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The Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire

The largest county in the United Kingdom, Yorkshire encompasses nearly 3 million acres from the North Sea coast to the Yorkshire Dales, and from the Pennines to the River Humber and beyond. Consistently rated as one of the most diverse and beautiful destinations in Europe, its fascinating history, stunning coastline, wild moors and bustling towns promise a wealth of discovery.

Whether you are hoping for adventure, relaxation or a bit of both, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for in Yorkshire. Boasting three National Parks (more than anywhere else in England), 2,600 ancient monuments, the UK’s first seaside resort and Europe’s largest shopping complex, there really is something for everyone. From Dracula to Yorkshire Puddings, enjoy your own voyage of discovery and fall head over for heels for this superb county. Ee, it’s reet gradely.

To get you started, here are some of our (by no means exhaustive) suggestions of the best places to visit in Yorkshire:    

York Minster

The largest Gothic cathedral in the UK, York Minster is one of the finest examples of its kind in the world. Built over nearly 250 years, it contains 128 Medieval stained-glass windows and features intricately carved vaulted ceilings. A place of worship since the 7th century, it today encourages visitors to pause for reflection, enjoy guided tours, climb the 275 steps to the top of the Central Tower to admire the sensational views and even explore the cathedral’s underground chambers.

White Scar Cave 

White Scar Cave boasts the title of the longest show cave in the UK. Giving you the chance to enjoy the flipside of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, an 80-minute guided tour will lead you 1 mile through the winding cave system. Just some of the cool feature you can expect to see include a thundering waterfall, the Witch’s Fingers, the Judge’s Head, the Devil’s Tongue, and the slightly-less-ominously-named but nonetheless-intriguing Carrots (vegetable-esque, orange stalactites).

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

The UNESCO World Heritage Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden combine the largest monastic ruins in the country with world-class Georgian water gardens. One of the best places to visit in Yorkshire full of contrasts and surprises, the remains of the abbey are connected to the gardens via a footpath. In the water gardens, the breath-taking vision of John Aislabie presents itself in the form of stunning ornamental lakes, mirror-topped ponds, waterside paths and romantic statues and follies – all surrounded by ancient trees.

The Shambles

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, the Shambles may set your imagination a-whirring. Widely recognised to be the inspiration behind the film version of Diagonal Alley, this quirky Medieval street has become a mecca for fans of the magical series. Paved with time-polished cobbles and overhung with wonky, timber-framed buildings with protruding eves, it certainly exudes its own kind of fairy-tale charm. Head here for cheerful cafés, independent boutiques and Potter-inspired shops.

Mother Shipton’s Cave 

Mothers Shipton’s Cave and its nearby Petrifying Well (the oldest tourist attraction in England) are must-visits in Yorkshire. Set within historic woodland along the leafy banks of the River Nidd near Knaresborough, it draws visitors with its enchanting tales of the prophetess, Mother Shipton, and the site’s mysterious waters which turn objects to stone. Born in 1488, Mother Shipton is believed to have correctly predicted the fates of several rulers, the invention of iron ships, the Great Fire of London, and even the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Whitby Abbey

Another must-visit for literary-buffs, Whitby Abbey is perhaps most famous for being the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A 7th-century Christian monastery that was later rebuilt in the Gothic style, the abbey’s crumbling remains still exude a huge amount of drama. With its brooding location atop a windswept headland, a church home to colonies of bats, and a long-standing connection with the mourning stone jet, it’s little wonder why this Abbey inspired one of the greatest Gothic horror novels of all time.

Flamborough Head 

Flamborough Head is a striking white headland with sheer, chalk cliffs between the bays of Filey and Bridlington. The place to go for incredible coastal views, rejuvenating walks in the salty air and wildlife spotting opportunities, it is a real paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. A Special Area of Conservation, it is particularly good for birdwatching, home to colonies of seabirds including both resident and migratory species. 

Malham Cove

The ginormous natural amphitheatre that is Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales has been attracting curious visitors for centuries. Formed of limestone rock, the curving face of its vertical cliff stands at 260ft high, while the top of the cliff is covered with a large area of intriguing limestone pavement. An unusual geological feature rarely seen in England, this ‘pavement’ is made up of blocks of limestone divided by grikes (or fissures), making for a uniquely captivating setting.  

Castle Howard 

Built over the course of 100 years from 1699, Castle Howard rose to prominence (albeit slowly) to become one of the great palaces of Europe. Set within 1,000 acres of painstakingly maintained formal gardens and parkland estate in the Howardian Hills AONB, it has welcomed visitors for over 300 years and remains one of the most beautiful attractions in Yorkshire. View the house’s exhibitions and archives with a tour and venture into the grounds, following manicured paths past lakes, fountains, temples and woodland. 

 Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Yorkshire here.

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