Things to do in Yorkshire in winter

Beaches, Coastal, Days out, Seasonal

Posted by Clare Willcocks on 7th January 2022

Things to do in Yorkshire in winter

Yorkshire wears winter well, like a sleek coat. Snow transforms rural regions and the beautiful scenery gains an extra layer of sparkle, with peaceful white fields, deserted beaches, and dramatic castles towering into the frosty sky. We’ve gathered together a few suggestions for things to do in Yorkshire over the winter months. There's no need to hide inside, just dress for the weather with layers of cosy coats and jumpers so that nothing can stop you from exploring during your Yorkshire winter holiday. 

Yorkshire has many all-weather visitor attractions that are open all year round too, as well as an abundance of cities with museums and amazing shopping experiences. Try a day out in Sheffield or York, and you will be surprised at what you could find. Discover Yorkshire in our helpful guide to inspire your winter trip further. We think the best way to get to know these cities and the fascinating counties of North, South, East, and West Yorkshire is to stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages. Click on the button below to discover your perfect place to stay this winter.

Visit our Yorkshire cottages


Brave some winter walks

Brave some winter walks

Taking a winter walk in the countryside provides a feast for the eyes, from pretty little villages which look like they’re straight out of the Kate Winslet film, The Holiday, to the snow sprinkled hills and dales of the North York Moors. The Yorkshire Dales are at their most spectacular at this time of year. The sun sits low in the sky and the dry stone walls which criss-cross the landscape take on the orange hues of the winter light. Crisp, cold days when the ground is free of snow are perfect for cycling. Put your best foot forward and discover every inch of this winter wonderland on two feet, the best way to see the beauty of the natural world. 

As you probably know, Yorkshire has a long coastline so take a walk along the long-distance Cleveland Way with a sea view to try on for size! Wrap up warm though, those North Sea onshore winds are bracing in the winter! For even more winter days and walks in the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, take a read of our handy blogs.

Fabulous winter walks in Yorkshire:

  • The Cleveland Way: At 109 miles, there are some amazing sections of this trail that wind through Whitby, Flamborough, Staithes and more.
  • Aysgarth Falls: This is a walk best enjoyed after huge rainfall to see the splendid Aysgarth Falls in full flow.
  • River Swale: The Richmond circular walk in North Yorkshire is a winner for views of the majestic Richmond Castle and woodlands.

Yorkshire Dales walkers' retreats


Treat yourself to a city break in York

Treat yourself to a city break in York

After Christmas when the dazzling fairy lights of the festive markets have faded, the atmospheric streets of York keep the magic alive, offering a fantastic blend of boutique shops, cosy restaurants, and tearooms where you can enjoy a nice hot cuppa on a chilly day in The Shambles and around Parliament Street. York is home to York Minster, one of England's most outstanding examples of Gothic architecture and a few excellent museums like the JORVIK Viking Centre, York Dungeons where you can discover the curious and occasionally dark history of the city. Outside the city, you can visit Rawcliffe Bar Country Park for open spaces and ordered beauty. There's so much to see on a winter city break to York.

Winter holiday highlights in York:

  • Christmas market: Known locally as the St Nicholas Fair, York's Christmas market is a must for festive food and drink, and bespoke fancy goods.
  • York City Walls Trail: York's city walls date back some 700 years and you can walk much of their length along a pathway first restored in the late 1800s.
  • Clfford's Tower: This curious citadel (almost the only remains of York Castle) sits atop a green escarpment close to the middle of York.

City breaks in York


Explore the Yorkshire coast

Explore the Yorkshire coast

Winter can’t be allowed to pass by without a mention of the awe-inspiring Yorkshire coast. It is an ideal season for bird watching, with a huge variety of our feathered friends to be found on rocky crags and otherwise deserted beaches. One of the top winter beach destinations along this coastline is the famous and dramatic seaside town of Whitby. On a cold winter’s day, it’s not hard to see how the gothic Whitby Abbey, towering forebodingly on the cliff top, provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’.

Seize the opportunity to take a break in one of our cottages in Yorkshire this winter and benefit from some great out-of-season prices! If you’d like to head elsewhere in the north for a lovely winter break, we also have cottages in Northumberland and cottages in Lancashire.

Coastal towns and villages in Yorkshire to visit this winter:

  • Scarborough: Scarborough is the place for a traditional English seaside holiday. It has a lovely long promenade and a sandy beach to enjoy.
  • Filey: Home to 5 miles of gorgeous unspoilt sandy beaches that are just perfect for winter walks.
  • Robin Hood's Bay: Eye-catching coastal location that is a superb spot to take a coastal walk. It stands at one end of the Coast-to-Coast Trail.

Coastal cottages in Yorkshire


Investigate Yorkshire's museums

Investigate Yorkshire's museums

For even more things to do this winter in Yorkshire, then look no further. A day trip to a Yorkshire museum is a great way to get out of the cold if the weather takes a downward turn. Museums are always full to the brim with interesting objects and intriguing stories to match. If you’re enjoying a city break to York, Leeds, or Sheffield, there's a fine selection of wonderful museums you can visit to uncover Yorkshire’s past, while towns and villages throughout the region offer surprising museums you might like to make a trip to as well. Yorkshire has an intriguing mixture of museums from ancient history at the JORVIK Viking Centre, to transport and engineering at the National Railway Museum, and the simply appetizing at York's Chocolate Story.

Interesting museums to visit in Yorkshire this winter:

More indoor attractions in Yorkshire


Hunt down some film and TV locations in Yorkshire

Hunt down some film and TV locations in Yorkshire

If you love the movies, some interesting days out in Yorkshire in winter could be spent seeking out some film and TV locations. Yorkshire is a beautiful region filled with prime movie real estate. It has appeared in many blockbusters, popular TV shows, and art-house movies frequently since the birth of cinema. Literary adaptations feature dominantly in our list of locations. 

Film locations to visit in Yorkshire:

  • The Railway Children: This classic for film lovers of all ages. It was filmed at Oakworth Station on the Worth & Keighley Line back in the 1970s. A sequel is due in 2022-23.
  • Last Tango in Halifax: This popular series is filmed in and around Halifax in West Yorkshire as well as The Calderdale Way, Hebden Bridge, and Ladstone Rock.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one): Malham Cove is a dramatic and easily accessible natural beauty spot used as a backdrop for the onscreen wizardry in one of the final Harry Potter film adaptations.

More film locations in Yorkshire


Hop aboard the North York Moors Railway

Hop aboard the North York Moors Railway

See the sights from the comfort of a steam train on the North York Moors Railway trundling over the idyllic landscape of Yorkshire’s coastal moorland. This is an upland region of the National Park tipped with pink heather during summer and July, but snowy with dramatic skies during the winter months, making it the ideal place to take in spectacular scenery any time of year. Winter is the best time for a ride on the steam train though, as you can make the most of this cosy mode of travel by enjoying a cuppa and cake with the family or doodling the landscape on a sketch pad while the weather is less than favourable outside. 

Retreat to the North York Moors


Visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the largest outdoor art 'galleries' in Europe. In winter, the park and its exhibits are transfigured, the starkness of winter offers a beautiful blank canvas in which you can admire the creations on a walk through the chilly air before popping into the on-site café or tearoom to warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Discover fairy folk hiding among the flora and magnificent abstracts that that tower above you. Look out for myths and legends in art form before venturing inside to see paintings if there's an indoor gallery. To visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, stay in one of our cottages near Wakefield. 

Wakefield holiday cottages


Stay at a self-catering cottage in Yorkshire this winter

Head to Yorkshire in winter to make the most of this impressive part of the UK, walking the well-trodden trails of the Yorkshire Dales or uncovering curiosities in York's museums, and enjoy an unforgettable holiday. Whether visiting for Christmas or as a wonderful start to the New Year, you'll have a fantastic time. Visit our range of holiday cottages in Yorkshire and find your ideal base for a winter break. 

Browse Yorkshire cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.