Holiday without leaving Yorkshire
by Jim Coulson
The problem with most summer holidays is that they involve leaving Yorkshire. The tea doesn’t taste good , the folk aren’t as friendly and as for the fish and chips… forget it. So here’s a guide to how you can aviod falling victim to striking continental air traffic controllers the summer and spend you precious time off within the boundaries of “God’s own country”.
We’ve put together three different concepts, each based in a different Yorkshire town or city, with ideas of places to visit that are close by and crucially, still 100% Yorkshire.
Holiday one based in:
When you think of summer holidays, at the forefront of your mind is the seaside, and where better for a beach holiday than the Yorkshire coast? Nowhere. There is nowhere better. We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to coastal resorts, and Filey is a great central place from which to reach them.
The town itself is quiet and peaceful. Its cute centre is a haven for Edwardian townhouses, cafes and independent shops. When one of the biggest examples of creeping global consumerism in a town is a branch of Cooplands the Bakers, you know you are somewhere relatively untouched.
It was a favoured lodging spot of Charlotte Bronte and offers a selection of parks, gardens, nature reserves and animal parks. However, the beach is its biggest asset. There is plenty of room to run around and play, or simply just to sunbathe on one of the five sunny days Yorkshire enjoys in an average summer. It looks gorgeous, thanks to the neat promenade and beach huts, with the rocky peninsula known as Filey Brigg a fantastic place on which to stroll out into the sea, gawping into the rock pools at an array of different creatures that share the beach with you on the way.
Day trips from Filey
Filey is located just off the A165, between Bridlington and Scarborough. You can head out to Flamborough Head, home of the north’s only chalk cliff faces, a host of bird life and Britain’s oldest surviving complete lighthouse.
There are loads of family activities available in Scarborough, including the fancy new Alpamare waterpark and the Open Air Theatre, which will host concerts by Jess Glynne, Madness and Kylie Minogue this year.
Heading further up the coast, you can visit Yorkshire’s only pier at Saltburn, Dracula creator Bram Stoker’s old hang out of Whitby and the quaint fishing village of Staithes.
If you fancy travelling inland, there’s the majesty of the North York Moors and the various towns and villages within. You can hop on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Pickering and travel in style through the stunning countryside. Stops on the line include Goathland, where you can live out all the Heartbeat fantasies you ever had but never had a reasonable outlet for.
Holiday one based in:
There is a constant battle within Yorkshire for the town that boasts the most expensive street and the highest proportion of millionaires per head of population. The main contenders are usually Harrogate and Ilkley, where the second Yorkshire holiday is set.
You don’t have to drive a Bentley and wear a top hat to enjoy the West Yorkshire spa town though, which offers a wide range of accommodation in and around the town.
Ilkley is best known for the moor that overlooks the town, the inspiration behind the Yorkshire anthem On Ilkla Moor Baht’at. The most prominent landmark on the moor is the Cow and Calf Rocks, which provide an excellent space to walk and climb, offering stunning views up and down the Wharfe Valley.
In town there is an array of eateries, including the until recently Michelin-starred The Box Tree and a branch of Yorkshire stalwart Bettys, a toy museum, and the Kings Hall and Ilkley Playhouse, both of which deliver a full programme of events, shows and concerts. The Manor House is a museum and art gallery with much to keep you busy and in summer, Ilkley Lido is the place for an exhilarating, if more than a little chilly, swim.
Day trips from Ilkley
Skipton is less than 20 minutes’ drive from Ilkley. There you will find one of the best preserved medieval castles in the UK waiting for you to explore. There is a famous market, canal boat rides and, just outside the town, Billy Bob’s Ice Cream Parlour, an all- American diner in a quintessentially British rural location. As well as stateside portions of food, there are two adventure playgrounds for the kids, one for older and another for younger children.
Beyond Skipton is the Yorkshire Dales, with its rolling hills and gorgeous towns and villages. You can spend a day heading around Settle, Malham, Kettlewell, Hawes, Askrigg and more. Aysgarth Falls is recognisable for fans of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Closer to Ilkley, there is Bolton Abbey, with its stepping stones and woodland walks. You will also find Hesketh Farm Park, which is a must for families. Children can feed the pigs, sheep and horses, and you can take a tractor ride around the grounds too.
If you head over to Airedale, the Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Railway sets off from Keighley and puffs its way up into Bronte Country.
Ilkley is also handy for taking the train into Leeds and Bradford, both of which are around half an hour away and offer access to museums, art galleries and restaurants. Either destination is a good option if you want to experience the bustle of city life after a few days relaxing in the rural idyll.
Holiday one based in:
Sheffield is the industrial heartland of Yorkshire, but also boasts a strong artistic streak too. Its steelmaking heritage is hugely important to the city and that is evident in some of the attractions on offer.
Kelham Island Museum gives you a real insight into the South Yorkshire city from the Industrial Revolution to today. As well as the many displays to view, there is a children’s play area, where they can take a journey through the steel manufacturing process in the form of play apparatus. Learning whilst playing; surely that’s the dream!
The city centre contains plenty of opportunities for shopping, eating and drinking, including the hip Devonshire Quarter where you can wander into bars owned by various members of local heroes Arctic Monkeys.
The Peace Gardens are an area of calm amongst the noise of city life, and there are a number of parks dotted around Sheffield in which to take a wander. There’s an Emergency Services Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Millennium Gallery for a bit of culture.
The Crucible Theatre puts on a packed programme of plays, whilst gig-goers will find venues across the city, from the back rooms of pubs to the sprawling arena out near the shopper’s paradise of Meadowhall.
Day trips from Sheffield
Sheffield is such a big city that you might not need to head away from town, but there are a number of places worth visiting nearby. The Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife and Falconry Centre at North Anston is a great family destination, as is Magna, Rotherham’s science adventure centre.
Cannon Hall Farm is located near Barnsley for all your animal petting needs, as well as featuring an adventure playground and maze. In addition, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield is home to works by Yorkshire’s Henry Moore and others.