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8 Of The Most Stunning Winter Walks In Yorkshire

8 Of The Most Stunning Winter Walks In Yorkshire

It’s the time of year when dark mornings are in full swing and the frost on the cars on a morning becomes a mild annoyance. This time of year, it’s easy to hibernate indoors and wait out the first signs of spring, but here at The Yorkshireman we love our winter days and have come up with some of the best Yorkshire winter walks to enjoy.

So, dust off the old scarf and pull on your wellies as it is time to get out into the frosty air and enjoy the unique landscapes that the winter days create. We are sure your body and mental health will thank you. Whether it’s a trip out in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors, or just a wander in one of the beautiful nature reserves dotted around or county – there are plenty of reasons to venture into the snow for a brisk walk and help stave off those winter blues.

1. Bolton Abbey , North Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Found on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Bolton Abbey was voted as one of the best winter walks in the UK . So, it is only fitting that we begin with it. the amazing 2th-century Augustinian monastery, the babbling River Wharfe and the vast landscape to explore. And. it’s has been named 6th in Country Living’s spots to take a walk in this winter.

The Bolton Abbey walk has something for everyone with a bridge over the River Wharfe, or if you dare the popular stepping stones, although we can imagine it’s a bit nippy falling in this time of year.

You can then walk either up the steep hill into the trees and walk under the winter canopy, or you can choose the lower route following the river. Either way head back and visit the cafe for a lovely coffee, a cup of tea and a cake or something hotter.

2. Filey Beach , Yorkshire Coast

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Another one of the top-voted places in the UK. Filey beach has been voted as one of the top UK beaches due to its sandy beach and the fact it stretches all the way from Brigg down to Hunmanby Gap. Get parked up at Brigg and take in the view over the amazing bay.

A very popular tourist spot in the summer, the beach hits differently in the wintertime. There is something about taking a brisk walk along the coast wrapped up warm that revitalises you. And with this beach comes incredible views which haven’t changed over the hundreds of years.

Enjoy the incredible views of the brilliant cliffside along with the vast sways of sandy beach that seem to be endless. You can venture for a warm drink

3. Malham Circular , Yorkshire Dales

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

It’s hard to not include the 4-mile Malham circular in any top walks list. Whether it be summer, spring, autumn and winter. The unique walk takes into two of Yorkshire’s top waterfalls along with the must-see Malham Cove.

Malham Cove’s unique limestone formation is one of the wonders left over from the ice age forged by glaciers thousands of years ago.

Start from the village of Malham and head out towards Janet’s Foss, a magical fairy waterfall that is even better in the winter as it is in full flow. After that head towards Gordale Scar a tiered waterfall that people a little bit braver than us sometimes climb up.

As a winter walk on a cloudy day, there is something more epic about the look of Gordale. You could almost imagine it as part of the Lord of the Ring’s landscape.

Read More: 12 Of The Best And Most Scenic Forest Walks In Yorkshire

4. Roseberry Topping , North York Moors – Yorkshire Winter Walks

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Found in the North York Moors between Great Ayton and Newton Under Roseberry it’s one of the most uniquely shaped hills in the national park sitting at 1,049 feet high.

Its summit is half-cone shaped with a jagged cliff edge which is sometimes why it’s given the name the Yorkshire Matterhorn after the Matterhorn in the Swiss-Italian Alps. . The cone shape is a result of the hill’s hard sandstone cap protecting the shales and clay from erosion by the effects of weathering.

The natural wonder is great with a dusting of snow making it a grand family winter walk in Yorkshire. From the nearby public car park, it is only around 2 miles if you do the National Trust walk. Please bear in mind there are some steep parts.

5. Ilkley Moor , West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Found in West Yorkshire on the edge of Leeds is Ilkley Moor. The immense moorland overlooks the market town of Ilkley and has the perfect photography opportunities with the likes of the incredible rock formation Cow & Calf Rocks.

There is usually plenty of sheep lolling about and there is a great spot to grab a cup of tea or a coffee sat roadside underneath the rock formation.

The walk can take up to an hour and takes you from the car parking place along the roadside up onto the windswept moors. The winter walk path leads up to the quarry entrance where it is worth taking a look into the quarry before continuing along the path as it begins to rise before levelling out. Make your way around the route, which you can find here .

6. Studley Royal To Fountains Abbey , North Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Fountains Abbey is an 18th-century monastery that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landscape offers breathtaking views perfect for winter walks in Yorkshire.

It’s the largest and best-preserved ruined monastery in England where you can explore vaulted ceilings, grand columns and imposing towers.

Studley Royal is one of the best surviving Georgian water gardens. It features elegant ornamental lakes, canals and temples. The landscaped gardens and Fountain abbey make for a great family walk and you can check out the route here ,

7. Marsden, West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

A personal favourite for us here at The Yorkshireman, Marsden Moor is a great option for beginners and pro walkers – with different routes for varying abilities.

One of the more popular walks in Yorkshire offers three reservoirs to visit: Butterley reservoir, Blakeley Reservoir and Wessenden Reservoir. The route features mostly flat land (other than climbing up the incline through the village) and is a beautiful spot to simply take in the sights and snap some photos.

Another popular route is the Pule Hill circular walk, a 4.5-mile route that gives trekkers sights of the canal, Pule Hill, the moor and remains of Marsden’s industrial heritage.

8.  Rivelin Valley Nature Trail , South Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Getting out into nature after a month in lockdown should be on everyone’s to-do list. Rivelin Valley is great if you live in Sheffield, or close by, as it is only a 6-mile end to end walk that has great things to see.

Waterfalls, stepping stones, and other natural wonders can be explored here, but don’t worry you don’t have to forage for food as well they have cafes for a nice brew and an ice cream after you finished being an explorer for the day.

Read More: 12 Of The Best Circular Walks In North Yorkshire

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Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire in February: Winter Escapes

As someone who has explored Yorkshire in February, I can attest to the fact that this region of England is still worth visiting during the winter months. While the weather may be chilly, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy. From quaint market towns to rugged coastlines, Yorkshire has something for everyone.

Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire in February: Winter Escapes

One place to visit in February is York, a historic city with plenty of indoor attractions. The York Minster, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe, is a must-see. The National Railway Museum is also worth a visit, with its collection of historic locomotives and interactive exhibits. For those who enjoy shopping, York has a range of independent shops and boutiques to explore.

Read More: Best Holiday Destinations in February from Australia: Where to Go for Sun

Another option is the North York Moors National Park, which offers stunning views of the countryside. While some of the outdoor attractions may be closed during the winter months, there are still plenty of walking trails to explore. The park also has several charming villages to visit, such as Helmsley and Goathland. Overall, Yorkshire in February may be chilly, but it is still a great destination for those looking for a unique winter getaway.

Historic Landmarks

As a history buff, I highly recommend visiting some of Yorkshire’s most iconic and historic landmarks during February. Here are my top three picks:

Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire in February: Winter Escapes

York Minster

York Minster is a stunning Gothic cathedral located in the heart of York. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and boasts a rich history dating back over 800 years. Visitors can explore the cathedral’s intricate stained glass windows, climb the central tower for a breathtaking view of the city, and learn about the fascinating history of this iconic landmark.

Read More: Worst Time to Visit Kruger National Park?

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey is a hauntingly beautiful ruined abbey located on the coast of North Yorkshire. It was founded in the 7th century and has a rich history, including being the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Visitors can explore the ruins, learn about the abbey’s history in the visitor center, and take in the stunning views of the North Sea.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard is a magnificent stately home located in the Howardian Hills of North Yorkshire. It was built in the 18th century and boasts stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and a rich history. Visitors can explore the house’s opulent interiors, take a stroll through the gardens, and learn about the Howard family’s fascinating history.

Overall, Yorkshire is home to some of the most iconic and historic landmarks in the UK. Whether you’re interested in Gothic cathedrals, ruined abbeys, or stately homes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Read More: Best Time to See Cherry Blossom in Japan 2024?

Natural Wonders

As a nature lover, I highly recommend visiting Yorkshire in February to witness some of its natural wonders. Here are my top picks:

Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire in February: Winter Escapes

North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors National Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. With its rolling hills and heather-clad moors, it’s a sight to behold. In February, the park is covered in snow, making it a winter wonderland. Take a stroll along one of the many walking trails and enjoy the peacefulness of the park. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife, such as deer or birds of prey.

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks is a collection of natural rock formations that have been shaped by wind and water over millions of years. These unique rock formations are a photographer’s dream, and in February, they’re covered in snow, making them even more picturesque. Take a walk around the rocks and marvel at their beauty. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Read More: Best Warm Weather Destinations to Travel in February

Malham Cove

Malham Cove is a limestone cliff formation that’s over 70 meters high. It’s a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers, but in February, it’s a sight to behold for anyone. The cove is surrounded by snow-covered hills, making it a stunning winter wonderland. Take a walk along the limestone pavement and enjoy the views. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb up to the top of the cove for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire in February: Winter Escapes

In conclusion, Yorkshire is a fantastic destination for nature lovers in February. The North York Moors National Park, Brimham Rocks, and Malham Cove are just a few of the natural wonders that you can explore. Don’t forget to dress warmly and bring your camera!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions to visit in yorkshire during february.

Yorkshire has plenty of exciting attractions to explore during February. Some of the top attractions to visit include the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the National Railway Museum, and the York Minster. These attractions offer a unique experience and are perfect for a winter visit.

Which indoor activities are recommended in Yorkshire for a winter visit?

Yorkshire has a variety of indoor activities that are perfect for a winter visit. Some of the recommended indoor activities include visiting the Royal Armouries Museum, the Thackray Medical Museum, and the Leeds Art Gallery. These attractions offer a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

What are the scenic spots to explore in the Yorkshire Dales in February?

The Yorkshire Dales offer stunning scenery year-round, and February is no exception. Some of the scenic spots to explore in the Yorkshire Dales include Malham Cove, Aysgarth Falls, and Ingleton Waterfalls. These spots offer breathtaking views and are perfect for a winter hike.

Can you suggest family-friendly places to visit in North Yorkshire in winter?

North Yorkshire has plenty of family-friendly places to visit during the winter. Some of the recommended places include the Jorvik Viking Centre, the York Dungeon, and Flamingo Land Theme Park. These attractions offer a fun-filled day out for the whole family.

What historic sites in Yorkshire are ideal for a February trip?

Yorkshire is home to many historic sites that are perfect for a February trip. Some of the ideal historic sites to visit include the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, the Bolton Castle, and the Whitby Abbey. These sites offer a glimpse into Yorkshire’s rich history and are perfect for history enthusiasts.

Where are the best places to stay for a winter holiday in Yorkshire?

Yorkshire has a variety of accommodation options that are perfect for a winter holiday. Some of the best places to stay include the Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in York, the Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa in Helmsley, and the Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa in Skipton. These hotels offer a luxurious and comfortable stay for visitors.

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Things to do in Yorkshire in winter

Beaches , Coastal , Days out , Seasonal

Posted by Clare Willcocks on 7th January 2022

Things to do in Yorkshire in winter

Yorkshire wears winter well, like a sleek coat. Snow transforms rural regions and the beautiful scenery gains an extra layer of sparkle, with peaceful white fields, deserted beaches, and dramatic castles towering into the frosty sky. We’ve gathered together a few suggestions for things to do in Yorkshire over the winter months. There's no need to hide inside, just dress for the weather with layers of cosy coats and jumpers so that nothing can stop you from exploring during your Yorkshire winter holiday. 

Yorkshire has many all-weather visitor attractions that are open all year round too, as well as an abundance of cities with museums and amazing shopping experiences. Try a day out in Sheffield or York , and you will be surprised at what you could find. Discover Yorkshire in our helpful guide to inspire your winter trip further. We think the best way to get to know these cities and the fascinating counties of North , South , East , and West Yorkshire is to stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages. Click on the button below to discover your perfect place to stay this winter.

Visit our Yorkshire cottages

Brave some winter walks

Brave some winter walks

Taking a winter walk in the countryside provides a feast for the eyes, from pretty little villages which look like they’re straight out of the Kate Winslet film, The Holiday, to the snow sprinkled hills and dales of the North York Moors . The Yorkshire Dales are at their most spectacular at this time of year. The sun sits low in the sky and the dry stone walls which criss-cross the landscape take on the orange hues of the winter light. Crisp, cold days when the ground is free of snow are perfect for cycling. Put your best foot forward and discover every inch of this winter wonderland on two feet, the best way to see the beauty of the natural world. 

As you probably know, Yorkshire has a long coastline so take a walk along the long-distance Cleveland Way with a sea view to try on for size! Wrap up warm though, those North Sea onshore winds are bracing in the winter! For even more winter days and walks in the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors , take a read of our handy blogs.

Fabulous winter walks in Yorkshire:

  • The Cleveland Way: At 109 miles, there are some amazing sections of this trail that wind through Whitby, Flamborough, Staithes and more.
  • Aysgarth Falls: This is a walk best enjoyed after huge rainfall to see the splendid Aysgarth Falls in full flow.
  • River Swale: The Richmond circular walk in North Yorkshire is a winner for views of the majestic Richmond Castle  and woodlands.

Yorkshire Dales walkers' retreats

Treat yourself to a city break in York

Treat yourself to a city break in York

After Christmas when the dazzling fairy lights of the festive markets have faded, the atmospheric streets of York keep the magic alive, offering a fantastic blend of boutique shops, cosy restaurants, and tearooms where you can enjoy a nice hot cuppa on a chilly day in The Shambles and around Parliament Street. York is home to York Minster , one of England's most outstanding examples of Gothic architecture and a few excellent museums like the JORVIK Viking Centre, York Dungeons where you can discover the curious and occasionally dark history of the city. Outside the city, you can visit Rawcliffe Bar Country Park for open spaces and ordered beauty. There's so much to see on a winter city break to York.

Winter holiday highlights in York:

  • Christmas market: Known locally as the St Nicholas Fair, York's Christmas market is a must for festive food and drink, and bespoke fancy goods.
  • York City Walls Trail : York's city walls date back some 700 years and you can walk much of their length along a pathway first restored in the late 1800s.
  • Clfford's Tower : This curious citadel (almost the only remains of York Castle) sits atop a green escarpment close to the middle of York.

City breaks in York

Explore the Yorkshire coast

Explore the Yorkshire coast

Winter can’t be allowed to pass by without a mention of the awe-inspiring Yorkshire coast. It is an ideal season for bird watching, with a huge variety of our feathered friends to be found on rocky crags and otherwise deserted beaches. One of the top winter beach destinations along this coastline is the famous and dramatic seaside town of Whitby. On a cold winter’s day, it’s not hard to see how the gothic Whitby Abbey, towering forebodingly on the cliff top, provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’.

Seize the opportunity to take a break in one of our cottages in Yorkshire this winter and benefit from some great out-of-season prices! If you’d like to head elsewhere in the north for a lovely winter break, we also have cottages in Northumberland and cottages in Lancashire .

Coastal towns and villages in Yorkshire to visit this winter:

  • Scarborough: Scarborough is the place for a traditional English seaside holiday. It has a lovely long promenade and a sandy beach to enjoy.
  • Filey : Home to 5 miles of gorgeous unspoilt sandy beaches that are just perfect for winter walks.
  • Robin Hood's Bay : Eye-catching coastal location that is a superb spot to take a coastal walk. It stands at one end of the Coast-to-Coast Trail.

Coastal cottages in Yorkshire

Investigate Yorkshire's museums

Investigate Yorkshire's museums

For even more things to do this winter in Yorkshire, then look no further. A day trip to a Yorkshire museum is a great way to get out of the cold if the weather takes a downward turn. Museums are always full to the brim with interesting objects and intriguing stories to match. If you’re enjoying a city break to York, Leeds, or Sheffield, there's a fine selection of wonderful museums you can visit to uncover Yorkshire’s past, while towns and villages throughout the region offer surprising museums you might like to make a trip to as well. Yorkshire has an intriguing mixture of museums from ancient history at the JORVIK Viking Centre , to transport and engineering at the National Railway Museum , and the simply appetizing at York's Chocolate Story .

Interesting museums to visit in Yorkshire this winter:

  • Royal Pump Room Museum : Harrogate is known for its mineral springs as documented in this attraction.
  • The National Science and Media Museum : This giant museum in Bradford is another great option, especially if you're exploring with kids in tow!
  •   York Castle Museum : History buffs will love hearing about York Castle's potted past at this superb museum.

More indoor attractions in Yorkshire

Hunt down some film and TV locations in Yorkshire

If you love the movies, some interesting days out in Yorkshire in winter could be spent seeking out some film and TV locations. Yorkshire is a beautiful region filled with prime movie real estate. It has appeared in many blockbusters, popular TV shows, and art-house movies frequently since the birth of cinema. Literary adaptations feature dominantly in our list of locations. 

Film locations to visit in Yorkshire:

  • The Railway Children:  This classic for film lovers of all ages. It was filmed at Oakworth Station on the Worth & Keighley Line back in the 1970s. A sequel is due in 2022-23.
  • Last Tango in Halifax:  This popular series is filmed in and around Halifax in West Yorkshire as well as The Calderdale Way , Hebden Bridge , and  Ladstone Rock .
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one): Malham Cove is a dramatic and easily accessible natural beauty spot used as a backdrop for the onscreen wizardry in one of the final Harry Potter film adaptations.

More film locations in Yorkshire

Hop aboard the North York Moors Railway

Hop aboard the North York Moors Railway

See the sights from the comfort of a steam train on the North York Moors Railway trundling over the idyllic landscape of Yorkshire’s coastal moorland. This is an upland region of the National Park tipped with pink heather during summer and July, but snowy with dramatic skies during the winter months, making it the ideal place to take in spectacular scenery any time of year. Winter is the best time for a ride on the steam train though, as you can make the most of this cosy mode of travel by enjoying a cuppa and cake with the family or doodling the landscape on a sketch pad while the weather is less than favourable outside. 

Retreat to the North York Moors

Visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the largest outdoor art 'galleries' in Europe. In winter, the park and its exhibits are transfigured, the starkness of winter offers a beautiful blank canvas in which you can admire the creations on a walk through the chilly air before popping into the on-site café or tearoom to warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Discover fairy folk hiding among the flora and magnificent abstracts that that tower above you. Look out for myths and legends in art form before venturing inside to see paintings if there's an indoor gallery. To visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, stay in one of our cottages near Wakefield. 

Wakefield holiday cottages

Stay at a self-catering cottage in Yorkshire this winter

Head to Yorkshire in winter to make the most of this impressive part of the UK, walking the well-trodden trails of the Yorkshire Dales or uncovering curiosities in York's museums, and enjoy an unforgettable holiday. Whether visiting for Christmas or as a wonderful start to the New Year, you'll have a fantastic time. Visit our range of holiday cottages in Yorkshire and find your ideal base for a winter break. 

Browse Yorkshire cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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5 secret, pretty places to visit in Yorkshire

By Rachel Everett

These are the best places to visit in Yorkshire

Dubbed “God’s Own Country”, Yorkshire is the UK’s largest county, covering 2.9 million acres, including the wild and wonderful  North York Moors National Park which celebrated its 70th anniversary last November . The region’s caramel-stone towns and villages , expansive, moody-blue skies, heather-blanked moors, tapestries of undulating green dales, and honeycomb shores have long been documented by the literary greats like the  Brontë Sisters – and captured in technicolour by  David Hockney . The word is already out that Yorkshire is a beautiful place , but where are the lesser-known, secret spots?

The Yorkshire Dales and big-hitter Yorkshire coastal destinations always pack in the crowds, but – as every insider knows – the best places are where the locals go. There are spectacular, panoramic, forest-clad walks, mystical, under-the-radar beaches and coves, flourishing organic wineries, and handsome chocolate box villages with Michelin-starred restaurants championing the best local produce – we should know. Here are the secret, pretty places to visit in Yorkshire that you need to experience…

Castle Howard

Castle Howard circular

The well-known Castle Howard Estate  of Brideshead Revisited fame, and more recently, Bridgerton , lies at the heart of the  Howardian Hills . The estate itself is approximately 8,800 acres, and most visitors spend their time visiting the ornate castle and sprawling gardens.

However, not as many people know about the wonderful five-mile circular walk around the rim of the castle grounds and parklands. The off-the-beaten-track route takes in all the rugged beauty of the area and leads to the dashing village of Coneysthorpe. It takes in the castle from a different perspective, and you’ll hardly spot another soul if you’re lucky. The circular walk at  Beningbrough Hall is also worth a mention, linger at the little secret ‘beach’ along the way – a blissful, sandy inlet with waters perfect for dipping your toes into.

Where to stay

Book into Seaves Mill , part of the Beautiful Escapes collection. Set near the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village of Brandsby – a short drive from Castle Howard – the mill cottage has been stylishly designed and curated by the antique dealer owners. The gorgeous place sleeps four with good-looking landscaped gardens and is close to many Howardian Hills standouts.

To get privileged access to the castle grounds, book one of the  Castle Howard holiday cottages . Set in the villages on the estate, book  Lime Kiln Farmhouse , a characterful 18th-century farmhouse decorated by Lady Susan Howard – with sensational, exclusive castle views.

Helmsley

The petite market village of  Helmsley  is often overlooked for Yorkshire’s other grand destinations but its honey-hued loveliness offers a slice of real Yorkshire and some lesser-known places of interest. The main square and warren of pretty side streets make for a great wander after lunch – Helmsley Castle, Helmsley Walled Garden and Rievaulx Abbey are also just nearby. One highlight if you’re feeling energetic is the walk from Helmsley to  Rievaulx Abbey (seven miles return). The inspiring route takes walkers through bluebell-blanketed woods and down to ravishing Rievaulx Abbey – set deep in the valley – the romantic ruins of one of England’s most powerful Cistercian monasteries.

If you’re hanging around in summer , book tickets for  Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool . A short walk from Helmsley’s heart, this retro 70s heated swimming pool is pure nostalgia. There’s an old-school playground and cricket pavilion, but, most importantly, a heated outdoor pool overlooking the rolling hills.

There are many excellent boltholes in this part of Yorkshire but  The Pheasant Hotel , a homey, Harome-based, country house hotel – holds two AA rosettes and became a Michelin guide restaurant in 2022. Once inside the bonny, blonde-stone hotel, expect all the home comforts, fine food and friendly service. For larger groups, the newly-unveiled  Yorkshire Spa Retreat  is the destination spa of the moment – for the right reasons. There are lavish lodges, a wondrous health suite with a Himalayan salt chamber, herbal steam and treatment rooms, and a wild swimming pond, set in peaceful Nawton – to the backdrop of birdsong.

Little Wold Vineyard

Yorkshire wineries

Yorkshire has the cheese – ahem, Yorkshire Blue – now it has the wine. There are some outstanding local wineries such as  Ryedale Vineyards and  Little Wold Vineyard . Ryedale is a 12-acre, family-run, working vineyard at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds – and they offer cheese and wine tastings and also have two deluxe farmhouse rooms, should you wish to sleep over.

Little Wold Vineyard has over 12,000 vines of five different white grape varieties in a breathtaking countryside setting. Little Wold offers an array of wine-tasting tours, and also serves as the idyllic and intimate wedding venue – with all the goods for guests, of course.

If you missed out on booking a stay at Ryedale Vineyards, there are some super places to stay around 30-35 minutes away. Book  The Alice Hawthorn at Nun Monkton , a smart, modern country pub with plenty of accolades, and this year, it came up trumps in the Estrella Damm Top 100 Gastropubs 2023.

Or, for a sensational cottage stay, drive past the pretty thatched cottages of the sleepy village of Crayke to bed down at  The Durham Ox . Book beautiful, wisteria-clad Ivy Cottage , which sleeps six and has its own garden, looking onto refreshing country fields. Make sure to make reservations for dinner or Sunday lunch at the Ox itself – it’s a picture-perfect country pub with welcoming hosts. Both The Alice Hawthorn and The Durham Ox are featured in  Michelin's Best Pubs in Yorkshire .

Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay

With its gentle, peppermint waters, hushed sandy sweep and pretty, terracotta-topped cottages tucked into the cliffside, former fishing village, Runswick Bay won The Sunday Times Beach of the Year in 2020 for a reason. Not only does a stay here feel much more secluded and peaceful than other Yorkshire beaches, but its natural beauty – a glimmering, safe coastline, a soft, sheltered crescent cove, space for sandcastles, rockpooling, and fossil discovery, bottlenose dolphin sightings, and Hob Holes – caves that were once believed to be hobgoblin homes.

Staying in one of Runswick’s cute cottages is a must: most are beach-facing and waking up to the magnificent seascape is dreamy. If you’re day tripping, there are limited parking spaces, but honestly, you’ll want to stay longer. Part of the  Cleveland Way National Trail , there are many coastal walks from Runswick Bay, including the breezy two-mile (four miles return) clifftop walk to Port Mulgrave – perfect for blowing out the cobwebs.

The High Chapel is in a coveted spot, perched right above the luminous half-moon bay. Sleeping four, this gorgeous high-spec cottage has been lovingly designed and furnished by couple Phil and Karen Bell and is the only home base you need in Runswick Bay. In a prime seafront location, among the cluster of cottages and maze of flower-fringed laneways, the stylishly converted chapel overlooks what must be one of the most bewitching beaches in Yorkshire.

Once inside, the beautiful cottage sleeps five with a chic dining room, and so-snug lounge: fire up the wood burner and underfloor heating if it’s a bit ‘parky’, as the locals say. Take a tipple on the dreamy, outdoor terrace and watch the amber-gold sunset fade into the big blue – it’s a magical moment. Yes, your prayers have been answered.

The White Horse of Kilburn

The White Horse of Kilburn

James Herriot, the famed veterinary surgeon and author of All Creatures Great and Small , once declared the views over the Vale of York from atop Yorkshire’s  White Horse of Kilburn as the “finest in England”. And though the brilliant white chalk horse on the edge of the North York Moors is iconic, choose your time wisely for a lofty walk along the top and it feels like you have the entire precious, life-affirming landscape to yourself. Designed in 1857 by local schoolmaster John Hodgson, the horse was recently resprayed a dazzling white – it took four days and cost £20,000.

Today, you can drive to the base of the horse and take some short, steep steps up to the main brilliant white steed, or start at  Sutton Bank National Park Centre  and do the whole elevated three-mile walking route. From these lucky heights, you can see spirit-lifting views – an infinite patchwork of green that stretches for miles and changes its colour spectrum with the seasons – looking up at the sky here could be Constable’s Cloud Study in real life.

If you aim to make a weekend of it, the only place to book is Yorkshire’s other finest –  The Black Swan in Oldstead . Set on the edge of the North York Moors, a stay at Yorkshire’s front runner, the Michelin-starred, 4 AA Rosette restaurant with ravishing rooms care of Tommy Banks, is a true gift.

Go for a creative culinary experience centred around the fruits of the land, with produce grown and foraged on the grounds or locally sourced. Sample delicious, perfectly plated, tasting menu dishes like lobster with umeboshi strawberry and beetroot with goat’s curd. Sink into your luxurious bed for some sweet dreams after, the nine rooms are named after farms and dales.

Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Yorkshire

One of the most popular places to visit “up North” and with good reason, this fiercely proud and historic county is also known for its unspoiled rugged beauty.

It’s an area filled with charm and bags of character, from flat caps and tea shops to feisty locals to pints of bitter and I’m personally a huge fan, this place is seriously atmospheric! It’s a tough choice but I’ve managed to narrow down my favourite beauty spots…

York minster - places to visit in the UK in autumn

This beautiful historic city is the jewel in the crown of this wonderful county. It’s known for its Roman and Viking roots, its impressive ancient walls, the dungeons, and numerous museums (the National Railway Museum , York Castle Museum, and York Art Gallery are just a few) fabulous independent shops, and the spectacular York Minster , a truly beautiful cathedral which is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.

It has a wonderful suspended-in-time atmosphere and many gorgeous places to explore. I suggest heading down the narrow cobbled lanes and browsing the designer stores, independent shops, and boutiques galore.

Don’t miss the very special Shambles district which is lined with timber-framed buildings, some dating back to the 14th century.

Don’t forget to stop at one of the many quaint tea or cake shops along the way! 

My must-do highlights

  • Walk along the medieval stone walls , a great way to view the city and Minister.
  • Wander down the narrow cobble roads of The Shambles , well known for being the prettiest street in York.
  • Hire a little red boat to cruise along the river and admire the cute buildings along the way.
  • Stay in one of the many cool boutique hotels in York .

2. North York Moors

Yorkshire Moors - dog friendly UK places

This is an area of outstanding beauty and I love this spot. The landscapes here are made up of 1,400 miles of natural and unspoiled wilderness beauty and they are most definitely breathtaking.

The region is a natural habitat for flora and fauna comprising heather moorland, pine forests, rolling hills, and shimmering coastline as well as badgers, roe deer, and hawks. 

It’s unsurprisingly a haven for outdoor activity lovers and here you can go walking, hiking, cycling or just head out for a very beautiful scenic drive. 

  • With an array of trails across the area, going on a hike to explore the beautiful scenic landscape is a must.
  • Ride on the 24-mile-long steam railway for picturesque views of the area.
  • Visit Dalby Forest to enjoy mountain biking , a great activity to do with friends or family.

3. Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales - pretty drive

One of the most famous attractions in Northern England, I think the scenery here is just incredible! It’s an unspoiled and perfectly preserved place filled with moors, green valleys, rolling hills, grand castles, abbeys, gorgeous stone-built villages, and plenty of nature and fresh country air. 

Highlights of the Yorkshire Dales National Park include Malham Cove, Bolton Priory, Aysgarth Falls, Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, the Ingleborough hiking trail for gorgeous views, and White Star Cave.

I would suggest not leaving without paying a visit to one of the traditional cosy pubs or staying in a pretty riverside cottage. 

  • Discover the spectacular Ingleton Waterfalls along a 4.5-mile trail through the ancient woodland.
  • Hike to the stunning Malham Cove to see the dramatic cliff and gorge.
  • Explore the ruins of a historic 12th-century Augustinian church, Bolton Priory.

4. Harrogate

Harrogate North England

Harrogate may be small when it comes to size, but it packs a huge cultural punch, and this affluent and pretty historic town is known for its lovely parks, great range of independent shops, and theatres.

Although it’s arguably best known for being a spa town some of the best places to visit here include the lovely Montpellier Quarter with the Royal Pump Room Museum and here you can find out about the history of the local mineral springs.

Also, I would recommend not missing the Grade II listed baths restored Moorish-style Turkish Baths now functioning as a luxury health spa.

Other reasons to visit this gem include the many beautiful historic buildings, castles, and Abbeys, afternoon tea at the famous Betty’s tearooms, and the Valley Gardens complete with the pretty Art Deco Sun Pavilion! 

  • Relax in the exquisite Turkish baths filled with steam rooms, heating chambers and a refreshingly cold plunge pool.
  • Visit the vibrant and Insta-worthy RHS Garden Harlow Carr , after wandering around you can also pop into Betty’s Tea Room.
  • Check out the grand rock formations of Brimham Rocks where you can also find some great viewpoints.

5. Scarborough

Scarborough harbour in Yorkshire England

This is a very charming and picturesque seaside resort located on the North Sea coast which has an elegant, timeless atmosphere.

Scarb0rough’s heyday was the Victorian times and there are still many attractions that have a Victorian feel but with a modern twist – think amusement arcades, fish and chips, and sticks of rock. 

It’s blessed with two gorgeous sandy bays divided by a headland where the striking 12th-century Scarborough Castle resides.

Other highlights of this popular seaside holiday spot include the Rotunda Museum, the Victorian Central Tramway funicular train which links the town centre with South Bay and its harbour, the lovely  Scarborough Spa , and The Grand Hotel which is positioned dramatically on the cliff-top.

  • Spend some time at the Oriental-inspired Peasholm Park , featuring a lake, a small island and an interesting Chinese-style pagoda.
  • For the best views overlooking the town, visit Scarborough Castle.
  • On a sunny day, enjoy a day at the beach and along the promenade filled with entertainment, cafes and shops.

Whitby seaside town Yorkshire

Whitby is a very popular seaside town! Located by the River Esk it offers a heady mix of gorgeous coastal scenery, plenty of fresh salty air, old-fashioned seaside fun, and even an alternative subculture!

This is sometimes where goths gather and the reason is because Whitby Abbey was Bram Stoker’s inspiration for his famous “Dracula” novel.

Other stand-out attractions include the Captain Cook Memorial Museum (where the legendary Captain Cook once lived) and the very easy-on-the-eye west part of town where you can explore or relax on West Cliff Beach which is lined with photogenic beach huts.

It’s also a fabulous place to base yourself if you want to go on scenic clifftop walks. 

  • Climb up the famous 199 steps to the unique St Mary’s Church whilst admiring picturesque views.
  • Check out the impressive and historic Whitby Abbey , one of the most popular attractions to see.
  • Enjoy a refreshing drink after a day of sightseeing at the petite Whitby Brewery.
  • Stay in one of the many cool.

7. Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay Yorkshire

This is a gorgeous area to explore in Yorkshire, this wonderfully picturesque old fishing village is located on the beautiful Heritage Coast of the North York Moors. Built between two imposing cliffs the village is home to quaint charming cottages which spill right down to the edge of the sea.

It makes a charming and cosy coastal getaway where you can discover incredible coastal walks, and the village’s unusual architecture, and learn all about the smuggling history of the bay.

More of my favourite highlights include the historic Church of St Stephen, Robin Hood Bay Museum, the Old Coastguard Station , and the   Falling Foss Waterfall & Tea Garden .

My must-do highlights 

  • Learn about the history of the area at the museum and see a replica of a smuggler’s house.
  • For a spooky experience, book a ghost tour to check out the town after it goes dark.
  • Take a walk along the beach to discover the hidden Boggle Hole where you can also explore through the caves.

8. Flamborough Head coast and cliffs

Flamborough Head Yorkshire

This stunning and unspoilt 8-mile-long chalk headland, with its sheer white cliffs.

Located between the Filey and Bridlington bays of the North Sea, the ridges also provide nesting for thousands of seabirds and it’s also home to two standing lighthouse towers, the oldest dates from 1669, and Flamborough Head Lighthouse was built in 1806. 

Take talk to walk and explore this gorgeous Yorkshire gem and you’ll find all kinds of scenic delights including the striking chalk cliffs, magical coves complete with rock pools, sea caves, sea stacks, and magnificent archways.

  • Visit the oldest lighthouse in England which was built in 1966 but never lit.
  • Go for a walk along the coastal paths for breathtaking views overlooking the ocean and to spot naturally formed sea arches.
  • Catch a sunset from Selwicks Bay , and find the perfect spot on the 400-foot high chalk cliffs to watch the sky turn into a golden glow.

9. Castle Howard

Castle Howard Yorkshire

Beautiful Castle Howard is considered to be one of Britain’s finest historic houses and I’m a big fan of this place. Located in the Howardian Hills (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) 15 miles north of York it sits proudly in the centre of  1000 acres of pristinely kept formal gardens and parkland estate which includes pretty lakes, fountains, lovely woodlands, temples, and statues. 

In the 18th-century walled garden, you can enjoy a stunning collection of heritage roses, that have a heady scent and vibrant colours. Within the ornamental vegetable garden, you will find sweet pea wigwams mingling with the vegetable patches. 

The castle itself is simply spectacular and has been the private residence of the Howard family for more than 300 years. It was built in the 18th century and is fabulously gilded and ornate. The gardens and house are usually open daily for visitors to enjoy. 

  • Admire the perfectly groomed gardens surrounding the house and the iconic Atlas Fountain.
  • Discover the fascinating Aztec Pyramid covered in moss, a unique but unusual monument featured within the grounds.
  • Take a guided tour around the house, featuring over 145 rooms this is one of the largest country houses in England.

10. Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

Ingleton Falls Yorkshire

Ingleton Waterfalls is a beautiful circular trail to explore in North Yorkshire beginning and ending in the village of Ingleton. It’s maintained by the Ingleton Scenery Company and is 8 km in length with a vertical rise of 169 m.

It has some of the most beautiful and scenic waterfalls and woodland scenery in the north of England. 

The highlight of the trail is the stunning waterfall which plunges 14 metres over a limestone cliff which formed over 330 million years ago. The walk is easy to follow and is open seven days a week, throughout the year. 

  • Get your camera ready to snap some Instagrammable shots of the scenery as you explore through the trail.
  • Dip your feet in the waterfall base to cool down after hiking to find it.
  • Take a picnic to enjoy whilst being amazed by one of the most stunning waterfalls in the North of England.

11. Saltburn-by-the-sea

Saltburn-by-the-Sea England

This is a lovely coastal town located in Redcar and Cleveland, North Yorkshire. It’s a popular spot and offers plenty of Victorian charm, a clean Blue Flag status beach and family-friendly beachside amenities.

As well as being a great place for a staycation, surfers and paddleboarders also love this place. My favourite highlights include the spectacular Saltburn Cliff Tramway, the Victorian pier, Captain Cook’s Heritage Centre, and of course the beautiful sandy beach. 

  • Ride up the Saltburn Cliff Lift which connects the seafront pier to the town.
  • Before taking the lift, enjoy a portion of fish and chips on the Victorian Pier.
  • For those who love to surf, catch some waves at the beach , well known for having some great breaks and high tides.

12. Wentworth Castle and Gardens

Wentworth Castle Yorkshire

Imagine being surrounded by glorious gardens, woodland, and parkland. That is precisely what you can expect from Wentworth Castle and Gardens located near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. 

Sadly the Grade II listed country house is closed to the public due to funding issues but the beautiful gardens are opened and maintained by the National Trust and are open to the public. 

The grand stately home is surrounded by 60 acres of gardens with trees, shrubs, hedges, and flowers in varied planting styles as well as a wider park and surrounding woodlands. I would suggest taking the time to explore one of the many walking trails on the estate. 

  • Check out the gorgeous Victorian Flower Garden , where you can walk up to a viewpoint for a bird’s eye view.
  • Visit the Sun Monument , one of the oldest in England and a tribute to the forward-thinking lady.
  • Discover the second castle located on the highest point of the estate, Stainborough Castle.

13. Runswick Bay 

Runswick Bay Yorkshire

This stunning Yorkshire gem has a sweeping and sheltered bay and a cluster of pretty red-roofed cottages with many delightful alleyways.

Located just a few miles north of Whitby here you’ll find a gorgeous and clean sandy beach sometimes filled with brightly coloured anchored boats. 

It’s often said to be one of the best beaches to visit in Yorkshire and once you visit you’ll see why – the scenery here is very charming and picturesque. Many walks follow along the cliff tops so I would suggest taking your time to enjoy! 

  • Explore through the pretty streets of the town , featuring cute red-roofed cottages and several shops.
  • Hire a paddleboard or kayak and spend some time out on the waters having fun.
  • Take part in beach cleaning , find the #2minutebeachclean board and follow the instructions to help out the environment.

14. Marsden Moor

Marsden Moor Yorkshire

Yorkshire does pristine wilderness very well and this is one of the many wonderful places to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in nature.

This sprawling expanse is owned by the National Trust and is located in the beautiful South Pennines, between West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

There are more than 5000 acres of landscapes to explore ranging from deep peat moors to historic trans-Pennine transport routes. Here you’ll also find a variety of plants and wildlife and many cycling and walking trails. 

  • Be amazed by the gorgeous scenery along an array of trails and walks throughout the area.
  • For those who love to cycle, take your bike to cover more ground in a day and enjoy a beautiful ride.
  • Discover the best viewpoints overlooking the landscape and capture some incredible shots.

15. Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens

Burton Agnes Hall

Burton Agnes Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan manor house located in the village of Burton Agnes in East Riding of Yorkshire.

It’s a much-loved place which was originally built in 1601–10 by Sir Henry Griffith. The house and gardens are open to the public and the interiors have a lived-in feel with plenty of charm and character.

The stunning gardens are award-winning and home to a walled garden with many different species of plants, herbaceous borders, a pretty jungle garden, a yew maze, and even some giant games which the kids and young-at-heart adults can enjoy.

The woodland is planted in a peaceful arboretum walk and is also home to a fun adventure playground.

  • Take a tour around the grand Elizabeth stately home which has been owned by the same family for over 400 years.
  • Wander through the perfectly prepared gardens filled with stunning plants, trees and bushes.
  • Have some fun on the giant games and yew maze located across the estate.

16. Staithes

Staithes village in Yorkshire

This is a wonderful hidden Yorkshire gem! It’s actually a pretty seaside village located on a hillside in the Scarborough borough of North Yorkshire.

It was one of the largest fishing ports in the North East with a very much thriving industry but today it offers visitors a chance to explore a typical Yorkshire seaside village complete with a cosy harbour, quaint houses, wonderful views, and locally built boats. 

It’s also a great place for exploring Yorkshire’s cliff-top paths and also for fossil hunting. It’s also the charming home to a community of well-known artists. In my opinion, this place is a must-see! 

  • Discover the eight painted illusions created by local artist Paul Czainski, dotted throughout the town.
  • Go for a walk along the harbour , where you can also find several pubs, galleries and eating spots.
  • Take a hike along the cliff tops for spectacular views across the landscape and try your luck at finding a fossil.

17. Knaresborough

Knaresborough - pretty places in Yorkshire

Located right next door to beautiful Harrogate, this wonderful spa and market town is smaller but just as pretty as its rival. It’s mostly known for its very striking viaduct which towers over Nidd Gorge as well as being home to the historically famous prophetess, Mother Shipton. 

It enjoys an elevated position high above the River Nidd and is filled with fine architecture, a great range of independent shops and a maze of medieval streets.

Head to the Royal Forest of Knaresborough to see Mother Shipton’s Cave – England’s oldest visitor attraction which contains a petrifying well that turns everyday objects to stone.

  • Check out the marketplace on a Wednesday to stroll around the stalls selling local produce, flowers, whole foods and more.
  • Visit the Knaresborough Castle , a monument of the town, which stands tall on a high cliff with views overlooking the River Nidd.
  • Walk along the waterside of the River Nidd where you can stop off at a local café for coffee and cake along the way.

18. Harewood House

Harewood House West Yorkshire

There are many interesting attractions in West Yorkshire including the locally famous Royal Armories Museum the beautiful Roundhay Park and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park but I personally think Harewood House is one of the best!

The wider estate is most known for being a filming location for the popular TV series Emmerdale but there are also many other great reasons to visit. 

Built in 1759, the fine country house was designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam and is one of the treasure houses of England. The outside is very handsome and inside history, lovers will love the rare Chippendale furniture and jaw-dropping interior designs in the State Rooms.

  • Take a guided tour of the historic house for a discovery talk to explore the different rooms and see the treasures.
  • Spend some time out on the lake with a ferry trip or boat ride.
  • With over 100 acres of gardens, a stroll around the magnificent surroundings of the house is a must-do activity,

19. Gordale Scar

Gordale Scar Yorkshire

This is a scenic limestone geological formation complete with two wonderful waterfalls and a stream running through a deep-sided gorge. 

Located one mile northeast of Malham, North Yorkshire, it’s truly a beautiful place and its huge size can only be appreciated once you stand right in the middle!

  • Take a moment to soak up the spectacular landscape formed from limestone and featuring two waterfalls.
  • Walk through the enchanting woodlands to reach the Janet’s Foss waterfall where you can take a quick dip to cool down on a hot day.
  • Spend some time exploring the cavern or just chill out whilst being surrounded by magnificent scenery.

20. Fountains Abbey 

Owned by the National Trust and located in a secluded valley, this is one of the largest and best-preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England.

Founded in 1132,  as well as its historical importance –  it was one of the wealthiest monasteries in England until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 – it’s a captivating place and I personally think it’s well worth a visit! Enjoy! 

  • Wander through the serene and grand ruins of the Abbey.
  • Check out the exhibition held at Fountains Hall.
  • Take some great shots of the landmarks located throughout.

We also have posts on…

  • Amazing places to visit in Northern England
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Northumberland

Scott Balaam

Scott Balaam – writer and photographer

Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Australia, Ireland, UK and the USA but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting thirst for culture, good food and great football. In his spare time Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, the rest of Italy, Amsterdam, USA, Athens, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Find Scott on Linkedin , Instagram , or Twitter .

Hotel Reviewing Experience –Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Visit Sweden ,  OET (Spanish Tourism Office) , Sultanate of Oman and  Travel Alberta . Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos . Also mentioned as a top UK travel journalist .

1 thought on “Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Yorkshire”

Hey Scott, Wow… what an amazing read. I am also planning for UK tour after covid and I got my guide post. Thank you so much for bringing this post. Best Regards 🙂

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places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Places to visit in Yorkshire

Affectionately known as ‘God’s Country’ by locals, visit Yorkshire and you too will be converted by the stunning scenery, cities steeped in industrial heritage, and charming market towns to explore. Delightful places to visit in Yorkshire include Beverley, a thriving medieval market town, and historic York where you can admire gothic York Minster cathedral. Looking for a challenge? Fun things to do in Yorkshire include uphill climbs across the Yorkshire Dales, where you’ll be rewarded by jaw-dropping views, or try your hand at surfing in beach towns like Scarborough. Or simply take a leisurely stroll around cosmopolitan Leeds for museums, galleries and excellent shopping in abundance.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

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places to visit in yorkshire in winter

See the light at the end of the tunnel

Standedge Tunnel, in the heart of the Pennine countryside, is the longest canal tunnel in Britain.

Location: Marsden, Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Kiss under the Heart of Yorkshire window at the Minster

According to legend, all loved up couples that kiss under the 'Heart of Yorkshire' window, will stay together forever.

Location: York, North Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Go shopping medieval-style along The Shambles

Travel back in time along one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval shopping streets, with cheerful cafés and quirky shops in timber-framed buildings.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

March along England's longest medieval city walls

Enjoy a bird's-eye view of the city and stroll along its 13th century defensive walls, passing historic landmarks, gatehouses and gardens.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Get on board at the National Railway Museum

The world's largest railway museum is home to a staggering collection of restored locomotives, including the fastest steam engine of all time.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Rainy Day Activities: Step back in time at York Castle Museum

Travel back in time on a rainy day at this trend-setting museum, which transports visitors back through 300 years of history.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Go ghost hunting in ‘Europe's most haunted city’

York claims to be the world’s first city to run ghost walks – you’ll soon see why, with tales of murder, mayhem and gore at every corner.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Take a cruise along the River Ouse

The city of York owes its existence to the rivers. Escape the city rush and admire the scenery from the comfort of a City Cruises boat.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Explore the city of York by bike

York is voted as one of the most bike-friendly cities in England with a wide range of cycle routes through the city and beyond.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

See England's finest view from Sutton Bank

Celebrated author and vet James Herriot gave the view from Sutton Bank the ultimate accolade – “England’s finest”. Find out if he was right…

Location: Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Keeping it in the family at Castle Howard

The Howard family has called Castle Howard home for 300 years but their house is your house as you explore one of Yorkshire’s finest historic estates.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Celebrate Ryedale's heritage at the Folk Museum

Discover this hidden gem deep in the North York Moors National Park and uncover English antiques and curiosities.

Location: Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Take on adventures aplenty in Dalby Forest

See some of Yorkshire’s beautiful countryside from a mountain bike, Segway, tree-top trail and by night, at one of the UK’s premier activity centres.

Location: Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Nine floors of silver-screens

A visit to the National Media Museum is a must if you love photography, film, television, animation, gaming or the internet.

Location: Bradford, West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Life in Victorian Bradford

Founded by Sir Titus Salt in 1853, Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage site and remains a living, working 19th century village.

Location: Saltaire, West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Ride the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

This exciting heritage steam railway runs through the picturesque Yorkshire countryside where the classic movie The Railway Children was filmed.

Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Walk in the footsteps of the famous Brontë sisters

Visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum and explore the beautiful home and surroundings that inspired classic Brontë novels.

Location: Haworth, West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Rainy Day Activities: Discover military history at The Royal Armouries

Britain’s national museum of arms and armour is home to a fascinating and unique collection, including the only existing suit of armour built for an elephant.

Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Splash your cash in Victoria Leeds

A haven for designer brands, Victoria Leeds is the destination for luxury shopping.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Embrace the pop-up dining trend at Trinity Kitchen

Take your pick from a mix of vibrant restaurants and street food vans all under one roof.

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

Visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle

Celebrate 200 of the world’s greatest artists at 4 leading arts venues in Yorkshire.

Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

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A grand gothic cathedral, Viking heritage and Roman city walls. York is quite literally steeped in history. This North Yorkshire city can be seen from every angle.

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Rights-of-way footpaths cut across heather coated heathland, ridges and North Sea cliff edges in the North York Moors. Follow dinosaur footprints to the Jurassic bays of the Heritage Coast.

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UK Travel Planning

Top 10 places to visit in Yorkshire

By: Author Tracy Collins

Posted on Last updated: May 29, 2023

10 things to do in Yorkshire England

Welcome to my guide to the top 10 places to visit in Yorkshire . If you are planning to visit the largest county in England you will find my recommendations for the best things to do and see in this article.

Home to over 5 million Yorkshire men and women who call it “God’s own county” Yorkshire is famous for beautiful scenery, historic cities , the Bronte sisters, tea, cozy pubs, Dracula, hikes, Yorkshire puddings , cheese, and pretty villages amongst many other things!

10 beautiful places to visit in Yorkshire

1. Visit Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park

2. walk the yorkshire dales, 3. go shopping in diagon alley (the shambles), 4. visit the victorian model village of saltaire, 5. visit the seaside town that inspired dracula – whitby, 6. visit the national rail museum in york, 7. visit castle howard, 8. take a train ride on the north yorkshire moors historical railway, 9. visit york minster, 10. enjoy an afternoon tea at bettys tea rooms, fast facts – yorkshire, related reading, lets explore the top 10 places to visit in yorkshire.

One of my favourite destinations in Yorkshire is Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park .

Fountains Abbey was closed after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539. Although it lies in ruins today you can get a sense of just how magnificent it was.

It is now surrounded by Studley Royal Water Park. The beautiful park and gardens were designed in the 18th century by John and William Aislabie.

They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Read more | Visiting Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Park

The ruins of an old Abbey in England

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful walks in Yorkshire with whether you are looking for a short walk or a longer hike.

My personal favourite walk to do in Yorkshire is the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail . The loop circuit is a manageable 7 km long. It does however incorporate lots of steps so is unfortunately not accessible for wheelchair users.

With lots of waterfalls and some incredibly beautiful scenery along the way, it is a popular walk with families and dog walkers.

Read more | Walking the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

Waterfalls and lush green scenery

Take a stroll along the cobblestones of York and visit a street that dates back to the Domesday book of 1086. In fact, some of the buildings along the Shambles were built in the 14th century and are over 700 years old!

The street is said to be the inspiration behind Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. You may actually be forgiven for thinking you actually are at Diagon Alley as the street does seem to have rather a lot of Potter-related shops!

Look out for the timber-framed buildings which hang over the street!

Read more – York Travel Guide

An old street in York England at night with cobblestones

Listen to our Podcast about visiting York

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site to visit in Yorkshire is the Victorian village of Saltaire.

Saltaire was created in 1853 by factory owner Titus Salt. He was the first to provide schools, hospitals, washhouses and decent housing for his workers in a move that was revolutionary at the time.

Take a stroll around the streets (many named after his children) and all lined with rows of houses still inhabited today.

The Mill that is at the heart of the village and today houses a selection of shops, restaurants and cafes. You will also find works by local (and of course very famous) artist David Hockney in the gallery.

Read more | Guide to visiting Saltaire

A street with stone buildings in England

The coastal town of Whitby with its ruined Gothic Abbey is popular with visitors all year round.

The Abbey provided Bram Stoker with the inspiration to write one of the most famous novels of the late 19th century – Dracula.

Whitby is filled with quirky shops and some of the best fish and chip shops anywhere in the UK. You cannot visit Whitby and not have fish and chips!

Whitby was also home to the British explorer Captain James Cook. There is a museum in the town which is located in the house which belonged to the man to whom he was apprenticed as a sailor in 1746.

Read more | Very best things to see in Whitby

A boat and an abbey on a hill in the background

A great day out for all the family is a visit to the best train museum in the UK – the National Rail Museum in York.

Situated next to the main railway station this is a must for any rail enthusiasts.

Wander the Great Hall , Station Hall , and North Shed where you will find locomotives and millions of railway objects on display.

Highlights of the exhibitions include the Flying Scotsman , a replica of Stephenson’s Rocket and the Mallard (the world’s fastest steam locomotive). There are also many examples of more modern trains on show including a Shinkansen or Japanese bullet train and a Eurostar.

My favourite is Station Hall where you will find the royal carriages which belonged to the Royal Family including Queen Victoria’s favourite saloon. There are free talks given regularly during the day so check for times when you arrive.

Admission to the museum is free and the museum is open daily from 10:00 – 17:00 in winter and 10:00 – 18:00 in the summer.

Read more | Visiting the National Railway Museum in York

A row of old trains at the train museum in York England

This stately home in North Yorkshire is the ancestral home of the Howard family for over 300 years. Recognisable to fans of the movie adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited as the home of the Flyte family Castle Howard is Brideshead.

The house and gardens at Castle Howard are open to the public with regular events scheduled throughout the year.

Don’t miss the annual Castle Howard Proms an outdoor concert that includes a firework display, lasers and a Spitfire flyover.

Read more | Visit Castle Howard

Castle Howard in Yorkshire

This heritage railway running from Pickering to Whitby is one of the most popular steam heritage lines in the UK. It is a not for profit charity and by travelling on the railway you are helping to preserve this wonderful train line and stock.

The train services pass through a number of stations Northbound from Pickering to Whitby or Southbound from Whitby to Pickering. These include Goathland which appeared in the Harry Potter films as Hogsmeade , Grosmont and Levisham .

The 24-mile journey through the North Yorkshire countryside is an absolute treat for all the family. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Read more | North Yorkshire Moors Railway

A steam train pulling up underneath a bridge at Pickering train station in England

York Minster (or The Cathedral and Metropolitan Church of Saint Peter in York) is an absolute must-visit if you are heading to this beautiful and historic Yorkshire city.

A church has been on the site since the 7th century with the construction of the minster itself dating back to 1220. It took a total of 250 years to complete and was finally consecrated in 1472. The Minster is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.

It is free to visit York Minster to pray, light a candle or attend a service. Otherwise, there is a charge to enter with online tickets available for the Minster only or Minster and Tower. Tickets are valid for 12 months and include a free guided tour.

Built in the Gothic style it is home to the Archbishop of York.

Read more | Buy tickets for York Minster

York Minster in York with a blue sky and clouds

Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms are a Yorkshire tradition dating back nearly 100 years.

With a number of tea rooms including 2 in York, Harrogate and Ilkley if you enjoy afternoon tea then Bettys is the place to head!

Bettys was founded in 1919 by a Swiss baker named Fritz Bützer who moved to England with a dream of starting his own business. Little was he to know that he would create one of the most iconic brands associated with afternoon tea in England!

At Bettys you will find a vast array of cakes and biscuits to tempt your taste buds. Do book afternoon tea – just make sure to make the reservation well in advance as they are extremely popular.

Read more | Bettys Tea Rooms

A shop with cakes for sale

  • WHAT TO READ – Best books to read before you visit Yorkshire

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  • WHERE TO STAY : Click here to find the best accommodation in Yorkshire
  • WHAT TO DO : Click here for recommended tours of Yorkshire
  • WHAT TO EAT/DRINK – Fish and Chips at the Magpie Cafe in Whitby, Yorkshire Puddings, Pontefract Cake, Afternoon Tea at Betty’s Tea Rooms, A Cup of Yorkshire Tea!

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  • PRINCIPLE TRAIN STATIONS – York, Leeds, Doncaster and Sheffield
  • WHAT TO PACK – The weather can be unpredictable along the coast even in summer so always carry a waterproof jacket (and I recommend an umbrella)
  • If you are planning to go walking in the Dales make sure you are prepared and have good walking boots.
  • TIP: York is a great city to base yourself as there are good transport links for the rest of the county from there.

Enjoy your trip to Yorkshire

Do you have a favourite destination in Yorkshire? Have you added a new attraction or place to your UK bucket list after reading this guide to the top 10 places to visit in Yorkshire?

Here are some related posts about Yorkshire:

  • 10 places to visit in Yorkshire
  • 19 best Yorkshire day trips
  • Visiting the Yorkshire UNESCO village of Saltaire
  • Things to do in York

Want to explore some of England’s other regions ? Head over to my other area guides to England which include the North East , East Midlands , West Midlands , North West , South West , South East and East of England .

If you are planning a trip to the UK why not join my free Facebook planning group – details are below!

If you have specific questions about a destination in England why not join my UK and London Travel Planning Group on Facebook where you can chat with others planning their trip.

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Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority logo – link to homepage

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Logo

The Yorkshire Dales in Winter

Here we have compiled some ideas of what the Yorkshire Dales National Park offers to inspire you to plan your winter excursions.

A photograph of Malham Cove at night with stars overhead.

The short days and long dark nights of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in winter, might not seem the best time for nature spotting but the lack of leaves on trees means that birds are that much easier to spot, and a covering of snow overnight will show just how busy the countryside is when we are tucked up safe in bed.

Wildlife in Winter

Flooded pasture near Bruce Loch on the outskirts of Sedbergh where Mr McPherson walks most days to take observations for the British Trust for Ornithology Bird Track project

Look out for the winter sun catching the speckled breast of a Mistle Thrush, singing its heart out from the top of a tree. It is often known as the storm thrush because of its habit of singing in that eerie light just before thunderclouds roll in. For interesting facts about the Mistle Thrush visit the RSPB website.

Winter Visitors

Raindrop Laden Hawthorn Berries above Stainforth early December.

Flocks of blue tits, long-tailed tits, great tits, chaffinches, and the occasional nuthatch or tree creeper can be spotted flitting along hedges or through trees in mixed groups, twittering and fluttering about busily looking for insects hidden in nooks and crannies. Flocks of special winter visitors like fieldfares, or if you are lucky enough to see them, waxwings, come down from harsher northern climes to gorge on our hedgerow berries.

Visit the RSPB website for more information about these birds.

Spot an Otter

Otter stood on a grass bank next to the river.

Keep an eye open for otter footprints in the snow along river banks – this shy animal has made a strong return in the Dales but you are very unlikely to see one as they are usually only out and about at night. Finding a set of footprints is almost as thrilling as seeing the animal, as it means the otter is thriving.

Winter Woodland

A photograph of Malham Landscape Trail on a decmber day. Low lying mist in the valley.

Enjoy the early snowdrops peeping through in the coldest weather. Many clumps have been naturalised alongside village walls and woodland edges. Some gardens have special open days for snowdrop viewing, such as Austwick Hall and Fountains Abbey .

A Roe Deer photographed stood in a country lane, looking back at the photographer in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Early in the morning, you might catch a glimpse of the white rump of a roe deer disappearing into the gloom of woodland. In Spain, they are known as the ghosts of the forest. If you startle one it might bark at you – an eerie sound echoing through the still winter air.

Astrological photograph of Pendragon Castle ruin, located in Mallerstang Dale, Yorkshire Dales National Park

On a cloudless night and away from the lights of town, the Yorkshire Dales’ night skies are a wonder to behold. Turn off your torch and just stand and stare in amazement.

The Yorkshire Dales is home to some of the darkest skies in the country. We’re proud to have large areas of unpolluted night sky where it’s possible to see the Milky Way, planets, meteors, and even the Northern Lights. 

This is one of the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales, and why we’re thrilled to have gained international recognition as an official Dark Skies Reserve, which will help raise awareness, conserve and celebrate this special quality.

Check out our Dark Skies Festival page to find events and activities we have arranged for you to enjoy.

Why not download an augmented reality star chart app on your smartphone and you’ll be able to name the planets and constellations twinkling above you. For example, Star Walk for iPhone or Google Sky Map.

Yorkshire Wonders

places to visit in yorkshire in winter

6 Stunning Places to see Snowdrops in Yorkshire

Places to see Snowdrops in Yorkshire – Snowdrops can be enjoyed all over the UK, both in the wild and in gardens. Interestingly, the snowdrop isn’t a UK native. They became popular in the Victorian era but, due to the flower being known as several different things (for example milk flower and Galanthus) no one knows when they were first introduced to the UK. The first records of the flower being found in the wild date from 1778, however botanist John Gerard described the snowdrop in his writings from 1597.

There are many stunning varieties of snowdrops to enjoy in and around Yorkshire. They can be found throughout January to March.

Have a look at our list of some of the best places to see snowdrops in Yorkshire.

snowdrops yorkshire

Burton Agnes Hall 

Rudston rd, burton agnes, driffield yo25 4nb.

Burton Agnes Hall is a magnificent stately home , that warmly opens its gates and invites everyone to visit and enjoy. Every February, the hall gardens and woodland enjoys a magnificent snowdrop display. 

“Every February, thousands of hardy snowdrops push through the cold winter ground to create a magnificent ‘white carpet’ across the woodland floor here at Burton Agnes. Walking peacefully among these makes a truly memorable day out at the end of the long winter. The beautiful little flowers grow in numbers each year and are such a welcome sight. This biblical symbol of hope reminds us that winter eventually gives way to spring, and announces the new season. Galanthophiles may also like to buy some Burton Agnes-propagated snowdrops ‘in the green’, which is the best way of building a collection.”

You can find more information here 

snowdrops yorkshire

Kiplin Hall

Richmond dl10 6at.

Kiplin Hall & Gardens was built in the 17th Century and has many stories to tell! Exploring the walled gardens, the scenic walks around the lakes and the award-winning tearoom are the ideal way to spend the day with friends and family. 

If you choose to visit in late winter or very early spring you can follow the Snowdrop Trail through the gardens and along the lakeside, or take the guided Snowdrop Stroll, then warm up with and steaming drink and delectable piece of home made cake in the tea room. 

Find out more here

snowdrops in yorkshire

Austwick Hall 

Town head lane, austwick, settle, north yorkshire, la2 8bs.

Austwick Hall enjoys a tremendous display of snowdrops in February.  Extensive drifts of common single and double snowdrops are an impressive sight with examples of over 50 other varieties. Sculptures along the trail make for the perfect early spring walk before settling down to a warm drink and light bite in the cafe. 

For more information click here 

snowdrop walks in yorkshire

Goldsborough Hall

Church st, goldsborough, knaresborough hg5 8nr.

Goldsborough Hall is a 17th century stately home in North Yorkshire and the former residence of HRH Princess Mary. The Hall opens for three snowdrop days in February as well as for other garden days throughout the year. The Goldsborough Hall snowdrops are part of a very important and famous collection, and offers more than 60 different varieties to be seen and enjoyed.  

“Two days in February will be solely dedicated to snowdrops – with plant sales, head gardener tours and refreshments served in the Orangery.

The spectacular display of snowdrops in the 12-acre grounds can be seen throughout most of February 2022. Our team of expert gardeners have created a beautiful visual spectacle for guests to enjoy. In the very heart of the picturesque North Yorkshire countryside, this powerful winter display showcases our impressive range of snowdrops!

The Snowdrop Walk includes over 100 different varieties and species”

For more information visit here

snowdrops in yorkshire

Fountains Abbey

Fountains, ripon, north yorkshire, hg4 3dy.

Fountains Abbey is a World Heritage Site conserving ancient ruins of the original abbey, and the stunning grounds that surround it. The snowdrops at Fountains Abbey were first planted over 100 years ago by the Earl de Grey. As you explore the picturesque 12 th century abbey ruins and the Studley Royal Water Garden, you can really appreciate and enjoy the white carpet of snowdrops. A wonderful day out at anytime of the year, but made more spectacular by the winter arrival of the snowdrops. 

places to see snowdrops in yorkshire

Beningbrough Hall, York

Beningbrough hall, gallery and gardens, york yo30 1dd.

Beningbrough Hall is a fab stately home just outside of York, and on our list of places to visit snowdrops in Yorkshire. Many visitors helped in 2016 with the challenge to plant 300,000 snowdrop bulbs to commemorate the 300th year of the hall. As winter turns to spring, wander along the ha-ha walk and soak in the views over the south parkland. The colour will flow from the whites of the river of snowdrops into pale purples of crocus and yellow of daffodils. 

Have a look at our review to see what else there is to do at Beningbrough Hall.

yorkshire snowdrops

At the other end of the year, why not visit places to see sunflowers in Yorkshire?

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YORKSHIRE

16 best things to do in Yorkshire

From music to museums, kid-friendly fun and scenic gardens, these are the best things to do in Yorkshire

Lisa Wright

A gem of The North, harbouring sprawling countryside and entertainment-filled metropolitan spaces all at once that offer a ton of fun things to do, Yorkshire is God's own county. Technically split across three regions of England , even its main bulk of Yorkshire and the Humber is home to seven cities including Leeds , Sheffield and York —each with their own vibrant scenes. It's a lot to take in, so we've gathered up the county's absolute best bits—cherrypicked from throughout the area, and chosen for their relative must-see qualities. So whether you want to tap into the local history, sit down for some top-notch grub or just keep the little ones entertained for a while, here's exactly where and why you should be going on your next visit.

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere.

Find out more about  how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world .

An email you’ll actually love

Best things to do in Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dales National Park

1.  Yorkshire Dales National Park

What is it? A spectacular National Park of gently rolling hills and quaint stone villages. 

Why go?  Get out of the city and immerse yourself in one of the prettiest and greenest parts of the UK. The Yorkshire Dales National Park (also more casually referred to as just 'the Dales') has some seriously impressive scenery: Limestone outcrops, waterfalls and hidden cave networks as well as areas of wild moorland and rolling green countryside. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails, steel yourself and try some caving or just perch yourself at a proper Yorkshire pub and nurse a pint. 

The Brudenell Social Club

2.  The Brudenell Social Club

What is it? A working men's club turned music venue, that's lost none of its old school charm.

Why go? To see the country's best new bands and eat a pie, all under one roof. The Brudenell Social Club might be a bit of a trek away from Leeds city centre, but there's a reason that it's still one of the area's most treasured musical gems, regardless. In the live room, you've got a lovingly-programmed bill of bands from new faves to established big hitters (Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, The Vaccines and more have all popped back for special gigs); in the bar area, you can play darts and chow down on grub from Pieminister, while outside in the substantial beer garden, they've got a permanent pizza van, too. What's not to love?

Sheffield Winter Gardens

3.  Sheffield Winter Gardens

What is it? One of the largest temperate glass houses built in the last century (aka a very big, impressive greenhouse).

Why go? For an unexpected oasis of calm in the city centre. Having a bad day? Need to soothe your screen-burnt eyes with a little bit of greenery? Then head to Sheffield's Winter Gardens. A slice of serenity in the middle of town, it's home to 2,500 plants, all housed in one huge structure. 10 minutes in here and you'll have forgotten all about the outside world; the only trouble will be forcing yourself to leave.

Abbey House Museum

4.  Abbey House Museum

What is it? A throwback to Victorian times, complete with a fully wander-able Victorian shopping street.

Why go? You don't have to be a history buff to get into the old fashioned spirit here. Located just outside of Kirkstall, Yorkshire's Abbey House Museum ditches the old-fashioned 'be quiet, no touching' stereotypes in favour of fully immersive, experiential fun. Step back in time to the Victoria era, where you can wander through a specially-recreated shopping street, play dress up and do some enjoyable learning through their series of guest exhibitions. When you're done, you can even wander over the road for a roam through Kirkstall Abbey's impressive grounds.

Humber Street

5.  Humber Street

What is it? Revamped area in Hull, home to all manner of arty and interesting exploits.

Why go? Go for the scene, stay for the Sesh. Until the beginning of the decade, Humber Street was home to a fading fruit market, and little else. Now after an almighty revamp, it's been turned into the city's hippest area with a veritable treasure trove of cool bars, tasty eateries, galleries and boutique shops in its midst. It's also home to the annual Humber Street Sesh – a massive party showcasing the best of Hull's local music scene.

Harewood House

6.  Harewood House

What is it? One of the Treasure Houses of England – and just as grand as the name might suggest.

Why go? Peruse some art or watch a show, in the most opulent of surrounds. You only need glimpse the grandiose exteriors of Harewood House to know it's a bit of a special one. One of nine 'Treasure Houses' (aka the poshest stately homes in the country), even just a wander round its interiors and grounds is enough of a reason to pay a visit. Harewood House doesn't just rely on its beauty to bring the people in, however. Hosting a constant stream of exhibitions, events and gigs, there's always something to tickle your fancy among the dazzling surroundings.

Leeds Corn Exchange

7.  Leeds Corn Exchange

What is it? A modern shopping mecca, under one giant dome.

Why go? For the best of Leeds' independent traders, in an unconventional setting. Sure, your Westfields and your city malls might be convenient, but they're not exactly brimming with personality, are they? If you're in the market for some more... well, market-like shopping experiences, however, then Leeds' Corn Exchange is the one for you. Under architect Cuthbert Broderick's expansive, domed roof, the best of the city's independent traders nuzzle up to seriously good food stands and places to stop for a quick bev; it's a creative spot with a focus on lifestyle and design and not a Starbucks in sight.

Pintura

8.  Pintura

What is it? Basque-inspired small plates restaurant in Leeds with a gin bar in the basement.

Why go? To sample their delectable pintxos and tapas selection – if the food is small, that means we can have loads, right? A homage to Spain's gastronomic mecca, the Basque region, Pintura takes all the tiny treats of the area and serves them up in an authentically decorated space in Leeds' slightly-less-sunny Trinity Centre. Upstairs, it's all pintxos (bite-sized bar food) and lip-smacking tapas; downstairs, they've got over 100 types of gin, sourced from around the globe. Forget mother's ruin, this place is a glorious haven for us all.

Showroom Cinema

9.  Showroom Cinema

What is it? Sheffield's premier independent picturehouse, showing arty flicks and special screenings.

Why go? To discover the kind of cinematic treats you won't find down the Odeon. Sheffield's independent cinema scene is thriving. Home to the annual Sheffield DocFest among other acclaimed events, the Steel City knows what it's talking about when it comes to the big screen. Showroom is the gem in its crown; featuring four screens and showing a range of current and classic left-field choices, it's the kind of place that would rather open your eyes than spoonfeed them the latest blockbuster. A real treasure

The Donkey Sanctuary

10.  The Donkey Sanctuary

What is it? A haven for the kind-eyed cuties, open six days a week.

Why go? Show us a kid (or an adult tbh) who doesn't want to pet one of these lot, and we'll eat our novelty furry ears. Founded in 1999, Leeds' Donkey Sanctuary – located on the outskirts of the city – does what it says on the tin. Home to 22 of the lovable creatures, it's a rural, charitable place that provides a home for animals, and offers donkey-assisted learning facilities for children with additional needs. Basically, if this place doesn't warm your heart, you're a lost cause. Pop down for a visit between 3pm and 5pm (except on Wednesdays), where you can meet the residents and take part in various donkey-related events. You'll be far chirpier than Eeyore when you leave.

York Minster

11.  York Minster

What is it? York's most famous resident – its big ol' cathedral, of course.

Why go? People have been visiting this guy for over 1000 years, so he's probably got something going for him. There are some buildings so steeped in history, and so universally revered that you probably ought to tick them off the list at least once in your lifetime. York Minster is one of them. A grand cathedral built back in the 7 th century (that's pretty damn old), its grand, imposing pillars and ornate, exquisite carvings are still mighty impressive, even by modern standards. And they didn't even have electric tools to build it with! Imagine!

Tamper Sellers Wheel

12.  Tamper Sellers Wheel

What is it? New Zealand-influenced eatery in the heart of Sheffield's Cultural Industries Quarter.

Why go?  Everyone knows that the best bit about a weekend afternoon is a leisurely brunch, and there's none finer to be had than Tamper Sellers Wheel's NZ-inspired affair. From sweetcorn fritters to Kiwi classic, mince on toast (braised beef cheeks, served with poached egg and hollandaise), the whole menu is a foodie delight from start to finish. And you don't even need suffer the crippling jetlag to sample it.

National Science and Media Museum

13.  National Science and Media Museum

What is it? Bradford’s six-floor mecca to the power of image and sound.

Why go? For all kinds of informative yet interactive fun. With a mission statement aiming to “inspire the scientists and engineers of the future to see more, hear more, think more and do more,” Bradford's Science and Media Museum is certainly aiming high. Luckily, its six floors of exhibitions, interactive areas, cinema screens and more are enough to make any wannabe visual explorers wide-eyed. What's more, it's free. So if you think you've got a budding Graeme Ferguson (he created the IMAX dontchaknow) in your midst, you've no excuse not to fuel their creative fires.

Emily’s at The Bronte Birthplace

14.  Emily’s at The Bronte Birthplace

What is it? Locally-sourced dining at the first home of the literary dynasty.

Why go? To feel a little closer to Heathcliff, while also eating some avo toast. You've likely seen those little blue plaques around – detailing that someone of note previously resided at that address, they're worth a peek but often that's where it ends. Not so at The Bronte Birthplace, however. Of course, the main point of interest here is to see the place where the noted literary family, responsible for 'Wuthering Heights', 'Jane Eyre' and more, lived. But if you want to extend your stay, you can visit Emily's – a rather charming cafe serving locally-sourced produce and a damn fine ploughman's lunch. It's what they would have wanted.

Jorvik Viking Centre

15.  Jorvik Viking Centre

What is it? A York institution, dedicated to the old Norse seafarers.

Why go? For a history as bloody as Game of Thrones, but y’know, real. The Vikings haven't exactly been remembered as history's nicest guys, but you can't pretend they're not interesting. At the Jorvik Viking Centre, they certainly agree, as they've dedicated a whole building to the exploits of the Nordic folk. Travel back to the 10 th Century on a very 21 st century capsule ride, before checking out the centre's admirably large selection of genuine artefacts.

Belgrave Music Hall

16.  Belgrave Music Hall

What is it? Top notch gig space with a rooftop bar serving after-hours cocktails.

Why go? To pretend you're lounging about on holiday, even though you're in LS2. Belgrave Music Hall's got a pretty natty 300-capacity event space, but it's the rooftop terrace that we're swooning over here. Featuring deck chairs, wooden canopies and various other places to perch while you swig on a craft ale / scoff some pizza from the Slice Bar downstairs, it's an unintimidating gem with the best vibes around. Who needs tropical holidays anyway, eh?

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Trips With Tykes

Visiting Yosemite in Winter: Must-Read Tips & Things to Do

Y osemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, but the vast majority of visitors visit only when the weather is warm. My family visits Yosemite National Park regularly from our home a few hours away in the San Francisco Bay Area, but until this year, we tended to visit in the summer and early fall. Like many visitors, we had actually never visited Yosemite during winter!

We started off 2024 right, however, remedying that gap in our Yosemite travel experiences. We just returned from a long weekend winter visit to Yosemite and found it delivered a totally different – and refreshingly wonderful – kind of vacation experience. Visiting Yosemite in winter, however, definitely requires a fair amount of additional planning and preparation due to the challenge of snow.

Related: Complete Guide to Yosemite with Kids

If you are thinking about visiting Yosemite in winter – particularly if you have kids in tow – here’s everything you need to know to get there safely and experience the best winter activities.

(Trips With Tykes uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through links in this post. See our full disclosure policy linked in the menu at the bottom of this site.)

Driving to Yosemite in Winter

What’s open and what’s closed.

Even if you’ve been to Yosemite many times like we have, it’s essential to understand that it’s a much different national park in winter. A lot of parts of the park are closed or at least inaccessible to most visitors. Many of the driving routes you might be used to are simply not available either.

Thanks to its location in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, the higher elevation parts of Yosemite can get a serious amount of snow during winter months. Tioga Road is totally closed in winter months to all car traffic, leaving only the bravest of backcountry skiers and a few rangers in places like Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake.

Much of Glacier Point Road is also closed as well. Visitors can drive as far up as Badger Pass Ski Area (more on that later), but can’t get by car or shuttle all the way to Glacier Point for those breathtaking Half Dome and Valley views.

On the southern side of the park, the area is subject to some closures too. The Wawona Hotel usually closes for the month of January and February. And the shuttle from the parking area to the trailhead for the Mariposa Grove doesn’t run in winter months either.

That said, there are many parts of the park that are open in winter to explore. Almost all businesses and attractions in the Yosemite Valley area, including Yosemite Village, are open in winter months. Yosemite Valley sits at only at 4000 feet of elevation, so while it does get snow, it doesn’t get as much as what surrounds all of it.

What You Need to Drive Safely

Visiting high elevations in winter requires preparation and understanding of unique local conditions. I’ve written an extensive guide with tips for driving to Lake Tahoe in winter . Pretty similar rules apply for driving to Yosemite (which is located a bit farther south). Most basically, you need to be prepared for driving in harsh winter weather conditions as well as for the possibility of significant delays and road closures when storms roll in.

All vehicles coming into Yosemite National Park in winter months are required to carry tire chains. AWD or 4WD vehicles will be permitted to drive in mild and moderate winter weather as long as they have snow or all-season tires (when road conditions are at R2). All other vehicles will likely have to chain up much sooner. If the conditions are such that chains are required on AWD or 4WD vehicles (R3), I’d recommend staying off the roads unless you are an expert winter weather driver.

At the very least, you should pack a snow brush/ice scraper to clear your windshield and windows before driving. You may also want to carry a small shovel in case you have to dig your car out (we did!). Also, make sure your wiper fluid is filled up before any trip.

Watch the weather reports closely, especially for the days you plan to drive in and out of the park. We called the Yosemite weather hotline – (209) 372-0200 – a few times before and during our trip to get road-specific information. I highly recommend adding that number to your phone contacts and using it!

Best Driving Routes to Take in Winter

There are multiple routes into the park, but not all of them are open – or the same level of winter driving difficulty – in winter months.

On the western side of the park, many visitors from the northern half of the state use Highway 120 through Big Oak Flat or Highway 140 (El Portal Road) at the Arch Rock Flat entrance. Visitors coming from farther south tend to prefer entering Wawona along Highway 41 just north of Oakhurst.

Generally speaking, the road that is safest to drive in winter weather is Highway 140. It traverses lower elevations and is the most-traveled. So if you are new to the area or not a regular winter weather driver, you may want to plan on that as your route in and out no matter what.

We took our usual Highway 120 into the park because we drove up on a day when the skies and roads were totally clear. It snowed about 8-12 inches while we were in the park, so we planned to take Highway 140 home. Our plans were stymied however, when a major accident closed Highway 140 for several hours. As a result, we detoured to 120. We were definitely wary about taking 120 after a storm but found we were able to drive it safely by going slow in our AWD vehicle. We were especially relieved to find that the snow level was high enough that there was not any snow by the time we got down to New Priest Grade (the famous/infamous switchbacks).

Be aware that if you are coming from points farther east, there is really no direct winter route into Yosemite. California Highway 395 is open, but the route into Yosemite at Lee Vining (along Tioga Road/the other side of 120) is closed.

Winter Road Conditions

So, how are the road conditions in Yosemite when it snows? We found that roads aren’t cleared as fast or as extensively as the more traveled arteries in and around Tahoe. So take your time and wait for the crews to do their work. I highly recommend traveling only in daytime when there is snow on the ground, because the roads definitely ice when it gets dark, even with crews clearing them.

Additionally, be prepared for the challenge of fellow drivers on the road. We are used to witnessing some pretty reckless and inexperienced winter driving on our Tahoe travels, but we thought national parks visitors would be a little more winter weather savvy. Unfortunately, they weren’t from what we observed. In fact, there were far more 2WD vehicles in Yosemite than we are used to seeing in Tahoe. We witnessed several vehicles not chained up when they were required to be, slipping and sliding on the roads. So don’t be that person!

Trips With Tykes Tip : Not prepared to do the winter driving yourself? YARTS , the public transit system in the region, runs multiple buses daily along Highway 140 into the Valley and stops at or near quite a few hotels along this route. And once you are in the park, the free shuttle system runs regularly around the Valley loop and is easy to use.

Best Things to Do in Yosemite in Winter

Hopefully I haven’t scared you too much with all this practical talk about winter conditions, because the payoff of actually making the trip to Yosemite in winter is tremendous! Once you get to Yosemite, there is so much to do that is incredibly special and memorable in colder months.

Here are our recommended activities:

Because the Yosemite Valley (which is the main area of the park actually open in winter) is only at 4000 feet of elevation, it often isn’t completely blanketed in snow. And that means hiking on the valley floor is entirely possible between storms.

We enjoyed the short hikes to both Lower Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall as a family. The park service keeps those trails cleared in between winter storms.

The trail to Lower Yosemite Falls is short but offers a bit of exercise. There’s a paved and plowed path straight to the falls near the free shuttle stop, so it’s doable in most weather even with young kids or anyone mobility challenged. If there isn’t a lot of snow on the ground, I recommend making full 1 mile loop, part of which goes onto dirt trails (what we did).

Bridaveil Fall is an even shorter hike, as it’s just a 1/4 mile stroll from the parking lot to the waterfall viewing area. We did notice a bit of ice on some of the paths so it requires some attentiveness.

Other easy and often passable hikes include the hike to or around Mirror Lake , the first part of the Mist Trail to the Vernal Falls footbridge, or part or all of the Yosemite Valley Loop (paralleling the roadway that circumnavigates the Valley’s highlights).

For a bit of a tougher challenge, my husband and daughter also enjoyed a hike up to Columbia Rock (the trailhead is near Yosemite Valley Lodge and the trail follows the first part of the Upper Yosemite Falls route). They ascended about 20 mins further up the Valley wall after making it to the rock, and said it’s worth the extra climb for the amazing views up there!

Vistas and Photo Opps

Speaking of views, in winter you really want to make time for some car touring to the prettiest vista spots. Yosemite looks entirely different in winter, and the photo opportunities are breathtaking.

There are several vistas after the park entrance checkpoint at Big Oak Flat along Highway 120 before you make the full descent into the Valley. Look for those turnouts if your drive into the park is along that route.

The most famous viewpoint in Yosemite is Tunnel View . You’ll pass it on the route in along Highway 41, but you’ll have to backtrack a bit to reach it if you enter the park elsewhere.

Other spots we got some great photos:

  • El Capitan Meadow : Pull over just past the Bridalveil Fall parking area in the meadow in front of El Capitan.
  • Swinging Bridge : Look for the parking area on the left of the road entering the park.
  • Valley View : After you’ve completed the loop of the valley and are heading towards the park exit, this stop on the banks of the Merced River offers such a peaceful last look at both El Capitan and Half Dome. Our family’s favorite place to stop every trip!

Ice Skating in Curry Village

So many people – our family included – don’t know that Yosemite has an ice skating rink in the winter. It turned out to be my favorite thing we did the entire trip so I highly, highly recommend it! Every time you circle the rink, Half Dome comes into view.

Buy tickets in advance online or at the main desk in Curry Village a few hundred yards from the rink. Sessions are 2.5 hours long, so unless you are a hard core skater, you may not want to stay the entire time. We found that other guests cleared out considerably as the end of the session approached, so it is a wise strategy to start your skating a little later into the session and stay until the end.

Just be aware that the rink closes when any significant snow starts, so watch the weather to time your visit. We thankfully had made time to skate in what turned out to be the last session right before the big storm hit!

Skiing at Badger Pass

There are only three places in the United States where you can ski or snowboard inside the boundaries of a national park and Yosemite’s Badger Pass is one of them. When we booked our trip, we were really hoping to spend one day skiing there. Unfortunately, the snow gods did not cooperate.

Badger Pass relies entirely on natural snow, and that means that sometimes it has a very short season. We visited in early January and warmer than usual storms in December brought mostly rain so the slopes were still bare at that time.

The ski season at Badger Pass usually runs from mid-to-late December into March though. But if you hope to ski at Badger Pass, your best bet for cooperative conditions is going to be from late January through Presidents Week in February.

Badger Pass has other snow activities in addition to downhill skiing. There’s a snow tubing hill, cross-country ski trails, and snowshoe rentals. We found that it can be hard to get up-to-date information about current conditions at Badger Pass especially in the pre-season, so check the resort’s Facebook page or join this Badger Pass fan group on Facebook which is quite helpful for crowdsourced tips and reports. Once the resort officially opens for the season, the Badger Pass Snow Phone is reliable on a daily basis: 209-372-1000.

If you are staying in Yosemite Valley, note that there is a free shuttle that goes to Badger Pass so you don’t have to worry with driving or parking. And if you are entering Yosemite during a period that requires park reservations (weekends during the Firefall – more on that below), a confirmed lift ticket purchase at Badger Pass acts as your park reservation.

Even if the official places aren’t open for snow activities as they weren’t during our visit, you can and should DIY it! When it started storming in the middle of our weekend trip, we made spending time in the snow a major priority. We made a beeline back to our accommodations at Yosemite Valley Lodge and joined lots of other families who were building snowmen and starting snowball fights in the open spaces nearby.

The day after the storm, we also bought a $20 saucer at the shop in Yosemite Village, found a small hill nearby on the road to the Ahwahnee Hotel and tried our hand at sledding (with some hilarious results).

Indoor Activities in Yosemite Village

If you need a break from the cold, there are also quite a few indoor things to do in Yosemite in winter. Most of these are centered around the Yosemite Village area.

At the time of our visit, Yosemite had just opened a brand new Welcome Center right by the Village Store. We stopped in once our 4th grade son had completed his Junior Ranger booklet so he could be sworn in (see more tips for visiting national parks with 4th graders – including how they can get you in for FREE!). If you don’t know much about Yosemite, I highly recommend talking with a ranger and perusing all the educational information on display.

Also in the Village is the Ansel Adams Gallery – a whole store and gallery devoted to Yosemite’s most famous photographer. This isn’t a great stop for younger kids, but older teens and adults can likely appreciate it.

You can also pay a short visit to the free Yosemite Museum a few buildings away. The museum displays Native American artifacts. Behind the museum is a reconstructed Indian Village of Ahwahnee, located on the original site of the largest native village in Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite Firefall

Last but certainly not least, no guide to Yosemite in winter is complete without discussing the Firefall. For a week or two around mid-February, Horsetail Fall on El Capitan’s eastern edge glows orange when the sunset is just right. Seeing this natural phenomenon in person is a bucket list experience for many national parks travelers.

Because of the extreme demand to view and photograph this phenomenon, the National Park Service requires reservations on weekends in February to manage the crowds. This year, the reservation requirement is in effect for visitors arriving February 10–11, February 17–19, and February 24–25, 2024. Yosemite doesn’t require reservations in winter on any other dates (although it does now require them in much of spring, summer, and fall).

We obviously didn’t visit during a time in winter when the Firefall was a possibility and experienced much lower crowds as a result. If you make the Firefall a priority, be aware that it’s extraordinarily fickle and that you will have a crowded park to contend with.

Dining in Yosemite in Winter

Yosemite has some very unique dining experiences, but we often find they are either too crowded or we are just too short on time during the busy summer season to experience them. Winter – when everything slows down – can be a great opportunity to make time for a nicer meal. Just be aware that not all of the restaurants are open during the winter season, although many more were available than we expected.

Restaurants highlights in winter include:

Ahwahnee Dining Room

The most sought after dining opportunity in Yosemite National Park is in the Ahwahnee Hotel’s majestic dining room. The restaurant is best-known for its decadent Sunday brunch and is open to all – not just hotel guests. We were able to make last minute reservations for Sunday brunch on Open Table (a total impossibility during the peak summer season, for what it’s worth!).

After a delicious breakfast with warm and impeccable service, we walked around the hotel and even took a stroll in the snow around the grounds.

Mountain Room Lounge

Located in the Yosemite Valley Lodge, this causal fireside restaurant has pub food, moderate prices, and lots of great people watching. We dined here on the first night of our trip and found it ideal for families who wanted a nicer meal that was not too over the top. If you are on a couples or adults-only trip, you may want to dine in the higher-end Mountain Room Restaurant right next door.

Base Camp Eatery

Also located in the Yosemite Valley Lodge, this quick service food court is reasonably priced, offering a wide variety of foods for adults and picky kids alike. It was completely renovated a few years ago and still looks really bright and new. We ate two meals in Base Camp and were very impressed by the value it offered. Plus it’s open for three meals a day in winter. There’s even a Starbucks for those who need their caffeine fix before a morning hike.

Degnan’s Kitchen

This deli in the heart of Yosemite Village has been around forever, and is a must-visit for our family nearly every trip. We often grab sandwiches here in the morning to take out on longer hikes. We grabbed a quick lunch of soup and chili here right as it started snowing in the middle of our trip – highly satisfying!

Seven Tents Pavilion

Over in Curry Village, this quick service restaurant is similar to Base Camp Eatery – recently renovated and serves up a lot of variety at affordable prices. In winter, it’s open for breakfast and dinner only.

What to Pack & Wear to Yosemite in Winter

What you need to pack depends quite a bit on what you plan to do in the park during your visit. If you are planning to do something epic like backcountry skiing you obviously need technical gear. If you are a more casual visitor who will spend time outside doing the more common activities, I’d recommend packing similarly to how you would pack for a ski trip.

We mostly packed our ski jackets and water resistant ski pants/bibs, along with warm base layers (these thinly fleece-lined long underwear are my son’s favorites and my daughter and I have this brand ). We also had warm hats and ski gloves. If your kids plan to play in the snow at all, you’ll definitely need gloves with waterproofing instead of regular gloves.

When we were hiking in areas that didn’t have much snow, we wore hiking boots or Merrell hiking shoes (these are the ones my daughter and I both have and these are my son’s ), but we switched to Sorel snow boots once Mother Nature dropped nearly a foot of snow on us. Waterproof hiking or even ski socks aren’t a bad idea either.

In between storms and cold fronts, it often isn’t frigid in Yosemite Valley in winter. Expect that you may be able to dress even a little lighter if the forecast calls for slightly warmer temperatures. I found, for example, I was able to get by wearing the same water resistant pants I wore to hike in Alaska this summer (with a base layer underneath) rather than bulkier ski pants most of the time.

Yosemite Lodging: Best Places to Stay in Winter

During winter months when snow complicates travel, it’s all the more important to find a convenient place to stay. There are very few accommodations within the park, so book early to get your desired lodging, especially if you plan to travel on a winter weekend. That said, last minute availability happens much more often in winter than they do the rest of the year, so don’t be afraid to plan a trip on a whim!

Here are the best lodging options for winter visits to Yosemite:

Ahwahnee Hotel

The park’s iconic national park lodge , the Ahwahnee Hotel, is ideally located in the heart of Yosemite Valley. It’s about a 15 minute stroll to Yosemite Village and is also located along the free shuttle route. The hotel is breathtakingly beautiful – in an old world rustic sort of way – but it’s unfortunately priced accordingly. Save it for special occasions or if you really need accessibility in winter, such as if you are traveling with babies and toddlers or older grandparents. We’ve stayed there once another time of year and adored it, but can’t afford it on a regular basis!

Yosemite Valley Lodge

On our recent winter trip, we stayed at the Yosemite Valley Lodge. Considered the park’s moderate hotel accommodation, it’s often about half the price of the Ahwahnee but still is far from cheap. We paid about $330 plus tax per night on a winter weekend. We really liked the amenities of the hotel, including the family bunk room that sleeps 5.

The downside to the Yosemite Valley Lodge is its somewhat odd location. Reaching many other Valley attractions requires looping around a few extra miles on the one-way road system in the Valley. This isn’t a big deal when the roads are clear, but when there is snow on the ground, it can be slow going.

Curry Village

Curry Village has the park’s more budget accommodations with communal bathhouses but an ideal location. It’s best known for its tent cabins, but those are really roughing it in colder months (my family and I stayed in one in late September last year and it was already quite chilly then!). At the very least, opt for one of the heated ones. Better yet – grab one of the slightly more expensive real cabins if you can.

Tenaya at Yosemite

Located just outside of the park gates along Highway 41, Tenaya at Yosemite is a bit of a drive into the Valley. But it is decently situated for visitors who want to spend at least some of their time at Badger Pass. Tenaya offers pretty luxurious accommodations in its lodge as well as in cabins and cottages. There are winter activities on site as well such as ice skating and sledding.

Rush Creek Lodge

Another family-friendly luxury accommodation is Rush Creek Lodge, located just before the Highway 120 entrance to the park on the northwest side. Rush Creek Lodge is the closest accommodation to the Valley on Highway 120. It is very well located if you plan to explore Hetch Hetchy during a visit as well. The property has lots of kid-friendly activities year round.

Final Thoughts

Our family’s winter visit to Yosemite was truly magical and memorable. It’s a time of year we will now plan to return often! The lower crowds and the slower pace make it feel like a totally different kind of vacation where we were able to connect as a family and with what we love about national parks.

More Yosemite & National Parks Reading

  • Tips for Visiting Yosemite with Kids
  • Guide to Northern California’s National Parks
  • National Parks for Beginners: Getting Started with National Parks Travel
  • 10 Amazing California Destinations for Families in Winter

The post Visiting Yosemite in Winter: Must-Read Tips & Things to Do appeared first on Trips With Tykes .

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, but the vast majority of visitors visit only when the weather is warm. My family visits Yosemite National Park regularly from our home a few hours away in the San Francisco Bay Area, but until this year, we tended to …

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