One of the largest counties in the UK, Yorkshire really does
have it all. The contrasting beauty of the Yorkshire
Dales and North York Moors National Parks - the
stunning eastern 'Heritage' coastline comprising classic
seaside resorts such as Whitby,
ancient castles and stately homes; historic cities such as Viking
York and dynamic
Leeds; the gently rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds: the
long-distance walks and bike rides of the Dales and Pennine Ways
and the Coast to Coast cycle route, and hundreds of first-class
tourist attractions. Nature has been generous to this region. Not
for nothing do the locals refer to it as 'God's Own
Country', with unique limestone geology, vast and intricate
subterranean cave systems, mile upon mile of brilliant purple
heather moorland, rolling, verdant valleys of unimaginable hues of
green and wide expanses of sandy beach backed by dramatic, towering
Take a Yorkshire cottage holiday in the Dales, which encompass some of the most scenic and best-loved parts of the region, much of which is carefully preserved under National Park status. Brontë Country's biggest attraction is at Haworth, high on moorland immortalised in Wuthering Heights, whilst impossibly pretty Dales villages such as Burnsall, Grassington and Kettlewell are just a short drive away. Airedale has vibrant towns and cities offering urban attractions and industrial heritage, and Skipton, Gateway to the Dales, makes a great base for a Yorkshire Dales cottage stay. Visit the limestone pavements and cliffs at Malham Cove, go for a ramble on Ilkley Moor or visit Skipton Castle, Bolton Abbey or East Riddlesden Hall. Tiny Malhamdale, in the heart of the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park, is quintessential Yorkshire, all pastoral landscape, traditional dry-stone walls and limestone outcrops.
Arkengarthdale, together with neighbouring Swaledale, is the most northerly of all the Yorkshire Dales and is the place to escape for a rural Yorkshire cottage break. Or how about Dentdale, bordering Cumbria and North Yorkshire, with the historic Settle to Carlisle railway crossing high above the dale? Lying just outside the eastern National Park border, Nidderdale is a beautiful valley, justifiably designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Pateley Bridge and Lofthouse provide the setting for a perfect afternoon just mooching around, topped off with a traditional cream tea. Meanwhile Ripon, with its imposing cathedral, has a wealth of interesting sights nearby, including Fountains Abbey World Heritage Site and the stunning ornamental water gardens at neighbouring Studley Royal. Even further east, and not to be missed, is the spa town of Harrogate, with its elegant buildings, beautiful parks and great shopping. Be sure to pop into Betty's Tearoom for some fine Yorkshire tea and cakes!
Lovers of the Great Outdoors will be no strangers to Ribblesdale; the famous Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent are to be found here, but there are plenty of other attractions nearby, from some of the country's best underground show caverns, such as White Scar and Ingleton Caves, to the picturesque market towns of Settle, Ingleton and Bentham. Further north, Teesdale has a host of excellent visitor attractions and stunning scenery on its doorstep, making it a rewarding place to rent a Yorkshire Dales cottage. The dale is home to the stunning waterfall of High Force and great walking along The Teesdale Way. Barnard Castle and Bowes offer historic castles and stately homes; Georgian country house Eggleston Hall and Gardens, Rokeby Hall and Park and Raby Castle being just three such examples.
Scenic Wharfedale is justifiably one of the most popular places to rent a Yorkshire Dales cottage, thanks to a combination of outstanding natural beauty and a quaint collection of traditional villages such as Kettlewell, Burnsall and Grassington. Wensleydale sits at the scenic heart of the Dales and is home to two great breweries in Black Sheep and Theakstons (both of which welcome visitors!) as well as the famous Wensleydale cheesemakers. Stop off at picturesque market towns such as Hawes, Leyburn or Middleham. Or enjoy the natural beauty of Herriot country, finishing off with a visit to the Herriot museum in Thirsk. Lying in the Vale of Mowbray, Thirsk and its surroundings make a great location for a Yorkshire cottage holiday, lying conveniently between the twin delights of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the stunning North York Moors National Park.
Beyond the Dales, discover North Yorkshire's ancient market towns and villages such as Helmsley, Pickering and Malton and visit fine country residences such as Duncombe Park near Helmsley, and Castle Howard, near Malton. Enjoy the picturesque villages of Thornton-le-dale, Rosedale Abbey and Hutton-le-Hole, to name but afew. Sample local ale from Pickering and Malton's micro breweries, spend a day at the Races in Beverley, or head to Grosmont for a trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway. Spend a couple of days enjoying the many charms of York; the Cathedral and Minster, National Railway and Jorvik Viking Museums, or simply shopping until you drop at its stylish boutiques. Families will enjoy a visit to Brodsworth Hall & Gardens near Doncaster, a trip to Sewerby Zoo, the fun fair at Bridlington , a nature trail around Flamborough Head and discovering Hogsmeade of Harry Potter fame, filmed at Goathland in Heartbeat Country.
If you want to feel the wind in your hair and soak up sea views, a Yorkshire cottage break on the county's Heritage Coast is the place for you. Kick back at the harbour in Whitby and watch the catch being landed, discover the town's Dracula connections and appreciate the simple pleasure of the finest fish and chips you'll ever taste. Explore pretty Staithes with its Captain Cook connections, Robin Hood's Bay with its tumbledown fisherman's houses and beautiful Runswick Bay with its quaint painted cottages and spectacular position. Meanwhile Filey, Scarborough and Bridlington offer all the brash fun of a typical British seaside resort.
So will your Yorkshire cottage be a former fisherman's house in coastal, cliff-top Staithes or a barn conversion on a farm deep into Swaledale? An atmospheric Yorkshire Dales cottage on Wuthering Heights moorland or a cosy pad with a wood burning stove in the heart of the Dales National Park? Or perhaps your Yorkshire cottage needs to be in the Vale of York, within striking distance of the culture, heritage and museums of historic York? Perhaps you just want a base for cycling and biking, tackling sections of the Coast to Coast or the Dales Way on a weekend break. Whichever way you'd like your Yorkshire cottage holiday, you're sure to be blessed with a memorable stay amid the abundant natural beauty of 'God's Own Country'.