Explore the national parks and dramatic coastline with my selection of the best places to visit in Yorkshire. If you’re searching for somewhere steeped in history and culture, or you want to enjoy countryside or coastal walks, Yorkshire has it all.
Whitby Beach is renowned for its clean waters, rock pools and inviting sands that are just waiting to be turned into sandcastles by little hands. Yet this is just one of the many appealing locations in Whitby.
Those who like a bit of a challenge won’t be able to resist climbing the 199 steps at Whitby Abbey. Constructed in 1340, the original wooden steps were replaced with stone steps in 1774. It’s thought that these steps were intentionally created to test the resilience of visiting Christians. Fortunately, there are benches placed along the route, allowing you to rest and enjoy the views as you ascend.
If you prefer, you can avoid the steps and reach the Abbey via the Whitby tour bus and enjoy not only the abbey but also a tour of Whitby’s winding streets and impressive monuments.
Whitby Abbey itself is a wonderful site, and the historic gothic ruins have provided inspiration for writers and artists for over 1,000 years. In fact, parts of Bram Stoker’s Dracula were set in Whitby, making it one of the most haunting places to visit in Yorkshire.
Whitby is home to galleries and museums, perfect for culture vultures and history buffs. Pop into the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, and the Lifeboat Museum for some interesting seafaring tales and to view intriguing paintings and prints, as well as letters from Captain Cook himself.
Things to do in Whitby
- Visit Whitby Abbey
- Walk up the 199 steps to St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey
- Visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum
- Visit the Lifeboat Museum
- Explore Whitby Beach
- Hop on the Whitby Tour bus
- Visit Robin Hood’s Bay
- Ghost Walk
- Explore Whitby Old Town
Referred to as Bronte Country, Haworth was once home to the famous literary sisters, so it’s only fitting that the Bronte Parsonage Museum is high on the list of best places to visit during your tour of Yorkshire.
The parsonage was once home to the Bronte sisters and it was here they penned their great works. Yet, there’s so much more to Haworth than the Bronte’s. A trip to the cobbled high street is among some of the best things to do in Yorkshire. Tearooms, shops, galleries and craft shops jostle for space in the thriving centre and Hawksby’s gallery is an absolute must for those who love shops that are out of the ordinary.
Another fantastic place to visit is the Cliffe Castle Museum which was once a mansion owned by the Victorian millionaire, H I Butterfield. Make sure you take a walk in the nearby moors, and follow the walking trails to historic ruins, Top Withens and Bronte Falls. Or squeeze in a visit to the charming old railway station and enjoy spotting the vintage trains as they pull into the station. You can even hop on board and enjoy a quick trip to the Edwardian Oakworth Station that features in the film, The Railway Children.
Things to do in Haworth
- Go for a hike on the Moors
- Visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum
- Visit Cliffe Castle Museum
- Ride on a vintage train
A town renowned for its historic, sheep auction mart, independent shops and restaurants, and its bucolic setting, Skipton has so much to offer. Arriving in the town centre, you’ll witness the well-preserved, Skipton Castle. Explore the banqueting hall, bed chamber and privy, and take a peek at the ancient dungeon. You can also climb to the top of the Watch Tower to take in the exceptional views over the town.
Just a short car journey from Skipton lies the impressive Bolton Abbey. Stretching across 33,000 acres, the estate boasts priory ruins and a church, a stunning waterfall at The Valley of Desolation, and Barden Moor and Barden Fell. It’s important to note that dogs aren’t permitted at Barden Moor and Barden Fell, and that walks in this region are most suited to experienced walkers.
Things to do in Skipton
- Explore Skipton Castle
- Visit Bolton Abbey
- Walk through Barden Moor and over Barden Fell
- Visit the Craven Museum and Gallery
- Walk along the River Wharfe
This is a quintessential English seaside resort town that has played host to holidaying families for several decades. Besides its two beaches, the town has multiple attractions, including Luna Park amusement park, the oriental themed Peasholm Park and boating lake, Forge Valley Wood, and Oliver’s Mount and Mere Country Park.
Cake and crafts appear to go hand in hand in Scarborough and there are a few choices of craft coffee shops, including Mrs. Pot’s Pots, and Crafty Creations Café.
Take a breather by the lakes of Burton Riggs and try to spot the wildfowl and waders that like to visit their shores. Alternatively, step back in time at the Scarborough Fair Collection and Vintage Transport Museum.
Things to do in Scarborough
- Visit the beach
- Go boating at Peasholm Park
- Enjoy walks through Forge Valley Wood and Oliver’s Mount and Mere Country Park.
- Stop for tea, cake and crafts at Mrs. Pot’s Pots, or Crafty Creations Café.
- Visit the Scarborough Fair Collection and Vintage Transport Museum
Situated on the Pennine Way, Malham is home to two of the Yorkshire’s most spectacular natural attractions: Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. The pretty village is located at the southern base of the Yorkshire Dales and is renowned for its exceptional limestone scenery. Malham Cove entices climbers with its 70-mile-high curving cliff that has been formed from millions of years of water and ice erosion.
Another unmissable attraction is Janet’s Foss, the diminutive, yet impressive, waterfall and pool near Gordale Scar. In recent years it’s become one of the more popular places to visit in Yorkshire for a spot of wild swimming. Janet’s Foss is accessible through a footpath from the village and flows amidst an enchanting woodland. Close to the waterfall is Gordale Scar which is considered the jewel in the crown of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The hidden gorge is the perfect location for climbers and hikers, but it’s advised that visitors use the Malham National Park Centre’s recommended routes to avoid interfering with the tufa that has formed on the rocks from the limestone-rich waterfalls.
Things to do in Malham
- Wild swimming at Janet’s Foss
- Visit Malham Cove and, if an experienced climber, climb its curving rock face
- Walk through Gordale Scar
Boasting both Roman and Viking history, York is one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the UK. It’s home to 30 museums and exciting shopping districts and is a vibrant hub of food and culture. The Shambles, home to unusual boutiques and independent shops, is a narrow, medieval street with timber-framed buildings dating back to the 13th century.
Delve into the past at the JORVIK Viking Centre. This world-famous attraction features 1,000-year-old artefacts and immersive exhibits that use sight, sound, and smell to transport you back in time.
If you love all things theatrical, visit the York Dungeons where you’ll come face to face with some of history’s most notorious characters, including Guy Fawkes and local witch, Isabella Billington.
York sightseeing must include a visit to one of the world’s most beautiful Cathedrals, York Minster. Built in the 7th century, the Cathedral’s huge interior of hand-crafted stone and collection of medieval stained glass provides an awe-inspiring experience. The famous Grand Organ is regularly used during services, especially since its £2m refurbishment in 2021.
Things to do in York
- Listen to the Grand Organ at York Minster
- Visit the JORVIK Viking Centre
- Experience the York Dungeons
- Shopping at the Shambles
Standing on the cliffs above the River Nidd, Knaresborough has a fairytale quality to it with its weaving stone staircases and medieval streets. The market and spa town offers a mix of gorgeous landscapes, shops, and cool places to eat.
Knaresborough is also home to England’s oldest visitor attraction, Mother Shipton’s Cave and the Petrifying Well, which opened in 1630. To find out more about the area’s rich history, visit Knaresborough Castle and Museum overlooking the River Nidd.
Things to do in Knaresborough
- Browse the 500-year-old market
- Visit Mother Shipton’s Cave and the Petrifying Well
- Visit St. Robert’s Cave and Chapel
- Boating on the River Nidd
- Explore Knaresborough Castle
- Walk up to Bebra Gardens for incredible views
- Visit the Courthouse Museum
Tucked away in Upper Wharfdale, Grassington is a lovable village filled with stone cottages and cobblestone streets that add to its sense of history. You’ll also find local attractions such as Linton Falls, the National Park and Visitors Centre, Widdop Reservoir, and Grass Wood Nature Reserve. There are plenty of walking routes in the area that introduce you to the local wildlife and picturesque scenery. Owing to its pretty, rural setting, Grassington is not only one of the best places to visit in Yorkshire, but it was also the film location for ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ in 2021.
The market town is also home to stylish bistros and cafes where you can tuck into homecooked food after a countryside walk.
Things to do in Grassington
- Explore Grass Wood Nature Reserve
- Walk along the River Wharfe to Linton Falls
- People watching at a pavement café
- Attend the Dickensian Festival in December
Perched on the lower slopes of Ingleborough, Ingleton is known as the land of caves and waterfalls, and has a history of mining, textiles, and railways. The area has become one of the more popular places to visit in Yorkshire for outdoor activities. You can even hire a guide to lead you through the complex caving systems. White Scar Cave is the most popular cave and there are tours available for all the family.
The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is a fantastic 4.5-mile route where you can get up close to thundering waterfalls and enjoy panoramic views across the Yorkshire Dales. Although there’s a well-defined path, there are a lot of steps so it’s unsuitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Things to do in Ingleton
- Explore White Scar Cave or Ingleborough Cave
- Go for a bike ride
- Follow the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
- Hike to the summit of Ingleborough
Huddled into a windswept bay on the Yorkshire Coast, Staithes is a traditonal fishing village where time seems to have stood still. Higgledy-piggledy streets wind between red-roofed cottages dating back to the 18th-century, and clifftop paths meander above. The viewpoint that overlooks the cove and colourful houses is a famous spot where photographers head to get that much-loved shot. While there aren’t many attractions in Staithes, it’s worth visiting to experience its unique charm, walk in the footsteps of Captain James Cook and enjoy the coastal views.
Things to Do in Staithes
Enjoy a drink at the Cod and Lobster
Go fossil hunting on the beach
Fancy more UK adventures? You might like the Northumberland Coast.