things to do in north yorkshire

Last Updated on: 2nd March 2024, 09:21 am

Welcome to North Yorkshire, a captivating region in England that offers a plethora of activities, attractions, and events for visitors to indulge in. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, immersing yourself in history, or discovering hidden gems, North Yorkshire has it all. From the stunning Yorkshire Dales to the charming coastal towns of Whitby and Scarborough, there are countless things to do in North Yorkshire and explore and experience the best of this picturesque region.

North Yorkshire is a haven for nature lovers, with its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities. Explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park, where you can hike along scenic trails, marvel at dramatic rock formations like Malham Cove and Brimham Rocks, and discover the historic Bolton Abbey.

For history enthusiasts, the city of York is a must-visit destination. Roam the ancient city walls, visit the iconic York Minster, and wander through the historic streets of the Shambles. Don’t miss the family-friendly attractions like the National Railway Museum and the immersive Jorvik Viking Centre.

Coastal charm awaits in the towns of Whitby and Scarborough. Climb the steps to Whitby Abbey for panoramic views, take leisurely walks along the sandy shores, and savor some traditional fish and chips. In Scarborough, explore the fascinating Scarborough Castle and get up close to marine life at the SEA LIFE Centre.

North Yorkshire is also home to hidden gems that offer unique experiences. Uncover the mysterious Druids Temple near Masham, admire the picturesque village of Staithes, and delve into Bram Stoker’s Dracula lore in Whitby. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of free activities such as walking along the cliffs at Robin Hood’s Bay or exploring the stunning gardens at Beningbrough Hall.

For those craving outdoor adventures, Dalby Forest and Sutton Bank provide the perfect playground. From mountain biking to treetop trails, Dalby Forest offers thrill-seekers an adrenaline rush. Sutton Bank, on the other hand, offers breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking and cycling the rolling hills of North Yorkshire.

Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, North Yorkshire welcomes you with open arms. So, start planning your trip today and embark on a memorable journey through the enchanting sights, rich heritage, and natural wonders of North Yorkshire!

Explore Historic York

York is a must-visit city in North Yorkshire, known for its rich history and charming streets. Visitors can immerse themselves in the fascinating past of this ancient city and explore its iconic attractions.

York Minster

The York Minster is a magnificent cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline. With its stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows, it is one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. Visitors can take guided tours to learn more about its history and admire the breathtaking views from the central tower.

The Shambles

Step back in time as you wander through the narrow, cobbled streets of The Shambles. This twisted and quaint medieval street is lined with timber-framed buildings that lean towards each other, creating a unique atmosphere. Explore the charming shops, boutiques, and cafes that now occupy the historic buildings.

City Walls

Taking a walk along the city walls is a great way to explore York’s history while enjoying panoramic views of the city. The walls date back to Roman times and offer a fascinating insight into the city’s past. Don’t forget to stop at the Micklegate Bar, one of the gatehouses with a turbulent history.

“York is a city that takes you back in time with its stunning architecture and fascinating stories embedded in every corner.” – Local Resident

National Railway Museum

History comes to life at the National Railway Museum, where visitors can discover the evolution of the railway system in Britain. Explore the vast collection of locomotives and carriages, including the famous Flying Scotsman. Interactive exhibits and special events make it a perfect family-friendly activity.

Jorvik Viking Centre

Step into the world of the Vikings at the Jorvik Viking Centre. This immersive museum transports visitors back in time to the Viking-age city of Jorvik. Marvel at the reconstructed streets and buildings, interact with Viking characters, and learn about their daily life through archaeological finds.

York offers a range of cultural and historical experiences that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages. It’s a city where the past is beautifully preserved, creating a unique and unforgettable atmosphere.

attractions north yorkshire

There’s so much more to explore in North Yorkshire. Continue reading to discover the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales in Section 3.

Discover Natural Beauty in the Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Experience the stunning natural beauty of this region and immerse yourself in its breathtaking landscapes.

Outdoor activities in North Yorkshire

Visitors to the Yorkshire Dales can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities that cater to different interests and abilities. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a cycling enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the great outdoors, there is something for everyone in this picturesque destination.

“The Yorkshire Dales is a place of timeless beauty, with its rolling hills, charming villages, and dramatic scenery.”

Highlights of the Yorkshire Dales

There are several must-visit attractions within the Yorkshire Dales National Park that showcase its natural beauty and offer unique experiences.

  • Malham Cove: Marvel at the towering limestone formation, which provides a dramatic backdrop for avid rock climbers and nature enthusiasts alike.
  • Brimham Rocks: Explore the fascinating rock formations that have been shaped by millions of years of erosion, creating a natural playground for visitors to discover.
  • Bolton Abbey: Visit the historic ruins of this 12th-century monastery and stroll along the picturesque River Wharfe.

Whether you choose to hike along the scenic trails, cycle through the idyllic countryside, or simply take in the breathtaking views, the Yorkshire Dales offers an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.

Experience Coastal Charm in Whitby and Scarborough

The coastal towns of Whitby and Scarborough in North Yorkshire are renowned for their picturesque charm, rich history, and abundant attractions. Whether you’re seeking stunning natural scenery, exploring historic landmarks, or enjoying family-friendly activities, these coastal gems have something for everyone.

attractions north yorkshire

Whitby Abbey

One of the main attractions in Whitby is the striking Whitby Abbey. Perched on a clifftop overlooking the town and the North Sea, this hauntingly beautiful ruin offers a glimpse into England’s history. Explore the atmospheric abbey ruins and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the area.

Stroll Along the Beach

No visit to the coastal towns of Whitby and Scarborough would be complete without a leisurely stroll along their sandy beaches. Whitby’s sandy shores, flanked by the iconic beach huts and fishing boats, provide a serene setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Scarborough’s wide, sandy beaches offer ample space for sandcastle building, sunbathing, and coastal walks.

Whitby and Scarborough offer a mix of stunning scenery, historic attractions, and family-friendly activities.

Fish and Chips Delight

Indulge in a quintessential British experience by feasting on traditional fish and chips. Whitby and Scarborough are known for serving some of the best fish and chips in the country. Treat yourself to this delicious and satisfying dish while enjoying the coastal views.

Scarborough Castle

In Scarborough, visit the historic Scarborough Castle, perched high on a headland, offering panoramic views of the coastline. Explore the castle’s ruins, learn about its fascinating history, and enjoy the stunning vistas from its vantage point.


For a family-friendly adventure, head to Scarborough’s SEA LIFE Centre. Dive into the underwater world and discover a fascinating array of marine life. From captivating exhibits to interactive experiences, this aquarium provides hours of entertainment and education for all ages.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing seaside getaway or an action-packed adventure, Whitby and Scarborough in North Yorkshire have it all. With their coastal charm, historic attractions, and family-friendly activities, these towns are sure to create cherished memories for visitors of all ages. Plan your trip today and immerse yourself in the beauty and excitement of these coastal wonders.

Uncover Hidden Gems in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is home to many hidden gems that offer unique experiences. From exploring the quirky Druids Temple near Masham to visiting the picturesque village of Staithes and delving into the history of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in Whitby, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path attractions to discover. Additionally, there are several free activities, such as walking along the cliffs at Robin Hood’s Bay or visiting the stunning gardens at Beningbrough Hall.

Discover the lesser-known wonders of North Yorkshire with these unusual and free things to do:

1. Explore the Quirky Druids Temple

Nestled near the charming town of Masham, the Druids Temple is a unique and mysterious place to visit. This fascinating stone folly, built in the late 1800s, features an imposing stone circle, an underground chamber, and various intricate carvings. Take a stroll through the surrounding woodland and immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of this hidden gem.

2. Visit the Picturesque Village of Staithes

Escape the crowds and step back in time in the quaint fishing village of Staithes. This idyllic coastal retreat is famous for its charming narrow streets, historic cottages, and breathtaking sea views. Explore the local art galleries, enjoy a delicious seafood meal in one of the traditional pubs, or simply relax on the sandy beach. The picturesque setting of Staithes has inspired many artists and writers throughout the years.

3. Delve into the History of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in Whitby

Experience the haunting beauty and gothic charm of Whitby, a coastal town steeped in history and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, Dracula. Explore the ruins of Whitby Abbey, which overlook the town and provide stunning views of the North Sea. Embark on a vampire-themed walking tour and learn about the connections between Whitby and the legendary vampire tale. Alternatively, take a stroll along the black sands of Whitby beach and soak in the eerie atmosphere.

Free Activities in North Yorkshire:

  • Walk along the dramatic cliffs at Robin Hood’s Bay and marvel at the breathtaking coastal views.
  • Visit the stunning gardens at Beningbrough Hall and discover the beauty of its landscaped grounds.
  • Explore the vibrant stalls and local produce at the farmers’ markets held in various towns and villages across North Yorkshire.

Uncovering these hidden gems and enjoying free activities in North Yorkshire provides a unique and memorable experience for visitors looking to go off the beaten path.

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures in Dalby Forest and Sutton Bank

For those seeking outdoor activities in North Yorkshire, a visit to Dalby Forest and Sutton Bank is a must. These picturesque locations offer a range of exciting experiences for visitors of all ages, making them perfect for family-friendly activities in North Yorkshire.

Dalby Forest, located on the southern slopes of the North York Moors, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore, there are endless opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned mountain biker or a beginner looking to try something new, the forest boasts exhilarating mountain biking trails suitable for all levels of experience. Get your adrenaline pumping as you navigate through the trees and take in the stunning views along the way.

If you’re seeking a different kind of adventure, why not try a Segway ride through the forest? Glide along the trails on these self-balancing vehicles and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. For those with a head for heights, the treetop trails offer a unique perspective of the forest, allowing you to walk among the tree canopies and enjoy breathtaking views from above.

Heading to Sutton Bank, you’ll find yourself at the gateway to the North York Moors National Park. This stunning area of natural beauty offers a range of outdoor activities that are sure to captivate visitors. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on one of the many walking trails that meander through the rolling hills and meadows. As you reach the top of Sutton Bank, be prepared to be awe-inspired by the panoramic views that stretch for miles across the Vale of Mowbray.

Cycling enthusiasts can also enjoy the challenging slopes and scenic routes that Sutton Bank has to offer. From exhilarating downhill rides to leisurely family cycles, there’s something for everyone. Grab your bike and explore the charming villages and hidden gems that can be found along the way.

For an extra dose of adventure, Sutton Bank is also home to a paragliding school, where you can soar through the skies and experience the thrill of free flight. Take in the breathtaking views as you glide over the picturesque Yorkshire countryside.

With its range of outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions, Dalby Forest and Sutton Bank are two destinations that should not be missed when exploring North Yorkshire. Embrace the natural beauty of the region and create lasting memories as you embark on exciting adventures together.


North Yorkshire, with its diverse range of attractions and activities, is the perfect destination for your next getaway. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, this stunning region in England has something to offer everyone.

From exploring the historic sites in cities like York, to discovering the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, there are endless things to do in North Yorkshire. You can immerse yourself in the coastal charm of Whitby and Scarborough, or uncover hidden gems that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

With family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures, and a wealth of places to visit, North Yorkshire provides an unforgettable experience for all. So start planning your trip today and make the most of all the incredible activities and attractions that North Yorkshire has to offer.

What are some of the top things to do in North Yorkshire?

Some of the top things to do in North Yorkshire include exploring historic sites in York, enjoying outdoor adventures in the Yorkshire Dales, experiencing coastal charm in Whitby and Scarborough, uncovering hidden gems throughout the region, and enjoying outdoor adventures in Dalby Forest and Sutton Bank.

What are some family-friendly activities in North Yorkshire?

North Yorkshire offers a range of family-friendly activities, including visiting the National Railway Museum and the Jorvik Viking Centre in York. Other options include exploring Whitby Abbey, enjoying the beach in Scarborough, and visiting the quirky Druids Temple near Masham.

Are there any free things to do in North Yorkshire?

Yes, there are several free activities in North Yorkshire. Visitors can walk along the cliffs at Robin Hood’s Bay, visit the stunning gardens at Beningbrough Hall, and explore the picturesque village of Staithes. Additionally, many of the outdoor trails and paths in the Yorkshire Dales and Dalby Forest are free to access.What are some unusual things to do in North Yorkshire?North Yorkshire offers plenty of unique and unusual attractions. Visitors can explore the historic village of Staithes, which inspired many famous artists, including Captain Cook. Another option is visiting the Druids Temple near Masham, a quirky and mysterious stone structure. Additionally, visitors can delve into the history of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in Whitby.