North Yorkshire Overview
- Moors, monasteries and market towns
- Country life
- Wild and wuthering
Where wild moors and rolling dales form the backdrop to solid, greystone market towns and idyllic country villages, North Yorkshire is the UK's ultimate antidote to urban life.
From the Yorkshire Dales in the west of the county, where daffodil-fringed streams meander their way through green, sheep-flecked hills, to the rugged beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors – where traditional, crooked drystone walls are often the only sign of human influence on the land – this swathe of northern England is the place to come for long walks, leisurely picnics and, of course, cosy country pubs. And that's just inland. The North Yorkshire coast, home to the gothic, Dracula-obsessed town of Whitby and traditional seaside resorts such as Scarborough and Filey, is as ruggedly beautiful as seashores come.
Naturally North Yorkshire
The performance of the York Mystery Plays, 48 colourful pageants that dramatise episodes from the Bible, are one of the UK’s last, unfiltered mediaeval traditions. Taking place around York city centre every four years (in either May or June), they are best seen against the backdrop of the city’s imposing Minster.
- You’re far better off hiring your own car, but if you do want to have a pint or two of Timothy Taylor Landlord bitter when you go out in the evening, you can always get your hotel to arrange a taxi back for you.
- Tipping culture
- Service is not generally included, so tip on the generous side of 10 per cent in cafés and restaurants. US visitors, unused to the complexities of British culture, should be aware that tips aren’t expected in pubs. Some smaller establishments only accept cash.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Most shops in North Yorkshire close around 6pm, and you won’t find much open on Sundays. Late-night action tends to take the form of cosy country pubs, at which the occasional lock-in isn't unknown.
- Packing tips
- Bring stout boots and plenty of waterproofs – you’re going to want to go walking, and the weather’s very changeable up here. Don’t forget to pack some Tupperware in which to bring back all those delicious Yorkshire cheeses either.
- Recommended reads
- James Herriott’s All Creatures Great and Small and its many sequels describe the life of a rural Dales vet. In Dracula, by Bram Stoker, the infamous Count arrives in the UK via a ship that washes up in Whitby bay. Kate Atkinson’s wonderful Behind the Scenes at the Museum is set in 1950s and 1960s York.
- The only thing that gourmands and Yorkshire folk have in common is that they would both drop the ‘h’ when pronouncing ‘haute cuisine’. This is meat and two veg country, where owt fancy is eyed with suspicion – and simplicity and freshness are rightly revered. Yorkshire pudding features heavily – try it in its plate-sized version, filled with North Yorkshire pork sausages and thick onion gravy. Keep an eye out for Wensleydale cheese and dense slabs of ginger parkin – traditionally eaten around 5 November to commemorate the grisly death of former York resident Guy Fawkes. And don’t leave without trying a bag of Seabrooks crisps, made in nearby Bradford, which, as every Yorkshireman and woman will tell you, are simply the best in the world.
- Pound sterling (£).
- Time zone
- Dialling codes
- UK country code: +44; York: 01904; Helmsley: 01439; Wensleydale: 01969.
- Do go/don't go
- There’s never a bad time to come to North Yorkshire – the weather is equally unpredictable all year round. Summer sees the biggest influx of tourists, when the narrower country roads can get a little clogged, but the region is plenty big enough to accommodate everyone. Spring and autumn can be romantically wild and windy, while winter offers the sort of snowfalls rarely seen outside Narnia.
Don't go home without...
…sampling a Yorkshire pudding.