Top things to do in Yorkshire

Days out, Activity

Posted by Courtney Kelly on 7th December 2022

The vibrant North York Moors

With Yorkshire being the largest county in the UK, it’s little surprise that there is plenty to keep you occupied when staying in one of our self-catering Yorkshire holiday cottages.

The fun things to do in Yorkshire are seemingly endless, so we’ve compiled all our Yorkshire tourist attraction articles in one easy location so you can browse them at your leisure. Whether you want to go off walking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, hit the beach for a surf or find activities for the kids, scrolling below is the best dress rehearsal for discovering Yorkshire.

If you already have a good idea of what the best days out in Yorkshire entail, click the button and find a self-catering cottage to stay in.

Yorkshire cottages

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Yorkshire beaches

Surfing in Yorkshire

The best places to go surfing in Yorkshire

The north of England isn’t always the first place that springs to mind when you think of surfing, but the Yorkshire coast is, without a doubt, one of the best places to surf in the UK. With a stretch of shore that sports some of the UK’s finest beaches, you will find some terrific surfing conditions along the east coast should you decide to suit up. The water may not be as blue as it is further south but that doesn’t put the locals off, with this one-time hidden gem now a mecca for surfers all over the UK.

Top surfing beaches in Yorkshire:

  • Cayton Bay – with three breaks available, you could easily spend the day here
  • Scarborough – choose from either North Beach or South Beach, with the former being better for more experienced surfers
  • Whitby – perfect waves for beginners, plus you can visit the abbey while you’re here

The best places to go surfing in Yorkshire

Best beaches on the Yorkshire coast

The best beaches in Yorkshire

If you’re looking for days out in Yorkshire on the coast but you forgot your board, fear not as there are some enviable beaches in this part of the UK that will leave you wanting for nothing. Some are made up of beautiful pebbles, perfect for those of you that feel that sand can get just about anywhere. And some are great for a classic bucket-and-spade day out, building sandcastles and writing your name in the sand. Pastel-coloured beach huts, piers, arcades and fish and chips accompany these natural wonders, so what are you waiting for?

Top beaches in Yorkshire:

  • Bridlington – ‘Brid’, as the locals call it, has two sprawling beaches to choose from
  • Sandsend – a sand and shingle beach that extends all the way to Whitby
  • Runswick Bay – a beautiful sandy beach by one of the prettiest villages on the Yorkshire coast

The best beaches in Yorkshire

A corgi chasing a ball on a beach

The best dog-friendly beaches in Yorkshire

Yorkshire beaches are a fantastic destination for a game of fetch, and with so many of them on offer, your four-footed friend will never have to lay their paws on the same stretch of sand twice. Some dog-friendly beaches in Yorkshire impose restrictions on the sandy fun you’re allowed to have, but we’ve rounded up the best beaches with no canine constraints so you don’t have to think twice about where your furry pal can dig for bones or splash in the waves. So, grab the lead and your excited pup and head out on your sandy adventure!

Top dog-friendly beaches in Yorkshire:

  • Flamborough, North Landing – a marvel of a beach, white cliffs and azure waters make this a must-visit
  • Kettleness Beach – an off-the-beaten-path beach that will reward you if you can make it down the steep trail
  • Marske Sands – a wonderful long stretch of sand, perfect for zoomies

The best dog-friendly beaches in Yorkshire

Things for children in Yorkshire

Children playing in a field

Things to do with kids in Yorkshire

It goes without saying that if you’re looking for things to do in Yorkshire with the kids, the coastline and beaches are great options. However, there’s so much more for you and your children to do in this action-packed county. From the self-proclaimed ‘Strangest Place in the World’ (Forbidden Corner) and exploring caves and mines to climbing through the treetops and going on a chocolate tour, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly Yorkshire attractions to keep everyone entertained. And don’t forget the zoos and theme parks too – you’re really going to need at least a fortnight to make your way through our entire list.

Top things to do with kids in Yorkshire:

  • Go Ape – unleash your inner Tarzan and try out this thrilling aerial adventure
  • Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park – perfect for kids aged 2-13, this park has a great selection of rides and shows
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Park – the walk-through enclosures provide the opportunity to get up close with the animals

The best things to do with kids in Yorkshire

A child wearing a Viking helmet

Things to do with kids on a rainy day in Yorkshire

You’ve come on holiday with the family. You’ve brought your sunglasses, flip-flops and shorts. You’re gearing up for a day out in the sun…and then the heavens open! We all know how the British weather can be, therefore it’s essential to have a Plan B, especially if the kids are in tow. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. With our 20 best things to do in the rain with the kids, you’ll be all set, no matter what their mood or preference. Things like go-karting, interactive museums, climbing walls and an ice-skating rink will be sure to tucker the little bairns out before you head back to your cosy cottage.

Top things to do with kids on a rainy day in Yorkshire:

  • Xscape Yorkshire – home of England’s largest real snow slope, bowling, a trampoline park, a cinema and so, so much more
  • Jorvik Viking Centre – an exciting walk back in time including sights, sounds and even smells
  • Huddersfield Splash Park – flumes, slides and a lazy river…is this better than the sea?

The best things to do with kids on a rainy day in Yorkshire

Yorkshire walks

Ingleborough in the Dales

12 beautiful walks in the Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales is overflowing with magnificent places to wander, stroll, hike and saunter. You’re truly spoilt for choice, with a landscape encompassing moorland, mountains, rivers and coastline. You might fancy a short amble or perhaps you’re an experienced rambler; you may have the kids in tow or maybe you’re just one man and his dog – whatever your preference, the Yorkshire Dales can provide you with an uplifting, spirit-enlightening walk that will make you forget about all gadgets you left at your holiday cottage. Breathe in deep that Yorkshire air.

Top Yorkshire Dales walks

  • Malham Cove – an easy ‘Miles Without Stiles’ walk that’s perfect for children, small dogs and the elderly
  • River Wharfe: Bolton Abbey circular – a moderate walk, beautiful in its simplicity, that takes in a ruined priory, pretty stepping stones and some woods
  • Whernside – this challenging walk takes you up the highest of the Three Peaks and offers views of the Lake District and even Blackpool Tower (if you have binoculars!)

12 beautiful walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Coastal walks in Yorkshire

The best coastal walks in Yorkshire

The sea and other elemental forces took thousands of years to craft and forge the beauty of the Yorkshire coastline, so it’s only right that you take your time to discover some of the beguiling intricacies of the walks on this part of north-east England. Pick up sections of the famed 109-mile-long Cleveland Way and pass a bevy of quaint fishing villages along the way, following in the footsteps of Captain Cook and Dracula. Next, grab some fish and chips before going on the search for fossils and smugglers’ caves – whatever treasures you find, monotony won’t be among them.

Top coastal walks in Yorkshire:

  • Flamborough Head Circular – an easy loop, full of sea birds, that will take you along some delightful white cliffs
  • Staithes to Port Mulgrave circular – a moderate walk starting and ending in a photogenic village and taking in woodlands and a nature reserve
  • Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay – a challenging hike through the magnificent coastline and countryside of the North York Moors National Park

6 of the best coastal walks in Yorkshire

Rivers in Yorkshire

The best Yorkshire river walks

If you love a waterside toddle but prefer that water to meander rather than lap or wave, then river walks could be right up your (v)alley! Yorkshire is home to many famous rivers, which, like their salty sea counterparts, have sculpted and moulded the landscape into what you see before you today. As you pace the banks of the Swale, Nidd and Wharfe (amongst others), you’ll have the opportunity to spot wildlife, chase waterfalls and marvel at some manmade wonders, including 18th-century locks hailed as one of the ‘seven wonders of the waterways’.

Top Yorkshire river walks:

  • River Swale: Richmond circular – walk through woodlands and wildflower meadows before taking in the sight of Richmond Castle
  • River Ure: Aysgarth Falls – a visit to these famous falls after heavy rain is a must
  • River Rivelin: Rivelin Valley walk – a South Yorkshire walk that includes a waterfall and exciting stepping stones to cross

16 of the best Yorkshire river walks

Getting out and about in Yorkshire

The best outdoor activities in Yorkshire

Indeed, we’ve already covered many activities and things to do outdoors in Yorkshire, however, our blog here brings them all together in one handy place. Surfing and walking have already been indulged, but we’ve got so many more activities for you to try out, whether you want to have a fun family experience or you’d rather leave the kids with Nana and Pop and strike out with your friends or your other half. There’s coasteering and wild swimming for the water babies, or high wiring and cycling for the adventure seekers. And if you prefer to take it slow, how about a leisurely walk with a friendly llama?

Top outdoor activities in Yorkshire:

  • Wild swimming – strip down to your undies and jump into the plunge pool of a waterfall
  • Coasteering – a different way to plunge, climb a craggy rock face and then hurl yourself into the sea
  • Llama trekking – with a llama matched to you based on your personality, is this the perfect walking companion?

The best outdoor activities in Yorkshire

Scenic Yorkshire at sunset

Literary and film days out in Yorkshire

You won’t need an excuse to visit the luscious landscape and coastline of Yorkshire, but just in case you require another reason to get out and explore (or perhaps you want to motivate the children to put down the Switch or tablet), we’ve compiled a blockbuster list of literary and film locations in Yorkshire. With the scenery being what it is and the county’s industrial history holding such fascination, it’s little surprise that so many British masterpieces have been set here. There truly is something for every generation with stars of the screen travelling to Yorkshire to film the likes of Dad’s Army, Emmerdale and even Harry Potter!

Top literary and film locations in Yorkshire:

  • Harry Potter – pattern yourself after Harry when you visit Hogsmeade, aka the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
  • Downton Abbey – with numerous Yorkshire locations used in the filming of this award-winning period drama, you’ll need more than a day to visit them all
  • Bronte Country – visit Haworth, home to the Bronte sisters and inspiration for several novels

Literary and film locations in Yorkshire

High tide during a Yorkshire winter

Things to do in Yorkshire in winter

We agree that snuggling up by the wood burner in your cosy socks with a mug of cocoa/mulled wine is a fine way to spend an evening/entire day. However, Yorkshire is a magical place in the winter, and it would be a waste to not experience its enticing gifts during the brumal season. A county partial to a spot of snow, Yorkshire won’t give you the cold shoulder when it comes to wintry attractions and things to do. From walks along uninhabited beaches and railway journeys through the icy landscape to Christmas markets and all-weather days out, you may get cold hands, but you’ll leave with a warm heart.

Top things to do in Yorkshire in winter:

  • York Christmas Market – try a Yorkshire pudding beer or finish your gift shopping at one of the 70 alpine chalets
  • Royal Pump Room Museum – a cafe that only sold water and reeked of sulphur?? You had our curiosity, now you have our attention
  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway – grab that mug of cocoa you’ve been thinking about whilst sitting back and marvelling at the wintry scenery

Things to do in Yorkshire in winter

A roast dinner inside a huge Yorkshire pudding

Top eateries in Yorkshire

If you’ve been walking the coast and along rivers, in and out of the water surfing, entertaining the kids at theme parks, and emulating Harry, Ron and Hermione, you’re going to need to keep those energy levels up. And when you’re away from your Yorkshire self-catering holiday cottage, pubs, cafes and restaurants become vital. Yorkshire has seven Michelin Star restaurants and too many other eateries to name, so we’ve done our best to round up some of the best in the county, whether you want a light bite or a formal dinner for a special occasion.

Top foodie spots in Yorkshire:

  • Quayside, Whitby – award-winning fish and chips on the harbourside
  • The Endeavour, Staithes – named after Captain Cook’s boat and recently named in the top 3 fish restaurants in the UK by the Sunday Times
  • The Black Swan at Oldstead – a Michelin-starred, 4 AA Rosette restaurant using ingredients grown and foraged in the area

Top places to eat in Yorkshire

Book a Yorkshire holiday cottage today

Whether you’re looking for a luxury cottage in Yorkshire for that all-important celebration, a dog-friendly retreat so that Fido won’t miss out, or a place to stay by the coast, we’re here to help make your next Yorkshire getaway a trip to savour for a lifetime. Click below to get browsing.

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.