Yorkshire has recently won a host of awards and accolades including being named in Lonely Planet’s Top Ten places to visit in the world 2014. With the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire in July 2014 there has never been a better time to visit this fascinating and beautiful place.
So, with that in mind I am reflecting on why I love Yorkshire so much, and if I had to pick just 10 things to do and see in Yorkshire, what would they be?
Yorkshire’s Top 10 – The Gorgeous Cottages Bucket List
Top of the list for so many reasons, the medieval City of York should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Find your way around the cobbled maze of streets, discover the stunning York Minster, take a walk on the ancient city walls. There is so much to see and do in York you’ll need at least a few days to spend here. But with all of York’s fabulous shops, restaurants and bars that shouldn’t be too much of a hardship
Nidderdale is just one of the many dales which make up the world famous Yorkshire Dales. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Nidderdale is known as the civilised corner of the Dales. You can enjoy some truly magnificent Yorkshire scenery whilst still keeping one foot firmly planted on urban ground, as the beautiful Victorian Spa town of Harrogate is within easy reach. Try to take in Masham and Brimham Rocks while you’re there.
3. Robin Hood’s Bay
This magical seaside village clings precariously to a steep cliff sloping down to the North Sea. It is incredibly pretty and reminiscent of years gone by, when smugglers used to ferry their cargo along its winding streets. Stop for fish and chips before enjoying a walk along the beach.
4. Betty’s Tea-rooms
As synonymous with Yorkshire as flat caps and Yorkshire puddings. Bettys Tearooms is a classic English establishment with a Swiss twist. Created by young Swiss Confectioner Frederick Belmont in 1919 the décor and dress of the waitresses today maintain the atmosphere of this bygone era. You can find a Bettys in York, Harrogate, Ilkley and Northallerton.
5. Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal
Just outside the historic town of Ripon, this World Heritage site is deservedly one of the National Trust’s most visited locations. As well as the magnificent ruins of a 12th Century Cistercian abbey, the grounds are home to an Elizabethan Mansion, a medieval deer park and some of the most romantic vistas in the country.
6. The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill
Yorkshire has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other county outside of London in the UK. No visit to Yorkshire would be complete without trying at least one of them. I particularly love The Yorke Arms at Ramsgill, but take your pick from The Box Tree Ilkely, The Black Swan Oldstead, The Pipe and Glass Dalton or The Old Vicarage Sheffield. And bolstering the Michelin-starred restaurants are the many top class gastro-pubs across the county including the The Blue Lion at East Witton and The Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough to name just two.
7. Helmsley in the North York Moors
Helmsley is a picture-postcard Yorkshire market town set amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in the North York Moors. Handsome Georgian buildings gather around a market square, where a host of independent shops and restaurants keep the town unique and very much full of Yorkshire character.
8. Castle Howard near York
Yorkshire has many wonderful heritage homes and Castles. Castle Howard is one of these very special places. Brideshead Revisited, a much-loved TV series and now lavish film production, was filmed on location at Castle Howard just over 15 miles North of York. This quintessentially English tale of forbidden love and loss of innocence set pre WW11 has the perfect backdrop in this magnificent house and gardens.
A grand and very elegant Victorian town. Just a sleepy little hamlet until the late 1600s, Harrogate developed into a prosperous busy town thanks to its water’s reputation for healing rejuvenation. Today its arched walkways and pretty streets are packed with fabulous shops, art galleries and restaurants. The gorgeous refurbished Turkish Baths are also well worth a visit.
10. Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force
Two of the best loved waterfalls in the Dales, both found in Wensleydale. The subject of a Turner painting, Hardraw Force has the longest free drop of any waterfall in England (above ground anyway) and is particularly spectacular after heavy rainfall. It’s also the spot where Kevin Costner takes a dip in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Aysgarth’s charms lie not in height but in width, and the magical setting of ancient woodland.
I know there is so much more I could add to this list. And please forgive me if I’ve missed some of your favourites. What can you do when there is so much to choose from!
Tags: Aysgarth Falls, Bettys Tea-rooms, Brimham Rocks, Castle Howard, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Hardraw Force, Harrogate, Helmsley, Masham, Nidderdale, Ripon, Robin Hoods Bay, The Yorke Arms Ramsgill, The Yorkshire Dales, Top 10 Places to visit in Yorkshire, Top 10 things to do in Yorkshire, York, York Minster