Must-Visit Attractions in Yorkshire

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the most exciting outdoor art spaces in the UK
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the most exciting outdoor art spaces in the UK | © McCoy Wynne / Alamy Stock Photo
Emma Lavelle

Yorkshire is a sprawling county with lots to see and do, from dramatic natural landscapes such as Ilkley Moor and Malham Cove to cultural attractions like the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. If you’re planning a visit, we’ve curated a list of the 25 best attractions all around the county.

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Park, Architectural Landmark
One of the most exciting outdoor art spaces in the UK, Yorkshire Sculpture Park boasts an impressive collection of sculptures across its 500 acres (202ha), including works by Ai Weiwei, Barbara Hepworth and Antony Gormley.

Natural Feature, Hiking Trail

© DP Landscapes / Alamy Stock Photo

Follow this 5-mile (8km) circular trail through a wooded glen to view one of the most impressive collections of waterfalls in Yorkshire, including the dramatic 46ft-high (14m) Thornton Force.

Malham Cove

Natural Feature
Whether you marvel at Malham Cove from the bottom of its cliff or admire the view from its limestone pavement, you are sure to be impressed by this Yorkshire Dales landmark.

Bempton Cliffs

Natural Feature

© Mark Sunderland Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most important seabird colonies in the British Isles, Bempton Cliffs are home to an impressive array of species, including puffins and guillemots. Walks along the chalk cliffs (among the highest in England) offer several viewpoints to admire the wildlife.

Hebden Bridge

Bridge
This former textile town in the Calder Valley is as well known for being a creative hub as it is for its beautiful surroundings. Visit the independent shops and cafes, or take a stroll through the wooded valleys to understand why so many city folk flock here.

Ilkley Moor

Park
Time your visit for late summer when Ilkley Moor explodes with a riot of colour as the purple heather enters full bloom. Ensure that your visit includes a walk to the famous Cow and Calf Rocks to enjoy vistas over the surrounding moorland.

Harrogate Turkish Baths

Spa
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon bathing and some pampering treatments in the best-preserved baths in the country. Dating back to 1897, the Royal Baths boast beautiful interiors featuring original tiles, painted ceilings and mosaic floors.

The Henry Moore Institute

Art Gallery
Located in the city centre of Leeds, the Henry Moore Institute is a space dedicated to celebrating sculpture, in particular the works of the eponymous local artist. Talks, discussions and after-hours events complement the rotating series of exhibitions.

Saltaire

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

© travelbild / Alamy Stock Photo

This stunning Victorian village is perfectly preserved, thanks to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Salts Mill to view their impressive David Hockney collection, take a stroll past the United Reformed Church, and enjoy a pint from the award-winning brewery.

The Forbidden Corner

Park
The perfect place to take children, the Forbidden Corner is an enthralling combination of labyrinths, Victorian follies, pathways to nowhere and underground lairs. Enter, if you dare, and try to tick off every attraction on the unusual map.

National Railway Museum

Museum
Visit York’s National Railway Museum to view the largest collection of railway memorabilia in the world, based in a former steam-train depot in the centre of the city. Admire the collection of Royal trains, and allow your children to explore the carriages.

Whitby Abbey

Monastery

© Washington Imaging / Alamy Stock Photo

Any visitor to the seaside town of Whitby should climb up to the eerie ruins of the abbey that overlooks the town. There’s a small charge to enter the 13th-century remains, but it’s worth it to soak up the atmosphere that inspired the story of Dracula.

White Scar Caves

Natural Feature
The longest show caves in Britain aren’t for the claustrophobic, as you’ll have to crawl and squeeze through narrow gaps to admire the waterfalls, stalagmites, stalactites and gigantic caverns that lurk inside. If you’re up to it though, the subterranean scenery is fascinating to study.

Diggerland

Park
Kids will love this JCB theme park in West Yorkshire. Attractions include racing events, digger rides and the chance for kids of all ages to have a go at operating their very own diggers. Keep an eye on the website to find out what’s on.

The Hepworth Wakefield

Art Gallery, Museum
One of the most impressive exhibition spaces outside of London, The Hepworth’s architecture is just as spectacular as the collections housed inside. View rare pieces by famed local sculptor Barbara Hepworth, alongside a series of visiting exhibitions.

The Three Peaks

Natural Feature

© PSC-Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Whether you decide to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge or simply pick one mountain to scale, a visit to Yorkshire isn’t complete without summiting either Ingleborough, Whernside or Pen-y-Ghent.

How Stean Gorge

Natural Feature
One of the best sites in Yorkshire to attempt gorge scrambling, rock climbing or abseiling, How Stean Gorge is a natural limestone ravine that offers excellent walking trails and exhilarating adventure sports.

Gaping Gill

Natural Feature
Visit this gigantic cavern looming below Ingleborough on one of the two days of the year that the local potholing club lowers visitors down into its depths on a winch. The cave is so big that it’s rumoured to be able to house St Paul’s Cathedral.

Bolton Abbey

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark, Natural Feature
The ruins of the Augustinian monastery are open to the public to wander around and explore. The surrounding area offers beautiful scenery for relaxing walks through the woods and by the river.

The Deep

Aquarium
Arguably the best aquarium anywhere in the UK, The Deep is unique in that it was built specifically to help drive up Hull’s tapering tourist trade as well as to support marine conservation. Now, it’s one of the most visually striking and popular attractions in the north, with several living exhibitions and thousands of species on display, including seven types of shark.

Brimham Rocks

Natural Feature

© Jeffrey Goodman / Alamy Stock Photo

Many areas of the Yorkshire countryside look like something out of a fantasy film, and this is especially true of Brimham Rocks. The huge natural rock formations were carved into strange shapes by an ancient river and now sit prominently in the midst of the rolling hills of the Dales.

Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Museum
Another Whitby attraction, the Captain Cook Memorial Museum is housed in the building where Cook himself got his apprenticeship with the merchant navy in 1747. Now, it sports an ever-growing collection of artefacts and documents relating to Cook’s life and seeks to educate visitors about not only Cook but also the naval and exploratory history of the UK.

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Museum
Many of Britain’s most well recognised historical figures were born in Yorkshire, and the Brontë sisters are no exception. Kept inside their old house in Haworth, the Passage Museum contains the largest collection of their manuscripts, letters and other writings anywhere in the world. A true beacon of literary history.

National Science and Media Museum

Museum

© National Science and Media Museum

There are many different science museums dotted around the UK, but the National Science and Media Museum is uniquely focused on film, photography and television, which is fitting given it’s in Bradford, the first UNESCO City of Film. You can learn all about the history and technology that powers our screens, experience hands-on learning exhibitions and even watch a film on one of the three massive IMAX screens.
Additional reporting by Callum Davies

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