North Yorkshire is not only the largest county England, but it is also one of the most picturesque. It is home to two National Parks; the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, which together cover around 40 percent of the county, as well as a host of pretty market towns and historic cathedral cities.
Here are ten suggestions for places to visit during your time in North Yorkshire.
The historic market town of Knaresborough is a must see during any visit to North Yorkshire. Renowned for its stunning Viaduct river views, the town is also home to England's Oldest visitor attraction, Mother Shipton's Cave and Petrifying Well and one of the oldest markets in the country, which still takes place in the market square every Wednesday. Don't miss Roger the Town Crier with his round up of local news at the Market Cross on a Wednesday and Saturday too.
Take a stroll by the river with an ice cream or follow the town's Blue Plaque or Trompe I'oeil window trails to discover more about Knaresborough's rich history, including notable residents, prophetess Mother Shipton, pioneering road builder Blind Jack and medieval hermit Robert Flower. Try your hand at boating on the river and maybe take a classic Instagram selfie under the bridge. Follow the river along Abbey Road and you will pass the quirky 'House in the Rock', Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag and St Robert's Cave. Along the way you will also notice a series of intricate wood carvings either side of the road.
Up in the town centre you will find the central market square and many independent shops, galleries, cafes, pubs and restaurants, as well as Knaresborough Castle. Once a Royal summer residence and administrative centre for the vast 'Forest of Knaresborough', the castle was ruined in 1648 following the English Civil war. However you can still visit the remains of the King's Tower, dungeons and Courthouse museum, with its rare original Tudor courtroom. The grounds also offer stunning views over the Viaduct and River Nidd below, whilst the Courthouse museum is home to Knaresborough's Tourist Information Centre.
Fast becoming a creative hub, Knaresborough is home to many antique, vintage and pre-loved shops, as well as quirky galleries and those supporting the arts, including the much loved Hewshaw's Arts and Crafts Centre.
Knaresborough also hosts a wide variety of popular and sometimes quirky events throughout the year, including calendar highlights; the Bed Race, FEVA Festival and Christmas Market. Organised by local community groups, these events attract visitors from all over the country and are well worth attending. Look out for the tourist maps situated throughout the town for further details of events and dates.
Easily accessible by road, rail and bus, Knaresborough is a great base to visit other nearby attractions, such as York, Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty and World Heritage site Fountains Abbey.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal and Brimham Rocks
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty
Bolton Castle and Aysgarth Falls
Described by the vet James Herriot as 'the finest view in England', Sutton Bank is a spectacular inland cliff rising almost vertically 140m from the ground. Situated close to the market town of Thirsk and on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, the well marked paths along the cliff edge give spectacular views, especially on clear day.
There is a Visitor's Centre at the top of the bank with ample parking (paid), public toilets, a cafe (with indoor and outdoor seating), bike hire and a shop/information point. The Centre is a great starting place for walks for all abilities too and is also an official Dark Skies Discovery Site.
North York Moors National Park
About the author: Charlotte Gale is a Yorkshire based professional photographer, specialising in Marketing, Interior and Food photos for businesses. She also has a range of Yorkshire photography products, including wall art, Yorkshire Calendars, greetings cards and Yorkshire and Knaresborough Christmas cards. All her cards can be personalised for corporate clients.