To say there is something for everyone in North Yorkshire is a huge understatement. North Yorkshire has everything. From the North Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales to the beaches and vibrant cities. Not to mention Herriott country for those of you who were ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ fans. Because of the diverse range of things to do, we’ve summarised some of the best, quirkiest and not-to-be-missed attractions in the area.
Cities and Towns
North Yorkshire has some of the most beautiful cities to explore. You could easily spend a whole day in each of them.
York has been around since the first century and was the second city to London during medieval times so evidence of its history can literally be found around every corner. York Minster is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe and a very impressive sight whilst York Castle will give you amazing views over the city. If you fancied going further back in time, the Jorvik Viking Centre will take you on a ride (literally) to show how the city would have been in the Viking era and the artifacts that have been found there. A walk down The Shambles will really take you back to those medieval times with its cobble pavements and timber framed shops that overhang the street. If you work up an appetite you can’t leave York without a trip to Betty’s Tea Rooms for afternoon tea (or at least a cup of tea and a piece of cake!) If trains are your thing, the National Railway Museum is free to enter and has the biggest collection of trains through history in the world. Together with the numerous exhibitions, demonstrations and rides this is a day out in itself.
If you’re looking for places to camp during your visit to York, Crockey Hill Caravan Site is only 10 minutes drive into York, though if you wanted to be Campervan free for the day, there is a bus stop right outside the entrance that will take you into the heart of York. It’s also located on 2 of the National Cycling Networks routes if you wanted to enjoy the fresh Yorkshire air. Yorkshire Heart Vineyard is a 35 acre rural site only a shirt drive to York and other attractions like Harrogate…
Harrogate is a Victorian Spa Town seeped in history. Follow in the footsteps of our Victorian ancestors, who flocked to Harrogate to bath in its health giving natural springs. The spa experience is still very much available albeit with a 21st century update. The Turkish Baths were first built in 1897 and is Britain’s most fully restored Victorian Turkish Baths-maintaining the original Moorish design and Italian floor tiles. With many relaxation packages available this is definitely worth checking out.
If food and drink are your thing, check out the Yorkshire Appetite Food Tours and be immersed in Harrogate’s thriving independent food scene or pop in to the Harrogate Brewing Company to sample their brew right next to the brewing vessels! Whilst it’s a little further outside of Harrogate itself, the Black Sheep Brewery is definitely worth a visit for those partial to a pint and/or tasty Yorkshire food. As well as a bar and restaurant it also has a brewery tour which shows you the processes and history of this famous brewing company.
You’ll also be pleased to know Harrogate is home to Betty’s Tea Rooms (as well as York) so you really have no excuse not to sample what is possibly the finest and most famous afternoon tea in the country!
In the surrounding Harrogate District there are many more interesting places to visit,including the Ripon Law and Order Museums. These are 3 museums based in the workhouse, prison and courthouse buildings, all within walking distance and the city centre.
Camping-wise, Rudding Holiday Park in Harrogate is an award winning site in close proximity to not only Harrogate but Castle Howard, Fountains Abbey and Boltons Abbey with York itself being only 40 minutes drive away. The site offers a number of facilities including a heated swimming pool, adventure playground and pub.
Whitby is a former whaling harbour, with the ruins of the Abbey rumoured to have inspired Bram Stoker for his arrival of Dracula. With many buildings in the town being listed and a museum to Captain James Cook, there’s more than just a beach to keep you occupied. If you fancy getting some sea air, jump aboard the Bark Endeavour (Captain Cook Experience) or try your hand at surfing at the local surf school. Don’t forget to enjoy some smoked kippers from Whitby’s oldest and original Smokehouse, Fortunes, and fish and chips from the famous before you leave!
It will come as no surprise to you that there are plenty of campsites in the area. Broadings Farm is just a mile away from Whitby with the site being on a working sheep farm. Also available is self catering accommodation for if you wanted to holiday with friends or family that don’t appreciate the cosiness of a night spent in a Campervan! The award winning Sandfield House Farm is situated on the coast, with most pitches enjoying a sea view. A mile away from Whitby and half a mile from a sandy beach the only thing making it even better is that there is also self catering accommodation on site.
Scarborough was made the popular seaside destination it is today by the Victorians and evidence of them is all around – particularly in the promenade that connects the North and South of the sandy bay. Whilst the South bay has many amenities and is popular with families, together with a small working harbour, the North bay is backed with hills, cliffs and Scarborough Castle. It is also home to the North Bay Railway, a 3/4 mile railway line through the North bay offering stunning views of the castle and bay itself. The Sealife Centre is just outside the town centre for if the weather takes a turn for the worst. There’s also many cafes, restaurants and tea rooms to discover as well as the usual amusement arcades on the South Bay promenade.
As with Whitby, there are lots of campsites around Scarborough. Cayton Village Club Site is located 3 miles from Scarborough and 1 mile from the beautiful Cayton Bay. As well as a play area and playground, some pitches have free Wifi and TV booster point, for those who like a few extra creature comforts. Scarborough Camping and Caravanning Club Site has an on-site fish and chip shop. Need we say more? OK, you’ll probably also want to know the beach is short walk away and the two Scarborough bays are around 1.5 miles away. Great for children and dogs alike, with a play park, recreation room and football pitch as well as a designated dog walk and exercise field.
Robin Hood’s Bay is a seafront village set on the dinosaur coast so keep a look out for fossils in the local shale rock. The sandy beach, when the tide is out, is vast. The Bay was once used by fisherman and smugglers so there are many narrow, twisting cobbled streets to explore. Robin Hood’s Bay is conveniently located near Whitby so any of those campsites will leave you within just a short drive to the Bay.
The Yorkshire Dales
The Dales are a week-long holiday destination in themselves with so many walks, caves and views to be discovered and enjoyed.
Castles and Abbeys are not in short supply, with Bolton, Richmond, Ripley and Skipton all boasting fine examples of castles to explore. Bolton Abbey has a host of different things to explore: from the priory church and ruins, to the famous stepping stones, woodland and beach at the side of the river. Fountains Abbey also has the ancient abbey ruins but boasts an awe-inspiring water garden for you to explore.
Railway enthusiasts can enjoy a short trip on the vintage steam and heritage diesel trains of the Embsay to Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. There is also a heritage railway in Wensleydale for you to enjoy.
Adventurers among you will find plenty to do. Howstean Gorge is an outdoor activity centre offering an array of activities including abseiling, canoeing, caving and rock climbing. For those wanting to explore what’s underneath the Dales, Ingleborough Cave, Stump Cross Caverns and White Scar Cave all offer guided tours of the caves.
And just in case you food lovers were getting worried there would be nothing to whet your appetite, fear not! The Wensleydale Creamery offers a restaurant and coffee shop, the Wensleydale experience to see how the famous cheese is made and a shop so you can stock up on this delicious cheese! A short drive from Wensleydale is Aysgarth Falls, a beautiful triple flight of waterfalls famous for their starring role in ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’.
If you’re looking for a bolt hole while you explore the Dales there are some beautiful sites available. The Bolton Abbey Estate Caravan Club Site is set in the Bolton Abbey estate and gives easy access to the 75 miles of footpaths that help you explore the local countryside. Woodhouse Farm Holiday Park is a really family friendly site close to Fountains Abbey with play grounds, fishing lakes, woodland walks, a shop and licensed restaurant. Set in beautiful countryside it is only 30 minutes drive to Harrogate if you wanted a bit of a change of scenery during your stay. Lower Wensleydale Club Site is set in an old quarry and is home to a vast array of wild flowers and animals. Great for dog walking, hiking and less than 30 minutes from the White Scar Caves.
The North York Moors
As if the Dales weren’t beautiful enough, you’re spoilt whilst in North Yorkshire as you can also get out and enjoy the North York Moors. Believe it or not the North York Moors have more trees and woodland than the New Forest so get out there and explore. The woodland is great for dog walking and Dalby Forest has over 70 miles of cycling trails.
Walking is probably first on most people’s list when they think of things to do in the North York Moors. If you don’t really feel confident enough to go it alone there are plenty of guided walks available which will allow you to explore the beautiful area without the fear of getting lost. For those of you wanting to go it alone, here’s 6 of the most classic walks you can do to really see what the Moors have to offer.
Railway lovers will not be disappointed with the North York Moors Railway with its heritage steam engines travelling the 24 miles from Pickering to Whitby.
There’s so much more to see and do on the Moors that we just can’t list them all. But chances are, if it’s an outdoor pursuit it’ll be available so jump on t’internet and have a search.
Where you camp on the Moors really depends on where you’re wanting to explore. Grassington and Pickering are both good bases for setting up camp and the sites at Westgate Carr Farm and Black Bull Caravan Park near Pickering and Wharfedale Caravan Club Site near Grassington are all worth a look.