Yorkshire has much to offer those seeking to enjoy the natural beauty of northern England. Three National Parks can be found in the county and much of the coast line, with its narrow streeted market towns and stunning cliffs, is beautiful enough to be designated as Heritage Coast.
Historic attractions include the ancient city of York, a number of rugged castles, abbeys, traditional market towns and stately homes, and the industrial heritage of Yorkshire can be sampled at a selection of excellent museums.
Historic castles in the region include Richmond and Middleham, the latter associated with Richard III. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned at Bolton Castle in Wensleydale and Pontefract Castle is where Richard II was murdered.
Due to its abundance of historic sites, the city of York is very popular with visitors. Top attractions here include York Minster, the National Railway Museum, the Castle Museum and Jorvik Viking Centre.
The town of Harrogate has a spa history, a wealth of Regency and Victorian buildings and attractive parks and gardens.
On the coast there are the traditional family resorts of Scarborough, Bridlington, Cleethorpes and Whitby.
National ParksNorth York Moors
The North York Moors are noted for their stunning beauty and the tranquility of their wide open spaces. The area is characterised by heather covered moors, deep secluded valleys and picturesque villages. The Moors can be explored on foot, by car or from the steam railway linking Grosmont and Pickering.
The Yorkshire Dales are known for their lush green dales (valleys), limestone cliffs, waterfalls and millstone grit peaks. An often unseen feature of the area is a system of large caves and potholes beneath the limestone hills. These can be explored by the suitably equipped visitor. For the slightly less adventurous, a number of long distance footpaths, including the famous Pennine Way, cross the Yorkshire Dales. Due the Dales' shear size, it is possible to escape the hoards of tourists that can often be found in other similar areas of the UK.
The Peak District National Park marks the meeting of the soft southern landscape, with its light-coloured limestone, and the harsh grey gritstone lands to the north. The park lies close to the industrial sprawl of Manchester and Sheffield, and for this reason it can be crowded at times. Yet for all its proximity to civilisation, the Peak District carries about it an air of timeless peace and tranquility, with mile after mile of drystone walling sectioning the countryside into the familiar British chequerboard pattern.
The River Dove splits the park near Tissington, famed for its ancient well-dressing celebrations. Better known perhaps, is the River Wye, which flows across the park, creating lovely views and good walking, particularly on the moors near Chee Dale, and Miller's Dale. Near Bakewell is Haddon Hall, one of Britain's most famous country houses.
Yorkshire Tourist AttractionsLightwater Valley Theme Park North Stainley, Ripon
Set in 175 acres of country park and lakeland, this theme park has a wide variety of rides and attractions.
Open: Easter-Oct, 10am, rides and attractions open at 10.30am. Tel: 0870 458 0040
National Railway Museum York
The display includes 103 locomotives and 177 other items of rolling stock, covering the history of the railway from Stephenson's Rocket to Eurostar. The National Collection includes many artifacts associated with the railways, such as models, nameplates, tickets, posters and 200 original works of art. In the Interactive Learning Centre you can explore science, history and technology and even learn how to drive a steam locomotive.
Open: Daily 10.00am-6.00pm. Tel: 01904 621261
Harlow Carr Gardens Harrogate
Sixty-eight acres of beautiful ornamental gardens and woodland maintained by the Northern Horticultural Society.
Open: Daily, 9.30-dusk. Tel: 01423 565418
National Museum of Photography, Film and Television Bradford
This highly popular museum's collection includes more than three million items of historical, social and cultural interest. These include the world's first negative, the earliest television footage and the world's first known example of moving pictures Louis Le Prince's 1888 film of Leeds Bridge. The Museum has set new standards in display and interactivity. Visitors can obtain a hands-on experience of the media, learning how television cameras work or trying their hand at animation.
Open: 10:00am-6:00pm Tues-Sun and Bank Holidays. Tel: 01274 202030
Cannon Hall Open Farm Cawthorne
Specialises in rare and interesting breeds and aims to protect our farming heritage. You will find Gloucester and Highland cattle, Soay and Jacob sheep, Saddleback and Kune Kune pigs, llamas, wallabies and chipmunks. Includes adventure playground, tearoom and farm gift shop.
Open: Daily 10:30am-4:30pm.
National Coal Mining Museum for England Overton, Nr. Wakefield
Learn all about mining from the earliest days to the present through collections including early tools and mine machinery. Trained miners guide visitors in an unforgettable walk through mining history. The tour shows scenes from the historic past, travelling through the authentic roadways of Caphouse Colliery and descending down the oldest working shaft in Britain. Includes adventure playground, toddlers' play area, nature trail and picnic area.
Open: Daily, 10.00am-5.00pm. Tel: 01924 848806
Tropical Butterfly House
A unique artificial controlled environment where plants thrive and provide a mature environment for the butterflies. The flora and fauna of the tropical house are interdependent on each other, the more flowers the plants produce the greater the number of butterflies. Home to about 35 different species of butterfly, midwife toads, leaf cutter ants, Peruvian fern stick insects, many exotic birds and even five foot Iguana lizards.
Open: Summer weekdays 10am-4.30pm. Weekends and school holidays 10am-5.30pm. Winter weekdays 11am-4.00pm-dusk.
Earth Centre Conisbrough
A 400 acre ecology park with exhibitions, tours and demonstrations dedicated to a green future. Attractions include a solar canopy and water cycle simulator. A good day out for the ecologically minded with excellent educational benefits.
Ingleton Waterfalls Walk Ingleton
The countryside around Ingleton features caves, waterfalls, and mountains. The Waterfalls Walk is a 4 and a half mile long stretch of paths giving great views of gorges with spectacular waterfalls and ancient oak woodland.
Tel: 01756 795621
The York Dungeon York
The York Dungeon covers 2,000 years of gruesome and bloody history, recreated in all its dreadful detail. Not for the faint hearted!
Open: Daily, Summer 10.00am-5.30pm, Winter 10.30am-5.00pm. Tel: 0870 846 0666
Skipton Castle Skipton
Built in the early fourteenth century on the site of an earlier Norman fortress and one of England's most complete and best preserved medieval castles. As you explore its rooms you will get an authentic feel of life in the castle. Includes a detailed tour sheet to guide you through the most interesting areas. Picnic area and tea room.
Open: Daily from 10am (Sunday 12 noon). Last admission 6pm (Oct-Feb 4pm). Tel: 01756 792442
Clapham, Ingleborough Cave and Nature Trail
From the traditional stone built village of Clapham, the Nature Trail will take you through beautiful lakeside woodland to the spectacular Ingleborough Show Cave which includes the deepest waterfall in England and stalactites and stalagmites up to 350 million years old.
York Minster York
York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe and since Roman times the site on which it stands has been at the centre of England's religious and political life.
Tel: 01904 557216
Yorkshire Tourist Information CentresBeverley Tourist Information Centre
34 Butcher Row, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU12 0AB. Tel: 01482 867430
Bradford Tourist Information Centre
City Hall, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1HY. Tel: 01274 753678
Clapham Tourist Information Centre
Clapham National Park Centre, Clapham, North Yorkshire, LA2 8ED. Tel: 015242 51419
Grassington National Park Centre
Colvend, Hebden Road, Grassington, North Yorkshire, BD23 5LB. Tel: 01756 752774
Harrogate Tourist Information Centre
Royal Baths Assembly Rooms, Crescent Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2RR. Tel: 01423 537300
Helmsley Tourist Information Centre
The Old Town Hall, Market Place, Helmsley, North Yorkshire, YO62 5BL. Tel: 01439 770173
Hull Tourist Information Centre
King George Dock, Hedon Road, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU9 5PR. Tel: 01482 702118
Knaresborough Tourist Information Centre
9 Castle Court, Market Place, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8AE. Tel: 01423 866886
Leeds Tourist Information Centre
Gateway Yorkshire, PO Box 244, The Arcade, City Station, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 1PL. Tel: 0113 2425242
Ripon Tourist Information Centre
Minster Road, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1LT. Tel: 01765 604625
Scarborough Tourist Information Centre
Unit 3, Pavilion House, Valley Bridge Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1UZ. Tel: 01723 373333
Sheffield Tourist Information Centre
Destination Sheffield Visitor Information Centre, 1 Tudor Square, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 2LA. Tel: 0114 2211900
Whitby Tourist Information Centre
Langborne Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 1YN. Tel: 01947 602674
York Tourist Information Centre
The De Grey Rooms, Exhibition Square, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 2HB. Tel: 01904 621756
York Tourist Information Centre
Railway Station, Station Road, York, North Yorkshire, Y01 7HB. Tel: 01904 621756