A stay in Yorkshire throws up all sorts of possibilities for things to see and do. After all, it’s the largest historic county in England. So, to make this your best Yorkshire holiday yet, we’ve rounded up the top 10 things to do while you’re here. From a day out in York to a relaxing Harrogate spa, you’re going to be bowled over by this glorious region (and hopefully our list of best things to do in Yorkshire.)
Treat yourself to afternoon tea in Betty’s
This is one of the best things to do in Yorkshire if you just want to cosy up in a sweet little tearoom; enjoy a slice of cake or a delicious Fat Rascal in Betty’s Café Tea Rooms, an institution in North Yorkshire. This luxury chain, comprising six elegant cafés, was founded by a Swiss baker in 1919 and 100 years on, it carries on a historical feel with traditional cakes, crisp white tablecloths and waiting staff dressed in traditional uniforms.
Visit the idyllic town of Ilkley
You might have heard of the renowned folk song On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. But have you been to the place where it all began? Ilkley is a former spa town in West Yorkshire that plays home to vintage shops, cosy pubs and a popular summer festival. Don’t leave without hiking Ilkley Moor and hunting down the renowned Cow and Calf Rocks. You can go climbing here and the panoramic views are spectacular.
Be amazed by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park
If you prefer your art galleries al fresco, get yourself over to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield. With around 80 outdoor sculptures and a series of temporary exhibitions, this impressive open-air gallery features celebrated artists such as Antony Gormley, Elisabeth Frink and Damien Hirst. It’s one of the most unique days out in Yorkshire you’ll find.
Cheer on the Tour of Britain
Every year, you can watch thousands of cyclists whizz through the towns and villages of Yorkshire as they compete in the prestigious Tour of Britain. This road cycling race started life as the ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ but expanded countrywide for 2023. It features some of the top UCI World Tour Pros, takes in 150 towns and villages and is a great way to enjoy the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Expect plenty of entertainment, family-friendly activities and a fantastic atmosphere.
See the world’s greatest trains at York Railway Museum
Visitors of all ages flock to see the amazing collection of locomotives at the York Railway Museum, but little ones, in particular, will be filled with excitement when they see a real-life Thomas the Tank Engine before them. Entry is free and you can step inside dozens of iconic trains, from the world’s fastest steam train to the only bullet train located outside of Japan. On certain days families can enjoy various workshops, science and storytelling events.
Enjoy a relaxing spa day in Harrogate
In need of some top-to-toe relaxation? Book yourself into a restorative spa day in Harrogate and it will be one of your best days out in Yorkshire yet. This charming town first became a sought-after spa resort over 200 years ago, thanks to its sought-after mineral springs. Today, it still delivers some of the UK’s finest spa experiences. The Harrogate Turkish Baths – which feature traditional Moorish interiors, a frigidarium and rooms of various healing temperatures – is still the best place to get your R&R.
Search for Dracula in Whitby
Book you and your friends onto an eerie tour of Whitby, the idyllic Yorkshire seaside town that’s steeped in myths and legends. Whitby was, of course, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s tale of Count Dracula. And today, Dr Crank of Whitby Walks, uncovers strange and spine-tingling tales of the town whilst filling you in on interesting facts behind this chilling tale. If spirits and ghouls are more up your street, book onto their ghost walks.
Eat Michelin-starred cuisine at The Black Swan
The Black Swan restaurant in the quaint North Yorkshire village of Oldstead has been gaining column inches ever since it picked up a Michelin Star in 2012. It’s now considered one of the top 100 restaurants in the UK, and therefore we couldn’t not include it in our list of best things to do in Yorkshire! Focusing on a creative farm-to-fork menu, it serves high-end tasting menus of local foraged produce. Check out its sister restaurant, Roots, too.
Eat fish and chips in Staithes
You can’t visit the North Yorkshire coast without seeing the seaside towns of Scarborough and Whitby, both home to some of the best beaches in Yorkshire. Consider a stop in Staithes, a pretty fishing village where you can enjoy mouth-watering fish and chips and lovely sea views at The Cod & Lobster.
Soak up some York history
Exploring the city of York is one of the best things to do in Yorkshire, thanks to its fascinating Roman and Viking heritage and fantastic historical feel. Whether you’re a history buff or not, you’ll be bowled over by its famous York Minster, charming cobbled streets (check out The Shambles) and of course, the famed city walls. Kids will love the Jorvik Viking Centre.
Stay in style
Take a look at the Denby Dale Walkers site for all the best walking trails in the area. They even recommend places to stay in Yorkshire, including our very own Emley Woodhouse, a striking Grade II listed Georgian manor that is the ideal home-from-home during your Yorkshire adventure. The home sleeps up to 17 people in comfort and style and is set in the heart of the windswept West Yorkshire moorlands that inspired the Brontë sisters’ great literary contribution.
Fancy heading up north for a holiday or a long weekend ticking these activities off your to-do list? Have a look at our gorgeous houses and cottages in Yorkshire, or get in touch with our concierge team if you need help deciding which holiday home to go for!