Things to Do in Yorkshire
The family-owned Bridlington Birds of Prey and Animal Park brings together endangered animals across different habitat zones. You can find everything from alpacas and raccoons to owls and meerkats, as well as many birds of prey; exhibits sit alongside educational exhibits and hands-on experiences.
Welcome to cheese heaven! At the award-winning Wensleydale Creamery, visitors will learn everything there is to know about the famous British cheese and the art of cheese making. It’s even possible to see the cheese literally being cut, stirred, pitched, and salted by hand at the viewing gallery inside the Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese Experience. The creamery is also home to a gift shop (where a vast array of cheese and cheese-related paraphernalia are available), a deli, a coffee shop, and a restaurant with views of the surrounding Yorkshire Dales. There is also a newly refurbished visitor center on-site, which explains the history and heritage of the Wensleydale cheese and where visitors will have the opportunity to taste the stuff for themselves.
Despite an association with all things spooky—goth festivals, Bram Stoker, and decrepit abbeys—Whitby remains one of the most popular seaside towns in England. Replete with natural beauty, the town is small enough to explore on foot and boasts numerous attractions that appeal to a cross section of visitors.
Fans of the Yorkshire author and vet of All Creatures Great and Small fame won’t want to miss the World of James Herriot. Now an award-winning, interactive museum, Herriot’s former veterinary office—a fully restored 1940s home—displays a huge collection of Herriot memorabilia.
A lively market town within the North York Moors National Park, Helmsley is a popular day-trip from nearby York. The cobblestone streets of the town center—as well as quaint teahouses, ivy-covered traditional pubs, and an imposing 12th-century castle—add to the appeal of this traditional Yorkshire destination.
Drive along the Vale of York on the boundary of the North York Moors National Park and you won’t be able to miss the Kilburn White Horse, a gigantic artwork of a horse etched into the limestone cliffs of the Sutton Bank. Formed using more than 6 tons of limestone chalk chips to whiten the natural grey rock and featuring a lone grass patch for the ‘eye,’ the White Horse was designed by local businessman Thomas Taylor in 1857, inspired by similar designs in south England.
It might not have been the original, but it is the biggest – the Kilburn White Horse measures an impressive 97 meters long and 67 meters high, covering a plot of around 1.6 acres. Hiking routes and lookout points run along the hilltop around the White Horse (although walking on the horse is frowned upon as it damages the surface), but the most impressive views are from the bottom of the hill and on clear days, the landmark equine can be seen from as far away as North Leeds.
Chronicling the life and times of the iconic explorer, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum offers fascinating insight into Whitby's most famous former resident. Housed in the 17th-century home where a young James Cook took on his apprenticeship as a seaman, the museum’s star attraction is Cook’s attic room, decked out in period furnishings.
At the museum, visitors can learn about Cook's now-legendary voyages through a fascinating collection of artifacts, letters, ship models and maps. Pore over original letters written by Cook and his crew; follow his travels through maps and charts; see items brought back from Cook's long journeys to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands; and admire paintings of the voyages by Parkinson, Hodges and Webber.
Located in the North Yorkshire Dales, the Little Chocolate Shop prides itself in working closely with the tight-knit community by sourcing most of its produce locally; with the notable exception of chocolate itself, which is imported from Belgium. The small factory is open to the public to the enjoyment of visitors who can, therefore, watch the chocolatiers and local craftspeople temper, mold, fill, and decorate fine chocolates by hand without any sort of admission fee and ask as many questions as they want about the process of making chocolate. There is also a café on-site, where chocolate lovers can indulge and talk all things gluttony over a warm cuppa, as well as a large shop.
With its maze of tunnels, hidden grottoes and gardens spread over four acres, the Forbidden Corner is one of England's most eccentric parks and it makes a fascinating diversion from the surrounding Yorkshire Dales National Park. Originally the private garden of C.R. Armstrong, the unique space was created by architect Malcolm Tempest and opened to the public in 1994 as part of Tupgill Park.
Visitors to the Forbidden Corner are free to explore the fantasy landscape, equipped with a map-less guide and quirky clues to help them find their way around. Highlights include the Giant Pointing Tree, the Temple of the Underworld and the Eye of the Needle, but there are also woodland walking trails, a walled herb garden, a maze and a terrace with spectacular views over the Dales. Keep an eye out for the animated Froggy Fountain, which spurts water at unsuspecting passersby, and a series of weird and wonderful statues, including a glass pyramid, a stone stegosaurus, a giant mousetrap and a stone griffin.
A zoo, amusement park and holiday resort rolled into one, Flamingo Land is an award-winning park spread over 375 acres of North Yorkshire countryside and makes a fun family day out from York. The more than 20 rides and attractions at Flamingo Land include everything from hair-raising roller coasters to gentle family rides, and highlights include the record-breaking Mumbo Jumbo roller coaster, the Lost River Ride and the 4-D Cinema. The park also features a range of acrobatic shows and performances, an indoor soft play area and an assortment of restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets.
Visitors can enjoy a close encounter with over 140 different animal species at the Flamingo Land Zoo, the UK's most visited zoo. As well as spotting giraffes, tigers, hippos, rhinos, penguins and snakes, animal lovers can enjoy special animal encounters or ‘Be A Zoo Keeper’ experiences.
More Things to Do in Yorkshire
Housed in a former World War II prisoner-of-war camp, the Eden Camp museum is an artifact in itself and contains several items from its period of history. Real tanks, aircraft, artillery, military equipment and hardware, submarines, and even shelters are all on display. The interactive experience is designed to recreate the feel of the home front and the front line using sounds, smells, and animatronics. Exhibits spread out in 33 huts detail the stories of the Battle of Britain and World War I and II, among other conflicts since 1945.
Eden Camp has won many awards for its immersive displays, which remind visitors of what it felt like to live in wartime Britain. It is recognized as one of the most comprehensive museums of 20th century British military forces, and is an essential stop for history enthusiasts when in York.
Situated within the Walled Garden of Burn Hall Hotel, the York Bird of Prey Centre is home to more than 80 birds of prey, including owls, falcons, hawks, and eagles. Watch flight demonstrations and take the opportunity to both feed and handle these magnificent creatures at indoor and outdoor exhibits.
Hull’s award-winning aquarium, The Deep, combines fun with learning through audiovisual presentations and interactive exhibits. You can marvel at tropical fish in the Lagoon of Light; watch sharks, turtles, and rays swim around the Endless Ocean; observe penguins in the Kingdom of Ice; and see jellyfish in the Cool Seas.
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