Things to do in Yorkshire

From daffodil-carpeted moors to quaint seaside towns, Yorkshire has a few surprises in store for visitors on a weekend break

With its rugged moors, cobbled towns, historic mills and ancient artefacts, Yorkshire is full of magical and inspiring places to visit on a short break. It’s a breath of fresh air for visitors from busy cities – anyone up for a hilly trudge will be rewarded with incredible views and comforting pubs to recover in. Tours of the Yorkshire moors and the surrounding picturesque countryside are also on offer from knowledgeable guides so you can see the best of Yorkshire with some great Yorkshire hospitality.

Are you ready for takeoff?

While Doncaster may be best known for its horse racing and Railway history, it also has a rich heritage in the aviation world, including playing host to the UK’s first Airshow in 1909! Based on the site of the former RAF Doncaster and Doncaster Airport the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum is home to a varied collection of aircraft the very first days of flight right up to modern fighter jets. Recent History also plays a major part at the Museum with the UK’s largest permanent display commemorating the Falklands War of 1982, including many aircraft which flew during the war including a captured Argentine fighter jet and helicopter! Also home to a range of jets, civil aircraft, helicopters and iconic aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet, Cessna 172, Whirlwind helicopter and a Vulcan Bomber cockpit. Open year round, the open cockpit events are a particular treat for anyone wanting to climb inside these aircraft!

A touch of trainspotting

Yorkshire is proper old railway country. The more you learn about old locomotives, the more infectious an enthusiasm for trains becomes – trust us. Your first stop should be the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a charming old steam line, run by volunteers. It runs across 18 miles of the North York Moors National Park and you can dine on board, Poirot-style, then jump off at Goathland Station, which you might recognise from ITV’s Heartbeat and as the location of Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter Films.

Middleton Railway is the oldest working railway in the world, founded in 1758. On its tracks runs a lovely old steam chugger, going to Middleton Park where you can disembark to explore ancient woodland and a pretty lake.

If that’s stoked your love of all things locomotive, then head to the National Railway Museum in York, which has a fascinating collection of royal carriages from the last century.

Off to the races!

If you’re staying in the picturesque countryside of Yorkshire for the weekend during race season, why not get your glad-rags on head over to Pontefract race course for a thrilling day at the races. Arrive early to get your best bets and the best seats in the house before settling down with some great tasting food and drink to enjoy amongst the buzzing atmosphere. From the season opening, to the season finale there’s always something to see- check their website for a full events list.

Spring brings a host of golden daffodils

The Farndale Daffodil Walk is just breathtaking – and an unmissable thing to do on a spring visit to Yorkshire. The bulbs, which flower in their thousands in March and April, are said to have been planted by monks from the nearby Rievaulx Abbey, and carpet 3.5 miles of beautiful Yorkshire countryside. The walk takes in the banks of the River Dove and will leave you full of the joys of spring.

Have your breath taken away at York Minster

This stunning building is the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, and is widely credited as an example of medieval architecture at its very best. If you’re feeling sprightly, you can take on the 275 steps up the tower for the best view of York to see crooked rooftops, winding cobbled lanes and the rolling moors beyond. While you’re there, have a look at the 15th-century choir screen, with its 15 statues of England’s kings, from William I to Henry VI. Look behind the altar to the Great East Window – the largest medieval window in the world, and a sobering work depicting the beginning and end of the world.


An exceedingly odd adventure at the Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner near Leyburn was first designed in 1979 as a private folly by Colin Armstrong OBE, on his own land. Over the following decade, he created one of England’s strangest gardens – a labyrinthine network of tunnels, grottos and chambers. It’s a fun and very funny place to take the kids – especially ones who’ve had their fill of the occasionally bleak expanse of the moors. Pre-booking is essential – it’s very popular.

See the sea at Staithes

Seaside towns don’t get much lovelier than Staithes, one of Yorkshire’s best-kept secrets. It’s a little fishing cove, tucked between Whitby and Saltburn, with cobbled lanes and pretty cottages. But although it’s small, it packs a lot of cultural punch – the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage in September sees the town’s many artists gather for talks, workshops and exhibitions, as well as guided walks that take in all the many nooks and crannies.

Take a date to the drive-in

Make like the cast of Grease and see a film in your car. Moonlight Drive-In Cinema in York shows family-friendly and blockbuster films on a big screen outside the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet. Book a ticket and roll up in your car – you tune your radio to a frequency given to you by the cinema for the sound, and watch the evening’s film from the comfort of your front seat. If it’s a warm evening, and you have a convertible – so much the better!

Upper Wensleydale waterfall

Take the opportunity to see some of Yorkshire’s natural waterfalls. Near the village of Aysgarth, the river Ure tumbles over limestone steps, forming the Aysgarth Falls. The waterfalls are one of the Wensleydale area’s most famous beauty spots and featured in the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

If you like the sound of what this destination has to offer, take a look at our hotel options in Yorkshire and see it all for yourself.