The best historic locations to visit in Yorkshire

09 January 2019

Fountains Abbey


With a disrupted past, Yorkshire has been a holding for many settlements over the years, with this in mind it’s no surprise that the county is full of historic gems just waiting to be explored. From historic castles to stately homes and ruins in abundance, Yorkshire holds many people’s hearts as a fascinating place to explore.



Ripon, North Yorkshire

A home for devoted monks to the humble ruins we see today, Fountains Abbey is one of few remaining windows into Medieval Britain. Set in the stunning scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this magnificent structure has been standing proud since 1132! Now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and maintained by the National Trust, it has been a tourist spot for hundreds of years and continues to play host to picnics, deer spotting and wonderous walks.

We asked Yorkshire Net’s local expert, April where she would recommend heading for a historical trip in Yorkshire:

Spend a day exploring Fountains Abbey, one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a UNESCO-protected heritage site, is sure to captivate you with its striking ruins, awe-inspiring Georgian water garden and decorative Victorian Church set in a beautiful, medieval deer park.”


Castle Howard



York, North Yorkshire

Built in 1699 and remaining home for the Howard family ever since, Castle Howard is now not only a home for one family, but for the thousands of visitors, it welcomes each year.

Open from the 30th March, the house is a spectacle of opulence and grandeur and plays host to weddings, private events and public events all year round. A day trip here is more than just a great day out, tuck into delicious dishes from a range of cafes and restaurants, not forgetting to pick up a token of your day from the gift shop or garden centre.

The backdrop makes this the perfect location for a day out in the stunning Yorkshire countryside. Explore the hidden secrets of the historic house, bring the kids along to meet Geoffrey the Lion and run off all their energy in the Adventure Playground. A fun-filled adventure for families and couples awaits.

The likes of Lonely Planet can’t recommend a better location to visit on your next Yorkshire stay: “Stately homes may be two a penny in Eng­land, but you’ll have to try pretty damn hard to find one as breathtakingly stately as Cas­tle Howard, a work of theatrical grandeur and audacity set in the rolling Howardian Hills.


Yorkshire Sculpture Garden



West Bretton, Wakefield

BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz spoke to Historic England about Yorkshire’s Sculpture Park:

It’s a fabulous tribute to the English countryside that marries the ancient with the modern. Sculptors from Henry Moore to Auguste Rodin have shown their work in their splendid gardens. Yorkshire Sculpture Park takes that artistic instinct to an entirely new level with totally sensational results. It is, without a doubt, one of the finest examples of art in the landscape anywhere in the world.”

If you’re looking to marry the old with the new, then taking a trip to Yorkshire’s Sculpture Park is a must. Showcasing up to 80 works in the open air, this location is full of hidden treasures, musical sculptures and pieces you can actually touch. Unlike other galleries, this unique concept is a hit throughout the year and has been nominated for various awards throughout the years.

The perfect antidote to the stuff and staid traditional gallery environment, where families are free to wander through the parks 500 acres without constraint. A uniquely family-friendly modern art experience.” Junior Magazine told Yorkshire Sculpture Garden.


Bronte Parsonage Museum



Church Street, Haworth

This was home to the three literary sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne from 1820 onwards. It was in this house that, as children and young adults, the Brontë sisters wrote some of their most famous novels, including Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey. The sisters, in contrast to Jane Austen, where working women and their writing reflects a broader spectrum of English society. They were also deeply inspired by the rugged Yorkshire landscape which surrounded the village of Haworth, bringing it to life for millions across the world in the pages of their novels,” says Historic England.

Step in the footsteps of literary greats as you head to the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Discover the rooms that would make them famous for hundreds of years to come and follow their journey as you uncover hidden secrets, timeless information and a story that’ll touch your heart.


White Scar Caves



Carnforth, North Yorkshire

If an adrenaline-packed day out is what you’re after, then head to White Scar Caves and explore deep beneath the surface. First discovered in 1923, it is now thought to be one of the largest cave chambers in Britain. Head on an 80-minute guided tour and explore the cave trail deep into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales covering almost 1 mile. It makes the perfect day out for older members of the family, as well as adventurous children.


Richmond Castle



Tower Street, Richmond

One of the finest tourist attractions in North Yorkshire, Richmond Castle towers over the settlement of Richmond and offers breath-taking views over the Yorkshire Dales. Now looked after by English Heritage and funded by the National Lottery, the Norman gardens have been transformed back to their original grandeur, offering views for up to 100 meters below.

Open between 10am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s the perfect pit stop for a cup of tea and some historic discovery. April from Yorkshire Net also gave us a few words about the wonders of Richmond Castle:

I would also suggest visiting Richmond Castle, the oldest Norman stone fortress in Britain which sits high above the River Swale overlooking the charming market village of Richmond. Admire the spectacular views of the Yorkshire Dales and enjoy a peaceful stroll through the Cockpit Garden; a tranquil haven which was designed to reflect the Castle’s history.”

For an active outing with the whole family, April recommends heading to the historic city of York and enjoying a walking trail along the medieval city walls.

If you’re looking for a unique location to head to on your next historic retreat, then Yorkshire offers it all! Don’t search the web for Scarborough hotels, book into the Raven Hall Hotel for a comfortable place to rest your head after a busy day of conquering Yorkshire’s history.


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