Countryside Charm: Where to Stay in Yorkshire For a Dreamy Escape
With its pretty coast, bucolic countryside and historic towns and cities, Yorkshire is an unbeatable destination
Take one look at its countryside, and you’ll understand why locals refer to Yorkshire as God’s Own Country. This captivating destination boasts a diverse range of landscapes, from the rugged North York Moors to the picture-perfect seaside town of Whitby. You’ll want to see it all, so the most difficult decision you’ll have to make is deciding where to stay. Luckily, our travel experts at Plum Guide have all there is to know about this spectacular part of the world and are here to help you plan the perfect getaway. Keep reading for the inside scoop on where to stay in Yorkshire.
Farmland in the village of Reeth in Yorkshire Dales, England
One of the most splendid places to stay is the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This dreamlike landscape is made up of rolling green hills, lush valleys, limestone cliffs and striking rivers and waterfalls. Spread out across an area of 2,178 square kilometres, there are endless opportunities for exploring through hiking, cycling, horseback riding or rock climbing.
There are many scenic towns and villages dotted around the Yorkshire Dales, each with its own unique character. Hawes holds the title of the highest market town in England, perched between the majestic peaks of Fleet Moss and the Buttertubs. It’s famous for being the home of Wensleydale Cheese, and you can pop by the Wensleydale Creamery to see how it’s made (and bag a few to take home).
Another market town which makes a great base for exploring is Richmond. Sitting high above the town is the dramatic Norman castle – visit for panoramic views over the surrounding countryside, before taking a relaxing stroll along the River Swale to the remains of Easby Abbey. Back in town, pop into the market to browse the selection of local produce, baked goodies and crafts. You’ll also find a wealth of independent shops and eateries huddled around the cobbled marketplace.
One of our favourite towns is Skipton, often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Dales’. Its most iconic landmark is its extremely well-preserved medieval castle – we recommend taking a guided tour to explore the rooms, the dungeon and the views from the top storey of the Watch Tower. Skipton is home to a bustling High Street with a variety of shops, and its market is held four days a week. If you’d rather escape the crowds, enjoy a walk through the tranquil Skipton Woods or take a leisurely boat ride along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which runs through the town.
North York Moors
The North York Moors National Park in Yorkshire, England
Another beautiful part of Yorkshire to stay in is the North York Moors National Park. Characterised by heather moorland, green forests and hilly landscapes, this is a wonderful place for an outdoor adventure.
One of the best places to stay is the vibrant market town of Pickering. Bursting with history and heritage, it offers something for every kind of traveller. One of its unmissable activities is the North York Moors Railway which leaves from the town. Hop aboard a steam train for a nostalgic ride through breathtaking nature all the way to Whitby on the coast. While you’re in Pickering, it’s also worth visiting nearby Thornton-le-Dale, widely regarded as one of the prettiest villages in Yorkshire with its chocolate-box thatched cottages and babbling brook.
Another fantastic place to stay is Helmsley. The town is popular with walkers as it’s the starting point of the Cleveland Way and Ebor Way, both long-distance routes which take you through quintessential Yorkshire scenery. If you’re not keen on the thought of hours of walking, the town has many other things to keep you entertained, such as charming tea rooms, a lively market square and dramatic castle ruins.
Those keen to get out and about should stay in Goathland, a peaceful village located high up in the national park. The surrounding moorland is perfect for walking, with a couple of picturesque waterfalls to cool down in after a trek. Hidden in a wooded valley, Mallyan Spout is the tallest waterfall in the park, thundering down a 20-metre drop. Meanwhile, Thomason Foss is set within a woodland ravine and is one of the best places in Yorkshire to try wild swimming.
The Robin Hood’s Bay village
Wondering where to stay in Yorkshire for a seaside holiday? The Yorkshire coast stretches for over 160 kilometres, encompassing towering cliffs, sheltered sandy bays and quaint seaside villages, with much of it lying within the North York Moors National Park.
One of the most popular towns to visit is Whitby, with its busy fishing harbour and cobbled old town. Swing by the many independent shops where you’ll come across everything from traditional sweets to jewellery made from precious Whitby jet. However, the town’s most iconic feature is its ruined abbey which overlooks the town and the coast. For the best views, take a walk up the 199 steps featured in Bram Stoker’s Dracula to reach its Gothic remains.
Just a short drive down the coast from Whitby is Robin Hood’s Bay. Dating back to the 15th century, this village was once a hub for smuggling thanks to its labyrinth of narrow cobbled alleyways. Although the days of pirates and smuggling are long gone, head out on your own adventure down through the village to the beach below, passing 17th-century fishermen’s cottages, cosy pubs and fish and chip shops along the way.
Scarborough is Britain’s oldest seaside resort, and holiday makers have flocked here since the 1700s. Many of the town’s buildings and attractions along the seafront date back to the Victorian era, including Peasholm Park and the gorgeous Scarborough Spa building, where you can catch outdoor concerts. When the sun is out (and it does get sunny up north), you’ll want to spend most of your time on the two golden beaches. South Bay can get busy in the summer months, with amusement arcades and ice cream parlours, while North Bay is much quieter and an ideal spot for surfing.
Montpellier Mews in Harrogate
On the edge of the rolling hills of Nidderdale sits the elegant spa town of Harrogate. Delve into its heritage with a visit to its Turkish baths, one of the town’s main attractions. Housed in a lovely Victorian building, the baths have been a place of relaxation and rejuvenation for over 120 years. Pamper yourself with heated rooms, steam rooms and a range of spa treatments within luxurious interiors.
Once you feel refreshed, take a stroll through the Montpellier Quarter and swing by the many stylish boutiques, antique stores and artisanal shops. There are plenty of swanky cocktail bars if you want to grab a drink, but if you’re feeling peckish, then the famous Bettys Tea Room serves up a delicious traditional afternoon tea.
Harrogate has a packed schedule of events which take place throughout the year, so it’s worth checking the calendar before you visit. There’s something for everyone here, whether it’s the Harrogate Flower Show, the Great Yorkshire Show, the Harrogate Comedy Festival or the Harrogate Literary Festival.
With awe-inspiring countryside on your doorstep, a stay in Harrogate means you’re well-positioned for day trips to see places like Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden, where you’ll find elegant ornamental lakes surrounded by ancient ruins. Brimham Rocks is another fun day out, especially if you’re visiting with younger kids, as they can run around and explore the giant rock formations.
York City Walls with a view to the cathedral York Minster in Yorkshire, England
But it’s not just towns and villages in this part of England – there are also plenty of thriving cities which make for a great option when looking for somewhere to stay in Yorkshire. One of the best ones to visit is York. This historic city is a popular destination, and with its stunning architecture, cultural heritage and old cobbled streets, it’s easy to see why.
Surrounding the city, York’s ancient walls date back to the 13th century. Take a walk along them to see the city from different angles. You can start the walk from any point, but we recommend the entrance from Barker Tower on the River Ouse for wonderful views of the river and the Ouse Bridge.
Exit the walls and meander through the streets to the Shambles, one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval shopping streets. It’s like something out of a postcard, with its crooked timbered buildings home to cafes and shops selling everything from artisan chocolate to clothes and gifts.
Just around the corner is the grandiose York Minster, a soaring Gothic cathedral which is over 800 years old. Step inside and marvel at the handcrafted stone features, the ornate ceiling and the magnificent stained glass window. Guided tours offer the chance to explore the cathedral’s hidden spaces, or if you fancy a little workout, why not climb the 275 steps up to the Central Tower for unrivalled views of the city?
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