By Alia Muhanna
The distant dreams of summer may still be far away. Presumably many may run wild with the fantasies of tropical heat, rolling beaches and the sounds of the waves gently lapping against the shore. But why stick with convention? To many, the north of England may feel like some unknown territory, a mystical mass of land that exists on the stops between Kings Cross and Durham. What may be hard to fathom is that awaiting in the north is a grand variety of intriguing places to explore. Inspired by my own Yorkshire roots, homing in on what there is to see and do in Yorkshire may just persuade you to consider making the journey.
The north of England may feel like some unknown territory, a mystical mass of land that exists on the stops between Kings Cross and Durham
Arguably the most picturesque part of the country consists of the seemingly endless green blades that stretch from horizon to horizon, which are the Dales and the Moors. Not just the place for Cathy to scavenge for Heathcliff, this part of Yorkshire is the heart of small village culture so quaint and picturesque everywhere you look could form the image of a postcard.
Larger villages that scatter throughout the area offer settlement between the mammoth long ramblings that can be taken from the beaten. The likes of Leyburn offers the stunning views of the Aysgarth Falls and Richmond boasts the Norman architecture of the aptly named Richmond Castle. Also on offer, is a visit to Pickering to jump aboard the North York Moors Railway offers an authentic piece of nostalgia from the billowing of a steam-powered engine. Other highlights include those of the bustling market town of Skipton, Ilkley and Grassington. For those looking for something a little obscure, llama trekking in Nidderdale is one for the memory books. In between the aforementioned towns, there is the chance to indulge in all things foodie. Every major village is able to boast comforting gastropub foods that can be enjoyed against an open log fire. For all the cheese lovers out there, the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes offers a 3-course menu consisting of their delightful cheese into every dish.
For those looking for something a little obscure, llama trekking in Nidderdale is one for the memory books
If an urban vibe is more akin to your tastes, Yorkshire has much to offer in its city life. A visit to Leeds provides a gritty northern atmosphere with a plethora of things to do at your disposal. Of course, Leeds should be appreciated for its great shopping scene, unique restaurants and charming bars, but even more can be appreciated. A slow wander around the city centre delivers with its charming architecture. The arcades that cascade from the main street and the allure of the stained glass and kaleidoscope of mosaic tiling of the Victorian Quarter are quite the spectacle. For a different experience, Belgrave Music Hall — especially when it coincides with a live music event — is a must. A unique rooftop bar scattered with deckchairs and enough street food stalls to defeat your hunger brings an essentially cool vibe to the hall. For something more traditional, Harrogate and York are noteworthy. The former can be famed for its traditional Turkish Spa. Moreover, the Spirit of Harrogate experience offers an insightful and inevitably boozy evening on the history of gin.
York boasts the stunning realm of the Minster, all of which can be found after exploring the cobbled street of the Shambles.
Yorkshire is far from just the birthplace of the humble Yorkshire pudding, Brontë sisters and funny accents. No matter what you interests you on your next trip, God’s own county has everything you need.
Featured photograph: John5199 via Flickr