North Yorkshire Activities
Worth getting out of bed for...
- For awe-inspiring, 360-degree views of the North Yorkshire Moors – and, on a clear day, out as far as Teeside and the Yorkshire Dales – clamber up to the summit of Roseberry Topping, just east of Helmsley.
- Arts and culture
- North Yorkshire is home to more than its fair share of venerable ruins, and the crumbling Cistercian abbeys at Jervaulx, between Richmond and Harrogate, and Rievaulx, near Helmsley, are filled with 15th-century stonecarved walls, and graceful arches and columns. For more modern pleasures, head to the Georgian Theatre Royal (www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk) in Richmond, an 18th-century building that offers an eclectic range of shows from flamenco dancing to panto. Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre (www.sjt.uk.com) is where playwright Alan Ayckbourn chooses to premiere his plays.
- Something for nothing
- Wander the woodlands of the Yorkshire Dales and keep an eye out for rare-as-unicorns red squirrels. The National Park is keen to discover how many of these elusive creatures are left in the wild, so would love to hear from you if you do spot any.
- Outside of York and Harrogate, there aren't many high-end boutiques in these parts. Concentrate instead in filling your larder with the sort of authentic local produce that you'd struggle to find at home. The Wensleydale Creamery (www.wensleydale.co.uk) in Hawes sells Wallace and Gromit's favourite cheese in all kinds of configurations. Sampling is very much encouraged. Pick up jam from Raydale Preseves (www.thedales.org.uk/RaydalePreserves) in Stalling Busk, where sweet treats aplenty are lined up for your delecation, and stock your freezer with super-creamy, farm-made ices from Brymor Ice Cream (www.abmoore.co.uk). Beer – of the dark, dense and served-at-room-temperature variety – is taken very seriously up here, and it's worth stocking up on chunky bottles of the stuff from Theakston's (www.theakstons.co.uk) and Black Sheep (www.blacksheepbrewery.com), both in Masham, as well as from the renowned Wensleydale Brewery (www.wensleydalebrewery.com) in Bellerby. If you want to pick up lots of fresh produce from one place, then the town of Leyburn, west of Northallerton, has a farmers' market on the fourth Saturday of each month.
- Head south to Saltaire, a philanthropist-built model village on the outskirts of Bradford in West Yorkshire that's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Salt's Mill (www.saltsmill.org.uk), a former cotton factory that once provided employment for all the town, is now a beautiful, spacious arts centre that showcases the work of local artist David Hockney. It's also home to many upmarket shops and cafés.
- Best beach
- Scarborough, with its long, golden crescent of sand, was one of the most popular English tourist destinations in the 19th century. The town still offers a glorious, wonderfully nostalgic seaside experience, with all the donkeys, stripy rock and candyfloss you could ever want.
- Perfect picnic
- Fill your hamper with goodies from the delis in Hemsley or Kirkbymoorside, and then spread out your gingham blanket on the top of Sutton Bank, just along the A170 towards Thirsk. The views of the North Yorkshire countryside that'll accompany your Scotch egg-eating are well worth the climb.
- Take the seven-mile circular trail, following the River Ure in Wensleydale, to Aysgarth Falls. See the river cascade over three dramatic drops, then walk on to Castle Bolton before returning via Carperby – where you can stop for a pie and a pint at the Wheatsheaf (www.wheatsheafinwensleydale.co.uk), which was once visited by Greta Garbo. Alternatively, hike two-and-a-half miles of the Cleveland Way, from Rievaulx Abbey to Helmsley Castle.
- Kids will love Jorvik Viking Centre (01904 543400), an interactive museum that focuses on the Vikings’ time in York (‘Jorvik’ was the Scandinavian name for the city). Their favourite bit will undoubtedly be sitting in the little train that takes them through a reconstruction of a Viking village, complete with authentic noises and smells.
- Ride the 17 mile-long Wensleydale Railway (www.wensleydalerailway.com), from Leeming Bar to Redmire near Castle Bolton. The 50-minute trip through ultra-scenic countryside runs regularly over weekends and school holidays. Alternatively, take a trip on the vintage 1960s bus that runs between Ripon, Leyburn and Hawes. For a taste of grandeur, visit Castle Howard (www.castlehoward.co.uk) near Malton, which served as the backdrop to both the recent film version and the 1980s TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.
March Enjoy some of the world's finest ecclesiastical music at the Colleges Choirs Festival, held in the grand surroundings of York Minster. The acoustics are pretty good, apparently. April The Scarborough Literature Festival offers you the chance to meet top writers such as Ian Rankin, Joanne Harris and Mark Billingham. There are also plenty of workshops in which to brush up your prose style. August Yorkshire Day, on 1 August, is when all things white rose are celebrated throughout the county – as well as by Yorkshire expats all over the UK. September Verdant blooms vie for attention at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, held at the town's Great Yorkshire Showground.