Widely considered as Yorkshire's best city break, historic York has all the ingredients of a top European city break. A veritable feast of attractions, from historic sights such as York Minster, castle and city walls to its many museums, art galleries, contemporary arts centres, chic shops, bars and cafes to riverboat trips along the River Ouse. All these York attractions sit within easy walking distance of each other in York city centre, with top attraction York Racecourse situated just south of the centre. Pick up a York Pass, with discounts for York Museums, restaurants and more.
Not only does North Yorkshire lay claim to one of Yorkshire's best cities, but also one of its most striking rural areas - the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Historic abbeys and castles, picture postcard villages, the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway and stunning heather moorland, forest and dales are all here. Walkers will head for the spectacular 109 mile long Cleveland Way national trail which winds horseshoe shape around the park. Near York sits the striking Castle Howard Stately Home and Gardens where the TV series Brideshead Revisited was filmed.
York ranks as one of the UK's best weekend breaks. Easily navigated on-foot, York contains a tightly packed host of historic attractions spanning various periods including Viking, Roman, Medieval, Georgian and Victorian. Barcelona has its Sagrada and Edinburgh its castle, whilst York has its iconic medieval York Minster, easily one of the world's most architecturally impressive cathedrals.
Add to this a host of award winning art galleries and museums, York ghost tours galore, scenic riverboat trips along the River Ouse which cuts through this historic city and some of the best shopping, chic bars and restaurant choice in the country and you have a recipe for a fun packed UK city break or York weekend break!
York blends its historic, cultural and tourist attractions well. Alongside cutting edge history and art museums, take a ride on the Yorkshire Wheel for spectacular views of the city, ice skate on York's new open air skating rink near Clifford's Tower (seasonal) or visit fun family attractions such as the York Dungeon. York has a choice of city bus sightseeing tours - always a good starter to get your bearings.
York hosts various festivals throughout the year, and is packed with great restaurants, pubs and clubs for the ultimate entertainment. And of course not forgetting the York Races!!
The North York Moors National Park is a uniquely special Yorkshire region. Around one third of it is stunning heather moorland with open access now for all. See it purple in Summer with the flowering heather. It's not all stunning moorland however - there's woodland here too particularly the forests to the south east of the Park at Dalby and around Cropton and to the south west of the Park at Boltby near Thirsk.
The North York Moors National Park pushes all the way to the coast, with the Cleveland Way National Trail winding round the edge of the Park and along the coast from Saltburn south to Filey. Spectacular coastal walking awaits here!
Alongside superb opportunities for walking, cycling and horse riding within the North York Moors National Park, a host of stunning villages offer up a superb choice of B&Bs, country pubs, specialist shops, historic buildings and museums. Particular North York Moors National Park hotspots include Osmotherley, Cropton, Hutton le Hole, Pickering, Thornton le Dale, Goathland (the idyllic village used in the TV series Heartbeat), Kirkbymoorside, Appleton le Moors and Hambleton. One of the best, and most relaxing ways, to see the North York Moors is via the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which you can pick up in Pickering. The railway cuts across the Moors up through the Esk Valley, with stunning views all the way, to Grosmont then north east to Whitby. Ancient abbeys and castles are in the area too, including Rievaulx Abbey, once the north's largest Cistercian stronghold.
The Moors Centre at Danby, recently completely renovated with new activities and attractions added, serves as main Moors Centre. This centre makes a great starting point to exploring this part of the North York Moors. Here you can plan out the many choice of activities whether walking, golfing, cycling or horse riding - it's all here. The North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway is a must for enthusiasts of steam railways. If you're staying in Pickering you can hook up with the steam train, and take in the breathtaking scenery along this very popular line which runs from Pickering to Grosmont, then heads east onto Whitby.
Thirsk North Yorkshire, situated on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park is central hub for all things James Herriot and Herriot Country. The original James Herriot, alias Alfred Wight, lived and worked as a vet in Thirsk (although he was born in Sunderland). The surgery where Wight worked as a vet is now the acclaimed 'World of James Herriot Centre' with reconstructed sets from the TV series 'All Creatures Great and Small' within alongside rare film footage interview with the author and more.
Thirsk is an attractive base serving as gateway into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. One of the Moors' main information centres is just to the east of the town at Sutton Bank. Thirsk offers ample amenities including a charming centre with a choice of B&Bs, country pubs, specialist shops and the historic Ritz Cinema. The town also boats the Thirsk Racecourse and local history museum.
Helmsley is one of the most popular holiday bases for access into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and onto the Cleveland Way National Trail which begins from this historic market town. Not by chance is Helmsley popular - the town is one of the most attractive in the area with a fine choice of B&Bs, country pubs, fine dining restaurants and specialist shopping. (Helmsley is particularly good for second hand bookshops and finding that rare book!). Helmsley's market square, with gothic monument and stone cross is a bustling affair, particularly in high Summer season.
A superb choice of cafes, tearooms and pubs surround the square which comes alive particularly on Friday market days. Helmsley's dramatic medieval castle ruins give the town an edge. A walker's topspot base, with direct access not just onto the Cleveland Way but also the Ebor Way which stretches for 70 miles from Helmsley to Ilkley.
The spectacular ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, founded 1132, are also nearby.
Within and on the outskirts of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park you've a stunning choice of accommodation bases. Main centres Helmsley, Pickering and Malton to the south are popular choices as holiday bases but if you're looking for quieter idyllic Moors bases, good choices include Hutton-le-Hole, home to the Ryedale Folk Museum, Thornton-le-Dale, Appleton-le-Moors, Osmotherley, market town Kirkbymoorside with its pretty cobbled streets and fine Georgian houses or renowned Goathland which featured as main base in the TV series Heartbeat.
Get away from it all North York Moors villages such as Hutton Le Hole offer the best aspects of a walking holiday in the North York Moors including stunning quiet village settings and country pubs serving up fine food and real Yorkshire ale.
Bustling market town Malton with annual agricultural show and weekly Saturday street market sits on the edge of the Vale of Pickering offering easy access into both the North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds to the south.
Malton has seen some exciting archaeological finds through the 20th century, both Roman and Medieval and you'll find numerous artefacts from these finds on display at the Malton Museum. Malton is well placed for a choice of superb attractions in the area.
Explore the social history of the Second World War at nearby Eden Camp, which was originally the site for holding prisoners of war. One of Yorkshire's best theme parks and zoos - Flamingo Land sits just north of Malton. The town has increasingly developed a reputation for live music within celebrated venues such as The Shed. Plenty goes on here Malton during the Ryedale Music Festival annually in July. Malton can serve as a good countryside base close to the city of York and stately home Castle Howard and the Howardian Hills are located just west of the town.
Malton offers a superb choice of charming B&Bs, country pubs, specialist shops and numerous attractions within and around the town.
Serving as main gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors, Pickering is a popular holiday base especially with families. The North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway starts its journey from Pickering, making the town a central hub for hooking into one of the UK's most scenic historic railways. Attractions and amenities within Pickering are superb.
Pickering's 12th century castle is a fine example of a motte and bailey castle and Pickering is home to the Beck Isle Museum with its reconstructed rooms including Victorian parlour and pub. Look out for the fascinating photography of local born Sidney Smith at the Beck Isle Museum spanning the period from 1910 to the 1960s.
Pickering town centre is a lively affair, with an excellent choice of specialist shops, tearooms and cafes, country pubs, restaurants and B&Bs, holiday cottages and small country hotels.