The best National Trust sites to visit in Yorkshire holiday cottages

The best National Trust sites to visit in Yorkshire

Julie Smith 28 February 2023

Yorkshire is a county that’s blessed with wonderful countryside, a rich heritage, and some stunning stately homes and historic houses. Many of these places are cared for by the National Trust, making them accessible to everyone and ensuring they are preserved and looked after so that generations to come can enjoy these special places. 

There’s lots for families to enjoy in the great outdoors too - get the National Trust’s list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ and see how many you can tick off with your children when you visit one of these Yorkshire National Trust sires!  For even more inspiration of things to do in your next Yorkshire getaway, read our guide to the best stately homes in Yorkshire.

Beningbrough Hall

Beningbrough Hall

This country house near York is a Yorkshire National Trust site that's surrounded by parkland with lots of woodland and riverside walks to try. Beningbrough Hall dates back over 300 years and you can explore grand Georgian rooms and browse an extensive art collection at the site’s Saloon Galleries.

Highlights of Beningbrough Hall

  • The parkland around Beningbrough Hall is dog-friendly making this National Trust site an ideal place to head to with four-legged friends. 
  • Italian-inspired formal gardens include colourful herbaceous borders and a working walled kitchen garden that supplies much of the produce used at Beningbrough Hall’s on-site restaurant.  
  • There are plenty of family adventures to be had in the extensive grounds with special half-term trails that celebrate the different seasons at Beningbrough and a wilderness play area.

Address: Beningbrough, York, North Yorkshire, YO30 1DD

Stay nearbyBarn House | Sleeps: 10 guests

Nunnington Hall

Nunnington Hall

Nunnington Hall is an atmospheric manor house with a rich 500-year-old history and a pretty location on the banks of the peaceful River Rye. Hear tales from the past while exploring the stately home’s period rooms then take a wander around a wonderful walled garden.at this lovely Yorkshire National Trust house. 

Highlights of Nunnington Hall

  • Head up to the attic at Nunnington Hall and you’ll discover one of the finest collections of miniature rooms in the world.
  • The gorgeous gardens at Nunnington Hall include flowering meadows that slope down towards the river and some resident peacocks that add extra colour to the grounds.
  • Nunnington Hall hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year which showcase art and photography collections from both nationally acclaimed and local artists.

Address: Nunnington, near York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5UY

Stay nearby: The Stables - Slingsby | Sleeps: 4 guests + 2 dogs

Treasurer’s House, York

Treasurer’s House

This National Trust site is right in the heart of historic York, tucked behind the city’s famous York Minster. Treasurer’s House was bought in the early 20th century by a wealthy industrialist who turned the property into an extravagant showhome fit for a king. The grandeur of the property was designed to impress Edward VII during a visit to York.

Highlights of Treasurer's House

  • Treasurer’s House and its collection of fine antique arts was the first property ever given to the National Trust. Owner Frank Green donated the property so that it could be preserved for generations to come.
  • The 13 grandly decorated period rooms of Treasurer’s House tell the story of Frank Green and include his antique collection of furniture, ceramics, textiles and paintings along with the bed where Edward VII once slept.  
  • The lovely gardens at Treasurer’s House are an oasis of calm in the city where visitors can relax and enjoy the best view of York Minster around.

Address: Minster Yard, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 7JL

Stay nearby: Orchard Villa | Sleeps: 6 guests

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks

One for lovers of the great outdoors, Brimham Rocks is a collection of dramatic natural rock formations located in the rugged Nidderdale moorland near Harrogate. The prehistoric rocks date back over 320 million years and were formed by ice, wind, rain, and the movement of the earth into a collection of shapes that you walk around, climb up and clamber over during a visit.

Highlights of Brimham Rocks

  • You can park up in the National Trust car park and explore this dog-friendly site at your leisure - rocks to look out for include the Dancing Bear, the Gorilla, the Eagle, the Turtle, the Smartie Tube and the Rocking Stones.
  • There are 70 bird boxes around the Brimham Rocks site attracting species that include blue and great tits, pied flycatchers, redstarts and nuthatches.
  • On a clear day, you can enjoy far-reaching countryside views over Nidderdale and there’s a picnic area and a kiosk serving refreshments so you can make the most of your trip.

Address: Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 4DW

Stay nearby: Dragonfly | Sleeps: 2 guests, 1 dog

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park

Fountains Abbey

One of the country’s most dramatic and well-preserved monastery ruins, Fountains Abbey and the Georgian water park that surrounds it is a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s nestled on the banks of the River Skell in the rolling hills of Nidderdale. Wander around elegant ponds surrounded by temples and statues, uncover hidden follies, and let children burn off some energy in the large play area which includes a den-building section.

Highlights of Fountains Abbey

  • Follow the High Ride path through the dark Serpentine Tunnel and climb up the folly here for a wonderful view of Studley Water Park.
  • Take a riverside path to the ancient deer park which is home to fallow, red, and sika deer with ancient oak trees and sweet chestnuts.
  • Enjoy a twilight experience with music and magically lit-up ruins at the annual autumn Fountains by Floodlight event.

Address: Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY  

Stay nearby: Skell Garden Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests 

Rievaulx Terrace

Rievaulx Terrace

Located next to English Heritage site Rievaulx Abbey is the National Trust's Rievaulx Terrace, a wonderful landscaped garden with temples located on the edge of the North York Moors market town of Helmsley. There are views from Rievaulx Terrace down to the abbey below with wonderful wildflower meadows that make the perfect spot for a scenic summer picnic.

Highlights of Rievaulx Abbey

  • Take a walk around the woodland surrounding Rievaulx Terrace and you’ll find some giant games including chess and Jenga.
  • Seek out the Tuscan Temple, a scaled-back version of the Castle Howard mausoleum, and the Ionic Temple which was inspired by Rome’s Temple of Fortuna Virilis.
  • You can follow a 3-mile Cleveland Way path from Rievaulx Terrace to Helmsley, the only market town that’s within the boundaries of the North York Moors National Park, and call in at one of the many pubs, cafes, of tea rooms for refreshments.

Address: Rievaulx, Helmsley, North Yorkshire, YO62 5LJ  

Stay nearby: Woodland View | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping

Distinctively shaped like a witch's hat, Roseberry Topping is known as Yorkshire’s Matterhorn and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the North York Moors. It’s up to you whether you tackle a steep climb up the 320 metres or go for a gentler ascent to the top of the hill. Roseberry Topping is surrounded by bluebell woods and heather-clad moorland close to the Cleveland Way walking route.

Highlights of Roseberry Topping

  • There’s lots of wildlife to spot in the woodland that surrounds Roseberry Topping including owls, roe deer, butterflies and a selection of birdlife.
  • The nearby village of Great Ayton was the birthplace of explorer Captain Cook and you can visit the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum and a nearby monument that was erected in his honour.
  • The King’s Head Inn is a cosy country pub at the base of Roseberry Topping where you can enjoy some refreshments after your climb up the hill.

Address: Newton-under-Roseberry, North Yorkshire, TS9 6QR

Where to stay: Roseberry View | Sleeps: 10 guests plus 3 dogs 

Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens

Mount Grace Priory

Explore the well-preserved ruins of a 14th-century Carthusian Priory and look around the Mount Grace Priory medieval manor house which includes a collection of Arts and Craft-style rooms and a reconstructed monks cell. There are also 13 acres of gardens at this Osmotherley attraction with formal room-like terraces leading onto orchards and wild meadows.  

Highlights of Mount Grace Priory

  • The Mount Grace stoats were featured in a 2005 David Attenborough documentary and live in the passages under the priory. Keep your eyes peeled for them as you explore this National Trust site.
  • Family explorer packs are available with a Sammy the stoat adventure trail around the grounds to keep little ones entertained during a visit. 
  • The Orchard Cafe serves a range of locally sourced dishes including their signature dish the ‘yoastie’, a Yorkshire pudding toastie. There’s also a picnic area with covered seating if you prefer to bring your own refreshments.

Address: Staddle Bridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3JG

Stay nearby: Isla Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

The Old Coastguard Station

The Old Coastguard Station

Located on the slipway in the pretty coastal village of Robin Hood’s Bay, The Old Coastguard Station is a National Trust-owned museum that tells the story of the North York Moors coastline through a number of displays and interactive exhibits. It’s the perfect place to call in at before trying your hand at rock pooling on the nearby beach.  

Highlights of The Old Coastguard Station

  • A rock pool tank includes the crabs, prawns, winkles and sea anemones that you can find at Robin Hood’s Bay.
  • The museum includes a selection of hands-on displays where visitors can generate tides and wave patterns and find out more about coastal erosion and plastic pollution.
  • Explore the maze of cobbled streets in Robin Hood's Bay which were once a haven for smugglers but are now filled with an assortment of cafes, shops and restaurants.

Address: The Dock, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby YO22 4SJ

Stay nearby: Lenwood | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs 

Robin Hood's Bay cottages

Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn

Located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park near Settle is Malham Tarn, a glacial lake surrounded by spectacular limestone scenery that’s managed by the National Trust. There are a selection of walking and cycling trails around the lake along with scenic picnic spots and wide, open spaces where kids can run around while you enjoy the fresh Yorkshire air.

Highlights of Malham Tarn

  • Special all-terrain Tramper scooters are available to hire so that less mobile visitors can enjoy travelling the scenic trails around Malham Tarn.
  • Things to look out for around Malham Tarn include Janet’s Foss, a waterfall that legend has it was once home to the Queen of the Fairies, and Gordale Scar, a large limestone gorge with dramatic rocks and tumbling water.
  • Malham Cove is a huge 80-metre-high curved limestone cliff which was featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and affords wonderful views over Malhamdale.

Address: Watersinks car park, Malham Tarn, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD23 4DJ

Where to stay: Boo’s Barn | Sleeps: 6 guests plus 2 dogs

Malham cottages


This Georgian stately home is home to opulent rooms that house a huge collection of treasures, all nestled in 300 acres of parkland and gardens near Wakefield. The Palladian-style mansion was built during the 1700s on the original site of the medieval Nostell Priory and includes the largest fully documented collection of Chippendale furniture in the world.

Highlights of Nostell

  • The gorgeous sprawling grounds at Nostell include woodland walks, tranquil lakes, wildflower meadows and formal pleasure grounds that include an orangery and rose gardens. 
  • The kitchen gardens include more than 100 edible crops including rare heritage pear trees and many of the fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed in the on-site courtyard cafe. 
  • There’s lots of events and family-friendly activities to try at Nostell including plays in the park, geocaching, zip wires, games of cricket and den building.  

Address: Doncaster Road, Nostell, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 1QE

Stay nearby: The Pig Barn

Wakefield cottages


One of Yorkshire’s hidden gems, Goddards was once the home of the family behind classic British confectionery such as Terry's Chocolate Orange. Although the house itself is now home to National Trust offices, five glorious acres of dog-friendly gardens are open for visitors to explore. It’s tucked away on the outskirts of York close to the racecourse and is well worth visiting on a trip to the city.

Highlights of Goddards

  • Take a look around a series of arts and crafts inspired garden rooms at Goddards with brightly coloured herbaceous borders, a fragrant garden that uses the original 1928 design and a hidden wildlife pond.
  • You can challenge family and friends to a series of garden games during a visit including tennis, clock golf and croquet.
  • The elevated terrace at Goddards is the perfect spot to look out across the gardens and you can even see the clock tower from here on the Terry’s chocolate factory.

Address: 27 Tadcaster Road, York, North Yorkshire, YO24 1GG   

Stay nearby: Model Farm Stable

York cottages

East Riddlesden Hall

This 17th-century manor house near Keighley in West Yorkshire was almost destroyed in 1934 but was thankfully saved and restored by the National Trust. Informative guides will take you on a tour of the house where you can learn more about the history of the area and see beautiful original plaster ceilings, wooden panelling and intricate carvings.

Highlights of East Riddlesden Hall:

  • There’s lots of adventures for little ones to have in the grounds and gardens of East Riddlesden Hall with a mud pie kitchen, hobbit house, slides and balancing logs.
  • You’ll find deckchairs where you can relax and unwind amongst the scented wildflowers and herbs with lots of peaceful places to set down a rug and enjoy a picnic.
  • Learn more about the agricultural heritage of the estate with a visit to The Great Barn, one of the biggest buildings of its type in the North of England then head for refreshments in the site’s historic bothy.

Address: Bradford Road, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 5EL

Stay nearby: Hebble Row Cottage

Haworth cottages

Hardcastle Crags

This West Yorkshire valley lies between the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District national parks in the South Pennines and features tumbling streams and cascading waterfalls with 400 acres of woodland that are perfect for a family adventure in the great outdoors. Right at the heart of the woodland valley is Gibson Mill which was a working cotton mill until the late 19th century. 

Highlights of Hardcastle Crags

  • There are more than 15 miles of footpaths to help visitors explore Hardcastle Crags with routes ranging from gentle family-friendly accessible strolls along the river to challenging hikes up to the top of the valley.
  • Pay a visit to Gibson Mill which is a sustainable property that’s completely off-grid with exhibitions telling the story of the area’s Industrial Revolution and a cafe selling a selection of tasty treats.
  • Hardcastle Crags is home to a wonderful array of wildlife including roe deer, dragonflies, butterflies and woodpeckers.

Address: Gibson Mill, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AW

Stay nearby: Thornton Park Escape

West Yorkshire cottages

National Trust FAQs

Adult membership for 2022 if you are 26 and over is £76.80 per year and for 18 - 25s the annual rate is £38.40. Family membership is £133.80 for a household with two adults and £83.40 for solo parents.  

Yes and there are more than 500 places to visit including gorgeous gardens and magnificent stately homes.

Yes parking is completely free to members at the vast majority of National Trust sites. It is worth double checking individual places before you travel though.  

Children are very welcome at National Trust sites and many hold special family-friendly activities during the school holidays. There are lots of outdoor adventures to be had at National Trust sites with children able to tick off items from a list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ during a visit to one of these special places. 

Dogs on leads can explore the grounds of lots of National Trust sites including many of those in Yorkshire but it’s always best to double check before you travel with them. 

Map of Yorkshire National Trust sites

Find these wonderful stately homes, historic sites and gorgeous gardens with this handy map:

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Plan your getaway to Yorkshire

Yorkshire Waterfalls

If you fancy seeking out some of these National Trust sites on your next Yorkshire getaway, Gorgeous Cottages has a hand-picked collection of luxury holiday homes where you can rest your head after days of exploring. 

Whether you are looking for romantic boltholes, family-friendly houses or somewhere dog-friendly, browse our collection of Yorkshire cottages to find your perfect base.  

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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