The locals affectionately refer to Yorkshire as 'God's Country' and it is easy to see why. From breathtaking scenery to cities with a rich industrial history to charming market towns, this English county will surely captivate you. If you want to experience the best Yorkshire has to offer, consider this one-week itinerary. This itinerary, which starts and ends at Leeds Bradford Airport, includes visits to historic cities, grand manor houses, and stunning nature spots. Along the way, you will see Leeds, York, and Sheffield, as well as some of the best country houses and fantastic scenery. I did this trip by public transport, but it can also be done as a road trip. Have fun!
Day 1 Leeds
After arrival at Leeds Bradford Airport, the first stop on your way to Leeds is the Kirkstall Abbey ruins.
Kirkstall Abbey ruins
Kirkstall Abbey is a well-preserved example of a 12th-century Cistercian monastery, located along the River Aire in a lush and vibrant natural environment. The visitor centre offers insight into what life was like for the monks who inhabited the abbey, and visitors can walk through the impressive ruins and learn about its history. The abbey was originally founded in 1152 by a community of monks from Fountains Abbey and was wealthy due to the sheep wool trade. In 1540, the abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII as part of the dissolution of monasteries.
After visiting the abbey, make your way to Leeds.
Leeds has many things to offer; I will just name a few.
Leeds Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange was constructed during the latter half of the 19th century to facilitate the trade of corn. Its iconic dome design was inspired by the Bourse de Commerce in Paris. It is one of only three corn exchanges in the United Kingdom that still operates as trading centres.
Banks of River Aire
The River Aire passes through Leeds and continues to near Goole. It played a crucial role in the development of Leeds as an influential city in the North of England. The Centenary Bridge is a great place to observe the architecture and the life along both sides of the River Aire, with renovated warehouses and modern skyscrapers representing different periods. As an example, Bridgewater Place was the tallest construction in Leeds when it was finished in 2005.
Leeds' shopping arcades
Leeds' shopping arcades are renowned for their attractive architecture, remarkable background, and diverse range of stores. In particular, Victoria Quarter is one of the city's most popular shopping arcades, as it draws visitors from all over the world to appreciate its architecture and shop in its exclusive stores.
Overnight in Leeds.
Day 2 Harewood House, going to York in the afternoon
In the morning, take a bus to Harewood House.
Harewood House is one of England's Treasure Houses. Built in the 18th century, its art collections are on par with some of Britain's best. Easily accessed from Leeds (10 kilometres [6.21 miles] away) via public bus, the house is a reminder of Henry Lascelles' business success from his West Indies trading. It has been home to the Lascelles family since it was built, reflecting the changing tastes and styles of the past 250 years. The Terrace offers amazing views of the countryside and is considered a fine example of a Victorian formal garden.
After visiting Harewood House, make your way to York. Hopefully, you will have time to walk the Shambles in the evening to avoid crowds.
The Shambles, York
York's Shambles is well-known for being one of Europe's best-preserved medieval shopping streets. It is said to have been the source of influence for Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter films. The cobblestones and looming buildings contribute to its quaint ancient vibe. It is best to visit the Shambles in the evening when there are not many tourists around.
Overnight in York.
Day 3 Castle Howard and York Minster
Since buses go to Castle Howard infrequently, located just 24 kilometres (15 miles) north of York, check the bus schedule in advance.
Constructed in the early 18th century and consisting of 145 rooms, Castle Howard has been home to ten generations of the Howard family. Regarded as one of the most impressive works of Sir John Vanbrugh, the castle's art collection includes ancient sculptures, Old Masters, and pieces of Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. In 1940, a fire broke out, leaving much of the building under the open sky. Later, in the sixties, the dome was reconstructed and refurbished. Since then, the ongoing process of restoring the fire-damaged sections has been taking place as resources allow.
Then go back to York to see the stunning York Minster.
York Minster, also known as St Peter's Cathedral and the Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York, is widely regarded as one of Europe's most impressive medieval buildings. The concept of a cathedral was not used until the Norman Conquest, while the term 'minster' was employed by Anglo-Saxons to denote significant religious sites. York Minster is the largest of its kind in Northern Europe and is renowned for its remarkable Gothic architecture, with construction beginning in the 1200s and ending in the 1470s. Everyone is welcome to attend the daily services at the Minster, including choral Evensong held Tuesday to Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays during term time and sung by the Choir of York Minster. I highly recommend this option as you will get closer to the spirit of the Minster.
Overnight in York.
Day 4 Going to Bridlington and visiting Bempton Cliffs
If you decide to go to Bridlington by public transport, I advise taking a train to the picturesque Bridlington train station.
Upon arrival, drop off your belongings at a nearby hotel and then go to Bempton train station. From there, take a 2-kilometre (1.24 miles) walk to Bempton Cliffs.
RSPB Bempton Cliffs
Bempton Cliffs is a stunning coastal destination in Yorkshire known for its abundant wildlife. Approximately half a million seabirds come to the cliffs between March and October to breed. The area managed by RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve features several wooden viewpoints, a gift shop, a café, toilets, and a coastal path. Binoculars can be rented, and guided walks can be booked.
Tip. If you are hoping to have a close encounter with puffins, you may need to look elsewhere. I would recommend Skomer Island in Wales where they are in abundance.
When you get back, take a stroll around Bridlington.
The streets of Bridlington Old Town are full of character, featuring traditional houses and important historic sites like the Priory Church of St Mary and the Bayle Museum. The area also features several antique shops, galleries, and cafes. Bridlington Harbour is still used for fishing by local fishermen. It is a lovely place to observe the classic fishing vessels and watch the anglers doing their job. Additionally, there are several eateries and cafes nearby serving local seafood dishes.
Overnight. Bridlington, Salt on the Harbour. I can only recommend one hotel for this trip: Salt on the Harbour. Just make sure you get a sea view room and you will have a stunning harbour picture straight out of your window.
Day 5 Burton Agnes Hall and a trip to Sheffield
In the morning, take the half-hour bus ride to Burton Agnes Hall.
Burton Agnes Hall
Since 1598, Burton Agnes Hall has been in the hands of the same family. Sir Henry Griffith was the architect responsible for this Elizabethan stately home's construction, which was completed in 1610. Recently, author Simon Jenkins praised the house as 'the perfect English house' and one of the twenty best English houses. Over the course of fifteen generations, Burton Agnes Hall has been adorned with a variety of objects, including carvings from the time of its erection, French Impressionist paintings, furniture, tapestries, and modern art. The house is full of charm and character, and its Tudor Renaissance architecture shows the architect's skill. The award-winning gardens of Burton Agnes Hall are suited to a wide range of interests, featuring a walled garden with thousands of plant species, herbaceous borders, a jungle garden, a yew maze and giant games, and a peaceful arboretum walk with an adventure playground.
After visiting the stunning Burton Agnes, make your way to Sheffield.
Overnight in Sheffield.
Day 6 Tour of the Peak District and some sights of Sheffield
With the Peak District on its doorstep, Sheffield boasts a bounty of beautiful green spaces to explore. If you do not have much time, the Surprise View Car Park is the perfect spot to start your journey – simply hop on bus 271 or 272 or drive there. A short walk will lead you to some spectacular views.
You can choose many other itineraries in the Peak District according to your taste and fitness level.
Overnight in Sheffield.
Day 7 Sheffield sightseeing tour
In my opinion, the top sights of Sheffield are as follows:
The Winter Garden is one of the largest glasshouses in Europe, boasting over 2,500 plants from around the world. With a height of 22 metres (72 feet) and a length of 70 metres (230 feet), the inside of the garden is a green paradise, just like the tropics.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Sheffield Botanical Gardens, located near the city centre, were opened in 1836 and span an area of 7.7 hectares (19 acres). It is considered the pinnacle of Sheffield's parks, featuring old glasshouses, a bear pit, and a plethora of rare plants and trees. There are 18 different gardens within its area, each with its own unique geographical or botanical theme.
Kelham Island is a 900-year-old manmade island created when a stream was diverted to power a nearby mill. It was once a hub of industrial activity, but that shifted as times changed. Today, Kelham Island is home to many pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants, in addition to a growing street art scene.After the Sheffield sightseeing tour, return to Leeds Bradford Airport or a hotel near the airport if you have a morning flight.
Below is an approximate map of this itinerary, as Google Maps, due to limitations, does not allow me to make the exact one.
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About the author
Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer, and a retired career woman from Latvia, traveling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Bloglovin.