Last Updated on October 26, 2022

Covering roughly 9,000 square kilometres of scenic countryside make North Yorkshire the largest ceremonial county in England, much of it taken up with the gorgeous North York Moors and the picturesque Yorkshire Dales. Some 40% of the county is designated as National Park.

Middlesbrough is the largest city in the area.

Historic York with its tangle of cozy cobblestone streets – known as snickelways – gothic cathedral and stunning architecture makes for a perfect romantic getaway.

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Things to do in North Yorkshire

Offering arguably the most beautiful countryside and coastline in England, walking, hiking and cycling are all popular pursuits. A proliferation of heritage railway makes North Yorkshire a popular destination for train spotters and rail aficionados.

York was once a centre of chocolate production. That history is shared – along with samples – on this guided tour of York’s chocolate history.

A York City pass provides entry to 20 attractions including Jorvik Viking Centre, York Dungeon, York Minster and Barley Hall for one low price.

York City River Cruises are also always popular.

For more ideas, check out these 31 great suggestions for things to do in Scarborough.

Top Destinations in North Yorkshire

Pickering – The historic market town and the official gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, Pickering offers visitors a myriad of attractions, including a ride on England’s longest steam railway, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Scarborough – A quintessential seaside town and the largest resort on the Yorkshire coast, Scarborough visitors enjoy climbing the ruins of its 11th century castle and wandering over the battlements. The site offers spectacular views of the town and surrounding countryside and coastline.

Whitby – This fishing harbour is dominated on its East Cliff by St. Mary’s Church and the ruins of Whitby Abbey, the setting for part of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. On the opposite side of the harbour, a whalebone arch commemorates the once-thriving local whaling industry. A statue of former resident Captain James Cook is situated nearby.

Whitby, York and the North Yorkshire Moors are all visited on this guided bus tour.

Robin Hood Bay – This picturesque fishing village still retains links to its tradition of smuggling. The maze of tiny streets is reputed to house a network of subterranean passageways, built to aid the distribution of contraband during the 18th century.

Grosmont – Within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, Grosmont is a mecca for railway enthusiasts, with its station forming an intersection between the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and the Esk Valley Line. It is also home to the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group’s workshop and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s engine shed.

Staithes – This small seaside village north of Whitby was once one of the most prosperous fishing centres on the North Sea coast. The charming hamlet with its sheltered harbour is mostly a tourist destination today.

Bridlington – The North Sea fishing port’s main tourist area and harbour are focused at Bridlington Quay.  Ornamental gardens provide ample opportunity for walks along the fine promenade.

Where to Stay in North Yorkshire

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Abbey View Apartment (Whitby)

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This beautifully refurbished apartment in Whitby is only a short walk to the harbour. Located on the first floor, this apartment has abbey views and an open plan living space. Enjoy the king size bed and ideal Whitby location.

Lantern Cottage (Scarborough)

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This charming Ravenscar cottage features exceptional views right from your very own hot tub. Wonderful rural and coastal location in the North York Moors National Park and on the Yorkshire Heritage Coast. Located just 100 yards from the cliff-top on a five-acre coastal plot.

Ravenswood (Sandsend, Whitby)

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Hard to beat the sea views from this beach house apartment overlooking Sandsend Bay, sweeping from Sandsend Nab to Whitby Abbey. There's also a terrace with seating overlooking the sea and a courtyard. From the spacious living area to the coastal decor, you're in for a relaxing holiday.

The County Loft (Whitby)

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This large two-bedroom is a penthouse apartment overlooking Whitby Abbey. A short five-minute walk into the centre of town and the harbour, it's a great location for exploring Whitby. Exposed beams and other charming features give this apartment character.

Roma Cottage (Staithes)

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Roma Cottage is located in the heart of Staithes. Perfect location for exploring the North Yorkshire Mors and coastline. All three bedrooms are light and bright, and the attic master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom.

Bank Cottage (Scarborough)

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This sunny fisherman's cottage is up a short flight of stairs from the footpath and looks out over the harbour to Filey Brigg and Flanborough. Enjoy the small rear yard, terrace or take in the panoramic views from the top floor. Recently renovated but retains the original character.

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