Yorkshire is a huge county, and although large parts of it are heavily industralised there remain equally large open rural spaces and plenty of interesting places to visit.

If you're near Leeds the beautiful stately home of Harewood House with grounds designed by Capability Brown is well worth seeing. Over by York there's the equally impressive Castle Howard. On a more literary note Haworth is the village where the Brontës lived.

Two historical sites have World Heritage status: Fountains Abbey (near Ripon) which was founded by a breakway group of Benedictine monks in the 12th century, and Rievaulx Abbey (near Helmsley). Although Rievaulx is a ruin the remains are stunning, with parts still standing almost at full height and displaying their perpendicular arches and windows.

One mustn't forget the attractions of Yorkshire's Dales which almost deserve a page on their own. Characterised by high moorland, steep valleys, gushing streams and waterfalls they are among the most popular visitor destinations in the UK.

Among the natural features worth visiting are the Ingleborough Heights (with its famous Gaping Gill pot hole), the White Scar Caves at Ingleton and Hardraw Force. The Dales themselves are worth seeing, in particular Dentdale (south of A684), Littondale (turn west off the B6160 north of Grassington), Swaledale (B6270), and Wensleydale (B684). Towns in the local area have a characteristic solid stone-built look about them - Settle, Kirkby Londsdale, Kirkby Stephen and Hawes among them. Hawes used to be a major ropemaking centre and the traditional method of ropemaking is still used in Hawes where, during working hours, visitors can watch as thin strands of yarn are rapidly twisted into strong ropes.

If castles are your thing, then Yorkshire has some good ones to keep you occupied. Middleham Castle [SE 128875], which has views towards the Dales, was where Richard III roamed as a child. You too can roam around what remains of the ruins. Over by the edge of the Yorkshire Moors is Helmsley Castle [SE 611836], destroyed during the English Civil War. Near Conisbrough there's a well preserved round castle keep from the 12th century while the small market town of Pickering has it's castle ruin. Pickering is also home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which runs up to Grosmont in the windswept Moors.

Finally, if you're looking for something much older to look at there's Aldborough Roman town [SE 405661] which has some splendid mosaic pavements.

If you're over on the East coast of Yorkshire then there are some locations with wonderful place names - and equally intriguing landscapes to visit. The village of Robin Hood's Bay is perched on the slopes leading down to the sea; its narrow streets reminding one of smuggling in times past. There's a museum nearby which recalls seafaring life and times. In case you were wondering, Robin Hood has no connection with the Bay. And then there's Boggle Hole, worth visiting just for the sake of having been to a place with such a fantastic name. In fact the word 'boggle' means 'goblin' and the hole is really no more than a hamlet and gulley in the landscape.

Other places to visit on this part of the coastline are Ravenscar - with its Raven Hall Hotel which was once a private residence - and the nearby windmill. Although the area stretching north of Ravenscar was once a great centre for the Alum mining industry (used in tanning and textile manufacture), there are wildlife and nature treasures to be found around Hayburn Wyke, while Cloughton Wyke features a rocky beach. If you're interested in the industrial archaeological side things then take a look at the alum workings in the Sandsend area.

And all along this part of the coast runs the Cleveland Way, which actually runs from Helmsley inland, and ends up in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, north of Robin Hood's Bay. Right up by the border with Cleveland is the village of Staithes where James (later Captain) Cook worked as an apprentice.

The other feature of the area is the North York Moors Railway which runs from Pickering to Grosmont, stopping at tiny moorland villages like Egton Bridge and Goathland. The latter is particularly popular in summer (if not too much so). If you're driving near Goathland you might like to visit the nearby Mallyan Spout waterfall and a stretch of old Roman road straddling the moor.


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