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 in 2021!
1. Beningbrough Hall
This country house near York is surrounded by parkland that’s filled with woodland and riverside walks. 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.
- 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 nearby: The Saddler’s Shop | Sleeps: 4 guests
2. 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.
- 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
3. Treasurer’s House, York
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.
- 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: Chez Mannion | Sleeps: 4 guests
4. 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.
- 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
5. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park
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.
- 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
6. Rievaulx Terrace
Located next to English Heritage site Rievaulx Abbey is 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.
- 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: One Ryegate | Sleeps: 6 guests plus 1 dog
7. 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.
- 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
8. Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens
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.
- 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
9. 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.
- 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
10. 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.
- 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
Plan your getaway to Yorkshire
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.