The 20 Best Things To Do In Yorkshire – Attractions, Sights & Tours

(Last Updated On: February 23, 2023)

Yorkshire is a county in Northern England with a rich history and culture that is celebrated annually on Yorkshire Day on August 1st.

The area has huge variety, with a dramatic coastline, bleak moors, rolling hills, Yorkshire dales, two national parks and numerous historical sites.

The county has been divided into various sub-divisions over time, and has been subject to periodic reform.

Despite these changes, Yorkshire has always been recognized as a geographic territory and cultural region.

The White Rose of the English Royal House of York is the emblem of Yorkshire, and its most commonly used flag is a white rose on a blue background.

Yorkshire is also known for its stunning landscapes, including the Moors and the Peaks, as well as its ancient castles, abbeys, and many family friendly attractions.

Things To Do In Yorkshire

1. National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum located in the heart of historic York, is a world-renowned institution that tells the story of Britain’s rich railway industrial heritage.

It is spread over two floors and has a wide range of interactive exhibits and displays.

The museum boasts an impressive array of over 6000 objects, with around 100 locomotives and rolling stock used to illustrate Britain’s railways innovation.

From early steam engines to the latest high-speed trains, they are some of the most important and iconic locomotives in the world.

Since its opening in 1975, the National Railway Museum has grown to become one of the country’s most visited attractions.

There is also a gift shop selling an extensive range of railway gifts, memorabilia, models and more.

The Museum is free to enter and is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

Address: National Railway Museum, Leeman Rd, York YO26 4XJ, UK

2. North Yorkshire Moors Railway

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a unique heritage railway that offers visitors to North Yorkshire a chance to experience history first-hand.

Opened in 1836 and planned by George Stephenson, the railway was initially created as a trade route between the seaport of Whitby and inland towns and villages.

Despite being closed in 1965, the section between Grosmont and Pickering was reopened in 1973 by the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust Ltd.

Today, it is one of the busiest steam heritage railways with some of the trains dating back as far as Victorian times having been refurbished to their original condition.

One of the best days out in Yorkshire, not only does NYMR offer exhilarating journeys for tourists but also provides essential transport links.

These include services to Whitby and Pickering which also provides opportunities for tourists to explore this beautiful part of England at leisure.

Address: North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Goathland, Whitby YO22 5NF

3. Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an open-air gallery located in West Bretton, West Yorkshire.

Established in 1977, this 500 acres of land has become a highly celebrated outdoor gallery for all to admire.

Featuring works from iconic British and international artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, one can find inspiration amongst the natural environment that encases the park.

This expansive landscape also showcases sculptures from more contemporary artists and installations from institutions around the world.

With over 80 acres of open space to explore, visitors flock to YSP for its captivating beauty and remarkable artworks.

Through various exhibitions, visitors are able to gain insight into the minds of these talented sculptors while engaging with their work through interactive displays and activities.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been an icon of creativity since its inception in 1977, becoming one of Britain’s most beloved cultural attractions while preserving its tremendous natural beauty along the way.

Address: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4LG

4. National Coal Mining Museum

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is a fantastic way to explore the history of the coal mining industry in the UK.

Located at Caphouse Colliery in Overton, West Yorkshire, this museum opened its doors in 1988 as the Yorkshire Mining Museum before being designated as a national museum in 1995.

Visitors to the National Coal Mining Museum can enjoy an immersive and educational experience on a guided tour of an underground mine gallery.

This allows you to get a feel for what miners experienced while they were working, with displays showing how tools and machines developed over time.

Above ground, there are numerous galleries full of photographs, artefacts and stories documenting the social and industrial aspects of mines throughout England.

On site there are also some original features that were once used by miners including pit head baths, a steam winding house, boiler house and more.

The Museum provides a great opportunity for people to discover more about Britain’s fascinating coal mining past.

Address: National Coal Mining Museum, Caphouse Colliery, New Rd, Overton, Wakefield WF4 4RH

5. Mother Shipton’s Cave

Mother Shipton’s Cave is a unique tourist attraction in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

The cave was named after Mother Shipton, a legendary soothsayer and prophetess said to have been born in the cave around 1488.

The cave is also near a petrifying well that holds the distinction of being the oldest tourist attraction to charge a fee in England.

The mysterious cave has gained notoriety for its tales of mystery and wonder, with many visitors seeking out answers to their questions about the future from its depths.

Inside, visitors can find natural wonders such as stalactites and stalagmites that have grown over time.

Along with these formations are other interesting features such as an underground river and hidden passages; some of which were used by Mother Shipton herself during her lifetime.

From its stunning rock formations to its fascinating history, Mother Shipton’s Cave provides a unique experience for tourists who want something more than just an ordinary day trip.

Great for kids in the school holidays with an enchanted wood, giant toadstools, and themed displays.

Address: Mother Shipton’s Cave, Knaresborough HG5 8DD

6. Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire has a storied past.

It is the site of the ruins of a 12th-century Augustinian monastery known as Bolton Priory that was closed during the 1539 Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by King Henry VIII.

The estate surrounding Bolton Abbey is open to visitors and includes many miles of all-weather walking routes as well as a steam railway, making it a great place for both sightseeing and exercise.

Archaeological excavations at the priory have revealed evidence of activity from about 990 AD right up until the dissolution when it was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

Today visitors can explore what remains of the abbey and take advantage of the surrounding countryside, with its beautiful landscapes and wide array of wildlife.

Address: Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD236EX

7. Castle Howard

Castle Howard is a stunning stately home located in North Yorkshire, that has appeared in many TV series and films.

This grand building began to take shape in 1701 and boasts stunning Baroque architecture with exquisite decorative details like coronets, cherubs, urns and cyphers.

The Castle was designed by the renowned architect Sir John Vanbrugh and built over a period of more than 100 years.

Its grounds are filled with beautiful gardens featuring carefully sculpted lawns, vibrant flowering shrubs and ancient trees.

The main house also features an impressive collection of artwork including paintings, sculptures and furniture representing different eras of history.

In 1940, a tragic fire broke out at the Castle causing extensive damage to its structure and contents.

However, its owners set about restoring it soon afterwards using salvaged pieces from its ruins as well as new materials brought in from around the world.

Many of these renovations were made possible through generous contributions from local people who wanted to preserve this majestic building for future generations to enjoy.

Today, visitors can tour the grand halls of Castle Howard and learn about its many secrets and stories from knowledgeable guides or take part in various activities such as bird watching or enjoying afternoon tea on its terrace.

For children and families there is the legendary Outdoor Adventure Playground, Skelf Island, with exciting treetop structures connected by rope bridges, slides, nets, and climbing equipment.

Address: Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA

8. Royal Armouries Museum

A visit to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds is a must for any history lover.

This world-famous museum houses an incredible collection of weapons and armour, spanning centuries of human history.

From suits of armour to swords and daggers, the Royal Armouries has it all.

The museum also hosts special events throughout the year showcasing different aspects of arms and armour such as live performances in full costumes and interactive workshops teaching traditional weapons making techniques.

And with knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions, so you’re sure to learn something new during your visit.

Accessible by foot or via public transport directly opposite Leeds station, visitors can enter at Armouries Square through its grand entrance hall.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, the museum is well worth a visit, so make sure you add it to your list of things to do in Yorkshire!

Address: Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT

9. Sheffield Botanical Gardens

The Sheffield Botanical Gardens is a 19-acre garden built in 1836 and home to over 5,000 plant species in 18 different planting areas.

This is an excellent place to take a walk year-round, but especially in spring and summer when so many flowers are blooming.

The historic glass pavilions include plants from Australia, South America, and Asia and are well worth a visit.

Some of the other highlights include the Victorian Garden and Four Seasons Garden, which are colourful throughout the year, and the absolutely amazing Woodland Garden planted with Japanese Maples.

This is a wonderful day out for the whole family and it’s free entry!

Address: Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Clarkehouse Rd, Broomhall, Sheffield S10 2LN

10. Sheffield Winter Garden

One of the best things to do in Yorkshire is a visit to The Sheffield Winter Gardens!

The Winter Garden in Sheffield is an impressive architectural feat and one of the biggest urban glasshouses in Europe.

The construction of this eco-friendly building used materials that change colour over time.

The interior itself consists of over 2,500 varieties of plants and flowers which dramatically change with each season; from spring blossoms to winter foliage.

You don’t have to spend a pound to enter the beautiful Winter Garden, and there is even an on-site café should you get peckish during your stay.

This serene spot in the heart of the city is truly a magical place to explore and take a break from the hustle and bustle.

The Sheffield Winter Garden remains one of South Yorkshire’s most beloved attractions thanks to its captivating beauty and botanical variety.

Address: 90 Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2LH

11. York Minster

York Minster is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe.

It is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office in the Church of England.

The cathedral is located in the centre of York, close to other major tourist attractions such as Clifford’s Tower and the Jorvik Viking Centre.

York Minster building itself is an architectural masterpiece, with intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows and a soaring central tower.

Visitors can explore York Minster cathedral’s many different areas, including the nave, crypt and quire.

There is also a regular guided tour, and events, such as choral concerts and flower festivals.

Address: York Minster, Deangate, York YO1 7HH

12. York Dungeon

York Dungeon is one of the best North Yorkshire attractions, it’s located in York opposite the Grand Opera House and around the corner from Clifford’s Tower.

The dungeon tells the story of York’s dark and bloody past, with live actors, special effects and scary surprises.

Visitors can expect to be scared out of their wits as they explore the dark depths of the dungeon!

York Dungeon is not for the faint-hearted, but it is perfect for those who are looking for a truly unique experience.

There are a variety of different ticket options available, including group discounts and family tickets.

Children under 5 are not admitted and children age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

The dungeon is open all year round, but opening times vary depending on the time of year.

Address: York Dungeon, 12 Clifford St, York YO1 9RD

13. Harewood House

Harewood House, located in the heart of Yorkshire, is a historic house dating back to the 12th century, it was the home of the wealthy Lascelles family for centuries.

It is now a Grade I listed building and a scheduled ancient monument.

The house is set in 100 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland, and is open to the public.

Tickets can be purchased online and give entry to the House, 120 acres of Gardens, the Adventure Playground, Woodland Wonderland and Bird Garden.

There is also the Farm Experience with daily activities such as penguin feeding and meet the farm animals.

Harewood House is a stunning stately home, and a brilliant place for a family day trip.

Address: Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG

14. Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks, sometimes referred to as Brimham Crags, is a geological wonder located 8 miles (13 km) north-west of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Over the course of time, wind, water, and glaciers carved the rocks, which resulted in the millstone grit formations that can be found dotted around the moorland, meadows, and woodlands.

These natural rock formations, such as Dancing Bear, Camel, The Turtle, Watchdog, and Sphinx, have been given interesting names, and make great photo opportunities.

Idol Rock, which is a massive boulder that is perched on a small outcrop, is the most well-known formation at Brimham Rocks.

This fascinating area remains popular with tourists who come from all over to marvel at its natural beauty.

The National Trust site is free for everyone but non-members do have to pay to park.

Address: Brimham Rocks, Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, Harrogate HG3 4DW

15. Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a world-renowned wildlife conservation and rehabilitation centre located in Branton, south-east of Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Since opening in 2009, the park has grown to become one of the best wildlife attractions offering visitors an unforgettable experience and the opportunity to observe some of the most extraordinary animals.

The park is home to more than 500 animals from 100 different species including African lions, meerkats, lemurs, cheetahs, snow leopards and wolves.

Visitors can explore Lion Country, an enclosure housing African lions as well as Lemur Woods a walk-through enclosure where visitors can get up close and personal with lemurs.

There’s also Meerkat Manor where guests can watch the keepers feed these inquisitive little creatures twice a day!

Not only does Yorkshire Wildlife Park provide its guests with incredible animal encounters but it is also committed to promoting sustainability through its conservation efforts.

Address: Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Hurst Ln, Doncaster DN9 3HQ

16. Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay is a stunning and ancient fishing village perfectly situated on the North Yorkshire Coast of the North York Moors.

The family-friendly sandy beach with its rock pools, fossil hunting opportunities, and stunning coastal walks make it an ideal getaway spot for adults and children alike.

A wander through the narrow cobbled streets and alleyways reveals a vibrant village full of cafes, pubs, restaurants, small shops, and places to explore – all steeped in history.

A popular tourist attraction is Stoupe Brow – an 18th century brick lighthouse that can be seen from miles away, perched atop East Cliff overlooking Robin Hood’s Bay.

The lighthouse was used as navigation aid for ships until 1924 when it was replaced by the more advanced Whitby Lighthouse.

The surrounding area has much to offer in terms of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking trails, sailing, bird watching, and exploring the coastal wildlife reserves.

Address: Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby, YO22 4RD

17. Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey is one of the best-preserved Cistercian monasteries in England, located approximately 3 miles south-west of Ripon in North Yorkshire, near the village of Aldfield.

Founded in 1132 and dissolved by order of Henry VIII in 1539, the abbey operated for 407 years and had an immense wealth due to its large number of tenants and landholdings.

The abbey precinct covered 70 acres and is surrounded by an 11-foot wall built during the 13th century.

The church and claustral buildings stand in the centre of this area, lying north of the Skell River which flows through from east to west.

The attraction has two areas, Fountains Abbey and its surrounding buildings, and Studley Royal Water garden that is a short walk away.

Having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, Fountains Abbey is open to visitors year round with facilities available such as walks through historic gardens and orchards or guided tours.

There is also a large visitor centre with a nice cafe, toilets and a shop.

Address: Fountains Abbey, Fountains, Ripon HG4 3DY

18. Kelham Island Museum

Kelham Island Museum is located on the edge of Sheffield city centre with the museum offering visitors an authentic look at Sheffield’s industrial history.

The museum overlooks the River Don, with the buildings originally a converted power station that used to provide power for the city.

Kelham Island contains an interesting collection of tools, vehicles, photos, films, oral histories and other exhibits.

It also features steam engine demonstrations of the River Don Engine, a steel industry steam engine from 1905.

Great for all the family, this Yorkshire museum has some interesting interactive workshops that are specially designed for families with children.

The surrounding area has also been redeveloped since its days as an industrial hub, and is now a popular destination for dining and shopping.

Address: Kelham Island Museum, Alma St, Sheffield S3 8SA

19. The Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner is located in the heart of Tupgill Park on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

One of the best family days out in Yorkshire it has so many fun things to see and do.

Set in a stunning 4-acre garden visitors can explore a unique labyrinth of tunnels, move through narrow passageways, chambers and galleries whilst seeing extraordinary statues and buildings.

There are tunnels that lead underground taking you to a secret room with multiple doorways and garden paths with a mix of maze, magic and imagination.

There is no set way for visitors to go around the attraction and you are encouraged to grab a check off sheet to find your own way and tick off as many things as you go.

Visitors can also visit The Corner Café tea room that offers a selection of hot and cold food and drinks.

Address: The Forbidden Corner, Middleham, Leyburn DL8 4TJ

20. York Maze

York Maze is a maize maze that covers an area of 16 hectares and is made up of over 1 million individual maize plants.

Located on the outskirts of York, it is the largest maze in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest in Europe.

The maze is open to the public from late July until early September, and during this time visitors can attempt to navigate their way through the maze.

There are also a number of other attractions on site, such as a petting zoo and a play park.

If you are looking for something fun and different to do during your visit to Yorkshire, then a trip to York Maze is for you.

Address: York YO19 5LT


Where is good for shopping in Yorkshire?

Leeds city centre has some great shopping venues.

One of the major cities in Yorkshire, the centre is fairly walkable with high street names, boutiques, designer shops, markets and independents.

What are the best places to visit in East Yorkshire?

Bridlington is a lovely seaside resort on the East Yorkshire coast.

Driffield is a market town in the East Riding of Yorkshire that holds the largest Agricultural show in Britain annually.

Are there any outdoor swimming pools in Yorkshire?

Ilkley Lido, located in West Yorkshire, is great in the Summer school holidays as it’s not heated.

When is the best time to visit Yorkshire?

If you want to visit Yorkshire in good weather then May, June, July, August and September are the best months.

Good for day trips during this time, these months make the huge range of outdoor activities such as hiking trails, adventure playgrounds, crazy golf and national parks easily accessible.


  • Tamara M

    Hey there! My name is Tamara, welcome to my little world! I’m a 20-something-year-old from Toronto, Canada (though I’m rarely there) and I’m super passionate about exploring the world, photography, and cooking delicious plant-based recipes. I created this blog to share my favorite places, adventures, restaurants, accommodations, and travel tips with all of you and keep a bit of a travel diary for myself.

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