From the eerie wilderness of the Yorkshire moors as brought to life by the Bronte sisters’ novels, to the medieval architecture lining the cobbled streets of York, going to the northern England county to see the moors of Yorkshire is one of the best reasons to leave London.
Yorkshire encompasses a large territory of northeastern England, including the South Yorkshire cities of Sheffield and Leeds, but it’s the North Yorkshire region that most visitors most commonly refer to as ‘Yorkshire’. Here, the unofficial capital is the historic city of York; a lively student town celebrated for its extraordinary architecture and still-standing 13th-century defense walls. York’s biggest draw card is the magnificent York Minster Cathedral, one of the largest in the country, with a remarkable gothic façade that dates back to the 8th century.
Yorkshire’s hauntingly beautiful landscapes remain at the top of hiker’s wish lists, having inspired generations of literature, poetry and films, and harboring some of the most dramatic scenery in the UK in its two national parks. The Yorkshire Moors, often affectionately nicknamed ‘Bronte County’ thanks to its famous literary residents, stretches along the northeastern coastline; brooding, heather-smattered moors that remain shrouded in mystique. To the west, the Yorkshire Dales are a paradise for walkers, climbers and cyclists; an expanse of soaring limestone hills, verdant valleys and stone-built villages.
Windswept moorlands are not the only dramatic feature of Yorkshire’s countryside; the county’s rugged North Sea coastline is a sensational stretch of towering sea cliffs, smuggler’s coves and sandy bays. The dynamic seaside resort of Scarborough, subject of the folk song Scarborough Fair (made famous by Simon & Garfunkel); historic Whitby, where Bram Stoker famously wrote his bestseller Dracula; and the fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, all make popular destinations.
Those venturing up north will find much more than a photo-worthy landscape – Yorkshire is renowned for it’s hospitality and the broad-accented northerners are charmingly outspoken and ever welcoming. Take time to explore the villages and you’ll uncover pockets of England untouched by the hassle of city life, where you can sip Yorkshire tea (reputedly some of the country’s best) in a local teahouse and tuck into a hearty roast dinner, complete with regional specialty Yorkshire puddings (delicious savory ‘cakes’ made from oven baked batter) in one of the many traditional pubs.