Yorkshire is a place of outstanding natural beauty, but it’s also filled with cities, towns and villages that have everything you need for a fantastic day out…
From the cobbled streets of York to the stunning scenery of the Yorkshire Wolds and the seaside charm of Robin Hood’s Bay, there are loads of awesome places to visit in Yorkshire, so you’re absolutely spoilt for choice. But fear not because we’re here to help you plan your next day out with a list of 21 must-visit locations that showcase God’s Own County at its very best.
This bustling seaside town is the perfect spot if you want to escape to the coast. It’s got loads of history, with Whitby Abbey tempting you up the 199 steps to get a closer look and a cracking view, as well as a host of eclectic independent boutiques. It helped inspire a certain famous count, so check out the Dracula Experience, or you can learn about the epic voyages of Captain Cook at the Memorial Museum – and don’t forget to order a portion of fish and chips at The Magpie Cafe before eating them down on the beach. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Yorkshire.
One of the most beautiful cities in the land, York is a must for anyone looking for days out in Yorkshire. Its cobbled streets lead to all manner of delights, with quirky independent boutiques, markets, theatres and bars all vying for your attention. While you’re there, visit York Minster and admire the architecture or take a walk along the city walls. If you’re bringing kids, they’ll love York Dungeons with its theatrical approach to learning, or try Jorvik Viking Centre to experience the sights, sounds and smells of days gone by. Mustn’t forget the Chocolate Experience! Mmm.
3. Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales is one of the most beautiful places in the world, let alone Yorkshire – and you can explore them by car, bike or even on foot, if you fancy a bit of rambling. You’ll find picturesque villages like Masham, Ingleton and Grassington, as well as a whole host of natural and man-made treasures. Ingleton’s waterfalls are a must-visit, as is Aysgarth Falls, but if you want real wow factor, see our Gaping Gill – it’s one of Britain’s biggest underground chambers at 650-feet. Malham Cove, Bolton Abbey, Ribblehead Viaduct – the possibilities are endless.
Doncaster is often overlooked, but if you write it off, you’ll be missing out on a host of fantastic days out. After all, it’s here that you’ll find one of the region’s most exciting attractions – Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Here, you can see over 400 animals and 70 different species, with a range of one-of-a-kind experiences and plenty of opportunities for the kids to run off energy. But that’s not all. Visit the famous racecourse, pop into the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum or step back in time as you explore the storied history of Brodsworth and Cusworth Hall.
It feels like a quaint Yorkshire village, but Ripon is actually a city, courtesy of its cathedral. It’s impressive to behold, and you can even venture inside for a service or visit the Saxon crypt below. Ripon Racecourse is great for Yorkshire days out, and you can also visit a host of museums, with the Workhouse, Prison & Police and Courthouse to choose from. What’s more, Brimham Rocks are only 9 miles away, while Newby Hall and Fountain’s Abbey are even closer – and if you’re looking for adventure, try nearby theme park Lightwater Valley.
Believe it or not, Wakefield is an artistic haven with a whole host of attractions for you to explore. Here, you’ll find two-thirds of the Yorkshire Triangle. The Hepworth boasts an incredible collection from the woman who shares its name, alongside a changing line-up of contemporary art. In contrast, Yorkshire Sculpture Park welcomes you into the glorious countryside to view art in an unparalleled location. You can also visit the site of the Wakefield Battle, take on the Adventure Trail at Anglers Country Park or explore 237 acres of woodland at Newmillerdam Country Park.
7. Robin Hood’s Bay
One of the loveliest seaside villages you’ll find in Yorkshire, Robin Hood’s Bay is perfect for a day out in Yorkshire. Here, you’ll find a quaint fishing village that’s packed full of charm. The streets are lined with one-off stores, selling everything from Whitby Jet to traditional gifts, and dotted between, you’ll find everything from cool bistros to proper chippies and quirky little cafes like Tea, Toast and Post. The beach is beautiful and surrounded by cliffs, ideal for picnics, paddling and fossil hunting as you set off in search of Boggle Hole at low tide.
The spa town of Harrogate is a beautiful spot to spend the day. Of course, the Turkish Baths & Health Spa are the highlight, but there’s more to be discovered here. You’ll find plenty of shops to keep you entertained, with quirky independents alongside Harrogate’s famed antique stores – and there are loads of parks, with Valley Gardens and The Stray among them. If you want something truly memorable, why not visit Spofforth Castle, catch a show at Harrogate Theatre or head out to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Harlow Carr?
9. Hebden Bridge
If it’s a picturesque market town you’re after, Hebden Bridge certainly fits the bill. This is a beautiful part of the world, perfect for days out. It mixes lovely architecture and historic mills with scenic Yorkshire countryside, all the while giving you everything you need for a great day out. We’re talking modern art galleries, iconic gig venues and treasure-trove shops, alongside many a natural wonder. Head out to Hardcastle Crags for an incredible riverside walk that takes you to Gibson Mill, one of the first mills of the Industrial Revolution.
Your typical Yorkshire seaside town, Bridlington has everything you could want. You’ll find stone beaches on one side and sandy ones on the other – take a walk to enjoy the coastal views or jump on the train. Those of you with kids will be happy to know that there are plenty of attractions, including fairground rides, games arcades and traditional beach-side stores packed with rock. Wander down to North Beach Fish and Chips to enjoy a hefty portion of haddock beside the seaside. Don’t miss the old town, with its bistros and antique stores, it’s a real hidden gem.
A beautiful little town in the Wharfe Valley, Ilkley sits on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, and as such, it’s surrounded by stunning countryside and more than a few natural treasures. Cow & Calf is worth a visit in its own right, but this natural rock formation is also perfectly placed for a day out exploring the moors, and there’s a quality pub right on its doorstep. In the town itself, take your pick of the many cosy cafes, bars and restaurants, including their very own Betty’s Tearoom – or explore the independent stores that thrive here.
12. The Yorkshire Wolds
It may not be as famous as the Dales or the Moors, but the The Yorkshire Wolds is well worth a visit. The area is marked by rolling hills and epic chalk landscapes that will have you reaching for your phone to take an Insta-worthy snap. Outdoors enthusiasts will be well pleased with the 79-mile Yorkshire Wolds National Trail – it offers near-endless options, whether you’re walking or cycling. And you certainly won’t be short of quaint market towns to visit while you’re here. From Howden to Beverley, you’ll find all manner of scenic stopovers here.
A surprisingly diverse town, Skipton has oodles of option for day-trippers in Yorkshire. The castle is the main attraction, it’s 900 years old and remains one of the most complete medieval castles in England. But that’s just the beginning. You’ll find a host of traditional pubs and cafes here, alongside cutesy shops like Not So Shabby and Lighthouse Lane. Here’s the thing though – escaping Skipton is just as fun as staying here, especially if you jump on a narrow boat and wind your way along the region’s waterways.
Sheffield stands in stark contrast to all those pretty country towns. The steel city is better known for its industrial past, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. In fact, there’s loads to see and do here. Check out the Winter Garden, it’s the largest urban glass house in Europe and it’s in bloom all year round, or visit Moor Market, where you’ll be tempted by 90 artisan food stalls. And if that’s not enough, head to the Millennium Gallery, Kelham Island Museum or the Botanical Gardens – there are loads of places to visit in this modern Yorkshire city.
One of the most famous seaside towns in Yorkshire, Scarborough is the perfect place for a day out on the coast. It’s thought to be the world’s first seaside resort, and it’s still a great shout today. You’ve got long stretches of sandy beaches to look forward to, along amusement arcades, ice cream parlours and, yes, you guessed it – more than a few fish and chip shops. You can also get involved with a host of adventure activities or step away from the seaside to enjoy a spot of big band music in Peasholm Park. What’s not to love?
16. North Yorkshire Moors
There are loads of places to visit in the North York Moors, from stunning vistas to natural beauty spots, and let’s not forget the scenic villages. Helmsley is a great shout, with its castle ruins and tearooms, and Goathland promises all the familiarity of ‘Heartbeat’, but when it comes to picturesque charm, Hutton le Hole wins out. Head to White Mare Crag to see a towering wall of limestone, carved out by glaciers during the ice age, or take a walk to the ever-impressive May Beck and Falling Foss. For man made miracles, try Castle Howard or Rievaulx Abbey.
One of our local favourites, Otley is a lively market town surrounded by the the Lower Wharfedale countryside – and it’s pretty as a picture. True to its roots, the Yorkshire town has a market three times a week – time your days out around them for an extra special experience. You’ll find a host of small, independent shops and eateries here, perfect for a spot of lunch or window shopping ahead of a long walk. Be it in Riverside or Chevin Forest Park, there’s oodles of exploring to be done, with all the beauty of God’s Own County rising around you.
A hilltop village with a real country feel, Haworth is one of those places you simply have to visit. It’s understandably popular with literature buffs, after all, it was here that the Bronte sisters wrote most of their books. Their old home, Haworth Parsonage, is now a museum, offering a unique insight into their lives. You can follow in their footsteps with a countryside walk, stopping at popular landmarks like Bronte Falls, Bridge and Stone Chair, but don’t overlook the gems on your doorstep. Quaint cobbled streets lead to an intriguing mix of shops, cafes and pubs.
Knaresborough is the very definition of picturesque. Row boats dot the River Nidd as trains pass over the iconic viaduct, creating a particularly pretty vista, especially if you’re looking down from the castle above. That castle is now in ruins, but you can still get a sense of the mighty stronghold that once stood here. Beyond that, Mother Shipton’s Cave promises an underground adventure full of petrified keepsakes (reopens March 2022). And if all that isn’t enough, you still have the bunting-strewn to explore – don’t miss their weekly market, held every Wednesday.
One of the most underrated cities in Yorkshire, Bradford offers a marvellous day out. It was the world’s first UNESCO City of Film, a title that reflects its long cinematic history, so it’ll come as no surprise that there are loads of film locations here, just waiting to be discovered. The National Science and Media Museum resides in Bradford too – not only does it have the UK’s first IMAX, but it’s also home to eight floors of interactive exhibitions that explore the transformative impact of image and sound technology. Cartwright Hall is very much worth a visit.
Leeds is, without a doubt, one of the best days out Yorkshire. We have museums galore, with galleries too – and the shopping is excellent, just check out our historic arcades. From entertaining toddlers to big family days out, packed with adventure, you can entertain all ages here. And there’s certainly no shortage of restaurants to sate your hunger or bars to quench your thirst. Plus, if you head into the suburbs, you’ll find gems like Kirkstall Abbey, Temple Newsam and Harewood House. So the only question is – what are you waiting for?