Things to do in North Yorkshire

If you’ve recently booked a getaway to North Yorkshire, we’re here to help you create the perfect itinerary for your holiday. From the best landmarks to visit, outdoor activities, beaches and wildlife attractions, we’ve collated our local bucket list for North Yorkshire below:

York Minster
Address: Deangate, York YO1 7HH 
Description: If you’re looking to visit key landmarks in North Yorkshire, York Minster is a must visit. The city’s cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe with a 15th-century East Window, which at 24 metres is the largest expanse of Medieval stained glass in the world. Coming up for 600 years after it was built, the Perpendicular Gothic Central Tower is the highest structure in York at 72 metres. You can also climb 275 steps for an exhilarating view over the city’s rooftops.

Malham Cove
Address:  Malham, Skipton BD23 4DJ
Description: Popular with locals and keen walkers around Yorkshire, Malham Cove is a great day out for all the family. The 230ft high cliff of white limestone has amazed visitors for centuries. The sheer rock face of Malham Cove challenges climbers and also protects a pair of nesting peregrine falcons which can be viewed during the summer months diving and wheeling alongside the house martins and jackdaws that also call the Cove home. Malham Cove is ideal for anyone looking for an adventurous day out which will keep them active and allow them to take in the beautiful North Yorkshire landscape.

Fountains Abbey
Address: Fountains, Ripon HG4 3DY
Description: Fountains Abbey is National Trust property which promises to captivate with its vast abbey ruins, Georgian water garden, a medieval deer park, Elizabethan Hall and Gothic church. Open year-round, Fountains Abbey is perfect for walks and depending on the season you visit, there are an array of delights to be seen. Visitors can watch wildlife awaken in the springtime, catch colourful wildflowers in summer and enjoy autumnal splendour by floodlight and wrap up warm to see the atmospheric ruins sparkle with frost in winter. Entry prices for adults are £16.80 and £8.40 for children. Family tickets are also available.

Whitby Abbey
Address: Abbey Ln, Whitby YO22 4JT
Description: Whitby Abbey can be seen high above Whitby town, on the East Cliff. The  spectacular 13th-century ruin is known for famous visitors including Bram Stoker who was so taken by the Abbey, it inspired him to write ‘Dracula’. Whitby Abbey has also previously been named Britain’s Most Romantic Ruin, so perfect for couples looking to take a break from shopping and exploring Whitby town. Visitors can walk among the crumbled church and even touch the old stones whilst admiring the panoramic view of the harbour. To get to the Abbey, you will have to climb 199 steps so perhaps not ideal if you have a lot of luggage or even a pram with you.

The Magpie Cafe
Address:  14 Pier Rd, Whitby YO21 3PU
Description: A standout place to visit in North Yorkshire is the renowned Magpie Cafe in Whitby. Whitby is known for its fish and chips but this local restaurant is definitely a hot spot for locals and tourists. Often fully booked and with queues sometimes going around the block during the summer months, we’d advise you book ahead to secure your spot.

Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Address: Water Ln, North Stainley, Ripon HG4 3HT
Description: Lightwater Valley is a theme park in North Stainley. The park is home to Europe's longest roller coaster, The Ultimate. With over 30 rides and attractions, Lightwater Valley is bursting with fun and adventures for the family to enjoy! Younger families will love the wet 'n' wild fun on the Wild River Rapids, adventures aboard speedy Skull Rock and the tummy-tickling Flying Cutlass. There are also fantastic family fun rides and attractions including the Lightwater Express train ride around the park, Eagle's Creek Farm tractor ride, a selection of fairground and water rides, plus the Adventure Playground and Mini Sand Diggers.

Flamingo Land Resort
Address: Kirby Misperton, Malton YO17 6UX
Description: Flamingo Land is known is Yorkshire's ultimate Theme Park attraction and an award-winning Zoo. The theme park is home to many stand out rides including Mumbo Jumbo, Kumali, Zooom and Velocity. With everything from thrill rides to family rides and kids rides, there’s something for everyone! And if you’re not a fan of the theme park, there is an onsite Zoo to visit which houses a range of mammals, farm animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. There’s also a range of animal experiences on offer including an exclusive close-up view of lions, lemurs and penguins.

Stockeld Park
Address: Wetherby Rd, Wetherby LS22 4AN
Description: Stockeld Park is a Grade-I listed country house and estate situated between the towns of Wetherby and Harrogate. The estate spans 2,000 acres and covers the area between Wetherby and the villages of Spofforth and Sicklinghall. Stockeld Park is perhaps best known for its Adventure Park, a seasonal attraction with a range of indoor and outdoor activities that vary by season. In winter visitors can expect ice skating, cross-country skiing, an Enchanted Forest, Santa's Grotto and a giant, snowflake-shaped yew tree maze. Other seasons offer adventure playgrounds, boating, pedal go-karts, motorised scooters and a range of themed events.

North Yorkshire Water Park
Address: Wykeham Lakes, Long Causeway Rd, Wykeham YO13 9QU
Description: If you’re looking for adventure and a chance to make a splash, North Yorkshire Water Park is for you! Nestled in the picturesque countryside, the park offers a range of fun-filled activities suitable for the whole family to enjoy. With everything from Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Open Water Swimming and Pedalos, visitors can develop their watersports skills or challenge themselves to learn something new. If you don’t fancy the water, you can take a stroll, run or cycle around the park's 2.5km all-terrain gravelled lakeside track. There is also an onsite café for takeaway hot and cold drinks and cold snacks. North Yorkshire Water Park is easily accessible just off the A170 within an hour’s drive from York, Middlesborough, Filey and Bridlington, and only 6 miles from the coastal town of Scarborough.

Cayton Bay
Address: Cayton, Scarborough YO11 3NR
Description: Cayton Bay is nestled between Scarborough and Filey. The beach has received numerous awards and accolades due to it’s beautifully wide sweeping beach. With a year-round dog-friendly beach, clean water, affordable parking and great facilities, it’s a great location for families, couples and friends to visit on their holidays in North Yorkshire. Cayton Bay is a great spot for exploring and visitors can often find a fossil or two hidden in the rocks beneath the cliffs. The remote location also makes it an ideal place to relax and unwind. A fan favourite with surfers, Cayton Bay is also a popular choice for both professionals and those looking to learn. However, if surfing isn’t your thing, you could always try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. If you’re planning on visiting please bear in mind that the beach is situated at the foot of the cliffs, so there is a little bit of a slope and a few steps to climb.

Filey Beach
Address: YO14 9JQ
Description: The traditional seaside resort of Filey is less commercial than some of its East-Coast neighbours and is an ideal seaside location for young families or anyone looking for a stretch of good sand for walks, playing in the sand, kite-flying or even horse riding. The beach boasts a 5-mile stretch of golden sand stretching from the rocky peninsula of Filey Brigg to the north down to Bempton, home to an RSPB reserve. Filey has a strong fishing heritage and today visitors can still watch fishermen mending and casting their nets from the traditional “coble” fishing boats. The promenade running along the seafront features artworks inspired by the local natural heritage. For the real thing, head to Filey Brigg which is a good spot for birdwatching and marks the start of the Cleveland Way coastal walk. There are seasonal restrictions on dog-walking in the area between the Royal Parade and the beach slipway. Other parts of the beach are dog-friendly at any time of year so make sure to check signage around the beach for more information.

Robin Hoods Bay Beach
Address: YO22 4SJ
Description: The beach at Robin Hood’s Bay is known for its natural beauty. With its backdrop of rugged cliffs and sweeping views around the bay, Robin Hoods Bay Beach is a popular destination for day-trippers and dog walkers. At high tide, the beach is largely submerged by water, but when the tide is out, a small, sandy beach with rocks and rock pools is uncovered. The rocky shoreline here and the fact the water is bracingly cold make this generally an unsuitable area for swimming. Visitors need to take care when walking around the cliff and beach area as some areas of the cliffs might be prone to rockfalls and some dog walkers and fossil hunters have been caught out by the incoming tides, which come in surprisingly quickly.  Check tide times before visiting. For these reasons, Robin Hood’s Bay is not the best of the local destinations to take children fossil hunting.There is no parking area by the seafront but visitors may park in one of the two public car parks in the village. The car park at the top of the bay has disabled facilities. From the car park at the top of the village, there is then a steep climb down through the narrow streets of the old, picturesque village with its choice of pubs and delightful tea shops. The beach and surrounding area are very dog-friendly and there are no restrictions at any time of the year.

Sea Life Marine Sanctuary
Address: Scalby Mills Rd, Scarborough YO12 6RP
Description: Sea Life Marine Sanctuary in Scarborough is home to a wide range of aquariums. During your visit, you can see thousands of spectacular creatures from the curious and the rescued to the rare and the enigmatic. Visitors are sure to be mesmerised by the many underwater zones where they’ll be able to get closer to them than ever before. Catching a glimpse of a range of creatures including Penguins, Turtles, Jellyfish, Seahorses, Sharks, Seals, Otters, there’s so much to see! A standard adult ticket purchased online ahead of arrival costs £15.60 or you can pay on the day for £19.50. Parent and toddler tickets can also be purchased online for £14.

Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park
Address: Scarborough Rd, Filey YO14 9PG
Description: Opened in 2008, Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park is an award-winning family-run attraction with a special mixture of animals, nature, exotic birds and gardens. Since being granted a zoo licence in 2017, the park has expanded its collection of animals to include more exotic animals, and with more additions every year, so there’s always something new to see. Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled visit with children or a peaceful place to spend an afternoon,  Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park is a fun, relaxing and educational day out for all.

Olympia Leisure Scarborough
Address: Foreshore Rd, Scarborough YO11 1NU
Description: On Scarborough seafront, Olympia Leisure is home to ten pin bowling as well as a large arcade and bar. Popular with both locals and tourists, you’re bound to have a fun-filled day with plenty of activities and games to keep you occupied whilst taking in the seafront views.

Visit our North Yorkshire page for more information and inspiration on where to stay.

Published on March 11th, 2021

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