The Yorkshire Wolds; a softer crescent of hills, secret deep valleys and astonishingly pretty villages each with a gem of a church, an inviting pub and a duck pond mantled by willow trees. Fergus Collins, Editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine
With vibrant market towns and stunning landscapes, it is easy to see whythe Yorkshire Wolds were a big inspiration for the artist David Hockney . Think peaceful country roads, perfect picnic spots and rolling hills with plenty of pubs and tea rooms to visit along the way. This means they are an ideal place for a holiday or short break.
There are now nine Gorgeous Cottages located in the Yorkshire Wolds so take a look at some of things to see and do in this wonderful region.
Market Towns and Villages
There are plenty of towns and villages to visit in the Yorkshire Wolds and many have restored Georgian buildings and narrow cobbled streets. You’ll find a wide selection of shops from bespoke boutiques to more well-known names along with lots of great pubs and eateries.
The most well-known market town in the Yorkshire Wolds is Beverley and it has lots of ancient cobbled streets and courtyards to explore. The Georgian Quarter is the hub of this thriving town as it has many historic listed buildings, shops, cafes and pubs. We think that one of the most interesting parts of Beverley is the 15th century North Bar gate which is the only surviving brick built gate in the UK. It was originally part of a series of walls built to defend the town and is definitely worth a look.
Howden is another picturesque cobbled Georgian town in the Yorkshire Wolds which is best known for its beautiful Minster. It’s set within some lovely gardens and we recommend climbing up the 135-foot Bishop Skirlaw’s Tower in order to get the best view of the area.
You’ll also find some charming tea rooms (perfect for a break after climbing the tower) plus a fantastic selection of independent shops and a market which takes place every Friday.
Driffield is a vibrant town that is home to the 500-year-old All Saints Church and also has an award winning farmer’s market on the first Saturday of each month. The 19th century Driffield Canal runs right through the town and makes this a popular place for walks and picnics. An annual show takes place in Driffield each July (this year’s show takes place on 20th July 2016) which is a good family day out. Events include show jumping, stunt motorcycles and cooking displays.
There are plenty of villages to explore in the Yorkshire Wolds so you will never be stuck for something to do. Spots to visit include Stamford Bridge, the site of a famous battle in 1066, and Millington which has a lovely tea room and is just next to the Millington Wood Nature Reserve.
Burton Agnes Hall
This 500-year-old Elizabethan mansion has been owned by the same family for 15 generations and is a great place to relax and unwind as you explore the fabulous house and gardens. Home to an annual Jazz and Blues festival each July you can also book onto ‘Behind the Scenes’ tours which take place between August and October. The impressive grounds include a Woodland Walk, stunning gardens and a range of Courtyard Shops.
Sledmere Estate is just outside of Driffield and has been owned by the Sykes family for 250 years. As well as the magnificent stately home (which has plenty to see including Chippendale furniture and beautifully ornate Joseph Rose plasterwork) you’ll also find an extensive children’s play area, vibrant walled garden, and a ‘model’ farm which teaches how farming has been done through the different ages. It’s also home to the Triton Gallery which showcases the best in local art.
The Sykes family also rebuilt or restored many village churches in the 19th century and these can be seen throughout the region including St Andrews at Kirby Grindalythe (with a Murano Glass mosaic) and St Michaels at Garton-on-the Wolds (with colourful wall paintings).
The Great Outdoors
Of course one of the main reasons for visiting this lovely part of the world is to get out and about in the great outdoors, whether you choose to slowly meander, walk briskly or travel by bicycle. Therefore we have put together some of the best routes to try:
The Yorkshire Wolds Way
An 80-mile national trail which takes you through the natural chalk landscape of this area from Hessle to Filey. The walk (or ride) passes mainly through open countryside so you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of the area.
The Minster Way is a 50-mile route travelling between the two stunning Minsters at York and Beverley while the Chalkland Way is a 40-mile circular route taking in many of the prettiest villages in the area.
We heartily recommend The Great Wold Valley Heritage Trail which is an interesting 11.5-mile route taking in nine different villages. Each have an ‘interpretation panel’ which will give you information on the area such as the underlying chalk structure and wildlife habitats.
Walking and Outdoors Festival
This annual festival takes place each September and is a great introduction to walking in the area. It’s an ideal choice for anyone wanting to learn more about the Wolds as there are lots of activities to choose from.
Eating and drinking
You won’t be stuck for somewhere to eat in the Yorkshire Wolds as there are plenty of options from small country pubs to Michelin starred restaurants.
Ths fine dining eaterie in Beverley is featured in the Michelin and Good Food guides and offers either 4 or 9 course tasting menus.
The Pipe and Glass Inn
A former coaching inn, located in the Dalton Estate near Beverley, the Pipe and Glass Inn is a welcoming pub and Michelin-starred restaurant. The pub and restaurant have an international reputation for fine food and drink after being transformed by the current owners.
Pubs and Inns
There are a great selection of pubs and inns in the Yorkshire Wolds. The Boot and Shoe is a 17th century country inn in Ellerton which has low ceilings and an open fire. It is a CAMRA pub with a selection of real ales on offer. The Gait Inn is in the pretty Wolds village of Millington and has some great views of the surrounding countryside. For a bit of history, visit The Three Cups is a historic bar in Stamford Bridge which reportedly stands on the grounds of a camp site used by soldiers in the battle and features a 23-foot ancient draw well.
Did you know that Ryedale Vineyard is the most northerly commercial vineyard in the UK? It is also a family run business which has been producing award-winning wines since 2009. Tours of the vineyard are available on various dates throughout the year where you will see how the wine is produced. The best bit however is getting sample the delicious results!
So there you are – plenty of things to see and do in the Yorkshire Wolds. Why not plan a visit to experience this beautiful part of the country for yourself? To discuss your requirements call Gorgeous Cottages on 0844 736 6276