The Most Beautiful Towns in Yorkshire

View of Salts Mill from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Saltaire
View of Salts Mill from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Saltaire | © John Morrison / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Lavelle
13 May 2021

Yorkshire is a vast county, and nestled amid its scenic national parks are some unmissable towns and villages, all waiting to be discovered. Read on for the most beautiful places to add to your itinerary – from coastal cliffs to verdant valleys.


Architectural Landmark
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Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) mature trees, in autumn colour, Osmotherley, Hambleton Hills, North York Moors N.P., North Yorkshire, England, November
© FLPA / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in the North York Moors, the small town of Osmotherley is somewhat of a tourist hot-spot thanks to its beautiful old buildings and scenic surroundings. Flanked by the Cleveland Hills and Hambleton Hills, the town’s traditional charm is heightened by this dramatic scenery. Head to Lady Chapel for the best views and Sheepwash for a picturesque picnic spot.

Robin Hood’s Bay

Architectural Landmark
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Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire Coast, England
© Peter J. Hatcher / Alamy Stock Photo

Leave the busy tourist streets of Whitby behind and head a few miles south to admire the postcard views of Robin Hood’s Bay. The small village, built on a steep cliff, appears to be lost in time with its red-roofed fishermen’s cottages and cosy inns. Admire the windswept views of the coastline before wandering down the steep path to the sandy beach below, popping into traditional shops along the way.


Architectural Landmark
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The Stray Park in sunshine, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England
© John Devlin / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most handsome towns in Yorkshire, Harrogate is surrounded by historical buildings, castles, abbeys and parks, making it the ideal location for discovering all that Yorkshire has to offer. There are many sights to see in the town itself, with Betty’s tearoom, the Turkish Baths and the Valley Gardens providing the perfect settings for a picturesque day out.


Architectural Landmark
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Shops and cafes on Bridge Street in the market town of Helmsley, North Yorkshire, England, UK
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in the Ryedale valley, Helmsley is a traditional market town surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the North York Moors. The pretty streets are lined with traditional stone cottages, with many inns, tearooms and gift shops to discover. Wander along the river, swim in the open-air pool, visit the bustling market and admire the ancient castle.


Architectural Landmark
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Richmond Castle, the River Swale and Green Bridge, Richmond town, North Yorkshire England UK
© Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy Stock Photo

Another Yorkshire market town that shouldn’t be missed is Richmond. Located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, on the banks of the River Swale, Richmond boasts one of England’s largest cobbled market squares. It’s an incredibly pretty town to wander around, complete with a Norman castle, a Georgian theatre and dramatic ruins.


Natural Feature
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England saltburn by the sea England tramway saltburn cliff railway saltburn cliff tramway saltburn North Yorkshire Redcar and Cleveland England uk gb
© eye35.pix / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most picturesque seaside resorts in the UK, Saltburn is brimming with Victorian charm. Stroll along Yorkshire’s last remaining pier, and watch surfers tackle the waves. Take a ride up the cliff lift to wander through the Italian gardens, discover the woodland and admire the coastal views from the top.

Hebden Bridge

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Packhorse Bridge, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire
© Rory Prior / Alamy Stock Photo
Yorkshire’s quirkiest town is also one of its most charming. Hebden Bridge boasts both a river and a canal, with many spots to sit or walk and admire the water. In the town itself, you will find plenty of artisan shops, galleries, cafes and quaint pubs, but the real beauty is to be found in the woods, moors and fields surrounding the town. Venture to Hardcastle Crags to explore the woods and wander along a tranquil stream.


Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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The main street in the World Hertitage Site village of Saltaire, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, UK
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

This picture-perfect model village, located on the edge of Bradford, is one of the prettiest small towns in the whole of Yorkshire. Named after its founder, Sir Titus Salt, and the River Aire that runs through the village, Saltaire may be tiny, but it’s home to a spectacular mill building and various independent shops and cafes. Visit Salts Mill to view the largest permanent collection of David Hockney’s work in the UK, and wander along the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Or take the Shipley Glen Tramway through the surrounding woodland.

These recommendations were updated on May 13, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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