Yorkshire is one of England’s most fascinating regions though its northern location means that it stays off the most-travelled tourism paths. Read our article to discover a few of Yorkshire’s hidden gems and coolest places to visit.
The mountains of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough are often hiked together as a formidable challenge first proposed in 1887. Traditionally starting and finishing at the Pen-y-Ghent cafe in Horton in Ribblesdale, the full three peak route is 24 miles with 1500m of ascent.
Fun fact: for those who can complete this route in under 12 hours, you get to join the exclusive Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club.
Of course, for those looking for less of a challenge, it’s quite feasible to hike each peak separately. All three present fantastic walks in their own right. Whernside is the highest at 736m but Ingleborough is most people’s favourite with its limestone pavements and caves.
As one of the largest trail centres in England, Dalby Forest offers plenty of choices for mountain bikers. Available trails range from gentle green trails to gnarly blacks. The red trail is 34km long but there are options to split it into sections if you don’t want to ride the whole route. Bike hire is available on site with a shop and cafe for those after-trail pick-me-ups.
There are also plenty of walks in the area including the loop around the unique sandstone rock formations of Bridestones. This area is also known for its important wildlife such as sundews and dwarf cornel.
This lovely little waterfall plunge pool is crystal clear and just right for cooling off on a warm day. Nestled in a mystical wooded valley, the cave by of the waterfall is said to be home to Jennet, queen of the fairies.
Visitors can combine the breath-taking Janet’s Foss with a walk from Malham up to the spectacular Gordale Scar or as a longer loop to include Malham Cove. Local tip – we recommend that you visit Janet’s Foss in spring for the unmistakable scent of wild garlic.
Other waterfalls in the region include the Ingleton Waterfalls and Hardraw Force.
Set high up on a hillside overlooking Nidderdale these ancient, natural rock formations are a must-visit for anyone with an interest in geography, geology or landscape photography.
For visitors looking to explore and climb, the Brimham Rocks are a wonderful outdoor experience. Unusual and wild, Brimham Rocks are a fascinating and unique site.
You can book a climbing instructor to have a go at rock climbing and abseiling on the numerous crags. There are plenty of easy rocks to scramble over. Or, you may prefer to simply marvel at these evocatively named formations, such as The Idol, The Watchdog and The Sphinx.
You can explore the whole of the North York Moors on a multi-day trip along this 171-mile cycle loop route starting and finishing in Pickering. Some cyclists might prefer to cherry-pick the best sections of this route, opting to take a few hours on quiet roads. Along the route, ride through the iconic heather moorland, forested valleys or along the glorious coastline.
Yorkshire’s cycling routes also have plenty of places to visit along the way. Hop off the saddle to discover picturesque ruined abbeys and castles, and museums. And of course, there are plenty of cheery pubs and delicious cafes welcoming cyclists along the way.
Want to take a cycling journey in England? Join one of our self guided cycling trips to explore this wild and magical land. (The Tour de Yorkshire makes for a perfect Yorkshire-centered trip.)
No visit to Yorkshire would be complete without a day at the seaside, but Whitby is more than just your average coastal resort. A quaint fishing town, Whitby is home to an eerie ruined abbey set dramatically on the clifftop above the town, reached by climbing 199 steps.
Whitby is chock full of history, pretty streets, unusual jewellery and famous for its connections to Captain James Cook as well as Bram Stoker’s famous gothic horror novel Dracula, where large sections of the novel take place.
Your day would not be complete without tucking into some delicious fish and chips or of course the famous scampi.
Yorkshire has its fair share of ruined abbeys and castles but there is nowhere quite like Fountains Abbey. The dramatic abbey ruins are the largest monastic ruins in England. Founded originally in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks seeking a devout and simple lifestyle, it was admitted into the Cistercian order. Fountains Abbey became wealthy from cattle and horse breeding, lead mining, wool production, and stone quarrying.
After years as an important centre, it was closed abruptly during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. Explore the atmospheric ruin, along with the 12th century mill which escaped the abbey’s closure. Also on site is Fountains Hall, the 17th century mansion built using stones taken from the abbey ruins. Alongside these buildings are the tranquil Studley Royal water gardens. Formed from the River Skell in the 18th century using formal geometric design, view classical statues, follies and garden buildings designed to take in the extraordinary vistas.
Perhaps we are biased, but to us, the city of York is a special place. With Roman roots and an extensive Viking and medieval history, ancient city walls and a magnificent cathedral, there is so much to see. But it shouldn’t just be viewed as a historical city.
York is getting more vibrant all the time with a bustling art, theatre and music scene and plenty of good food and restaurants.
It is well worth spending a few days here in York after all the activity, particularly if you are joining one of our trips in the region like walking Hadrian’s Wall, or the Tour de Yorkshire cycling trip.