Top outdoor activities in Yorkshire

Days out, Activity, Cycling, Walking, Watersports

Posted by Kate A on 1st August 2022

Outdoor activities in Yorkshire

With its three national parks along with three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, outdoor activities in Yorkshire are sure to provide stunning scenery as well as a variety of excitement and fun. From water sports to more unusual modes of transport, Yorkshire has much to offer those who enjoy activities in the great outdoors.

Whether you fancy wild swimming in waterfalls or trekking the Dales with a llama, read on to discover some of the top outdoor activities in Yorkshire. And if you need somewhere to rest your weary feet in between adventures, have a browse of our holiday cottages in Yorkshire by clicking the button below.

Yorkshire cottages

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Walking in Yorkshire

Three Peaks Challenge Yorkshire

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Whether you wish to take part in an organised event or gather your own large group for a private tour, the 3 Peaks Challenge is a great Yorkshire hike and one which will test your endurance. 

With just 12 hours to complete the challenge, you must climb the formidable peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough before returning to the starting point, whilst experiencing breathtaking views along the way. Go prepared with an Ordnance Survey map, a compass and lots of water and snacks to keep you fuelled.

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Great for: Seasoned walkers

Why we love it: These three epic peaks form part of the Pennine range in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and with a total walking distance of 24 miles, this is certainly one of the best outdoor activities in Yorkshire for those who like a tough challenge. 

Stay nearby at: Chance's Well | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Settle cottages

South Pennines walks

The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival

From gentle rambles and strenuous walks to cycle tours and rock climbing, there are many Yorkshire outdoor activities to enjoy at this jam-packed fortnight festival – there is sure to be a lot of energy and enthusiasm at these fantastic events.

If you fancy a challenge, take on one of the all-day hikes across open heather-covered moorland. If you’d prefer something slower-paced, enjoy a leisurely stroll through Hebden Bridge and discover the secrets of its industrial past. And if you’d like to explore on two wheels, why not enjoy a scenic bike ride from Ogden to Otley? 

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Great for: Trying something new

Why we love it: There’s a myriad of opportunities for traversing the beautiful South Pennines landscape during the festival. You can see the exciting schedule of events for the Walk and Ride Festival here. Outdoor adventures in Yorkshire don't get much better than zipping through the glorious countryside on two wheels!

Stay nearby at: Enchanted Cottage | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog 

Hebden Bridge cottages

Llama Trekking

Llama trekking

For something a little different, why not experience the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales with a llama, specifically chosen to accompany you based on your personality? As seen on Channel 5’s ‘The Yorkshire Vet’, this unique opportunity is something to remember, and has fast become one of the top outdoor attractions in Yorkshire!

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Great for: Animal lovers

Why we love it: From farm experiences that are great for children to full-day treks for the hardened hiker, there are a variety of experiences with Nidderdale Llamas to suit each eager llama trekker, so make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Stay nearby at: Blue Plain Dairy | Sleeps 4

Nidderdale cottages

Adrenaline activities in Yorkshire

High ropes course

Go Ape!

This Yorkshire outdoor attraction in the Dalby Forest is perfect for family fun and adrenalin junkies. Undertake a jaw-dropping treetop adventure, with thrilling zip wires and mesmerising views, watching as your friends and family pull faces of terror at the plunging valley below. If you're looking for outdoor adventures in Yorkshire and exciting days out for kids, few will get the adrenalin flowing like this treetop challenge!

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Great for: Fun-loving families

Why we love it: You can unleash your inner Tarzan as you swing through the forest canopy and tackle 37 crossings of tunnels, high ropes and bridges. At 35 metres high, you’ll certainly need a head for heights! For those who fancy something a little tamer, the park is also home to several all-terrain Segways, perfect for a one-of-a-kind adventure through the 8,000 acres of beautiful woodland.

Stay nearby at: Gateways | Sleeps 5

Pickering cottages

Caving in Yorkshire


When you think of outdoor days out in Yorkshire, caving wouldn't necessarily spring to mind, but for those looking for an adrenalin-filled adventure, caving in Yorkshire offers plenty of excitement deep underground. You might find yourself wading through water, abseiling down a sheer rock face, sliding through mud or climbing tumbling waterfalls. If you don’t mind getting dirty, this is the outdoor activity for you!

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Great for: Adrenaline junkies

Why we love it: From smaller caves where you’ll need to bravely crawl through tight spaces to huge chambers adorned in stalactites and unique rock formations, there’s a range of caves to suit all abilities. Ingleborough Cave, White Scar Cave, and Gaping Gill are all popular choices.

Stay nearby at: The Old Dairy At Johnson House | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Ingleton cottages

Via Ferrata

High wiring

If ascending to great heights is what gets your blood pumping, then you can put yourself to the test on a challenging Via Ferrata in Yorkshire. Located at Stean Gorge in the Yorkshire Dales, this death-defying high-wiring course allows you to scale giant rock faces, swing above the fast-flowing water of the deep gorge and abseil from a bridge. Not one for the faint hearted!

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Great for: Adventure seekers

Why we love it: Cables, ladders and beams crisscross this natural playground and at one point, you pass directly beneath the glass-floored café, so you can bravely wave to your friends and family as they watch your nail-biting adventure from above. When you're on the hunt for Yorkshire outdoor attractions for teenagers to test their mettle, this has to be the top of the list!

Stay nearby at: Bluebell Of Lofthouse | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Pateley Bridge cottages

Water-based activities in Yorkshire

Wild swimming spots in Yorkshire

Wild swim beneath waterfalls 

There are countless opportunities for wild swimming in Yorkshire, all you need is a towel and a sense of adventure. Stainforth Force offers rock ledges which provide great launching pads to dive into the water, Catrigg Force is a magical spot surrounded by woodland, and Janet’s Foss offers a stunning plunge pool which is popular with families. There are also some lovely lakes and rivers which are popular for a refreshing dip, such as the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey and Malham Tarn which is one of the highest lakes in the Dales (and one of the coldest!).

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Great for: Being at one with nature

Why we love it: On a warm, summer’s day, nothing beats the refreshing feeling of dipping into the crystal-clear waters of one of Yorkshire’s waterfalls and there is a wide range and variety of beautiful places to wild swim in this enchanting county.

Stay nearby at: Boo Barn | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs 

Malham Tarn cottages

Surfing in Yorkshire


Did you know that the Yorkshire Coast is rapidly becoming known as one of the best areas for surfing in England? Popular surfing resorts in Yorkshire include Cayton Bay, Scarborough, Saltburn, Bridlington and Whitby. If you’re new to this Yorkshire sport, why not book some lessons at one of the many surf schools dotted along the coast? You’ll also find a wealth of other water sports in Yorkshire available, including paddleboarding, kayaking and windsurfing.

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Great for: Big wave seekers

Why we love it: Whether you’re a novice or an experienced surfer, a holiday in Yorkshire is perfect for donning your wetsuit and hitting the waves. The varied coastline throws up some great surfing conditions that are largely rock-free and free from crowds too.

Stay nearby at: South Crescent | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Yorkshire coast cottages



Another way to experience the dramatic beauty of the Yorkshire Coast is by flinging yourself off it! Coasteering in Yorkshire is an exciting combination of traversing along towering cliff faces, climbing into mysterious gullies, throwing yourself off rock ledges and swimming in the sea amongst curious seals and marine life.

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Great for: Fearless water babies

Why we love it: This is the ultimate adrenalin rush and a chance to explore hidden areas of the coastline that no one else can access. There are lots of companies dotted along the coast that will show you the ropes, including Scarborough Surf School which is based along the Flamborough coast.

Stay nearby at: Victoria Garden Flat | Sleeps 5 + 2 dogs

Scarborough cottages

Cycling in Yorkshire

Cycling in Yorkshire

Cycling is a popular sport in Yorkshire, so much so that they even have their own equivalent of the Tour de France – the Tour de Yorkshire. If you fancy saddling up and embracing the great outdoors, the Way of the Roses, Yorkshire Dales Cycleway, and the York Solar Cycle are just a few of the great cycle trails in Yorkshire that are on offer. You’ll find an assortment of cycle hire companies across the county too if you don’t have your own bike.

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Great for: Seeing the sights

Why we love it: The fantastic variety of cycle trails available in Yorkshire along the rugged coastline, through open moorland surrounded by rolling fields, on challenging country lanes and through thrilling forests is hard to beat!

Stay nearby at: Croft House – Kettlewell | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Yorkshire Dales cottages

Stay with us for outdoor adventures in Yorkshire

If you fancy any of these exciting Yorkshire outdoor activities, our holiday cottages in Yorkshire provide great bases from which to return and relax after an exhausting day of activities. 

From cosy cottages for romantic retreats to big family boltholes filled with entertainment, our self-catering Yorkshire cottages are peppered throughout the county, including the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks. 

Many offer walking trails directly from the door and some offer added luxury treats such as hot tubs and roll-top baths to soothe aching muscles after your adventures.

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.