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27 Things To Do in Yorkshire: Unveiling England’s Hidden Gems

27 Things To Do in Yorkshire: Unveiling England’s Hidden Gems

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Planning a trip to England and thinking about visiting Yorkshire? Keep scrolling for my list of things to do in Yorkshire to see if it’s worth adding to your England itinerary!
This list of things to do in Yorkshire England was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

When I visited Yorkshire, I had NO idea just how massive it is.

Yorkshire is by far the largest county in England with two national parks, two official areas of natural beauty, over 100 nature reserves, and 45 miles of rugged coastline.

Phew! No wonder there are so many incredible things to do in Yorkshire. 

This county is famous for its rugged moors covered in purple heather and incredible natural wonders like waterfalls and caverns. And on rainy days, there are historic castles, railways, and tons of other indoor attractions and activities.

It’s a great place to visit as a couple, with family, or with friends!

This list is full of great ideas for things to do in Yorkshire so that you have an unforgettable time in the English countryside regardless of whether you’re visiting for a day, week, or more.

27 Things To Do in Yorkshire

Climb the Three Peaks

One of the most challenging things to do in Yorkshire Dales National Park is to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge

Image of Penyghent which is part of the Three Peaks Challenge in Yorkshire England
Penyghent is part of the Three Peaks Challenge.

It’s a 24-mile, round-trip route up the Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough mountains that keen, advanced hikers try to complete in one day.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast so you don’t have to ruin your vacation by calling Mountain Rescue!

York Minster and the Shambles

Without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in Yorkshire is to visit the historic, Roman city of York. 

Image of York evening cityscape view from the street with York Minster in the background.
Doesn’t York remind you of Harry Potter?

Plan one or two days to walk along York’s City Walls, head inside the beautiful Gothic cathedral York Minster, and visit some of the museums.

The National Railway Museum, York Dungeon, and JORVIK Viking Center are highlights of York.

Walking along Shambles, a medieval cobblestone lane with timber buildings, is one of the top things to do in Yorkshire for Harry Potter fans. It looks like a real-life Diagon Alley!

Explore Grassington

If you’re a fan of the TV series All Things Great and Small, you’ll definitely want to visit Grassington!

Image of a woman pointing at a window sign that says The Drover's Arms in Grassington, England in Yorkshire
I totally geeked out when I saw this window etching from the show! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

This is where they film parts of the show and you’ll be able to see the town where the surgery is, as well as the grocery store and the Drover’s Arms.

Plus, there are TONS of cute shops and little cafes that are fabulous.

Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British experience, and there’s nowhere better to enjoy it than Betty’s Tea Rooms. It’s one of the top things to do in Harrogate.

Lines snake outside of the front door even in the off-season so make sure you book ahead.

Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth

There’s a reason why Yorkshire is often referred to as ‘Brontë Country.’ The literary sisters Emily, Charlotte, and Anne lived in Yorkshire and the wild moors were often a key setting for their novels.

Image of a living room space at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth England in Yorkshire
This chaise is supposedly where Emily Bronte died. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

One of the top things to do in Haworth is to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum where the women lived with their family for most of their lives. 

It’s a super detailed museum and a must-visit for literary fans. You can read many of their letters and see some of their clothing and personal items. 

There’s also a great kids’ area with activities plus a dress-up area for both adults and kids!

Eat Fish and Chips in Whitby

Visiting the seaside town of Whitby is one of the most popular days out in Yorkshire, and one of the top things to do in Whitby is to eat traditional English fish and chips.

Trenchers and Magpie Cafe are both highly acclaimed seafood restaurants in Whitby.

Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales

Looking for Yorkshire Dales things to do? Head to some of the national park’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Image of Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales in northeast England
Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale is one of the many waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales.

There are well over 50 waterfalls in this park alone!

Aysgarth Falls, Hardraw Force Waterfall, Janet’s Foss, and Linton Falls are awe-inspiring and easily accessible which means they are some of the best things to do in Yorkshire for families.

Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse

Many of the top Yorkshire attractions are historic castles and one of the top things to do in Knaresborough is to visit its beautiful castle.

Image of Knaresborough Castle in Yorkshire England
Knaresborough Castle in Yorkshire England.

Dating back to the 1300s, this ruined Knaresborough Castle is on a hilltop overlooking the River Nidd and the picturesque Knaresborough Viaduct.

Hornsea Beach

One of the best things to do in Hornsea is to visit its stunning sandy beach. If it’s not the best beach in Yorkshire then it’s definitely in the top five.

Image of Hornsea Beach in England
Hornsea Beach in England.

Hornsea has undergone a lot of renovation in the last few years so there’s plenty of parking and amenities for a stress-free day out.

Peasholm Park in Scarborough

Looking for cool places to visit in North Yorkshire? Peasholm Park regularly tops the best parks in the UK and Europe lists.

Peasholm Park in Scarborough England
Peasholm Park in Scarborough England

It’s gone all-out on a Japanese theme with perfectly manicured formal gardens, huge ornate pagodas, and dragon peddle boats so you can sail around the ponds.

Beverley Westwood Park

If you’re looking for things to do near Hull or things to do in Beverley then Beverley Westwood Park is a great option on a sunny day. 

It’s literally just a nice open green space with some woodland. But during the summer months, there is an open-air cinema and cows roaming freely.

Malton’s Traditional Saturday Market

Every weekend, the tiny town of Malton is overtaken by its huge Saturday Market, and browsing the stalls is one of the most fun things to do in Malton.

Malton’s Traditional Saturday Market in England
You can find lots of fresh, seasonal produce at the Saturday Market in Malton.

There are antiques, fruit and vegetables, freshly-baked pies, tarts, and lots of other food and souvenir stalls too.

Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Center

This popular cheese manufacturer’s visitor center is one of the best things to do in Hawes. 

Visit their cheese shop, enjoy lunch at their cafe, and learn more about the cheese-making process in their exhibition space.

Richmond Castle

One of the top things to do in Richmond, Yorkshire is to visit Richmond Castle.

Image of Richmond Castle in Yorkshire England
Here’s the backside of Richmond Castle.

It’s unfortunately a ruined castle but when you consider that it was built by the Normans in the 1070s, it’s held up pretty well!

It’s also a large, hilltop castle with views over the River Swale below.

Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate

It’s a little off the beaten path, but one of the most fun and quirky things to do in Harrogate is to stay at or call into the Old Swan Hotel for a cup of tea.

It first opened in 1777 so it’s a historic building, but that’s not why it’s interesting. Mystery writer Agatha Christie hid here for 11 days in 1926 to punish her adulterous first husband. 

She was missing for 11 days in total and made international headlines!

Malham Cove in Skipton

One of the most popular places to go in the Yorkshire Dales and things to do near Skipton is to visit Malham Cove.

Image of Malham Cove in Skipton
This is Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

You can (carefully) walk up the steps to the top of this incredible geological formation that looks like a cliff formed at the side of a hill. Don’t get too close to the edge on a windy day!

Whitby Abbey and the 199 Steps

Since Whitby is one of the most popular places to visit in Yorkshire, there are so many more Whitby attractions to see. 

Whitby Abbey North Yorkshire. The first monastery was founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon era King of Northumbria, Oswy (Oswiu) as Streoneshalh.
Whitby Abbey is a popular Yorkshire attraction.

Whitby Abbey dates back to 657 AD and the 199 steps leading up to this historic church inspired author Bram Stoker when writing his novel Dracula.

Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough

There are plenty more cool Knaresborough things to do, and Mother Shipton’s Cave is also one of the top things to do near Harrogate since it is only two miles away.

This cave was named after a legend about a local witch who gave prophecies and there’s even a statue of the woman at the cave. It’s also said that there is a well in the cave that can turn things to stone. 

Legend or not, the cave is in a beautiful location on the River Nidd with stairs making it easily accessible.

Stump Cross Caverns in Pateley Bridge

Want to see more caves? Visiting Stump Cross Caverns is one of the best things to do in Pateley Bridge. 

These are natural limestone caves and you can take a guided or self-guided tour.

Fountains Abbey in Ripon

One of the most popular Yorkshire places to visit and things to do near Thirsk has to be the Fountains Abbey

Image of Detail of the ruins of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, United Kingdom in the spring with River Skell flowing past
Check out the ruins of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

This medieval former monastery is nestled on the edge of the pretty Yorkshire Dales and you can visit the landscaped gardens and take a tour.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Goathland

Harry Potter fans visiting the North Yorkshire Moors National Park have to visit Goathland. 

North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Goathland England
Here’s the Goathland Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Not only is taking the old steam train that crosses through Goathland station one of the best things to do near Whitby, but this train station also stood in as Hogsmeade Station during the first movie.

Skipton Castle

Miraculously still intact, one of the best Skipton things to do in the Yorkshire Dales is visiting Skipton Castle. 

Image of An external view of Skipton Castle and lawns, North Yorskhire
Skipton Castle is really interesting.

This medieval castle has a dungeon and several halls you can visit too.

Castle Howard

No castle in Yorkshire is more lavish or opulent than Castle Howard, one of the top places to visit near York.

It’s a typical 18th-century, English country home surrounded by acres of lush green fields as well as fountains, walled gardens, and several small lakes.

Robin Hood’s Bay Village

One of the most picturesque places to visit near Whitby is the village of Robin Hood’s Bay. 

Scenic view of Robin Hood's Bay
Check out this view of Robin Hood’s Bay.

Its rugged cliffs and postcard-perfect cobblestone lanes make it a great stop on a coastal road trip.

Sculpture Park in West Bretton

Locals looking for family days out Yorkshire will often head to the Sculpture Park in West Bretton.

There are dozens of large-scale sculptures and farm animals roaming free in this spacious park. On a summer’s day, it’s one of the top free things to do in West Yorkshire for sure.

The Deep Aquarium in Hull

Often overlooked in favor of the north, one of the top things to do in East Yorkshire is to visit The Deep in Hull.

This purpose-built, state-of-the-art aquarium boasts over 3,000 sea creatures including sharks and stingrays. Put it on your list in case of a rainy day!

The Forbidden Corner in Middleham

Part interactive maze and part sculpture park, one of the best things to do in North Yorkshire for those with young kids is to visit The Forbidden Corner

It’s an epic scavenger hunt to find everything on a checklist within the park. It’s an impressive and super fun experience for the whole family.

Things To Do in Yorkshire FAQs

Which part of Yorkshire is most beautiful?

Yorkshire is home to two national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors, and it also covers a long stretch of beautiful coastline.

Picking which of the three areas is the most beautiful is so tricky!

But there’s no denying that the unique natural landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales make it potentially the most beautiful part of Yorkshire.

Are the Yorkshire Dales worth visiting?

Yes, the Yorkshire Dales are absolutely worth visiting!

The Yorkshire Dales National Park boasts epic waterfalls, rugged mountain trails, historic estates, caverns, and unique geological cliffs and rock formations.

Yorkshire’s nickname isn’t ‘God’s own county’ for nothing.

When should I visit Yorkshire?

The best months to visit Yorkshire are between May to September. 

These months have the most daylight hours and the warmest weather. Note that ‘warm’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘dry’ as it can (and does) rain every month of the year in Yorkshire.

Summer might be the busiest and most expensive time to travel, but many of the castles and indoor attractions close in the off-season.

What are some must-see historical sites in Yorkshire?

Yorkshire is steeped in history. Key sites include the medieval York Minster, Castle Howard, Clifford’s Tower, the UNESCO-listed Saltaire Village, and the historic city of York itself.

Are there family-friendly activities in Yorkshire?

Absolutely. Yorkshire has plenty for families including the National Railway Museum, Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and the Jorvik Viking Centre.

What outdoor activities can I do in Yorkshire?

Yorkshire offers a wide range of outdoor activities. You can hike in the Yorkshire Dales or North York Moors, visit the stunning coastline with cliffs and beaches, or explore picturesque towns like Haworth and Whitby.

What are some recommended cultural activities in Yorkshire?

There are numerous cultural activities in Yorkshire, such as visiting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds Art Gallery, Hepworth Wakefield, and experiencing a play at the Leeds Playhouse or the Sheffield Crucible.

Are there any food and drink activities I should try in Yorkshire?

Yorkshire is famous for its traditional English pubs, breweries, and tea rooms. Don’t miss the chance to try a Yorkshire pudding or a traditional afternoon tea. You could also visit the Rhubarb Triangle for a unique culinary experience.

Can I do a day trip from Yorkshire to another city?

Yes, Yorkshire’s central location makes it easy for day trips to cities like Manchester, Liverpool, and even London.

Things To Do in Yorkshire Wrap Up

From castles to caverns, waterfalls to walking across moors, there are so many great things to do in Yorkshire.

While this list doesn’t cover some of the big cities like Leeds or Sheffield, it does offer tons of inspiration for all the best activities in the Yorkshire countryside.

Grab your waterproof jacket, put on your hiking boots, and prepare for an adventurous vacation in the English county of Yorkshire!

Looking for more England travel resources? Check out the best cheap things to do in Bath, best cheap things to do in Oxford, things to do in the Lake District for families, and the best day trips from London by train!

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