Ten things to do in Yorkshire on a rainy day holiday cottages

Ten things to do in Yorkshire on a rainy day

Emily Cunningham 31 May 2024

Don’t be stumped if you’re searching for things to do in Yorkshire on a rainy day – scroll down to find a tempting selection of days out. The natural beauty of this county can be enjoyed whatever the weather. 

You can survey it from the vantage point of a lighthouse, go down to marvel at it from a cave or tunnel or seek shelter in one of the Yorkshire castles, full of historic wonder, to peep out at it from one of the windows. 

There’s plenty to do indoors too: spend a wonderful day at one of Yorkshire’s activity centres and learn about the county’s history in an interactive museum before heading back to a cosy holiday cottage to plan your next day of fun. For even more inspiration take a look at the best things to do in Yorkshire, whatever the weather.  

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Ingleborough Cave

Stalagmites and stalactites in Ingleborough Cave

While you dodge the showers during a rainy day in North Yorkshire, discover a natural wonder made by raindrops. Venture deep underground at Ingleborough Cave, a spectacular cavern first discovered in 1837, to find incredible stalagmites and stalactites created over millennia by dripping ceilings and subterranean streams. Bring your dog too to this easily navigable wander through a geological marvel.

Back on the surface, if there’s a break in the clouds, head up to the top of Ingleborough, Alfred Wainright’s favourite of the three peaks – it’s every Yorkshire person’s duty to climb it. Reward yourself afterwards at The Old Sawmill Café with a restorative lunch or cake.

You may be asking yourself, 'Stalactites and stalagmites – how to remember which is which?' Well, stalac-TITES hold on tight as they hang down. A delicate 10cm stalactite takes over 1000 years to form, which puts the few days of your Yorkshire holiday in perspective.

Good to know

  • Location: Clapham, North Yorkshire, LA2 8EA
  • Price: Adults £2.50, children 2–15, £1
  • Opening times: 10am–5pm (last entry)
  • Best for: Families with older children
  • Stay nearby: Westside | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Jorvik Viking Centre

Viking demonstration of carving wood in York

You can thank Yorkshire’s wonderfully rich soil for this magnificent tribute to the Vikings. In 1976, when building work was planned on Coppergate, one of York’s main streets, archaeologists nipped in first and discovered 200 years of Viking history perfectly preserved by the peat underground. Precious artefacts and important clues as to how Vikings lived, ate and worked were recovered and brought to life in Jorvik Viking Centre, an interactive exhibit that’s more like a film set than a museum. 

You travel around in a ‘time capsule’ car passing through street scenes complete with authentic smells and animatronic characters who describe life in the 10th century. There’s even a glass floor that provides a glimpse of that first archaeological dig nearly 50 years ago. A truly immersive experience. 

Good to know

  • Location: 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT
  • Price: Adults £16.50, children (5–16) £11, under fives go free
  • Opening times: Generally 10am–4pm but check the website before your visit
  • Best for: Families with younger children
  • Stay nearby: Green Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Skipton Castle

Entrance to Skipton Castle with round towers on either side

When you arrive in Skipton, there’s no doubt as to where the castle is – this superb example of medieval architecture stands proudly at the entrance to the town, overlooking Eller Beck, which will no doubt be in full spate if it’s rainy. It’s hard to believe that this Skipton fortress was built 900 years ago as it’s in perfect condition – the magnificent stone walls and tower have protected the interior courtyard and rooms for centuries.

The history is fascinating – it managed to stand strong while under siege during the Civil War, at one point using sheep fleeces to protect against cannonball fire – and it’s brought alive by informative guides throughout, from the dungeon to the watchtower. If you’ve brought your dog along, they can explore both the interior and exterior on a lead, and have a ramble through the surrounding woodland too if there’s a sunny spell. 

Good to know

  • Location: 3 High Street, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1AW
  • Price: Adults £12, under 18s £8, children under 5 are free
  • Opening times: Generally 10am–4pm but check the Skipton Castle website before your visit
  • Best for: Families with dogs, they are allowed throughout the castle 
  • Stay nearby: Castle Cottage | Sleeps 5 

Xscape Yorkshire

Father and daughter selecting a colourful ball at a bowling alley

You’ll forget all about the weather inside Xscape Yorkshire, a mighty complex in Castleford. It offers all the activities under the sun (!) and with plenty of restaurants and cafes, including Heavenly Desserts, a café devoted to all things sugary, you could easily spend a full day there. The kids and big kids will love the go-kart track and prehistoric-themed adventure golf and there’s ten-pin bowling and an escape room too. 

In Snozone, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding or just have a half-hour session sledging in real snow. For a gentler day, you can amble around the shops or check out the latest releases at the cinema. There’s something for everyone and it's such an easy way to ‘xscape’ the elements.

Good to know

  • Location: Colorado Way, Castleford WF10 4TA
  • Price: Check individual venues for prices
  • Opening times: Check individual venues for times
  • Best for: Families with children of all ages
  • Stay nearby: The Barn Owl – Wintersett | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Standedge Tunnel

Canal boat in front of Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre

When it’s raining, seek shelter, but shelter with a difference – in Britain’s longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel. Standedge Tunnel was built in 1794 at considerable cost and effort to link Marsden and Diggle in the Pennines and it took 17 years before it was operational. The tunnel is so narrow that there is no towpath – historically the canal boat was ‘legged’ or pushed along by people lying on their backs with their feet on the ceiling, but now it’s a slightly easier journey on a modern barge. There’s a 30-minute-long ‘discovery’ tour of the tunnel or a longer 2-hour-long tour between Marsden and Diggle. The boat is crewed by enthusiastic volunteers who go out of their way to make the whole journey interesting and informative for all the family.

Good to know

  • Location: Waters Road, Marsden, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD7 6NQ (For parking, use HD7 6DH)
  • Price: 30-min boat trip – adults £10, children (aged 0–15) £8
  • Opening times: Boat trips take place from 10.30am–2pm each Friday and Saturday 
  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Stay nearby: The Winding Way Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Huddersfield Splash Park

Child splashing around at a water park

Here’s one place you don’t mind getting wet, Huddersfield Splash Park at Huddersfield’s leisure centre. Much more than a swimming pool, more of a water park, there’s a great variety of watery activities to explore, depending on your mood. Try the Sidewinder and Flume slides for adrenalin-filled fun or meander down the Lazy River in a bubble seat if you prefer to take things at a slower pace. It's the perfect way to make the most of a rainy day in West Yorkshire.

Little ones will love the surprise of the water buckets and there’s also a great café to fill up in after all that splashing. If your kids prefer to stay dry, there’s also the Reef Fun Zone at the same venue, with a ball pool and slides, as well as Dare2Air inflatable theme park with bouncy fun galore.

Good to know

  • Location: Huddersfield Leisure Centre, Spring Grove St, Huddersfield HD1 4BP
  • Price: For details, visit the website 
  • Opening times: For details, visit the website
  • Best for: Keeping young kids entertained
  • Stay nearby: Daisy Lea Barn | Sleeps 11 + 3 dogs

Tropical Butterfly House

Black and white butterfly on a delicate pink and yellow flower

If it’s bucketing down, head straight for the Tropical Butterfly House where there’s so much to see undercover, including much more than just butterflies! Located in a beautiful indoor rainforest, the eight species of exotic butterflies are free to roam. You can spot blue morpho and glasswing butterflies living in harmony with tropical birds, terrapins, ducks and leaf-cutter ants. Be sure to visit the nocturnal area to see the glow-in-the-dark scorpions. 

If it’s still drizzling, dash across to the Farm Barn to check out the adorable Guinea Pig Village and meet the classic farmyard animals. Top tip: Lottie’s Café with its charming circular dining pods can be visited without paying for park entry – perfect for a quick cuppa if you’re in the area.

As there are areas of the park that could be better enjoyed in dry weather, there is a ‘rainy day pass’ on offer to return for free when it’s sunny.

Good to know

  • Location: Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield S25 4EQ
  • Price: Adults £16.99, children (2–15) £15.99, under 2s go free 
  • Opening times: Monday–Friday 10am–4pm, weekends and school holidays 10am–5pm
  • Best for: Families with younger children
  • Stay nearby: Penny Pot Cottage at Revell Grange | Sleeps 6

National Coal Mining Museum

Exterior of the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield

You can’t come to Yorkshire without visiting a coal mine – the engine room of the industrial revolution. Caphouse Colliery was mining coal for almost 200 years before it was closed in 1985. It reopened as a museum in 1988 to celebrate the rich history of coal in Yorkshire and now you can enjoy learning all about this demanding and important industry. 

Above ground, at the National Coal Mining Museum, there are fascinating interactive displays to discover the reality of life as a miner, including the mechanical workings that ran the mine. The fun continues below ground during a tour, where you’ll descend 140 metres to get a taste of how it was at the coalface, guided by an ex-minor who provides vivid insights into his day-to-day experience.

Good to know

  • Location: Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield WF4 4RH
  • Price: Free entry to the museum; underground tours have a suggested donation of £7.50
  • Opening times: Wednesday–Sunday 9.45am–5pm, underground tours 10am–3.20pm
  • Best for: Families
  • Stay nearby: The Barn Owl – Wintersett | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

The Deep

Bridge across the sand leading to The Deep

In Hull’s regenerated docks, the striking architecture of The Deep gives you a flavour of what lies within. At the cost of £52 million back in 2001, this sensational aquarium captures all the elements of marine life. The dazzling Tropical Lagoon of Light teems with a rainbow of fish while the breathtaking Endless Oceans exhibit has Europe’s deepest viewing tunnel at nine metres. Be sure to time your visit with the feeding sessions so you can see divers hand-feed sharks and rays. 

Talking of feeding time, the main café has fantastic views of the Humber waterfront and is open to all, not just The Deep visitors. 

Good to know

  • Location: Tower Street, Hull HU1 4DP
  • Price: Adults £21, children (aged 3–15) £16.25, under 3s go free (every standard admission ticket is an annual pass, so you can return again for free)
  • Opening times: Every day 10am–6pm (last entry 5pm)
  • Best for: Families
  • Stay nearby: Wishing Well Lodge | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Flamborough Lighthouse

Moody sunset skies around Flamborough Lighthouse

The last lighthouse keepers left in 1996 but this glorious white tower between Filey and Bridlington still remains a vital beacon to sailors, with its automated flashing light visible for 18 nautical miles. Situated on dramatic cliffs, it’s well worth a visit when the weather’s too atrocious – just to imagine yourself as the lonely inhabitant in this isolated spot. 

Climb the 119 steps to the top of Flamborough Lighthouse (be sure to wear sensible shoes, not flip-flops) for magnificent views of Bridlington Bay and beyond. Keep your eyes peeled for seals bobbing below and puffins that swoop down from their cliff-top burrows. You may also be lucky to spot porpoises and dolphins.

Good to know

  • Location: Lighthouse Road, Flamborough, Bridlington YO15 1AR
  • Price: Adults £5.50, children (up to 15) £4.50
  • Opening times: Times vary throughout the year, check the website for full details
  • Best for: Couples and families
  • Stay nearby: North View – Flamborough | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Map of rainy day attractions in Yorkshire

Find the best things to do on a rainy day in Yorkshire.

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Plan your Yorkshire getaway

High Force Waterfall on the slopes of Whernside

This glorious northern county should certainly be on your tick list of holiday destinations, and although, like the rest of the UK, it can be known for its downpours, it still provides plenty of things to do in Yorkshire when it’s raining. 

Take a look at these comfortable places to make home (and dry off!) during your stay.  

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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