Yorkshire has got to be one of the gorgeous areas in England to visit! This is especially true if you’re planning a trip to explore the best places in Northern England. You see, it’s got everything from’ rolling dales, stunning castles, dramatic waterfalls and picturesque coastal towns. In fact, there are so many incredible and best places in Yorkshire to visit that you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Perched east and north of Manchester, to the south-east of the Lake District and following much of the east coast between Newcastle and Hull, you’ll find a huge mix of places to explore that makes it a perfect region for a road trip.
So, to help you along your way, I wanted to share a few of our favourite and best places in Yorkshire you should visit during your trip.
Have the best time exploring.
You see, it’s the kind of city that’s small enough to explore by foot but large enough for a long-weekend trip without even a smidge of getting bored.
From exploring the gorgeous streets (especially the Shambles), heading to the top of York Minster to having an afternoon tea in a historic Orient Express carriage, you’ll find a heap of lovely places to experience.
If you fancy taking to the river, hop onboard one of the red boats that you can rent out (like we did) and explore the city from the waterway. It was a lovely way to chill after strolling the city walls and the castle, too.
Oh, and be sure to stop in the spot where Guy Fawkes used to live! It’s the Guy Fawkes Inn and you can grab a pint within his old home.
So, Whitby is a classic fishing town and one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit that’s steeped in history.
You see, here, you’ll find the ruins of Whitby Abbey that are said to be the inspiration for Dracula! It’s so dramatic and totally gorgeous to visit, especially as it overlooks Whitby Itself.
Once here, take some time to explore the historic harbour area, stop at some of the little seaside shops and gorge at some of the tastiest foodie spots. For instance, for a classic fish and chips, pop over to The Magpie Cafe where they serve the crispiest fresh cod and chips that are made to order. They are so good!
Also, if you fancy a sit-down treat, hop on over to Estbek House in Sandsend (still in Whitby) where they serve up some of the best food this side of Yorkshire.
Plus, they make their own gelato, too. Yum!
3.) Castle Howard
Just shy of York (well, around a 30-minute drive), Castle Howard is one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit if you’re a sucker for castles.
You see, it’s huge and one massive stately home and estate that can’t be missed when you’re in the North Yorks Moor National Park.
Dating back centuries, the rooms are so grand and the self-guided tour is amazing. We visited around Christmas time and totally loved the decorations and the Christmas Market they manage on the estate.
To make things much easier, book an epic tour with Andrew at Expedition Yorkshire. He has so much passion for the area and knows all the incredible spots to see and do during your trip to Castle Howard.
Plus, you can also book wider tours to the gorgeous coastline and spots like Whitby, too.
Yorkshire really is beautiful.
The market town of Malton might be small but packs a mighty punch when it comes to yummy grub. You see, it’s often referred to as Yorkshire’s capital of food… and it’s the truth.
Although relatively small, the town has loads of local shops, independent foodie joints and a yummy food market that happens in the main square.
Best visited on the weekend, you’ll be in for a morning (or afternoon) treat!
5.) Robin Hoods Bay
The old smuggler’s town of Robin Hoods Bay has a long and tumultuous history that dates back centuries.
Once the favoured port for smugglers trying to avoid taxation, Robin Hood Bay used to have all manner of contraband items shipped to its shores. These were then scurried away into the tunnels that still exist underneath the cobbled streets of the village.
Take a wander through the quaint little streets, stop off at the Old Post Office for the biggest sandwiches ever (finished off with a Yorkshire tea) and stroll the lovely beach. It is so quaint.
just shy of Whitby, it’s really easy to visit after stopping off after visiting the Abbey.
6.) Hardrow Force
Being the tallest single-drop waterfall in all of England, Hardrow Force is one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit if you want to explore some of the region’s natural beauty.
Halfway between Kendal and Darlington, it’s pretty easy to visit as you explore the northern parts of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Not only that, you don’t need to complete a day hike or strenuous climb to get here. It’s only around 300 metres (or so) from the entry point. There are a few different walkways to take, one to see the falls from the bottom (in my opinion, the most impressive) or the one from the top.
The latter is still great but I feel like you can see the power of the falls from the bottoms.
7.) Gaping Gill
Perched within Ingleborough, Gaping Gill is the biggest underground cave chamber in all of Great Britain. It’s huge and one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit that’s around 30 kilometres east of Lancaster.
Now, you will have to head on a slightly tiring climb/ramble but it’s worth it for the views!
Plus, on most days, you can be winched down inside the cavern to see the views from inside. It’s so eerie and incredible.
8.) Yorkshire Dales
Okay, so compromising a few of the places I’ve already mentioned, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has an incredible mix of gorgeous natural sights you really can’t miss.
As you explore, be sure to check out the dramatic beauty of the Howgills, Attermir Scar and Malham Tarn which is so picturesque. There’s also a heap of Dark Skies events that happen each year, too! A great place to spot some extra-terrestrial bodies and shooting stars.
9.) Staithes Beck
Just on the northern fringes of the North York Moors National Park, Staithes (or Staithes Beck) is a perfect little stopping point whilst exploring the eastern coastline.
Once here, pop into Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre, stop by Dotty’s Vintage Tearoom and head to the Cod & Lobster for a relaxed pub lunch.
It has the best atmosphere and is so friendly.
Haworth is a gorgeous little village that’s one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit as you head north beyond Bradford.
Now, the biggest draw of Haworth is its main street that’s filled with independent shops and businesses that are so quaint to see. The Cabinet Of Curiosities is my favourite! Plus, its association with the Brontë sisters makes it a must-visit.
Also, if you can, hop over during the yearly 1940s festival that happens each year! It’s like stepping back in time.
East of Harrogate, Knaresborough is one of the best places in Yorkshire to visit whilst heading west from York. You see, it’s a totally lovely place to visit for a few hours, especially with Knaresborough Castle, Mother Shipton’s Cave and the tea rooms that are dotted all across the town.
It’s the kind of place you can spend a good few hours before heading further on your road trip.
12.) Malham Cove
Another gorgeous spot in the Yorkshire Dales, Malham Cove is a towering limestone amphitheatre that’s so impressive to see.
Now, the walk (via the Pennine Way) can be tough (expect some aching legs) but it’s worth it for the views of the cove and the Yorkshire Dales, too.
Just be sure to wear some proper hiking shoes, the trails can get slippy, especially on wetter days.
Afterwards, stop by the Lister Arms for a proper pub lunch. Their homemade steak and ale pies are everything.
13.) White Horse of Kilburn
Overlooking the North York Moors National Park, the Kilburn Horse is a pretty unique find. Even to this day, it’s the largest hill figure in all of England.
Created back in the 1800s, it’s said a local school teacher (with volunteers) helped remove the topsoil on the mountain to explore the bright sandstone beneath.
It’s the kind of spot that’s well worth seeing for 15 minutes as you pass by. Plus, there’s an easy-to-reach car park (Google Maps point, here) for great views over to the Kilburn Horse, too.
14.) Ribblehead Viaduct
Not too far from Chapel-le-Dale, Ribblehead Viaduct is massive and one of the largest in all of Northern England to see. It’s a stunning area for a ramble and walk and easy to explore for an afternoon.
Just be sure to pack some snacks, good footwear and some waterproofs (just in case).
Afterwards, head on over to the Station Inn (in Ribblehead) which has a roaring fire and some of the finest food to warm up with.
15.) Flamborough Head
This chalk headland is totally stunning and easy to explore whilst driving through the Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast roads.
Also, stop off at the RSPB Bempton Cliffs Seabird Centre where you might even spot some puffins (at certain times of the year).
It really is gorgeous and one of the best places in Yorkshire to explore the coastline.
Take a wander around the quaint little streets, pop into Balderson’s for some of the tastiest homemade ice cream and stop by the New Inn for lunch.
Afterwards, head north to the Dalby Forest Visitors Centre where there’s a heap of walking and mountain bike trails that are so good. Though, if you’re not into biking, then give it a miss!