorkshire
- A guide to walking the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
- Visiting the Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby
- Guide to visiting Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park
- Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage village of Saltaire
- Durham Travel Guide
- Chester Travel Guide
- Lake District Travel Guide
- Northumberland Travel Guide
- Liverpool Travel Guide
- 12 pretty towns and villages in England (+ map & travel tips)
- Best UK Staycations (Top Destinations for 2021 & beyond)
- 12 beautiful English cities