As one of the most populated cities in the UK, Leeds is kind of a big deal. Over in the dreamy pastures of West Yorkshire, Leeds has a thriving music scene. This vibrant city has seen several famous bands hail from here over the years, including the Kaiser Chiefs and Alt J. You’ll find some brilliant events on here throughout the year but despite the buzzing brilliance of this city, sometimes you just need a break. We all need to escape the crowds every so often. That’s why we’ve concocted this fab list of destinations within 2 hours of Leeds, so you can take your short break getaway, minus the hassle!
Driving distance from Leeds: 50 minutes
Why visit: From winding cobbled streets to spectacular cathedrals, York is practically famous for its century-spanning appeal. The land of the Vikings, you can go back in time with the Jorvik Viking Centre or even the spooky York Dungeons – if you can hold your nerve! But away from the gruesome deeds of the past, York is a thriving metropolitan city, with superb shopping possibilities and art galleries.
Highlights: Taking a tour of the tower and exploring the interactive exhibitions at the iconic York Minster.
Did you know: The film version of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley was apparently inspired by The Shambles, York’s chaotically colourful, medieval shopping street.
See the best holiday cottages in York
Forest of Bowland
Driving distance from Leeds: Two hours
Why visit: Compared to its better known neighbours, the Peak District and Lake District, The Forest of Bowland is a relatively crowd-free spot – but don’t let that you fool you into thinking there’s nothing to see. This beautiful corner of Lancashire has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1964 and is a fabulous choice for a walking holiday with the pet (and camera!) in tow.
Highlights: Hill climbing the folklore-fuelled Pendle Hill, or a visit to the Bowland Wild Boar Park!
Did you know: The Forest is the north west remainder of the ancient wilderness that once covered huge swathes of England, stretching down through Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire) and the Cotswolds all the way to the New Forest. So you know, it’s pretty old.
See the best holiday cottages in Forest of Bowland
Driving distance from Leeds: One hour 30 minutes
Why visit: Because seaside fun in the north isn’t just confined to Blackpool! The east coast has it’s very own offering with Scarborough – the land of promenades, piers and penny arcades. Tourists have been flocking to the bays of Scarborough for over 400 years now, and as East Yorkshire’s most prominent seaside resort, it sure knows how to put on a show! For the creme of the crop? Head to Scarborough Open Air Theatre, with a performer alumni including Elton John and Status Quo!
Highlights: Perusing the oriental charms at Peasholm Park, home to Japanese statues, pagoda and replica boat battles.
Did you know: Scarborough is responsible for opening the world’s first museum dedicated to geology, The Rotunda, dedicated to the work of William Smith, the ‘father of geology’.
See the best holiday cottages in Scarborough
The Peak District
Driving distance from Leeds: One hour 10 minutes
Why visit: The Peak District: one giant outdoor playground, perfect for kids and big kids alike. Regularly described as ‘just a stone’s throw away from everywhere in the UK’, it’s a regular feature on our driving distance features. A superb back-to-nature escape from the city, it is a world where rivers, mountain paths, moors and dales sit next to the hustle of quaint shopping and glorious spa towns.
Highlights: Getting a new perspective during an adventurous ascent up the Peak District cable car, The Heights of Abraham.
Did you know: you like your literature, the pretty town of Hathersage played a big part in Charlotte Bronte’s iconic Jane Eyre while North Lees Hall, which is on the outskirts, was used as the model for Mr Rochester’s home Thornfield Hall. Gothic stuff!
See the best holiday cottages in the Peak District
The North York Moors
Driving distance from Leeds: 55 minutes
Why visit: Because a short break dedicated to the North York Moors National Park is a short break well spent. Home to the largest expanse of heather moorland in England and Wales, the moors are a feast of ancient stone and coastal air. You’ll need a sturdy pair of walking boots because this National Park has more spectacular hiking opportunities than you can shake a stick at.
Highlights: A sunset trip to the ruined Rievaulx Abbey, an 11th-century abbey with cafe and visitor centre.
Did you know: The North Yorkshire Moors Railways is the second largest Heritage Railway in the UK, first opened in 1836, running from Pickering and the village of Grosmont. At this little village, there is a 120-foot tunnel, cutting through rock which is said to be the oldest railway tunnel in the world.
Do you fancy escaping the city and finding your inner Tarzan? You’ll love the high-speed zip lines, free-fall swings and 30 metre high tree top bridges at Go Ape! Perfect for groups of friends, families or a different kind of date with your partner, there are a number of Go Ape centres located across the UK.
Highlights: Getting out in the fresh air of the tree tops
Trivia: If you’re scared of heights fear not! Go Ape is proud to have helped lots of people conquer their fear of heights. Why not give it a try – you might surprise yourself!