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The best places to stay in Yorkshire holiday cottages

The best places to stay in Yorkshire

Courtney 27 November 2023

Yorkshire is such a large part of England that it is actually made up of four counties and includes eight cities. It’s so grand that it incorporates three of the country’s ten national parks.

Therefore, you’re going to need some help in establishing where you should stay when you visit. Luckily, we’ve got you covered by including some of the best places to stay in Yorkshire, including locations where you can fossil hunt or train-spot or shop ‘til you drop.

So, keep on reading to find your happy place or click the link below to search our Yorkshire cottages.


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The best places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales

A region of contrasting moods and landscapes, the Yorkshire Dales is home to the famous Three Peaks and draws in people from far and wide to experience its meadows of tranquillity, windswept valleys and powerful waterfalls.

Hawes – the best place to stay for cheese lovers

The market town of Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales

Located in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, this pretty yet unassuming village is the home of one of Yorkshire’s most famous exports. Wensleydale cheese, made famous by Aardman Animations characters Wallace and Gromit, was originally produced here by French monks following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century and continues to thrive today.

Wallace’s love of “cheeeese, Gromit!” arguably saved the dairy company as popularity soared following the stop-motion animation films, and now you can visit Wensleydale Creamery to find out if the fuss Wallace made is justified (spoiler alert: it is!).

Highlights:

  • Wensleydale Creamery – you won’t be blue when you visit this dairy, even if the cheese is
  • Hardraw Force – just a few miles north of Hawes, this 25-metre drop is England’s highest single-drop waterfall
  • Gayle Mill – this Grade II*-listed mill is open to visitors solely on Thursdays due to ongoing maintenance

Middleham – the best place to stay for aspiring castellans

Middleham Castle with a moody sky in the background

A trip to the Dales could hardly be considered complete without a trip to 12th-century Middleham Castle. Once the childhood home of Richard III, this once-impressive fortress sadly fell to ruin during the 17th century. However, in an effort to preserve the history of the town, many of the castle’s stones were used to build houses in Middleham, so it can be said that many of the residents own a piece of this legendary stronghold.

The Grade I-listed ruins are now owned and managed by English Heritage and these remnants of history are a great place to learn more about some of the War of the Roses battles or just to find out why Richard III was such a controversial and infamous monarch.

Highlights

  • The viewing platform – climb the roofless ruins and you’ll be rewarded with epic views over Wensleydale
  • Forbidden Corner – visit the self-proclaimed “strangest place in the world”. Intrigued yet?
  • Cycling in Middleham – the Tour de France once passed through the town so you know it’s going to be good

Masham – the best place to stay for breweries

A brewery worker looks at some ale in a glass

They say that Guinness tastes better in Dublin…and they would be correct. So, when staying in the Yorkshire Dales, it’s best to go straight to the source when looking for some top-quality ales. If you’re an avid real ale drinker, you’ve probably heard of Old Peculier and you’ll be pleased to hear that you can visit Masham’s famous Theakston’s Brewery and gain an insight into how this Victorian brewery created this cask classic. Pick up a gift in the shop or sit by the open fire in the bar and treat yourself to a ‘peculier’ pint.

If it’s a brewery crawl you’re looking for, continue to Black Sheep Brewery where you’ll be taken on a tour outlining the Yorkshire brewing methods that have helped establish this as one of the top breweries in Yorkshire. As always, you can finish off in the baa or shepherd your flock to the shop to pick out some ewe-nique gifts.

Highlights

  • Black Bull in Paradise Visitor Centre – set within the Theakston Brewery grounds, this is the place to try new beers around the fire or in the beer garden
  • Masham Bones – wander the town to find the site where 58 Anglo-Scandinavian skeletons were excavated and then finally laid to rest in the churchyard
  • Marfield Wetlands Nature Reserve – just outside of Masham, this is a great setting for walking and wildlife spotting

Skipton – the best place to stay for markets

The Leeds and Liverpool canal running through Skipton

If you love to saunter around picturesque and historic towns whilst hoping to pick up a unique bargain, then, for you, Skipton is one of the best places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales. This truly is a quintessential market town with the history of its popular markets dating back to medieval times when a royal charter was granted to allow a fair to be held four days a week in the high street near Skipton Castle. This holds true today and you’ll find a lively market on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

You’ll find all sorts of stalls along ‘the setts’ (the cobbled section between the road and the pavement) selling a variety of local food, arts and crafts, clothes and much more. The hustle and bustle of this renowned market is what it’s all about so be prepared to put your haggling hat on.

Highlights

  • Skipton Castle – this fairy-tale fortress is one of the country’s best-kept medieval castles
  • The Leeds and Liverpool Canal – hire a narrowboat or just walk along the water’s edge and feed the ducks beside the UK’s longest canal
  • The Craven Museum – a fantastic and free rainy-day out activity

Pateley Bridge – the best place to stay for floral beauty

A lady in a blue jacket stands in a bluebell wood near Pateley Bridge

If you’re visiting the north because you want to catch a glimpse of the timeless charm and magic of bucolic England, you’re in luck, because Pateley Bridge is one of the best places to stay in Yorkshire. Nestled in the heart of Nidderdale, Pateley Bridge is a microcosm of Yorkshire rural life with it being the start and end point of the 53-mile Nidderdale Way, which showcases the near-endless beauty and enviable scenery of the Nidd Valley.

Once you’re done with floral beauty, there are plenty of other landscape types to keep you busy, some of them more on the curious side. Visit the geological wonder of Brimham Rocks, descend to the depths of Stump Cross Caverns or try gorge walking at How Stean Gorge.

Highlights

  • Brimham Rocks – this rock formation covers 50 acres of moorland and the rocks themselves are 320 million years old
  • Nidderdale Museum – housed in the original Victorian workhouse, this museum illustrates the history of Yorkshire life
  • How Stean Gorge – caving, Via Ferrata and kayaking can be tried here, or you can just have a pleasant walk

The best places to stay on the Yorkshire coast

Some of the best beaches in the country? Check.

Dramatic cliffs? Check.

Literary hotspots? Check.

Archetypal seaside towns? Double check.

Keep reading to find some of the best places to stay on the Yorkshire coast.

Whitby – the best place to stay for fans of Dracula

Whitby Abbey as the sun begins to set

If you are a fan of Dracula, you most likely know this already – but for those of you who have heard of Dracula (which must be near everyone) yet don’t know much more than that, this section is for you too. Bram Stoker, the author of the famous novel, was visiting Whitby in order to de-stress and it was here that he was inspired by West Cliff and the views across the harbour towards Whitby Abbey. So much so that this is where the opening chapters of his renowned story were set, with Dracula, in the form of a large, black dog, getting washed up on Whitby’s shores after his ship was wrecked. The name Dracula was decided upon in Whitby when Stoker found the name whilst perusing books in a local library.

It is without a doubt an eerie sight when you cast your eyes upon the abbey as twilight approaches, enough to give other ghouls the shivers. However, if you are a fan of the dark arts and alternative music, head to Whitby for its bi-annual Goth Festival Weekend.

Highlights

  • Goth Festival Weekend – Usually in April/May and also at Halloween, this festival of like-minded folk has a Bizarre Bazaar, two nights of live music and some other dark and morbid events!
  • Whitby jet – a semi-precious stone that is specific to this region, jet has been used in fine jewellery since Victorian times
  • 199 steps and Whitby Abbey – climb the steps to prove you are worthy and then marvel at the impressive abbey

Scarborough - the best place to stay for a quintessential seaside resort

An aerial image of Scarborough South Beach

Allow us to take you back to the 17th century when Scarborough’s natural springs were discovered. This revelation undoubtedly put the seaside town on the map and gave Scarborough its status as England’s first (and arguably, during its zenith, most famous) seaside resort. People would come from far and wide to get a taste of this elixir with its medicinal properties.

Today, visitors are strongly discouraged from drinking the water, but the seaside scenes remain largely the same. Throngs of tourists flock to the sandy beaches, looking for ice cream bars, donkey rides and cafes where they can sit and soak up the shoreline atmosphere. And to think we’d have missed out on all of this had this watery discovery not been made…

Highlights

  • Grand Hotel – with four towers (the seasons), 12 floors (months), 52 chimneys (weeks) and 365 rooms (days), there’s far too much history surrounding this hotel for us to fit in one bullet point!
  • Harbour Bar – Scarborough’s most famous parlour, this ice cream bar has been running since 1945
  • Scarborough Spa – home to the last seaside orchestra in Britain, this Grade II-listed building includes the Spa Theatre, the Grand Hall, the Ocean Room, the Promenade Lounge and the Sun Court

Robin Hood’s Bay - the best place to stay for fossil hunting

Robin Hood's Bay on the Yorkshire coast

No need to head down south to Dorset for the Jurassic Coast when we have the Dinosaur Coast right here in Yorkshire. This 17th-century village, with its steep steps and cobbled streets, can be found between Scarborough and Whitby and is one of a number of excellent sites to go fossil hunting in the area. However, Robin Hood’s Bay has an olde-worlde charm that fits in nicely with the idea of walking in the (giant) footsteps of a prehistoric tyrant lizard.

All sorts of fossils can be found amongst the rocks and seaweed of this fabulous bay. For the best possible conditions, visit during autumn/winter and try to get down to the bay after a storm. The types of fossils you’re most likely to find include ammonites, belemnites, devil's toenails, star-shaped crinoids and the aforementioned semi-precious stone, jet.

Highlights

  • Yorkshire Coast Dinosaur and Fossil Museum – more of a shop than a museum, but still, a good place to browse and pick up a fossil which you can later tell your kids you found on the beach!
  • Boggle Hole – just along the beach from Robin Hood’s Bay, this SSSI is a great place for rock pooling and fossil hunting – there’s even a cafe too
  • Ghost Walk – a great way to discover the village by night, this activity will tell you not only spectral stories but also tales of shipwrecks, smuggling and other local folklore

Staithes - best known for its links to Captain Cook

Colourful cottages in Staithes Harbour

Throughout the centuries, the people of Staithes have gained a decent reputation for their seamanship. They had to be skilled and brave to cope with the conditions the North Sea posed…and also to avoid being abducted and forced to join the Royal Navy by press-gangs during the 18th century. Perhaps it was these tales of boldness and courage that impressed a sense of adventure upon a young James Cook when he arrived in the fishing port at the tender age of 16 in 1745.

He came on an apprenticeship as a grocer and draper but soon found himself seduced by the sea and the potential wonders it held. He quit his land-based education and joined the Royal Navy for the ocean studies he so craved. The rest is history, and the discoveries of Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii became his legacy. You can even walk past the shop where Cook worked which has now been incorporated into a building known as Captain Cook's Cottage.

Highlights

  • The Staithes Story – learn all about Captain Cook and more about Staithe’s maritime history at this museum
  • The ‘Painted Illusions’ Trail – find all eight spots where the landscape attempts to trick your eyes
  • Visit the setting of Old Jack’s Boat – follow in the footsteps of Jack, Salty the dog and their boat, The Rainbow, from this CBeebies classic

Filey – the best place to stay for picture-perfect beaches

The beach at Fliey as seen from the air

Another village with a history steeped in fishing lore, Filey is now a popular seaside resort with plenty to keep you and your pack entertained. The beach is without a doubt one of the biggest draws though, with 5 miles of golden sand to explore or beach huts to hire if you want to set up a base camp and lounge in the sun all day. The waters here are among the safest to swim in along the Yorkshire coast, with shallow waters that are perfect for the family and lifeguards on patrol during peak times.

Many visitors find that this stretch of shoreline is perfect for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and the beach has remained popular without becoming overly commercial like some of its east coast neighbours. At low tide, rock pools are exposed which the kids in your group will love, and for the older members, the promenade along the seafront often features displays of local artwork.

Highlights


The best places to stay in the North York Moors

When you think about the North York Moors, all sorts of complementary landscapes spring to mind. Moorland, woodland and coastal seascapes all blend together to create a treasured topography you’ll not soon forget. Rich in heritage and wildlife, this is a land forged by nature and time. Read on to find our best places to stay in the North York Moors.

Helmsley - the best place to stay for walkers

Rievaulx Abbey near Helmsley

Considered by many to be the gateway to the North York Moors National Park, the rather charming market town of Helmsley offers plenty to the avid hiker, rambler, stroller and ambler. You can start with one of the most popular walks around Helmsley, the Rievaulx Abbey Circular. The route takes you just over 3 miles west of the town towards the English Heritage abbey, where you can learn of its monastic roots and stop for a brew in the cafe.

Helmsley is also the start of the Cleveland Way, a 110-mile trail that heads up the coast towards Whitby. However, if this is a bit too much for you, there’s also the more leisurely option of a saunter around Duncombe Park, a Baroque mansion with over 450 acres of parkland. You can walk through the parkland and nature reserve, attend the events throughout the year or marvel at the winged predators from the National Centre for Birds of Prey.

Highlights

  • Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool – you won’t find many open-air pools in Yorkshire but this heated one is available throughout the summer
  • Independent shopping – head to Boro Gate for a wonderful street of independent shops
  • Helmsley Walled Garden – continue your walks at the 5-acre garden beneath the ruins of Helmsley Castle

Pickering – the best place to stay for ferroequinologists

An NYMR steam train near Pickering surrounded by trees and lush greenery

The subject matter for ferroequinologists is something that many of us see and use every single day. The word derives from the Latin terms ferrum, meaning iron, and equus, meaning horse, and signifies a love of the iron horse. If you’re also a lover of classic Western movies, you’ll know that an iron horse is another word for a train. Pickering is a glorious town with plenty to offer visitors, but perhaps nothing as esteemed as riding on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

This preserved line was originally set up in 1831 and has run regularly through the Esk Valley since 2007. There are special events throughout the year such as the Northern Lights Express and Santa and Halloween experiences, and you’ll get to pass through another of our best places to stay in North Yorkshire, Goathland (keep scrolling for more on this).

Highlights

  • Pickering Castle – this fortress built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century offers great views of the North Yorkshire countryside
  • Beck Isle Museum – this Regency Grade II-listed museum is full of displays and photography telling the tale of Pickering’s past
  • Go Ape Dalby – just 6 miles away from Pickering is this fantastic high ropes adventure course

Goathland - the best place to stay for fans of TV and film

Goathland Station in the North York Moors

Surrounded by the beautiful backdrops that the North York Moors is famed for, the tranquil village of Goathland is famous for being the filming location of a couple of big hitters, one domestic and one international. Firstly, it had a starring role in the hugely popular ITV drama, Heartbeat, which ran from 1992 to 2010. The heather moorland and dales gave added life to the show that followed a local bobby in the 1960s as he cycled up and down the pretty lanes of the village solving countryside crimes.

The village’s second and grander claim to fame is that Goathland Station was transformed into Hogsmeade Station for the international blockbuster, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. For a small amount of time, this sleepy village morphed into a hive of Hollywood activity with film crews and superstar actors working and staying in the settlement. Many Goathland residents were even used as extras in the film!

Highlights

  • Mallyan Spout Waterfall – long before Harry Potter, it was this 21-metre water that put Goathland on the map
  • Mallyan Spout to Beck Hole walk – a 3-mile linear and level walk that follows woodland and water, with lunch opportunities in Beck Hole
  • Fen Bog Nature Reserve – beautiful flora and fauna are to be found in this 47-acre reserve

Thornton-le-Dale – the best place to stay for a pretty Yorkshire village

The pretty village of Thornton-le-Dale

Home to one of the most photographed cottages in England, Thornton-le-Dale is a village that is often voted as Britain’s prettiest. You may have even seen images of its picturesque lanes and buildings without even realising it, seeing as it has featured on countless calendars and chocolate boxes down the years.

If the village name means ‘a place surrounded by thorns’, then Beck Isle Cottage must be the rose amongst said thorns. This 17th-century abode, also known as the Thatched Cottage, has been beautifully restored and has pride of place next to the gently flowing Thornton Beck. Villages in the Cotswolds can rival the splendour of this scene but surely, this has to be the prettiest village in Yorkshire.

Highlights

  • Strike out on the Thornton-le-Dale Nature Trail – this is a great nature-spotting activity for kids and big kids
  • Flamingo Land – just 6 miles away is a selection of thrill-seeking rides and an assortment of animals, cuddly and exotic
  • Mathewsons Motor Museum – an exceptional museum run by the classic car auction company

Discover the best places to stay in Yorkshire

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Plan your self-catering stay in Yorkshire

By now, hopefully, you’ve got a good idea of what you want out of your Yorkshire getaway – whether it’s a holiday filled with local history and mesmeric walks, or a lazy retreat filled with cheese tasting and real ale sampling. Whatever your preference, we’ve got a Yorkshire cottage for you.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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