Yorkshire is England’s largest historical county, which means there are plenty of activities and things to do in this incredible county.
From beautiful day trips to the coast to breathtaking views of greenery landscapes which include the famous Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Keep reading this guide to discover the best places to visit in Yorkshire from the locals perspective.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something, I receive a small commission of the price at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep the content up to date and make other improvements in the blog.
Best Places To Visit In Yorkshire
By Katharina Parsons from A Life Beautifully Travelled
Harrogate is a great town to visit on a day-long excursion. In fact, it was named the happiest place to live in the UK no less than three times.
Its main claim to fame is the beautiful Turkish Baths, a reminder of Harrogate’s past as a Victorian spa town. These days only part of the building remains intact, the rest of it has been converted into a Wetherspoons and a Chinese Restaurant.
The plunge pool and steam rooms of the Turkish Baths however are the perfect place to pamper yourself for an afternoon.
The famous Betty’s Café Tearoom is another popular attraction, drawing tourists from all over the country, keen to experience an impeccable afternoon tea.
Did you know Betty’s actually originated in Harrogate? The Swiss confectioner and baker Frederick Belmont opened the café after deciding to settle in the town. In fact, the factories of Yorkshire Tea and Taylors (sister companies of Betty’s) are also based in Harrogate.
Harrogate is home to a plethora of independent shops, which attracts visitors from far and wide. The Montpellier Quarter is a particularly nice part of Harrogate to go window shopping in, although most of the independent shops cater mainly to high-income clientele.
If you still have a bit of spare time, head to the Pump Museum. Do not worry about the foul smell, it is caused by the sulfur in the renowned healing waters. It is actually the most sulphuric well in Europe.
These days the Pump Rooms house a couple of permanent exhibitions, including one about Egypt.
Next take a stroll in the gorgeous Valley Gardens, where Harrogate’s spring waters were originally discovered. Its Japanese garden is particularly well designed but the Australian garden is also worth a visit.
Alternatively, you could spend a good few hours at RHS Harlow Carr, a 58-acre park and woodland, and learn how to plant up your own garden.
By Hannah Dawn from All About The Après
I grew up in Leeds and one of my favourite places to visit at the weekend with my family was the village of Haworth.
Located in the South Pennines, this picturesque town is characterised by its old worldly sandstone buildings surrounded by the windswept moors of West Yorkshire.
Haworth is famous for being the hometown of the Bronte sisters so it’s a terrific place to visit in Yorkshire if you’re a fan of any of their literature.
The Bronte Parsonage Museum is situated within the house where the girls lived and penned their novels and poetry and are beautifully curated even if you haven’t read their work.
Haworth is tiny and the main street is on a fairly steep hill. I always love wandering the full length of Haworth Main Street, stopping at the gift shops, bookshops, apothecaries and (many!) tea rooms.
My recommendation is that you pack your walking boots when heading to Haworth and factor in some time to explore the local moors.
There are a number of short walking trails including the scenic hike to the Bronte Waterfall which is around one hour each way.
You can extend your hike and visit the abandoned farmhouse, Top Withens, which is believed to have inspired Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
If you’re heading to Haworth for the first time, I recommend splashing out on the Keighley Worth Valley Railway.
This is a historic steam train that makes your journey through the moors a bit more special. Haworth is a lovely place to visit whatever the season.
During spring and summer, you can appreciate Haworth Central Park and in winter you might see a dusting of snow on the moors.
Autumn is a fun time to visit especially if you coincide your stay with Halloween. Haworth has a reputation for being haunted and the village really throws itself into getting into the Halloween spirit!
There are lots of cute inns and cottages dotted in Haworth. The last time I visited we stayed at The Old White Lion Hotel on Main Street which was sweet and homely.
By Cristina from My Little World of Travelling
If you fancy a city break, you won’t regret visiting Leeds. The city has many things to offer – from shopping centres and arcades that have your favourite high street brands to peaceful walks and parks.
Leeds has museums and historic buildings you cannot miss during your visit.
Start with Leeds City Museum, where you’ll learn all about Leeds and its people, continue with Leeds Art Gallery without missing the opportunity to get a book from the library and sitting in the beautiful café, and if you love learning about arms, finish off with The Royal Armouries Museum.
If visiting The Royal Armouries, go for a relaxing walk to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal or take the taxi boat for a different experience.
Shopping in Leeds is big, and you’ll always find what you’re looking for. It’s also the perfect place for anyone who loves buying from local independent shops. The best places to go shopping are Leeds Trinity Victoria Leeds, including its arcade: Victoria Quarter, and the Corn Exchange.
To finish off your day trip to Leeds, go to one of the many restaurants, pubs and independent cafes in the city centre. Whether you love a good Sunday roast, Thai food or avocado on toast, you’ll find a place for you.
If you spend more than a day in Leeds, you may want to consider going to Roundhay Park, one of the biggest city parks in Europe, that has beautiful lakes and gardens. You can easily access Roundhay park by car or buses number 12 and 13 from the city centre.
📌 Related blog post: 18 Leeds Attractions and Hidden Gems You Must See
If you’re looking for accommodation in Leeds, check out this detailed hotel guide to find your perfect place.
By Zoe from Zoegoesplaces
On the southwestern side of the Yorkshire Dales, lies the small village of Malham. And, what the village lacks in size, it makes up for in natural attractions.
This quiet, countryside village is home to 3 of the most popular and scenic spots in the Yorkshire Dales: Malham Cove, Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar. All of which are located within walking distance from the village centre, making this a great place to visit!
Malham Cove is the crème de la crème of Malham – an 80-metre high, 300-metre wide, sheer cliff face of limestone rock.
From the top, you experience incredible views of Malham Village and the southern Yorkshire Dales. Not only that, but the limestone on the top of the cliff has been eroded over thousands of years to form a stepping stone-like formation with deep crevices.
This unique sight keeps you on your toes as you zig-zag and hop to where you want to go!
Janet’s Foss is a waterfall tucked away in a wooded area to the east of Malham. While the cover of trees does add a tropical jungle feel, it does also bring the bugs out – so keep covered!
The waterfall is popular year-round but particularly so in the summer months as the plunge pool becomes an attractive place for paddling to cool down.
Finally, Gordale Scar is a pair of waterfalls located inside a narrow, 100-metre-high gorge.
Additionally, the walk from Janet’s Foss to Gordale Scar is incredibly scenic as you walk through the valley as it gets narrower and narrower towards the waterfall.
The first waterfall is clearly visible inside the gorge, but to reach the second you’ll need to do some rock climbing! Technically, the path continues up the rocks to the side of the first waterfall – I’d recommend only undertaking it if you’re prepared and experienced.
After a tiring day visiting these amazing sights, you can treat yourself to a pub dinner (or overnight stay) at The Buck Inn. A cosy pub in the heart of the village is well-known for serving meals to weary walkers!
By Sarah Carter from ASocialNomad
The best place to start when you visit Richmond, North Yorkshire is the Georgian Marketplace.
This vast cobbled area is the largest of its time in Europe and is best visited on Fridays for the weekly markets. There are monthly artisan farmers’ markets on Sundays and there’s also a covered market that you’ll find easily just off the marketplace.
Right in the centre of the marketplace is The Green Howards Museum – this is a great visit for historians – detailing the links between the Army’s Yorkshire Regiment and the town.
Once you’ve got your bearings by wandering around the market place it’s just a stone’s throw to Richmond’s Norman era castle. You can’t miss the keep from just about anywhere around.
The castle is managed by English Heritage – so members get in for free – and there’s a stunning amount of history contained within the walls. It’s also just a short walk along the river banks to Easby Abbey, where not much remains but the riverside location and views are worth the easy walk.
For opulent luxury book a room at The Castle House – right in the centre, it has glorious full English breakfasts and amazing four-poster beds.
Richmond also has some rather smart apartments and houses to rent right in the centre of town and that’s where you’ll want to be to spend an evening at the Georgian Theatre Royal.
This theatre opened in 1788 and is one of the oldest working theatres in the country. If there are events on while you visit, it’s a truly special thing to experience. Perhaps the best reason for locating yourself in Richmond are some of the surrounding areas.
The town is a superb location for visiting Swaledale and Wensleydale, both are amazing for walking and the views on drives around are spectacular too.
By Emma from Forever Lost in Travel
Ripon might be the smallest city in Yorkshire, but the beautiful market city still has lots to see and do.
Less than an hour away from popular Yorkshire destinations like Bradford, Leeds and York, Ripon is often overlooked. But it makes a great alternative to the bigger cities and the perfect base to explore more of Yorkshire.
Ripon is also situated between two of England’s beautiful national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, and is only a short drive to either.
One of the biggest attractions in the city is the impressive Ripon Cathedral, dating back to the 12th Century, although there has been a church on this site for almost 1400 years.
The incredibly detailed wooden carvings on the choir stalls are said to have inspired the characters of Alice In Wonderland. The author, Lewis Carroll, frequently visited the cathedral as his father was a clergyman there.
Plan your visit around the weekly outdoor market, held each Thursday in Ripon Market Square. The perfect place to buy local produce, crafts, flowers and more.
The market square is also where you can catch a traditional ceremony dating back to the year 886 every night at 9 pm when a horn is blown at each of the four corners of the square.
Learn a little more about law and order at Ripon’s three museums: the Workhouse Museum, the Courthouse Museum and the Prison and Police Museum.
The latter will be popular with any Doctor Who fans who can take a picture in an old blue police telephone box and pretend they’re in the Tardis.
The museums are not open every day out of the summer season so check opening times ahead of your visit.
One stop you shouldn’t miss in Ripon is The Yorkshire Tea Room. This quaint little café serves some proper Yorkshire tea in beautifully dainty teacups alongside classic British lunches such as sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
But it’s the cakes that are out of this world. Try one of their handmade daily creations such as their rhubarb and ginger sponge cake with rhubarb jam.
By Hannah from Get Lost
Saltaire is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Yorkshire. World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage. Once you visit, it is easy to see why Saltaire made the list.
Despite being a tiny village, Saltaire played a big role in the development of the working and living conditions of British mill workers in the 19th century. This model village was designed by Sir Titus Salt in 1851 to provide better living conditions for his workers in the Yorkshire woollen industry.
There is no better place to start your visit to Saltaire than at Salts Mill. This huge factory shows how grand the scale of the woollen industry once was in West Yorkshire. They also have a large car park so double the reason to start here!
Today, Salts Mill is a unique celebration of the past heavy industry, and Saltaire’s more recent passion, arts.
Salts Mill is home to independent shops selling antiques, home goods and art supplies. But it also features a gallery floor with examples of the equipment that was once used at the mill. They also have a restaurant, café and a gallery housing the works of Yorkshire artist, David Hockney.
If you’re fortunate enough to visit Saltaire on a sunny day, make sure you venture into Robert’s Park.
This focus on the importance of green space is what differentiated Salt’s community, over the inner-city factories of nearby Bradford. Today, you can take a stroll through the park and enjoy the scenic location alongside the River Aire.
One thing that will strike you when you visit Saltaire, is the unique architecture throughout the village.
The grand Victorian architecture of Victoria Hall and The Salt Building was created as part of Salt’s plans for a thriving worker community. And the iconic circular design of Saltaire United Reformed Church was paid for by Salt himself as a gift to his workers.
If you want to experience something really special, make sure you time your visit to Saltaire to coincide with the Saltaire Arts Trail.
This annual arts festival takes place each May (pandemic notwithstanding!) It gives you a unique opportunity to explore the Open Houses, where Saltaire residents open their homes as temporary art galleries to share their arts and crafts for you to browse or purchase.
📌 Related blog post: 8 Things To Do In Saltaire
By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Whitby is a picturesque seaside town in Yorkshire that has a host of attractions to keep you occupied. There is something for everyone, which is what makes Whitby special, and a compelling place to visit in Yorkshire.
There are plenty of things to do in Whitby – the iconic Whitby Abbey, stunning beach and coastal walks, and not to forget its close connection with everything Goth and Dracula.
Whitby Abbey and its ruins are some of the most photographed landmarks in Yorkshire. A visit to Whitby is incomplete without seeing the Whitby Abbey. Established as a monastery in the 7th century and then turned into a benedictine Abbey, Whitby Abbey was destroyed in 1540 by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Shortly after this, the ruins were bought by Sir Richard Cholmely whose family retained its possession until 1920, when it was returned to the UK government. Currently, Whitby Abbey is owned and managed by English Heritage.
Whitby’s close association with goths and spooky images came from Bram Stocker’s gothic novel Dracula. Whitby Abbey was one of the inspirations for the author in writing his famous novel. You can find a lot of Whitby references throughout the book, the most popular being a dog that runs up 199 steps to the graveyard of St.Mary’s Church (located near Whitby Abbey), before becoming Count Dracula.
Today those 199 steps are very much still in use and you can climb the steps to explore the graveyard and enjoy the stunning views it offers.
Yet another most popular reason people come to Whitby is to experience Whitby Goth Weekend (WGW), a goth-based music event that happens twice a year during April and October respectively. But if you cannot plan your visit around WGW, be sure to visit Dracula Experience, a spine chilling tour with live actors and electronic special effects.
There are also plenty of museums, boat tours and coastal walks all of which together make Whitby a truly stunning destination to visit any time of the year.
By Rachel from Average Lives
York is one of the most picturesque cities in the UK and is the capital of Yorkshire.
Walking through York is like stepping back in history. It was founded by the Romans and then conquered by the Vikings. Today history attracts over 7 million visitors annually.
It is a small city and is easy to navigate on foot through its cobbled and narrow streets. In the centre is the gothic and grand York Minster, built in the 7th century.
Here you can climb the 275 steps to see the city from above. Another exciting thing to do in York is to walk the 13th-century York City Walls. It is a 2-mile walk with the city centre and the Minister as a backdrop.
York is also home to one of the most incredible streets in the world – The Shambles. The buildings were built 14th-century and were once butcher shops. Today they house shops, including a Harry Potter shop because the street looks similar to Diagon Alley!
The fun does not stop there. Go on a boat ride on the River Ouse, learn about the Viking past at the Jorvik Viking Centre. Eat Chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story and climb Clifford’s Tower for views over the magnificent city.
A special place to visit in York is Betty’s Café Tea Rooms. They have been serving afternoon tea since the 1920s, and if you’re after a truly British afternoon tea experience, then this is the place to try it.
Ensure you book in advance or try one of their delicious cakes and pastries in the café instead. Undeniably, you will be blown away by this medieval and beautiful city in Yorkshire.
If you have any questions or you want advice about travelling in Yorkshire, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram.
P.S. Liked this post? Save it for later!