Springtime in North Yorkshire

March 06, 2021

What do you envisage? The rolling Dales, with dry stonewalls? Frolicking lambs, cattle idly grazing whilst closely observing you as you cross their field? Or will you wander to Stump Cross Caverns, or stroll, through National Trust lands, or try out your mountaineering skills at Brimham Rocks?  Perhaps a visit to a stately home, say Castle Howard or Harewood House? Maybe a walk around Ilkley, Skipton or Knaresborough?  You might prefer a trip to the magnificent coast? Perhaps tea at Betty’s in Harrogate or a visit to the ancient city of York?  The choices are endless.  Yorkshire abounds in historical towns and markets, ancient sites and famous houses, places of outstanding natural beauty, great food and amazing hospitality.

If you are a cyclist, North Yorkshire with its undulating roads and steep gradients is ideal for aspiring Olympians! Just be careful on the bends – they hide a multitude of hazards!  There’s a reason the annual 'Tour de Yorkshire' is so popular and that the area was chosen for the 'Tour de France'. 

The famous spa towns of Harrogate and Scarborough could not be more different.

Harrogate, situated as the Gateway to the Dales, has a remarkable array of springs, each with its own distinctive quality and unique mineral content.  The springs are freezing cold when they reach the surface.  The springs are derived from sea water trapped millions of years ago during massive volcanic activity. Over the millions of years sine then, the waters have cooled and due to erosion have been revealed at this location. The Romans were aware of the springs but they were not developed until the 19th century when the middle classes started to emulate the wealthy aristocrats who had long been frequenting the continental spas for their health.  The town of Harrogate is built from local York Stone and was purpose built for tourists and the workers who serviced their needs. There is a model in the Pump Room Museum in the town centre explaining the geology and history of the spa waters.  Today Harrogate Spring Water is shipped world wide. 


Today Harrogate is a thriving tourist town, has 2 cinemas, 2 theatres,  a famous conference centre, magnificent hotels, guest houses and self-catering facilities.  There are over 250 restaurants, coffee bars, bars, pubs and other outlets.  The local shops supply great local produce, making Harrogate a great town for foodies!   The town centre has famous names and independent shops.  Great for shopping. 

Scarborough is situated on the North East coast.  Dominated by its ancient castle.  The magnificent white strands attract tourists and day trippers during the summer months.  The spa spring was discovered to have medicinal qualities in the seventeenth century and was developed by the town council from the eighteenth century resulting in many fine public buildings and hotels. It here, that Anne Bronte was brought in a last ditch attempt to save her health.  She died in Scarborough and is buried in the small church yard adjoining the coast guard cottages near the castle. There are lovely walks from the castle along the cliff tops – a favourite of ours when the crowds depart and there is a heavy frost.  It’s also a place where you can escape from the crowds by leaving them on the beaches – few seem to venture up the cliffs!

Whitby lies to the north of Scarborough. Famous for its fishing fleet, picturesque harbour and ruined Abbey which was once the home of St Hilda, where she presided over the dual monastery. King Oswiu of Northumbria hosted the famous Synod of Whitby at the Abbey in 664. At the Synod it was decided to adopt the Roman Rite rather than the Celtic Rite sh and the Roman calendar should be adopted. 

Captain Cook,  the famous navigator lived in Whitby and learned to navigate around its shores.  Today, visitors can visit his home, now a museum.  Two of the ships used by him to chart New Zealand and parts of the Australian coastline, ‘Resolution’ and ‘Endeavour’ were built in Whitby. 

Today Whitby is famous for its semi precious jet, a stone found in the rocks surrounding the town, used by Victorians for mourning jewellery,  more recently, it has regained its popularity as people have come to appreciate its quality and reputation.  There are lines of shops selling this unique commodity.

With so much to see and do, how will you spend your visit to God’s own county, known as Yorkshire?