Things to do in Yorkshire

Keep yourself occupied and discover some of the best things to do in Yorkshire

As the UK's largest county, it should come as no surprise that there are numerous things to do in Yorkshire. Whether your preferences are for a heart-pumping romp across the moors or for some rest and relaxation of the beach, there truly is something for everyone; making Yorkshire a fabulous place for a staycation at any time of the year.

Here are a few things to do in Yorkshire:

Haworth Parsonage, the home of the Brontë Sisters

If the moors immediately bring to mind the tortured souls of Cathy and Heathcliff, if not the melodic tinklings of Kate Bush, then you must visit the small town of Howarth in West Yorkshire. This is where the Brontë sisters lived, in a modest parsonage which has since been turned into a museum slash shrine for fans of Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey an et al.

With lots of artefacts, including the sisters' writing desk and incredibly tiny writing books, you can learn a lot about how the whole Brontë family lived. It's not the cheeriest place, but it's certainly atmospheric and a must-see for literary lovers. Round the corner is the graveyard where Anne Brontë was buried, which is similarly worth a look. The parsonage is open from 10:00am until 5:30pm (with 5:00pm closing between 1 November and 31 March).

York Castle Museum

As you'd expect, there are many museums in Yorkshire, including the Jorvic Viking Centre and the Streetlife Museum of Transport. One of the other very highly-rated options is York Castle Museum which can be found in the middle of York, situated on former prison buildings. Among the numerous interesting exhibitions is Kirkgate: the Victorian Street; one of the first period recreations (built initially in 1938, rejuvenated in 2012) which incorporates many aspects of Victorian life, from business and education, to poverty and people - it remains the most popular part of the museum.

There are also exhibitions about WWI, the Sixties and 150 years of toys. Then there's the eerie York Castle Prison, which gives visitors an idea of what it was like to be an inmate in the 18th Century gaol. The museum is open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm.

North York Moors National Park

Covering a huge, 550 square mile expanse of North Yorkshire, the national park encompasses cliffs, heather moorlands, the steep slopes of Cleveland Hills and even a steam railway, not to mention Castle Howard and several stately houses. Those wishing to get the blood pumping have plenty of opportunities for getting active; 20 per cent of the park is covered in woodlands which are begging to be explored on foot or bicycle. Green-fingered visitors might like to see The Yorkshire Arboretum, with its collection of over 6,000 plants and shrubs and kids are sure to love spotting some rare birds at the nature reserves or the International Centre for Birds of Prey.

The park is also studded with pretty market towns, like the chocolate box picturesque Thornton le Dale and Hutton le Hole. Goathland is another popular spot, famous as it doubled as Aidensfield in the long-running television show, Heartbeat. You might recognise other parts of the park from Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited, Death Comes to Pemberley and even the sequel to the Garfield movie.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

You might not expect to see polar bears, leopards, meerkats and zebras only a stone's through from Doncaster, but that's what you'll find at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Far more than just a zoo, you can walk through a lion reserve, see endangered tigers and children can feed the wallabies. Time your visit to coincide with one of the many ranger's talks at the giraffe, lemur, bear and lion enclosures, then stop for lunch at the Monkey Play House and Café.

The wildlife park is from 10:00am to 6:00pm in the spring / summer and until 4:00pm out of season. The park has been described as 'a wonderful place to visit'.

Filey Beach

(Image: Filey Bay. Creative commons copyright Phillip Taylor)

(Image: Filey Bay. Creative commons copyright Phillip Taylor)

Beaches and the UK aren't two things that many people tend to put together, especially - sorry - when we're talking about the northern reaches. Therefore, the uninitiated might be amazed to discover that Yorkshire boasts one of the loveliest, cleanest beaches in the entire country. Filey, situated about eight miles from Scarborough has won a Quality Coast Award and only allows dogs on the beach at certain times out of season. With sailing, surfing and wind surfing activities taking place, not to mention the obligatory cafés, shops and restaurants, it's ideal for a family day out.

What's lovely about Filey is that it's a beautiful, mostly unspoiled five miles of sandy coastline. With a nice, non-commercialised promenade, this seaside spot is generally quieter than its neighbouring beaches. Should you fancy a stroll, head up to Brigg for some stunning views of the cliffs or go in the opposite direction for a children's play park and the clifftop gardens.

The above is a mere handful of activities that can keep the whole family amused in Yorkshire; the county has so much more to offer. Whether you want to hike or shop, eat or swim, head to the north east.

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