This is a guest post by Darren Cronian, the editor of My Life in Leeds.
Being born and bred in Yorkshire means I am obviously going to be biased but believe me when I say that I live in one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of England – I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, and as a local I can tell you where the best parts of the county are.
Yorkshire is the largest county in England and most of the places I am going to mention are within a 3-hour journey of the capital city, London. In this blog post I’ll give you a tour of my home county and I’ll show you where Yorkshire’s ‘must visit’ places are.
In summer I visit the seaside town of Scarborough with the family, where you can watch a performance at the Scarborough open-air theatre, walk around Peasholm Park and try out the traditional British dish of fish and chips while sat on the beach – but watch out for the seagulls!
While writing this post I am thinking about the enjoyable holidays that I spent on the Yorkshire coast as a child, visiting seaside towns like Whitby, with its steep climb up to the Abbey and fantastic views of the harbour and coast. Then there’s Flamborough, and its iconic lighthouse and cliff top walks.
Other must-visit seaside towns include Hornsea, Filey, Staithes and Withernsea. The Yorkshire ‘Coastliner’ bus service is a good way to see the coast and is quite affordable; either that or hire a car and drive around one of the most scenic coasts in the country.
With its rolling green hills dotted with sheep, and its pretty valleys that shelter small stone-built villages and farms, the Yorkshire Dales are wonderful for exploring, and are very popular with walkers, with walks suitable for all abilities. The Dales bus is an affordable way to explore the national park – visit Fountains Abbey, a World Heritage Site that includes the largest abbey ruins and Georgian water gardens.
Don’t miss Malham with its limestone Cove, its Tarn and its popular Hiker’s Bar in the Buck Inn, which gets pretty lively at night with all the outdoor enthusiasts having a good time after a long day in the fresh air. Another must-see is Ingleton with its enchanting walks along the waterfalls.
If the countryside or seaside is not your thing then how about taking a weekend break at one of these great Yorkshire cities. Leeds is my home city and has changed considerably in the last ten years (for the better). The city is popularly associated with shopping and nightlife but to be honest there’s much more to the city than that.
It has a fantastic waterfront where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. Discover the city by walking around the Leeds Owl Trail. It also has a thriving cultural scene, with regular events at places like Test Space and the impressive Temple Works.
Other Yorkshire cities on that ‘must visit’ list are York and Harrogate. I love walking around York’s historic streets. Don’t miss the Shambles, with its fourteenth century timber framed houses that seem to lean towards one another across the cobbles.
Make sure you visit the York Minster; it is truly impressive close up – if you have time, walk to the top of the Minster and view the city; on a good day you can see for miles across the scenic landscape.
Harrogate is best known as a spa town and is a popular tourist attraction because of its spa waters and for RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. The city is also famous for Betty’s Tea Rooms, where you can expect to queue before you sit down – and do not be too shocked by the prices; it isn’t cheap, but it’s a treat while you are visiting the town. Nearby towns also worth visiting are Ripon, Knaresborough and Pately Bridge.
North Yorkshire Moors
A visit to Yorkshire would not be complete without a visit to the scenic North Yorkshire Moors. Making its way across the moors is a lovely old steam railway, which connects Pickering to Grosmont and is the perfect way to explore this national park.
I hope you have enjoyed my walkabout of some of Yorkshire’s must visit places. Expect to meet friendly Yorkshire people who are proud to be from this part of the world. You can also expect to see spectacular scenery and brilliant coastlines, and to breathe fresh Yorkshire air.
Darren Cronian is the editor of My Life in Leeds, a guide written by locals for locals and tourists. Find out where to go in Leeds and the best places to eat, drink and stay in our home city.