Looking for a day out in Yorkshire, but don’t have a car? These seven places are easy to reach by bus or train.
Leeds is right at the heart of Yorkshire, so whether you want to visit a historic market town or head out into the countryside, you’ll find a host of adventures, right on your doorstep. Even better, you don’t need a car to go exploring – you can jump on a train or even the bus to see the best of Yorkshire (and maybe have a drink or two as well).
Ripon & Ripley
The express 36 bus takes you to not one, but two North Yorkshire destinations within an hour and a half. First, visit Ripley, where you’ll find a 14th century Castle with stunning grounds, then hop back on the bus and head to Ripon. It’s dominated by a Grade I listed 12th century cathedral, which you can step inside and explore. On Thursdays, you can visit the historic market, which is packed full of treats, but make sure you leave time to visit the Workhouse, Courthouse, and Prison and Police museums. Finish it off with a trip to The Royal Oak to recuperate.
Just a short half hour on the train will see you arrive in the pretty spa town of Ilkley. A day out here isn’t just about the centre, however, as you can explore the Yorkshire countryside too. Head up to the Cow and Calf rock formation, take a walk on Ilkley Moor or take on the Dales Way. Back in town, the kids will love the Ilkley Toy Museum, while adults can indulge at The Station, The Lister Arms or Leeds favourite Friends of Ham. You’ll also find a Betty’s Tea Room here, if you fancy a cuppa, or you could visit White Wells, the last remaining spa bath in the town.
Jump on the X84, for the 35 minute express bus ride from Leeds to the market town of Otley, which sits along the River Wharfe. The countryside is popular here, and you can jump off the bus at Otley Chevin Forest Park for a day of walking or cycling, if you’re looking for a real adventure. Alternatively, carry on into the town – it’s packed full of indie shops, and there are no less than 19 pubs, including the likes of The Junction Inn, The Royalty and North Bar Social.
Jump on the hour-long train to Settle, a beautiful market town that’s on the edge of both the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding National Beauty. It’s perfect if you want to escape to the great outdoors, you can even visit the prehistoric Victoria Cave. If you want a more leisurely adventure, visit The Folly, a 17th century Grade I listed building, head along the Settle Riverside Walk or visit the smallest art gallery in the world, The Gallery In The Green. Afterwards, treat yourself to a drink and something to eat at the likes of The Royal Oak, The Talbor Arts and The Lion at Settle.
The train to Knaresborough takes just under an hour, and you’ll find one of the most picturesque towns in North Yorkshire at the end of it. You can start or end your day out at the Mitre Inn which is connected to the train station, while the Market Tavern and Blind Jacks are also worth a visit. But, that’s not all that Knaresborough has on offer. Take in a walk along the River Nidd with the impressive railway viaduct spanning the Nidd Gorge, or wander up to Mother Shipton’s Cave. Want more? Explore the Castle and Museum or wander the medieval streets, which offer up a range of street art, independent boutiques and quaint eateries.
One of the most picturesque and popular parts of West Yorkshire, Hebden Bridge is both a natural and cultural hotspot well worth a day out. Head there on the train, which takes around 50 minutes and you’ll be greeted by a pleasant walk along the River Calder and through the park into the centre. Here, you’ll find a range of cool and quirky independents to browse, or you can go for a drink in the likes of The Old Gate, The White Swan or The Albert. Hebden bridge was the first ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town, so why not try the Mill Walk at Hardcastle Crags, The Pennine Way or The Calderdale Way?
An hour on the 770 will take you out to Wetherby, a pretty market town on the River Wharfe. There’s plenty to do here, be it in the town itself or out in the countryside. The Wetherby Railway Path takes you from Spofforth to Thorp Arch, with Spofforth Castle, the town centre, The Shambles and Wetherby Racecourse all on the route. That’s not all – Wetherby Bridge is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the Old Great North Road passes through the town. If you get thirsty, the likes of The Black Bull, The New Inn and The Swan and Talbot will wet your whistle.Cover image copyright Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.