View over the hills in North York Moors

Places to Visit in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is a fantastic place for a luxury cottage holiday. The destination offers everything from fantastic cities full of eclectic shopping opportunities, rich history and cultural attractions, to vast areas of natural beauty.

The Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors offer the best of countryside and coast with quaint villages and market towns to explore along the way. Each one offering the opportunity to sample local produce like Wensleydale cheese or locally smoked kippers, whether in a traditional pub or seaside café.

Discover some of the best places to visit in Yorkshire.

A narrow road lined with shops in the city of York at night


York is very atmospheric, thanks largely to its legacy of Roman, Viking and medieval heritage. It is a fairly compact city so is easy to explore on foot and following the medieval walls that encircle York’s Old Town is a good way to work out what’s where.

If you can’t get enough history and culture, discover more at renowned attractions including Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster and York Castle Museum.

There are plenty of shops for retail therapy, but the Old Town is fantastic for independents, boutiques and local producers. Don’t miss The Shambles, an historic street where the upper floors of the old wooden buildings almost touch each other. If you’re visiting in December, York’s Christmas Market is one of the largest in the UK and well worth a visit.

In the evenings, there are quaint pubs and plenty of restaurants, theatres and the popular guided ghost walks to keep you entertained.

Street in Harrogate, Yorkshire


Harrogate is an elegant town in North Yorkshire. Famous for its Victorian spa heritage, those in the pursuit of pampering should visit the Turkish Baths. Built in 1897, they promise an authentic, relaxing experience.

There is also fantastic shopping to be enjoyed across the town, from big brands to independent boutiques. Head to the Montpellier Quarter for upmarket art galleries, antique shops and fashion labels.

When it’s time for refreshment, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars, but when in Harrogate, the famous Betty’s Tea Room is a must for Afternoon Tea.

There are beautiful green spaces too, including the Grade II-listed Valley Gardens, and just out of town is RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Meanwhile, the borough of Harrogate gives way to vast rural landscapes, market towns, the medieval city of Ripon and the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Cliffs In Whitby, England


A traditional seaside resort town, Whitby is an intriguing place to visit. Amongst its claims to fame is that Whitby, specifically Whitby Abbey, helped inspire Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Visit the Dracula experience to find out more and take the legendary 199-step walk from the Old Town up to the abbey.

The town is also where, in 1746, Captain James Cook started his apprenticeship as a seaman. His famous ship, Endeavour, was built in Whitby too and The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is where you can discover all about this world-famous explorer.

If you like to shop, for something uniquely Whitby, pick up a gift or piece of jewellery fashioned from Whitby jet. At Whitby Jet Heritage Centre you can observe an authentic Victorian jet workshop in motion.

Meanwhile, there are blue flag beaches, coastal walks and fish and chips whilst admiring the sea views to be enjoyed.

Robin Hoods Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay’s heritage lies in fishing, sailors and smuggling. However, today, visitors follow the steep winding cobbled lanes down to the sea to enjoy the beach for family games, rock-pooling and even fossil-hunting. Do check the tide times here though, to make doubly sure that you won’t get cut off.

Streets are lined with pretty cottages, while for a small place there are enough shops and places to eat to satisfy. Discover more about local history at the Robin Hood’s Bay Museum and the Old Coastguard Station.

Views from the top of this quaint fishing village are spectacular. If you are a keen walker, you can enjoy them in all their glory from the 7-mile cliff top walk along the Cleveland Way to Whitby.

For something a little different the Victorian Weekend in December is a great time to visit.

Leeds, Yorkshire


Leeds is a vibrant and bustling city full of energy, culture and some of the best shopping to be found in England outside of London. As well as high street names and designer fashion brands, Leeds has plenty of places for unique and locally made items.

Leeds is famous for its elegant Victorian shopping arcades, including the beautiful Victoria Quarter. This Grade II-listed arcade brims with architectural interior splendour and hosts exclusive and luxury shops. If you’re not all shopped out, there’s the modern Victoria Gate shopping centre too.

For something a little different visit Kirkgate Market, where amongst the array of stalls, are some interesting street food outlets.

Leeds has a fantastic dining scene and you will find lots of thriving independent restaurants and cafes, along with fine dining venues and everything in between. If all that isn’t enough, amongst Leeds other highlights are world-class theatres and an arena, art galleries and museums including the Royal Armouries.

Helmsley, Yorkshire


Helmsley is a market town in the North York Moors National Park. In fact, it is the only market town in this stunning part of Yorkshire. Full of charm and character, Helmsley has lovely stone buildings, a gently flowing stream and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Take time to wander around the market square and the specialist, independent shops. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase craft beers and local cheeses to savour back at your cottage. Meanwhile, there are delightful places to sit down to eat and drink before you explore the town in more depth.

For a dose of history there’s Helmsley Castle which is managed by English Heritage, for bird-lover’s there’s the National Centre for Birds of Prey, then there’s Helmsley Walled Garden and there’s even an open-air swimming pool open in summer.

Malton, Yorkshire


Malton is an historic town with a fantastic reputation for its food scene. Here, you will find artisan makers, markets and family-run independent shops, alongside great restaurants and cafes where you can sample delicious dishes. Many are created from ingredients sourced very locally such as rare breed cattle and organic vegetables from farms, game from the moors and seafood from the coast.

So, this is the place to enjoy lunch or dinner, especially after a walk in the North York Moors or a trip to nearby Castle Howard. On the second Saturday of every month from March to November there is a food market, while in May and August there are food festivals.

However, there is more to Malton than food, especially around the pretty Market Place where there are places to shop for gifts, homewares, clothing and antiques.

Skipton Castle, Yorkshire


According to an ONS survey, the idyllic market town of Skipton is one of the happiest places to live in the UK. So, a visit should be on the list for anyone wanting to relax, indulge and chill out.

For starters there is the setting. As the gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales it is within easy reach of rolling hills and blissful countryside, perfect for strolls, cycling, pub lunches and generally enjoying the outdoor life.

Then, there is the historic, cobbled high street and little lanes off it where you can peruse delightful shops for locally made gifts, food and art, while the famous market is held 4 days a week.

With Skipton Castle that’s over 900 years old and boat trips on the Leeds & Liverpool canal to enjoy aswell, there is a romantic vibe in town too.

Grassington Bridge


Grassington is a small but bustling market town with plenty of charms from its Yorkshire Dales location in Wharfedale to its cobblestone marketplace. The small range of shops offer quality goods, while there are also jewellery makers and craft studios to tempt you.

There’s a good choice of places to eat and while events from an art and music festival held in June, to the Dickensian Christmas Market in December, are even more reasons to visit.

If you want to combine the hospitality of the town with opportunities to enjoy outdoor adventures, you can do so easily. Park up and enjoy a lovely walk beside the River Wharfe and Linton Waterfalls. Or venture into the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for a hike or a bike ride.

Meanwhile, nearby tourist attractions include Stump Cross Caverns and Bolton Abbey.

Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire


This former Victorian spa town in West Yorkshire is well worth a visit. It was named as the best place to live by the Sunday Times in 2022. Located in Wharfedale, Ilkley is a pretty town where you can enjoy the pleasures of shopping, eating cake in elegant tea rooms and beautiful views in all directions.

Sitting in the Wharfe Valley at the foot of Ilkley Moor, Ilkley offers a great base for walks from the door that incorporate dramatic scenery and open space, while climbers can look forward to scaling the famous Cow and Calf Rocks.

The town is also popular with cyclists who come to enjoy the nearby trails and enjoy a pit stop and some refreshments. There are plenty of restaurants if you should want to stay for lunch or dinner, along with independent shops selling all kinds of gifts, vintage items and things to treat yourself.

Plus, the Ilkley Toy Museum will take you on a trip down memory lane.

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