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Plan Your Yorkshire Vacation

A hauntingly beautiful region, Yorkshire is known for its wide-open spaces and dramatic landscapes. The hills of the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales glow pink and purple with heather in summer, turning to black in winter. Rugged fishing villages like Robin Hood's Bay cling to the edges of cliffs in one of England's most unspoiled areas. Period architecture abounds in York, with its narrow medieval streets, or historic spa towns like Harrogate, while ancient cathedrals, abbeys, and castles provide majestic backdrops to day-to-day life in the area.

Some of the region's biggest attractions are the result of human endeavor: York's towering Gothic cathedral, created by unknown master craftsmen; Castle Howard, Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor’s Baroque masterpiece near York; and the Georgian parsonage (now a museum), in the small hilltop village of Haworth, where the Brontë sisters changed literature.

The Yorkshire landscape, however, is just as compelling. The most rugged terrain is the North York Moors, a large windswept moorland (crossed by cultivated valleys), where flocks of Scottish Blackface or Swaledale sheep graze freely. The landscape that inspired the Brontë sisters is found in the West Yorkshire Pennines, with their moors and rocky crags punctuated by gray stone villages. Farther to the north are the lush, green uplands and valleys known as the Yorkshire Dales, where the high rainfall produces swift rivers and sparkling streams. These are wonderfully peaceful places, except in summer, when hundreds of hikers (or "ramblers," as they're known in England) appear over the hills, injecting life into the local economy.

The area isn’t all green fields and perfect villages—there's also a gritty, urban aspect to the region. In West Yorkshire, once down-at-heels Leeds has remade itself with trendy restaurants and cafés, along with a buzzing music industry and nightlife scene.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. York Minster The largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe helps make York one of the country's most visited cities. A new interactive exhibit in the undercroft explores the site's history from Roman times onward.
  2. North York Moors The wide-open spaces of this national park let walkers find glorious solitude amid the heather-covered hills that glow crimson and purple in late summer and early fall.
  3. Rievaulx Abbey The ruins of this great Cistercian abbey can be approached by a tiny lane that provides a view of its soaring arches dramatically appearing out of the trees.
  4. Coastal towns Seafront Whitby inspired Bram Stoker to set some of Dracula there. Robin Hood's Bay, a village set in a ravine, has an outstanding beach.
  5. Haworth Looking as if it were carved from stone, this picture-perfect hillside town in the dales is a lovely place to learn about the Brontë sisters.

When To Go

When to Go

To see the heather at its most vibrant, visit in summer (but despite the season, be prepared for some chilly days). It's also the best time...

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