There’s never been a better time to sell a trip to see the county’s charming towns and unspoilt landscapes, says Rebecca Barnes
When ex-footballer Paul Merson bared his soul on a journey through North Yorkshire for the TV show A Walk Through My Life, which aired on BBC Two earlier this summer, it shone a light on the county’s beauty all over again.
Now more than ever, there’s plenty to appreciate in this diverse part of Britain: Bradford has been named the UK City of Culture 2025, while a £30.2 million four-year project is under way to transform Hull into a world-class ‘maritime city’ destination. And it remains a popular choice for holidaymakers.
“The huge surge in popularity of UK holidays shows no sign of slowing, with Yorkshire no exception. It’s a great destination to suggest to clients nervous about travelling abroad,” says Ashley Dellow, head of retail sales for Leger Shearings Group.
So, with Yorkshire Day coming up on August 1, we take the opportunity to uncover the county’s key selling points and pick some of the most inspiring, affordable packages out there.
1. Discover history and culture
In Yorkshire, history is almost everywhere you look, from battlefield sites to miles of distinctive drystone walls that represent an ancient craft. Its castles, stately homes, abbeys and museums are all waiting to be explored.
Tell me more: Yorkshire’s largest historic home, Castle Howard, near York, has provided a backdrop for TV shows such as Brideshead Revisited and Bridgerton. Visitors can see the stately home’s ornate interiors and explore 1,000 acres of parkland – from secluded wooded spots to manicured lawns, hedges and fountains.
Book it: Four nights on Shearings’ Castle Howard and the Yorkshire Coast tour costs from £439 per person, including accommodation, breakfast and evening meals. The tour also explores Whitby from the hotel base in coastal Scarborough.
2. Explore the best of nature
As Merson will testify, Yorkshire is perfect for hikes through rugged scenery. For lovers of the great outdoors, nature spots and incredible landscapes are everywhere, with rolling hills and wide valleys waiting to be discovered.
Tell me more: One of the county’s most scenic spots is Wensleydale, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. This picturesque valley and its impressive waterfalls are perfect for exploring on foot.
Book it: Inntravel’s Heart of the Yorkshire Dales self-guided walking holiday explores Wensleydale – staying in guesthouses and country hotels, with luggage taken by road.
The route wends along riverbanks and bridleways, meadows and moors, plus several waterfalls including Hawes – at 255 metres above sea level. Six nights cost from £835 per person, based on two sharing, including breakfast, two dinners and two picnics, walking route maps and transfers.
3. Take an active break
With quiet roads and stunning scenery, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is renowned for two-wheeled adventures – especially since hosting the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in 2014 and the World Cycling Championships in 2019.
Tell me more: There’s an extensive network of quiet roads offering a great choice of routes – with rolling countryside vistas galore. A good place to start is the small market town, Pateley Bridge, one of the Grand Départ stops in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Book it: Wilderness England offers a self-guided cycling route starting at Pateley Bridge. The route heads to Masham and Hawes via Yorkshire’s highest road, past Castle Bolton and over Birkdale Common, where the Lake District can be seen from the summit.
Four nights cost from £895 per person, based on a cycling group of four, including B&B accommodation, a Wilderness England soigneur and transfers.
4. See its cities, towns and villages
Yorkshire isn’t just about castles and rolling hills – you’ll also find chocolate-box villages, thriving historic cities and bustling towns that come alive on market day.
Tell me more: Historic market town Knaresborough sits up on cliffs above the River Nidd, and is famous for being home to England’s oldest visitor attraction, Mother Shipton’s Cave. There’s also perennially popular York and the pretty Victorian spa town of Harrogate.
Book it: Shearings’ four-night Harrogate, York and Knaresborough tour costs from £399 per person, including accommodation, English breakfast, evening meals and local joining points.
5. Find magic and mystery
Want to discover Yorkshire’s dark side? Join a fascinatingly spooky walking tour in York, which has the accolade of being the most-haunted city in Europe.
Tell me more: Reports of ghostly activity are two a penny in York, with its 2,000 years of history. Venture down dark alleys, into eerie graveyards and explore key spots from York Minister to The Shambles to learn some of the city’s most terrifying tales. Finish up by steadying those nerves with a pint or two in one of York’s many haunted pubs.
Book it: Viator’s two-hour Private Ghost Tour of York costs from £55, with itineraries tailored to the traveller. The price includes pick-up from city centre hotels and a private guide.
Ask the expert
Claire Dutton, trade sales manager, JG Travel Group
“Yorkshire is known as ‘God’s own country’ and it’s easy to see why – it is such a diverse region and has something to offer every type of customer, from bustling cities such as York and Leeds to the historic market towns of Harrogate and Skipton.
Beach lovers can head to the resort of Scarborough, which has been welcoming guests for more than 400 years, and Whitby, the perfect spot for fish and chips by the sea.
The incredible landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors National Parks can be explored by whatever mode of transport is desired. The region offers year-round appeal with great Christmas markets to enjoy plus, for families, there is the popular Polar Express Train on the Wensleydale railway.”
PICTURES: Shutterstock/Leonid Andronov, Daniel J Rao, cktravels.com, Andrew E Gardner
Wonderwall: family adventures in Northumberland as Hadrian’s Wall turns 1900
Inside Cliveden House, one of England’s most iconic manor hotels
Yoga, walks and pasties on escorted tour to Cornwall with Intrepid