1 August is Yorkshire Day. What better excuse to visit a few of our favourite places in ‘God’s Own Country’, and indulge in some typically Yorkshire experiences?
1. Steam through stunning countryside
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway was planned by the great George Stephenson in 1831 and carries more passengers than any other heritage line in Britain. Enjoy beautiful views of the heather-cloaked moors from your carriage window, and stop off at picture-perfect stations, restored to their 1920s and 1930s glory.
2. Amble down the Shambles in York
Lined with atmospheric 14th-century buildings, The Shambles is arguably the best-preserved medieval street in the world. The surrounding maze of twisting lanes alleys is charming too, filled with tempting independent shops, and just steps away is magnificent York Minster, one of the world’s most historic cathedrals.
3. Walk in the Dales
Whether you’re looking for a gentle stroll through rolling countryside or a more challenging hike across wild moorland, the Dales won’t disappoint. It receives more than 3 million day visitors every year, and has many miles of well-signposted footpaths. Take in the dramatic waterfalls of Aysgill Force and Hardraw Force; pause your walk for a spot of wild swimming around Grassington; or take lungfuls of fresh air in the lush green Swaledale valley.
4. Indulge in a local speciality
Did you know that there’s a 9-square-mile area of West Yorkshire known as the rhubarb triangle? The rhubarb season may be coming to an end, but never fear: Noble Isle, the heritage-accented British bathing brand, has a rhubarb-themed line, the Rhubarb Rhubarb! Collection (the rhubarb is sourced from a sixth-generation farm in the Yorkshire triangle), so you can indulge all year round.
5. Follow in Captain Cook’s footsteps
The explorer Captain James Cook was born in Yorkshire, and following in his footsteps makes an enjoyable themed tour. Climb Roseberry Topping, a conical hill that Cook often scampered up in childhood; take a scenic trip on the Bark Endeavour, a smaller replica of Cook’s ship, around Whitby harbour; salute Cook’s memorial statue in Whitby; and visit pretty Staithes, where the young Cook used to work before embarking on a life at sea.
6. Tuck into fish & chips in Whitby
With its atmospheric ruined abbey, Dracula connections and old-world cobbled streets, Whitby is a must-visit. It’s also one of the best places in Yorkshire (and, we’d venture, in the country) for that seaside staple, fish & chips. Trenchers of Whitby on the harbourside has been keeping Whitby’s hungry hordes fed with top-quality fish and chips since 1980, and has been voted the UK’s best fish & chip restaurant. With strictly local suppliers (many of whom remain the same as when Trenchers opened), the freshest of fish and seafood, and a characterful and quirky decor, this is the perfect place to refuel before climbing the steep hill to Whitby Abbey.
7. Visit one of Britain’s greatest stately homes
Castle Howard near York is a majestic historic house on a mind-boggling scale. Fans of the Netflix hit Bridgerton might recognise it as Daphne Bridgerton’s marital home, but in real life it’s home to the Howard family (as it has been for the last 300 years). It was the first house that John Vanbrugh, a dramatist, designed (with the help of Nicholas Hawksmoor), and it’s a triumph. Vanbrugh’s palatial Baroque design is tempered by a more coolly Palladian style (the house took a hundred years to build, during which time fashions changed), giving its façade a fascinating mix of styles. The house is surrounded by 1,000 acres of parkland, which include a pretty walled garden, temples, lakes and fountains.
8. Have afternoon tea at Bettys
The first Bettys tearoom opened in 1919. Just over a century later, they’re an institution. The first of what’s now a mini chain of tearooms opened in Harrogate, and the original is still the best. The elegant afternoon tea is served in the Imperial Room, accompanied by a live pianist, and is as indulgent as you could wish for, with gourmet pastries served on a tiered silver cake stand and your leaf tea poured into a fine bone china cup.