Yorkshire is one of the UK’s best holiday destinations. England’s largest county boasts thriving cities, charming towns, iconic heritage sites and two national parks, as well as unique culinary delights and a scattering of Michelin-star restaurants.
Whether you’re looking for a long weekend city break or a week of total rest and relaxation away from the crowds, Yorkshire is the best winter staycation destination for you. Make sure to include these four highlights in your itinerary for the full experience.
At the centre of the county, York is easily reached by rail or road so you can be sure of a stress-free journey to and from your accommodation.
This characterful city has extraordinary heritage, ranging from ancient Christian pilgrimage site and Viking stronghold to Capital of the North during the medieval period. The intricate network of cobblestone streets conceals Tudor and Victorian architecture and delightful independent shops.
During December the city glitters with Christmas markets and lights, and you can catch a candlelit carol service at the majestic York Minster. In the daytime, the many museums offer shelter from the cold. Don’t miss the immersive York Dungeon that brings the city’s more grisly history to life.
Head east from York via train or car and you’ll reach Harrogate in half an hour. This spa town oozes elegance and charm and has a serenity that’s perfect for a relaxing winter staycation.
In the town centre, you’ll find a range of high street and independent shops, restaurants and cafés. On the edge of town is Valley Gardens, a 17-acre public park that was put in place during the Victorian era. Follow the trail out of the gardens to reach RHS Garden Harlow Carr where you can enjoy a cup of tea and a Yorkshire cake at the historic Betty’s Tea Room.
Nearby is the exceptional National Trust attraction Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Deer Park. In addition to the ruined abbey, there’s picturesque waterways and follies. The winter is also the best time of year to spot the red and fallow deer that roam the estate.
Skipton is considered the southern gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. It’s the perfect place to stay if you want to explore the stunning scenery, wildlife, and cultural heritage of this national park.
The town itself is a charming market town where local traders gather to sell local produce. Beyond its walls, the landscape opens out into a patchwork of rolling heather-topped hills dotted with sheep and criss-crossed with rivers and waterfalls. You can still see the remains of rural industries in the old water mills and mining communities.
The best Yorkshire Dales winter walks include the gentle path along Aysgarth Falls and the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, and the more challenging climb to the iconic Malham Cove and Gordale Scar.
Think seaside holidays are just for the summer? Think again! The Yorkshire Coast is glorious at any time of year. Beaches, towering cliffs, rural farms and quaint fishing villages provide endless things to do and sensational seascapes to boot.
Whitby is the best base for visiting the Yorkshire Coast in winter. The striking gothic abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula looks especially eerie and impressive in the low sun, and its long sweeping bay is ideal for long beach walks.
Next door is the pretty Robin Hood’s Bay where you can learn about the region’s smuggling history.