It’s no wonder Yorkshire is nicknamed ‘God’s Own County’. With beautiful national parks, impressive beaches and plenty of attractions to entertain all the family, Yorkshire is the perfect place for a holiday all year round.
Whether you’re looking for incredible hiking routes through some of the most stunning countrysides in England, trying your hand at some adventurous outdoor activities, or looking to relax and unwind in comfort, the region really has it all.
As Yorkshire is the largest county in England, it’s important to find the best location for your trip. We’ve put together this guide of the best towns and villages in the region to ensure you enjoy the best the county has to offer. If you see anywhere you like, why not make a trip of it, and book one of the best holiday cottages in Yorkshire.
Best towns to stay in Yorkshire
Best for: Beaches and families
Nestled between the North York Moors National Parks and the coast, the seaside resort of Whitby is famed for its rich maritime history. With a host of attractions, a fantastic selection of places for food and drink and several large sandy beaches, there is no better spot for a perfect English holiday.
Legendary explorers Captain Cook and William Scoresby both honed their sailing skills in the waters surrounding the town and today they are commemorated with striking monuments gazing over the coastline.
Other sights include the spectacular ruins of the famous Gothic Abbey and the church of Saint Mary. If travelling with kids who enjoy more space to enjoy themselves, an afternoon along Sandsend Beach is perfect for blowing the cobwebs away. There are also a number of family amusement arcades to enjoy if the weather forces you inside!
Best places to drink: One of the oldest pubs in East Yorkshire, the Black Horse Inn offers a wide selection of local craft ales, wines and spirits. The pub is perfectly located for popping into after exploring the many shops on the surrounding cobbled streets in the centre of town.
Best places to eat: The family-run Ditto Restaurant offers an intimate dining experience and a menu that celebrates the best local produce from land and sea. The restaurant can only seat 18 covers and there is only one sitting a night so booking is highly recommended.
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Best for: Relaxation and couples
Harrogate is a spa town in North Yorkshire that offers some of the county’s best grown-up visitor attractions. With fantastic rail and road links, why not plan a visit to find out why the town is frequently voted ‘the happiest place to live in the UK’!
With a rich tradition of spa treatments going back over 200 years, the town is the perfect spot for those looking to unwind and relax. The Turkish baths are one of a handful left in the UK and maintain many of the original Victorian features. If looking for a romantic get-away, the baths offer an indulgent couples retreat package!
The town is also a perfect base for exploring some of Yorkshire’s most stunning countryside. The Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale AONB are both nearby and boast some of the best walks in the area.
Best place to drink: In the centre of town, the Blues Cafe Bar has a fantastic range of live entertainment every night of the week. With a serious selection of cocktails on offer, the atmosphere is nevertheless relaxed and lively.
Best place to eat: Saranda offers a large Mediterrenaen menu that is sure to cater for any taste. The service is welcoming and for the quality of the food on offer, the menu reasonably priced. A real hidden gem!
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Best for: Outdoors and history
The historic market town of Richmond is the ideal spot for those who love the great outdoors. The vibrant streets and market squares are packed with some of the most impressive architecture in Yorkshire and the historic sites and surrounding landscapes are truly breathtaking.
Several companies offer guided walking tours through the town itself which can be the perfect way to ensure that you don’t miss anything. Alternatively, you can take your own path along the banks of the River Swale to the nearby waterfalls.
In addition to famous Easby Abbey and Castle, there a number of museums and galleries to enjoy. Once you’ve got your culture fix, you can head out to the surrounding national park which offers over 800 square miles of pristine countryside.
Best place to eat: The Frenchgate restaurant is the perfect place to soak-up the history of Richmond. Housed in a Grade II-listed former gentleman’s residence, the quaint and charming decor offers the perfect surrounding to unwind and enjoy some serious food.
Best place to drink: If looking for a quiet drink at the end of the day, the award-winning George and the Dragon is really hard to beat. With a beautiful beer garden overlooking the river, the pub serves a great selection of drinks and is popular with visitors and locals alike.
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Best for: Shopping and day trips
The small traditional market town of Thirsk is well placed for you to explore Yorkshire. The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales surround this charming town and it is the perfect quieter spot from which to drive to some of Yorkshire’s larger towns for day trips.
The medieval market square still hosts an open-air market on Sunday and Monday and with independent shops that are open all week round, you’’ll be spoilt for choice if looking to pick up a gift for friends and family.
The Swale Way also passes through Thirsk and the Falconry and Birds of Prey Centre is a fantastic day out for all the family.
Best place to drink: There aren’t a wide selection of pubs and bars in Thirsk, but that’’s no bad thing when the Gold Cup Inn is open all year around. This friendly local pub will have you coming back.
Best place to eat: The Dog Gun and Knayton offers top quality pub grub. Whether you pop in for a delicious Sunday lunch or amid-week meal, the friendly staff are sure to look after you.
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Best for: Nature and adventure
The secluded town of Filey offers some of the best sights, scenery and attractions that the Yorkshire coast has to offer. Whether you come to enjoy the quaint local museum, fresh water nature reserve, or year-long around local events, Filey is bound to leave a lasting impression.
The beach is a popular spot for kite flying, wildlife spotting or a quick dip in the summer. If you’re really feeling brave why not see what activities Bay Watersports have to offer. With kayaking, coasteering and paddle-boarding on offer, it is no wonder that the area ia a hot spot for thrill seekers!
There are also a fantastic selection of restaurants, cafes and bars along the coast. This being a seaside town, don’t leave before tucking into some fish and chips!
Best places to drink: The Star is a small family-run pub with an outside play area and conservatory. The rotating selection of six craft ales celebrate local breweries and there are also a wide selection of spirits, lagers and wines to enjoy.
Best places to eat: The Pines Coffee Lounge and Diner offers a traditional English menu and is the perfect place for a family meal after a day by the sea. Owners Malcolm and Margaret are known for their friendly cheer and doing simple food exceptionally well.
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Best for: Museums and sightseeing
The Roman city of York is famed for its historical landmarks and wide choice of cultural attractions. If you like your holidays to be jam-packed with sightseeing, there is no better location in Yorkshire to keep you occupied.
In addition to York Castle, York Minster and Castle Howard, there is also the Jorvik Viking Centre and Yorkshire Air Museum to keep you entertained. One of the best ways to really soak up the history of the historic city is a walk along the City Walls. You can plan your own route or book a guided tour with one of the many private walking tour companies located in the centre of town.
If travelling with kids, York Maze is a must visit. Local buses operate throughout the summer and if travelling with a car, the maze is under 20 minutes away from the city centre. With over 20 rides and attractions to choose from, don’t be surprised if the kids nod off on the journey home!
Best places to drink: The Black Swan Inn is is brimming with historic character. Conveniently located in the centre of town, the 15th century building was previously the home of the Sheriff of York. These days the pub serves a wide selection of drinks to enjoy in unique surroundings.
Best places to eat: Sitting on the banks of the River Ouse, the Star Inn the City is a great spot for casual dining with spectacular views. The bustling dining space is perfect for taking the kids out after a busy day of sightseeing and the modern European menu has something for everyone. The restaurant also has a fantastic breakfast menu if you’re looking to start the day in style!
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