15 Best Things To Do In North Yorkshire

15 Best Things To Do In North Yorkshire

By will

North Yorkshire is an amazing county in the north of England. It offers a wide variety of things to do and see, from historical sites to outdoor activities.

In this article, I’ll be giving you a list of the 15 best things to do in North Yorkshire. From the beautiful York Minster to the fun Flamingo Land Theme Park, there really is something for everyone in this part of England.

So, if you’re looking for some ideas on what to do in North Yorkshire, read on and find out what this amazing county has to offer!

York Minster

York Minster
Photo by Steven Haslington

York Minster is a must-see for anyone visiting North Yorkshire – it’s an awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral that’ll take your breath away!

Built in the 13th century, the Minster is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, and is home to a range of stunning stained glass windows, intricate stone carvings, and a fascinating crypt.

What’s more, you can climb the 275 steps of the Central Tower for a spectacular panoramic view of the city!

Whether you’re looking to admire the architecture, explore the history, or simply enjoy the atmosphere, a visit to York Minster is an unforgettable experience.

White Scar Cave

Inside White Scar Caves
Photo by Sharon Leedell

Discover the hidden depths of White Scar Cave, a stunning underground wonderland in the heart of North Yorkshire!

This incredible cave is the longest show cave in Britain, stretching for over 1.5 miles through the limestone of Ingleborough Hill. It’s home to some of the most stunning rock formations you’ll ever see. Stalactites, stalagmites, and columns of solid limestone decorate the cave, making it a sight to behold.

The cave has a long and fascinating history. It was discovered in 1923 and opened to the public in 1925. Inside, you can explore the many chambers and passages of the cave. You can also admire the spectacular views and learn about its history.

There’s a special section dedicated to the unique wildlife that calls the cave home. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a unique experience, White Scar Cave is a must-see destination in North Yorkshire.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Fountains abbey ruins from the Studley water gardens
Photo by Phil Bradon Hunter

Experience the beauty and serenity of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, a World Heritage Site located in the heart of England!

Located just outside Ripon, this stunning 860-acre estate was once a Cistercian abbey and offers visitors a chance to explore the ruins of the abbey, the Studley Royal Water Garden, and the surrounding parkland.

From the lavish gardens of Studley Royal full of gorgeous lawns, lakes, and canals, to the majestic ruins of Fountains Abbey, this is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting North Yorkshire.

Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and marvel at the grandeur of the abbey ruins, or take a boat ride around the lake for a unique and tranquil experience.

It’s the perfect spot to relax and take in the beauty of the region.

Castle Howard

Immerse yourself in the grandeur of Castle Howard, an iconic 18th-century stately home located in the North of England.

Built in 1699 and extensively remodeled in the 18th century, this majestic estate is situated in the scenic Howardian Hills.

Stroll through the landscaped grounds, featuring picturesque lakes and cascading waterfalls, and marvel at the magnificent interiors, which are adorned with antiques and artwork.

Take a tour of the house and its many hidden treasures, such as a library brimming with rare books and a collection of old masters.

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Afterward, spend some time in the charming walled garden, dotted with statues, sculptures, and quaint follies.

Or take a boat ride on the lake and be transported back to a world of romance and elegance.

With so many attractions, Castle Howard is an ideal destination for those looking to experience the grandeur of the North of England.

North York Moors National Park

Explore the North York Moors National Park, a beautiful expanse of heather-covered moorland in Yorkshire. The National Park is the largest of its kind in the UK, and covers an area of over 500 square miles. It’s a great place to explore and get back to nature, with its rugged hills, open moorland and woodland, and stunning coastline.

You can take in the breathtaking views, go cycling, hiking, and horse riding, or just relax and take in the fresh air. Visit the ancient ruins of Whitby Abbey, take a ride on the steam locomotive, or enjoy the wildlife spotting opportunities. There’s something for everyone in this stunning National Park.

The North York Moors National Park is home to many species of wildlife, including red deer, otters, and a variety of birds. Enjoy the beautiful wildflowers, particularly the heather which is in full bloom during August and September. As well as wildlife, there are plenty of historic sites to explore, including the ruins of Whitby Abbey and some of the oldest iron age settlements in Britain.

So whether you’re looking for a relaxing break or an adrenaline-filled adventure, the North York Moors National Park has something for everyone.

The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales offer an idyllic escape into the British countryside, with its rolling hills, lush meadows, and traditional stone villages.

These stunning landscapes are perfect for those looking to explore the area’s natural beauty, with plenty of trails to discover.

It’s easy to find your perfect spot for a picnic or to simply take in the views, and the region boasts many quaint pubs and restaurants for a bite to eat.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or a more adventurous holiday, the Yorkshire Dales offer something for everyone.

There are a variety of activities to choose from, such as horse riding, walking, cycling, and even exploring the many caves and mines.

It’s a great place to visit for a memorable break and to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure

Leaving the Yorkshire Dales behind, I’m now heading to Go Ape Tree Top Adventure, an exhilarating treetop adventure course.

Located in the nearby Dalby Forest, this is an ideal spot to experience the wonders of the North Yorkshire landscape.

The course features thrilling obstacles, zip lines, and Tarzan swings, all while being surrounded by the beauty of the forest.

With its challenging elements, Go Ape Tree Top Adventure is a great way to make the most of the area and get your adrenaline pumping.

Whatever your level of skill, Go Ape Tree Top Adventure has something to offer.

Whether you’re a daredevil looking to fly down the zip lines or a more cautious explorer, there are plenty of routes to choose from that will suit your ability.

With staff on hand to guide you throughout your journey, safety is always a priority.

Plus, with stunning views of the surrounding area, you can take in the beauty of North Yorkshire as you make your way around the course.

York Maze

Experience an unforgettable day out at York Maze, with its unique and fun attractions that will captivate the whole family.

York Maze is one of North Yorkshire’s best attractions for a day out. Located just outside of York, the maze is made up of over 1.5 million living maize plants, making it the world’s largest!

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It also features a variety of attractions, such as a 60ft viewing tower, a maize-based adventure golf course, and a giant Maize Maze.

There are also a variety of other activities on offer, including a soft play area, a sandpit, and even a tractor ride! With so much to do, it’s ideal for a day out with the family.

Be sure to get lost in the maze, and take a look from the top of the viewing tower for a unique view of the surrounding countryside.

York Maze is an unforgettable and fun experience for the whole family.

Scarborough Castle

Standing proudly atop Scarborough’s headland is the majestic Scarborough Castle, offering stunning views of the North Sea and the town of Scarborough below.

Built in the 12th century by Henry II, the castle is one of the most historically significant fortifications in the North of England. Over the centuries, the castle has served as a royal residence, a military stronghold, and a prison.

Today, visitors can explore the castle’s ruins, which are filled with interesting artifacts and stories from its long and storied past. From the castle’s walls, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the North Sea, as well as the picturesque town of Scarborough.

Visitors are also encouraged to take part in various interactive activities, such as the popular ‘Dare to Defend’ which lets visitors experience what life was like in the castle during the Civil War.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic walk or an educational experience, Scarborough Castle is a must-see destination in North Yorkshire.

Bolton Abbey

Nestled in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales is the stunning Bolton Abbey, a historic priory and estate that has been a place of worship since the 12th century.

This magnificent site offers something for everyone; whether you want to explore the ruins of the Priory Church and wander around the beautiful grounds, or have a picnic by the river and take in the breathtaking scenery, there is something for everyone.

The estate also has a number of attractions to explore, including ancient stone bridges, a café, a gift shop, and the unique Strid Wood Nature Reserve.

There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, such as boat trips, guided walks, and fishing.

Bolton Abbey is also a popular venue for weddings and other special events.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an action-packed day out, Bolton Abbey is the perfect place to visit.

Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral offers a truly awe-inspiring glimpse into the past, boasting an incredible 900 years of history. You can explore this history through its majestic architecture and captivating artworks.

Dating back to the 11th century, the cathedral is a sight to behold. It has grand Norman arches, soaring columns, and spectacular stained-glass windows.

Its many relics provide a fascinating insight into the history of the area. Among them is a 12th-century tomb.

Ripon Cathedral also houses some of the finest examples of stained glass in Britain. Three stunning windows depict scenes from the Bible.

Visitors can also explore the ancient crypt, which dates back to the 12th century. Additionally, there is the impressive library and chapter house.

A trip to Ripon Cathedral is a must-see for anyone interested in history and architecture. It offers a truly unique experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Harrogate Turkish Baths

Leaving the ancient and awe-inspiring Ripon Cathedral, I was ready for something a little bit different.

Exploring the town of Harrogate, I discovered the renowned Harrogate Turkish Baths.

Built in 1897, the Turkish Baths is a perfect example of Victorian architecture, and the interior of the building is just as impressive.

The baths make use of the naturally occurring thermal spring water, so there are plenty of opportunities to relax and rejuvenate.

The facility has a variety of different steaming rooms and pools, as well as offering massage services and beauty treatments.

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I found it to be the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the town and enjoy some rest and relaxation.

The experience was truly unique, and one I won’t soon forget.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr

After my relaxing visit to the Harrogate Turkish Baths, I decided to explore the stunning RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Located near the spa town of Harrogate, this Royal Horticultural Society Garden is a perfect place to wander and take in the beauty of nature.

The garden is divided into many different sections, each with its own distinct look and feel. Visitors can explore woodland, water and horticultural areas, as well as the iconic Betty’s Cafe. The garden also boasts a huge array of plants, from species native to Yorkshire to exotic plants from around the world.

It’s a great place to explore, with plenty of seating areas in which visitors can take a break and appreciate the beautiful surroundings. I especially enjoyed the Alpine House, where I could admire the range of delicate and interesting mountain plants as well as the Rock Garden, which showcased a captivating selection of succulents.

The garden also offers a range of activities, including guided walks, art exhibitions and plenty of events and activities for children. It’s a great place to spend some time and it’s easy to lose track of time while admiring the stunning views and taking in the stunning displays.

Flamingo Land Theme Park

Next on my North Yorkshire itinerary was Flamingo Land Theme Park, a thrilling combination of rides, shows, and attractions.

This theme park is a must-see for any family looking for an exciting day out. From rollercoasters to water rides, Flamingo Land has something for everyone.

You can also get up close and personal with some of the park’s exotic animals, such as giraffes, meerkats, and elephants.

Additionally, there are plenty of shows and attractions that will keep you entertained throughout the day. I especially enjoyed the 4D cinema experience, which was a great way to get even more immersed in the theme park’s atmosphere.

All in all, Flamingo Land is a great place to spend a day, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fun and exciting experience in North Yorkshire.

The Dales Way Walk

After a day of fun and excitement at Flamingo Land Theme Park, why not explore the beautiful countryside of North Yorkshire with a hike along the Dales Way?

This is one of the longest and most scenic walking routes in England, stretching 78 miles from the town of Ilkley to the edge of the Lake District.

The Dales Way is a perfect way to experience some of the most stunning scenery in the region, from the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales to the majestic Lakeland fells.

Along the way, you’ll pass through idyllic villages, historic sites, and a variety of stunning countryside views.

The hike can be broken down into shorter sections, making it suitable for walkers of any ability.

There are plenty of accommodation, pubs, and tea rooms along the route so you can stay overnight in the area and enjoy the convenience of amenities.

Whether you’re a keen hiker or just want to take in the breathtaking scenery of North Yorkshire, the Dales Way is the perfect way to explore this special part of the country.


Visiting North Yorkshire is an amazing experience. You can’t miss out on the iconic York Minster, the beautiful Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, and the fascinating White Scar Cave.

There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for an adventure at Flamingo Land Theme Park, a stroll through the North York Moors National Park, or a relaxing dip in Harrogate Turkish Baths.

And don’t forget to make a stop at the RHS Garden Harlow Carr and Castle Howard.

There’s no doubt that North Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful places in England, and these 15 attractions are the perfect way to explore it.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.