While London usually grabs most of the attention from tourists who are looking to visit England, the country’s north offers a more relaxing escape with charming villages and plenty of room to spread out.
Offering up three national parks including the much beloved Yorkshire Dales National Park, along with coastal walks and plenty of picturesque countryside, a holiday in Yorkshire may be the perfect choice for those travellers looking to escape the crowds.
So large is the Yorkshire region that it had to be divided up into several administration areas including North, South, East, and West Yorkshire. Come fall in love with Yorkshire’s medieval cities and stone cottages, as well as its castles, numerous gardens, and eccentricities like Brimham Rocks and the giant white horse of Kilburn.
Yorkshire’s most recent tourism campaign sums it up perfectly; a visit to Yorkshire allows you to “Escape the Everyday”. But with an area so large, where does one start when seeking out a perfect holiday destination within Yorkshire?
Because “perfect” is subjective, come on a journey with me from the interior to the coast as I introduce you to some of the best areas in Yorkshire so you’ll better be able to choose which ones might suit you best.
Where to Find the Perfect Holiday Destination in Yorkshire
Leeds is the largest city in Yorkshire and offers a bit of a London feel thanks to its many skyscrapers. It’s the perfect choice for those who want a city escape on a much smaller scale than London.
The city is home to one of the largest student populations in the UK, therefore it should come as no surprise that it offers an abundance of nightlife in the form of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
Roundhay Park, one of the largest city parks in Europe, allows you to escape the concrete jungle, while you can dive into history by touring the grand Harewood House Estate or checking out the 12th century Cistercian monastery known as Kirkstall Abbey whose end was brought about by Henry VIII.
For those looking to try their luck, Leeds offers up a number of casinos. There’s also the rather new Opera House Casino about an hour and half drive to the coast in Scarborough which was the first privately funded casino in the UK since the gambling laws were recently amended.
Of course you can just settle into the comfort of your accommodation and wager online at www.luckynuggetcasino.com/ca/ when the weather is poor (it is the UK after all!) or lockdowns force the physical casinos to close.
You’ll find Marriott and Hilton hotels in Leeds, however I recommend the recently refurbished Quebecs Luxury Apartments which are housed in an old historic post office, or make a short drive to the village of Linton just outside Wetherby where you can stay at the Wood Hall Hotel in Spa which dates back to the mid 18th century and sits on 100 acres of woodland.
A city founded by the Romans and later raided and captured by Vikings, York offers up endless treasures for history lovers. York is known for its stretches of walls that surround the city, offering up some of the longest remaining walls in England.
Top attractions include the giant York Minster church, and York Castle which was built during the reign of William the Conqueror.
You can even feel what it was like to live during the time the Vikings lived here with a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre which not only displays countless artefacts but also brings you the sights, sounds, and even smells of the period.
York also boasts a large number of pubs, including one of the UK’s oldest pubs, where you can chat with locals about all the intriguing history of the city.
When it comes to choosing accommodation, why not stay in York’s oldest inhabited home. Named Grays Court Hotel, this historic home is also the only privately owned building in York that offers direct access to the famous city walls. For something completely different, check out Acorn Glade Glamping.
Once an industrial powerhouse of England for its steel production, Sheffield has now become a destination of choice for outdoor enthusiasts and simply those who love green spaces.
A majority of Sheffield is actually green space, with a large percentage of the city found within the gorgeous Peak District national park.
Sheffield is also a bit of an artsy town, offering up galleries and theatres. It is said to make up one of the largest theatre complexes outside of London’s West End. The Millennium Gallery, known for its metalwork, is free to enter and one of the most visited attractions.
When the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still spend time in nature by checking out the famous Winter Garden which houses tropical plants all year long.
Be sure to pay the stunning Sheffield City Hall a visit and maybe stay in one of Sheffield’s fun houseboat rentals which stay permanently anchored to the river shoreline and offer up onboard bathrooms and kitchens.
Boasting England’s largest cobbled market square and its best preserved Norman castle (Richmond Castle), Richmond is a lovely market town just steps from Yorkshire Dales National Park.
You can tour one of Britain’s oldest working theatres, the Georgian Theatre Royal, and walk the banks of the River Swale. Escape to even more nature by heading to the Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve which is accessed through the Catterick Garrison, guarded by The Royal Lancers.
I recommend both the Fleece Hotel and The Kings Head Hotel in terms of unique accommodation choices.
You’d be surprised just how much a small seaside resort town can offer. Not only can you feast on iconic English fresh fish and chips, there are also castles, donkeys, a seaside orchestra, and even dinosaurs.
The Victorian town’s South Bay Beach is where most of the action is and where kids can hop on a donkey. The Rotunda Museum contains a nice collection of dinosaur fossils, while the Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary offers up more lively creatures in the form of seals, crabs, fish, and sharks.
Be sure to visit the 12th-century Scarborough Castle as well as the Scarborough Spa where you’ll be enchanted by the seaside orchestra that tries to compete with the sounds of the waves. Notable accommodation options include Grand Hotel Scarborough and Mariners’ House Scarborough.
There’s no denying that Haworth’s claim to fame is being the home of the Brontë sisters, literary greats which brought us classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
All three sisters including Charlotte, Emily, and Anne wrote their famous works while staying in the Georgian Haworth Parsonage which has now become the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Brontë fans will not only want to visit the museum, but also check out the moorland that gave them inspiration for their works by walking sections of the 43-mile waymarked trail. Those looking to feel what it was really like to live back in the time of the Brontë women should stay at Ashmount House.
Of course Haworth isn’t all about the Brontë sisters. You can also step aboard a steam train for a ride on the 5-mile heritage Keighley and Worth Valley railway. You can also experience the world of falconry, meeting dozens of raptor species and possibly heading out into the moorland to fly birds yourself with the guidance of a handler.
These are just some of the incredible locations that await travellers in Yorkshire. I haven’t even mentioned Goathland which you may recognize from Harry Potter films, the seaside village of Staithes where Captain Cook moved to as a teenager and fell in love with the sea before navigating the world, and Hebden Bridge which is said to be the Lesbian Capital of Britain and one of its most LGBTQ+ friendly towns.
I highly recommend the Yorkshire area whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic break or a family looking for safe family-friendly fun everyone will enjoy.
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