One of the most popular places to visit “up North” and with good reason, this fiercely proud and historic county is also known for its unspoiled rugged beauty. It’s an area filled with charm and bags of character, from flat caps and tea shops to feisty locals to pints of bitter. It’s also known for its Roman and Viking heritage, craggy castles, medieval abbeys, atmospheric historic cities, and not one but two eternally popular national parks. There is just something about Yorkshire, and once visited you’ll most likely fall for its charms. It’s definitely a tough place to choose but I’ve managed to narrow down to 15 of the best and most beautiful places to visit in Yorkshire…
York – one of the most stunning cites to visit in North England
This beautiful historic city is the jewel in the crown of this wonderful county. It’s known for its Roman and Viking roots, its impressive ancient walls, the dungeons, and numerous museums, fabulous independent shops, and the spectacular York Minster, a truly beautiful cathedral which is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.
It has a wonderful suspended-in-time atmosphere and many gorgeous places to explore. Head down the narrow cobbled lanes and expect designer stores, independent shops, and boutiques galore and don’t miss the very special Shambles district which is lined with timber-framed buildings, some dating back to the 14th century. Don’t forget to stop at one of the many quaint tea or cake shops along the way!
North York Moors – a beautiful area of unspoiled wilderness to explore in Yorkshire
This is an area of outstanding beauty and easily one of the best places to visit in Yorkshire. The landscapes here are made up of 1,400 miles of natural and unspoiled wilderness beauty and they are most definitely breath-taking. The region is a natural habitat for flora and fauna comprising heather moorland, pine forests, rolling hills, and shimmering coastline as well as badgers, roe deer, and hawks.
It’s unsurprisingly a haven for outdoor activity lovers and here you can go walking, hiking, cycling, horse riding or just head out for a very beautiful scenic drive.
Yorkshire Dales National Park – one of the UK’s best-loved beauty spots
One of the most popular and beautiful places to visit in Yorkshire, and one of the most famous attractions in Northern England, the scenery here is just incredible. It’s an unspoiled and perfectly preserved place filled with moors, green valleys, rolling hills, grand castles, abbeys, gorgeous stone-built villages, and plenty of nature and fresh country air.
Highlights of the Yorkshire Dales National Park include Malham Cove, Bolton Priory, Aysgarth Falls, Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, the Ingleborough hiking trail for gorgeous views, and White Star Cave. Don’t leave without paying a visit to one of the traditional cosy pubs or staying in a pretty riverside cottage.
Harrogate – an affluent historic town which has a heritage as a fashionable spa resort
Harrogate may be small when it comes to size, but it packs a huge cultural punch, and this affluent and pretty historic town known for its lovely parks, great range of independent shops, and theatres.
Although it’s arguably best known for being a spa town and some of the best places to visit here include the lovely Montpellier Quarter with the Royal Pump Room Museum and here you can find out about the history of the local mineral springs. Also don’t miss the Grade II listed baths restored Moorish-style Turkish Baths now functioning as a luxury health spa.
Other reasons to visit this Yorkshire gem include the many beautiful historic buildings, castles, abbeys, the famous Betty’s tearooms, and the Valley Gardens complete with pretty Art Deco Sun Pavilion.
Scarborough – of the most loved seaside resorts in England
This is a very charming and picturesque seaside resort located on the North Sea coast which has an elegant, timeless atmosphere. Scarbrough’s heyday was the Victorian times and there are still many attractions that have a Victorian feel but with a modern twist – think amusement arcades, fish and chips, and sticks of rock.
It’s blessed with two gorgeous sandy bays divided by a headland where the striking 12th-century Scarborough Castle resides. Other highlights of this popular seaside holiday spot include the Rotunda Museum, the Victorian Central Tramway funicular train which links the town centre with South Bay and its harbour, the lovely Scarborough Spa, and The Grand Hotel which is positioned dramatically on the cliff-top.
Whitby – of the most popular places to stay in Yorkshire
Whitby is a very popular seaside town to visit and stay in Yorkshire. Located by the River Esk it offers a heady mix of gorgeous coastal scenery, plenty of fresh salty air, old-fashioned seaside fun, and even an alternative subculture! This is sometimes where goths gather and the reason is because Whitby Abbey was said Bram Stoker’s inspiration for his famous “Dracula” novel.
Other stand-out attractions include the Captain Cook Memorial Museum (where the legendary Captain Cook once lived) and the very easy-on-the-eye west part of town where you can explore or relax on West Cliff Beach which is lined with photogenic beach huts. It’s also a fabulous place to base yourself for many scenic cliff top walks.
Flamborough Head coast and cliffs – one of the most stunning spots to visit in Yorkshire
This stunning and unspoilt 8-mile long chalk headland, with its sheer white cliffs is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Y0rkshire. Located between the Filey and Bridlington bays of the North Sea, the ridges also provide nesting for thousands of seabirds and it’s also home to two standing lighthouse towers, the oldest dates from 1669, and Flamborough Head Lighthouse was built in 1806.
Take talk to walk and explore this gorgeous Yorkshire gem and you’ll find all kinds of scenic delights including the striking chalk cliffs, magical coves complete with rock pools, sea caves, sea stacks, and magnificent archways.
Castle Howard – is a magnificent historic house to visit in Yorkshire
Beautiful Castle Howard is definitely one of the best places to visit in Yorkshire and is considered to be one of Britain’s finest historic houses. Located in the Howardian Hills (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) 15 miles north of York it sits proudly in the centre of 1000 acres of pristinely kept formal gardens and parkland estate which including pretty lakes, fountains, lovely woodlands, temples, and statues.
In the 18th century walled garden you can enjoy a stunning collection of heritage roses, that have a heady scent and vibrant colours. Within the ornamental vegetable garden, you will find sweet pea wigwams mingling with the vegetable patches.
The castle itself is simply spectacular and has been the private residence of the Howard family for more than 300 years. It was built in the 18th century is fabulously gilded and ornate. The gardens and house are usually open daily for visitors to enjoy.
Robin Hood’s Bay – one of the prettiest spots to explore in Yorkshire
This is a gorgeous area to explore in Yorkshire, this wonderfully picturesque old fishing village is located on the beautiful Heritage Coast of the North York Moors. Built between two imposing cliffs the village is home to quaint charming cottages which spill right down to the edge of the sea.
It makes a charming and cosy coastal getaway where you can discover incredible coastal walks, the village’s unusual architecture, and learn all about the smuggling history of the bay. Other highlights include the historic Church of St Stephen, Robin Hood Bay Museum, the Old Coastguard Station, and the Falling Foss Waterfall & Tea Garden.
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail – a beautiful place to visit and walk in Yorkshire
Ingleton Waterfalls is a beautiful circular trail to explore in North Yorkshire beginning and ending in the village of Ingleton. It’s maintained by the Ingleton Scenery Company and is 8 km in length with a vertical rise of 169 m. It has some of the most beautiful and scenic waterfalls and woodland scenery in the north of England.
The highlight of the trail is the stunning waterfall which plunges 14 metres over a limestone cliff which formed over 330 million years ago. The walk is easy to follow and is open seven days a week, throughout the year.
Saltburn-by-the-sea – a delightful coastal town in Yorkshire which is home to a sandy beach
This is a lovely coastal town located in Redcar and Cleveland, North Yorkshire. It’s a popular spot to visit and explore in Yorkshire and offers plenty of Victorian charm and a clean Blue Flag status beach and family-friendly beachside amenities.
As well as being a great place for a staycation, surfers and paddleboarders also love this place. Highlights include the spectacular Saltburn cliff Tramway, the Victorian pier, Captain Cook’s heritage centre, and of course the beautiful sandy beach.
Wentworth Castle and Gardens – home to glorious gardens, woodland and parkland which you can explore
Imagine being surrounded by glorious gardens, woodland, and parkland. That is precisely what you can expect from Wentworth Castle and gardens located near Barnsley in South Yorkshire.
Sadly the Grade II listed country house is closed to the public due to funding issues but the beautiful gardens are opened and maintained by the National Trust and are open to the public.
The grand stately home is surrounded by 60 acres of gardens with trees, shrubs, hedges, and flowers in varied planting styles as well as a wider park and surrounding woodlands. If you love walking take time to explore one of the many walking trails on the estate.
Runswick Bay – one of the Yorkshire Coast’s prettiest destinations to visit
This stunning Yorkshire gem comes with a sweeping and sheltered bay and a cluster of pretty red-roofed cottages with many delightful alleyways.
Located just a few miles of north of Whitby here you’ll find a gorgeous and clean sandy beach sometimes filled with brightly coloured anchored boats.
It’s often said to be one of the best beaches to visit in Yorkshire and once you visit you’ll see why – the scenery here is very charming and picturesque. There are also many walks that follow along the cliff tops so take your time to enjoy.
Marsden Moor – a beautiful place in Yorkshire to escape the crowds
Yorkshire does pristine wilderness very well and this is one of the many wonderful places to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in nature. This sprawling expanse is owned by the National Trust and is located in the beautiful South Pennines, between West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
There are more than 5000 acres of landscapes to explore ranging from deep peat moors to historic trans-Pennine transport routes. Here you’ll also find a variety of plants and wildlife and many cycling and walking trails.
Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens – a fine Elizabethan manor house to explore in Yorkshire
Burton Agnes Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan manor house located in the village of Burton Agnes in East Riding of Yorkshire. It’s a popular place to visit and explore in Yorkshire which was originally built in 1601–10 by Sir Henry Griffith. The house and gardens are open to the public and the interiors have a lived-in feel with plenty of charm and character.
The stunning gardens are award-winning and home to a walled garden with many different species of plants, herbaceous borders, a pretty jungle garden, a yew maze, and even some giant games which the kids and young at heart adults can enjoy. The woodland is planted in a peaceful arboretum walk and is also home to a fun adventure playground. Easily one of the best places to explore in Yorkshire!