Yorkshire Holiday Ideas

Packed full of holiday ideas, when it comes to dream holiday destinations, Yorkshire truly has it all – amazing coast and countryside, sleepy villages, bustling market towns and contemporary cities, fantastic outdoor activities, fascinating heritage sites, award-winning family attractions, local art and culture, all kinds of festivals and events, delicious local produce, Michelin-starred restaurants, traditional tea rooms, curry houses and more. Here are just a few holiday ideas to help you find your perfect Yorkshire holiday ...


Romantic Escapes in the Yorkshire Dales

Fall madly in love with the Yorkshire Dales and treat your other half to a special trip away, to a beautifully tranquil spot where you can share precious time together and take home memories to cherish forever. It may be a birthday, anniversary, Valentines’ Day celebration, even your honeymoon – whatever the occasion the Yorkshire Dales National Park is an utterly romantic slice of paradise. What a wonderful holiday idea!

Wake up each morning to a lazy breakfast in bed and a jaw-dropping view – one which makes you want to jump out of bed, put on your walking boots and stride out hand-in-hand with your loved one.

Discover a glorious landscape of rolling green fields edged with ancient stone walls, scattered with meandering valleys and extraordinary limestone pavements. Mother Nature wins hands down for show-stopping natural attractions here – don’t miss the incredible limestone cliffs and pavement of Malham Cove, the wonderfully weird rock formations of Brimham Rocks, the sensational showcaves of White Scar, the waterfall of Hardraw Force, Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty…the list goes on.

Break for refreshments and shopping in attractive stone villages and market towns like Grassington and Skipton. Simply made for browsing, their streets are crammed with olde-worlde tearooms and stylish cafés, handmade gift shops and antique emporiums. Sample local delicacies such as crusty cobs filled with Limestone Beef or Wallace and Gromit's favourite Wensleydale Cheese. Or perhaps a slab of sticky Yorkshire Parkin, washed down with a cup of proper Yorkshire Tea. Now that has to be one of the best holiday ideas yet!

Picture of a steam train crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales

Elegant country houses and centuries-old castles add romance and drama to the soft green landscape – Burton Constable Hall, Braithwaite Hall, Skipton Castle, Bolton Castle...to name but a few. Unravel tales from the past at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. Stroll around the stunning gardens and deer park of Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Gardens near Ripon. Explore the Duke of Devonshire’s estate at Bolton Abbey, with its ruined priory, ancient woodlands and riverside paths. Or trundle through the countryside aboard the
Settle-Carlisle Railway. There are so many ways to share and enjoy each other’s company in the Yorkshire Dales.

As evening unfolds splash out on a candlelit dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant, enjoy a nightcap in a welcoming, oak-beamed pub, or curl up on the sofa together in front of a roaring log fire ready to plan the next day’s adventure – there’s a fantastic range of Yorkshire dales holiday cottages to rent in the area.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, the Yorkshire Dales promise to seduce and steal your heart every time…so sneak off, just the two of you, soon!



Family Holidays on the Yorkshire Coast

If you’re planning a family holiday you'll need lots of holiday ideas. The Yorkshire Coast is hard to beat with a magical mix of seaside resorts, award-winning beaches and visitor attractions, wide choice of holiday accommodation including
cottages to rent on the Yorkshire Coast, not forgetting breathtaking scenery all around. For family holiday ideas let’s focus on three to whet your appetite, starting with the biggest...

Mums, Dads, Grannies, Grandpas, tots and teens have been coming to Scarborough for their annual seaside holiday for hundreds of years – and it’s easy to see why.

Picture of the south beach and old town at Scarborough on the Yorkshire Coast

First the beach! Not one but two spectacular sandy bays (North Bay boasts Blue Flag status) – perfect for buckets and spades, paddling and swimming, plus water sports galore. Stroll along the prom or watch the world go by resting on a bench eating ice-cream and candy floss. Enjoy a picnic in one of the many parks and gardens, brimming with floral displays. Shop ‘til you drop in the shopping centre and mall, with high street names and local retailers. Check out the many attractions, including the highly acclaimed Sea Life Centre and also Scarborough’s exciting line-up of events and festivals. Experience all sorts of vibrant nightlife, from summertime family shows to top-class musical artists and other performers at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre. And when it comes to food and drink, there’s everything imaginable from fish and chips to gourmet fine dining. Scarborough is just bursting at the seams with holiday ideas!

If you’re looking for somewhere a little smaller, with plenty of charm and character, Whitby is a lovely, medium-sized resort oozing atmosphere. Explore its warren of quaint, cobbled streets lined with small shops and shanty inns. Watch fishermen land their catch in the colourful harbour. Then sample the fish of the day in a trendy pavement café at Whitby’s beautiful marina overlooking sleek, shiny yachts. Have fun with the boating set at the annual Whitby Regatta . Other events include the Whitby Folk Week, Goth Weekends and lots of music and arts festivals. Talking of entertainment there’s plenty geared towards families, including shows at the Whitby Pavilion, the Captain Cook Museum and paranormal goings on at the Dracula Experience! Children will also love the battle re-enactments at Whitby Abbey and fossil hunting along the coast for dinosaur footprints. And just like Scarborough, Whitby West Beach has won the Blue Flag award, promising hours of endless fun for all the family.

Picture of Whitby in Yorkshire

Smaller still and blessed with an air of timeless appeal, the elegant, Edwardian resort of Filey sits above a golden-sand bay some six miles long, with Blue Flag status once again. It’s a delightfully unspoilt town – ideal for that get-away-from-it-all kind of feeling, yet with everything you need on hand for a fantastic family holiday. For great holiday ideas, the daytime focus here is definitely on the beach – think paddling in shallow waters, sandcastle contests, donkey rides, a game of rounders and, of course, rock pooling at Filey Brigg for all budding beachcombers. Facilities include a variety of shops selling keepsakes and beach paraphernalia, coffee shops and cafés, family-run restaurants and low-key entertainment. What else? Walks along the cliff tops with magnificent coastal views. The Filey Fishing Festival. And lots of local countryside and attractions on your doorstep – Go Ape or hire mountain bikes in Dalby Forest , explore the North York Moors National Park, visit stately homes and working farm parks etc.

All in all, a family holiday on the Yorkshire Coast is the quintessential English seaside escape! You could be forgiven for thinking Yorkshire is full to bursting with fantastic holiday ideas.



Walking Holidays in the North York Moors National Park

You want more holiday ideas? The views from the top of Sutton Bank are some of the UK’s most splendid and this is just one of the many places in the North York Moors National Park that will take your breath away.

Welcome to a region of spellbinding natural beauty, wild and windswept, cloaked with swathes of heather moorland, dense pine forests and rolling hills, vast in size and edged by a captivating coastline. A region that’s home to all kinds of wildlife, including red squirrels, hawks and roe deer, along with a sprinkling of sleepy villages and ancient sites from ruined priories to Bronze Age settlements.

Picture of heather-clad moorland in Yorkshire

The best way to explore this fantastic corner of Yorkshire is without question on foot, with over 1,400 miles of way-marked walks on offer from coastal paths to woodland trails. What’s more, you can get a real feel for the place and its diversity of scenery even if you’re only here for a weekend or short break.

Short walks
Amid the myriad of walks to choose from, there are two Regional Routes specially designed for independent walkers visiting the area for just a few days.

  • Esk Valley Walk - a delightful 35-mile route across the moors from Esk to Whitby
  • Tabular Hills Walk - a longer 48-mile route from Helmsley to Scarborough

Long distance walks
Cleveland Way National Trail links Helmsley and Filey – 110 miles of wonderful walking through the stunning North York Moors National Park. Enjoy as much as you like – a few hours, days or around nine days to complete the entire route.

For mesmerizing sea views, follow the North Sea Trail hugging the Yorkshire Heritage Coast – there are eighteen sections to choose from, linear and circular, so ample choice for any length of holiday. (Parts of this trail share the same path as the Cleveland Way.)

Go green, leave your car at your holiday cottage and hop aboard the Moorsbus. Offering a wide network of regular services across the National Park, this is the easiest way to try out one of the many linear walking routes and catch a lift in the other direction.

In addition to the area’s natural attractions, here are more holiday ideas you might like to look out for…

  • North York Moors Railway
  • Helmsley & Pickering Castles
  • Rievaulx Abbey
  • Whitby Abbey
  • Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum
  • Horse racing at Thirsk & Catterick
  • Go Ape at Dalby Forest
  • Yorkshire Lavendar
  • World of James Herriot

Whatever the time of year, a walk on the wild side in the North York Moors National Park is one of the best ways to spend a Yorkshire Moors holiday ever!



Shopping in York

From designer labels and pampering gifts to handmade chocolates and antiques, York is a great city for a spot of retail therapy and boasts a fantastic collection of shops. For many, that could prove to be one of the best holiday ideas yet.

Picture of York Minster

Wander around York’s labyrinth of cobbled streets, bursting with all sorts of inviting shops from big, high street names to small, independent shops. Browse the season’s latest trends at exclusive fashion boutiques, or grab a stylish outfit at a fraction of the usual cost at the
York Designer Outlet. Looking for a special gift? What about a piece of vintage jewellery or even a contemporary sculpture?

To help you find that perfect something, follow one of the special shopping trails – ‘Designer’, ‘Living & Antiques’, ‘Pure Pampering & Gifts’ and, for the man who likes to dress to impress and have all the latest gadgets, there’s even a ‘Mr York Male Trail’! Or opt for the lively banter of the open-air market, where around 100 stalls gather daily to showcase all kinds of goodies from local cheeses and chutneys to leather handbags and toys.

To enhance your shopping experience even more, York offers the most amazing choice of places to break for refreshments, whether you fancy a heritage tavern oozing atmosphere, a stylish riverside restaurant or a trendy pavement café. Tuck in and enjoy, then get back to that serious shopping!

A weekend or midweek trip is usually long enough and, when you’ve had your fill of shopping, shopping and more shopping, do remember that York has lots of other things to see and do - making it a city full of holiday ideas. Expect exquisite architecture, superb city views from the top of York Minster, the most talented street entertainers, world-class museums like JORVIK York, a long line-up of festivals and events, guided walks, boat trips on the Ouse…something for everyone!

York also has plenty of accommodation available, including a good selection of holiday homes and apartments in York itself and some within walking distance of the city centre.



So as you can see, there are all kinds of holidays on offer in Yorkshire – and with these useful holiday ideas we have only scratched the surface here. Check out many others and find your ideal place to stay with Sykes Cottages, featuring a huge range of quality, handpicked properties for rental across this truly beautiful county.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!

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Seaside places to visit...

Picture of Filey Brigg from The Crescent

Picture of brightly coloured beach huts at Scarborough on the Yorkshire Coast. Click to see more...

Picture of the seafront at Bridlington on the Yorkshire Coast. Click to see more...

Picture of colourful boats moored in Whitby's harbour. Click the picture to see more...

Dales places to visit...

Picture of barges at Skipton

Picture of the Upper Falls at Aysgarth

Picture of the bridge and pub at Kettlewell

Walks to try?...

Picture of Tunnel End in the Colne Valley. Click for my description of a walk along the canal towpath.

Picture of Pen-y-Ghent taken from the village of Horton in Ribblesdale. A good place to start a walk. Click for more details.

Picture of the Leeds Liverpool Canal near The Fisherman's Pub. Click for my description of a walk from Saltaire to the Bingley Five Rise Locks