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Visiting Britain - Yorkshire- 5 Fascinating Places to See

Updated on November 3, 2016
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew travels extensively, contributing articles to newspapers and online sites. Recent trips : Brazil, the Amazon, the Pantanal, Bulgaria.

Introduction

Five fascinating places to visit in Yorkshire, the biggest county in the north of Britain. I'd like to try and tempt you away from the capital, London, a wonderful metropolis it's true but not the quite the whole story!

The five places I've chosen are all based in Yorkshire so are close to each other, which could save you time and money. You'll find castles and historical city walks, a link to Dracula, blues music and a museum with one of the world's largest collection of photographs.

You can easily reach the north of England, by train from London in under 3 hours, or fly into the city of Leeds.

Only 'up North' -  the Honesty Box.
Only 'up North' - the Honesty Box.


How to Get to Yorkshire by Train, Coach and Bus

Getting to Yorkshire from London:

London to Yorkshire

Sometimes you need to use public transport so here's a link or two to help:

Public Transport in Yorkshire

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England is split into two distinct regions - North and South, the 'border' being roughly placed in the neutral town of Watford. In the minds of northerners all the southerners are soft, posh and tend to speak with either plums or eels in their mouths. To southerners, northerners are uncouth, poverty stricken and talk with either lumps of coal or rhubarb in their mouths.

Neither is true you'll be glad to learn, but there are wide cultural and social differences between counties, and you may, especially if you're a tourist, find it a bit hard to understand some of the dialects. Especially up north with their gutterals and clipped vowels.

If you ever get to visit England and have the chance to go north from the great capital of London, I'd recommend you travel straight up to the city of York and base yourself there.

York is perfectly placed for exploration in the county of Yorkshire and beyond and is a cultural hive of activity itself. Here are medieval churches and streets, Roman walls, beamed pubs, and an infamous dungeon of torture!!

You'll find tiny shops in the Shambles, a view of the city from the York Eye and exquisite stonework on York Minster, a wonder of Europe.

Whilst many towns and cities 'up North' over-modernised in the 1950s and 60s, York retains its authentic historical heart.

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Map Showing Details of Yorkshire

Map of Yorkshire
Map of Yorkshire | Source
Micklegate Tower in the City of York.
Micklegate Tower in the City of York.
The Shambles in York.
The Shambles in York.

1. The City of York


This ancient walled city is lovingly known as the capital of the North and rightly so. It is packed with historical, architectural and cultural gems. The National Railway Museum is here too, a huge building holding some of the most famous locomotives in the world.

The poet WH Auden was born in this atmospheric city as was the actress Judi Dench. Both poetry and acting are very much on the calendar, the Theatre Royal offering a full modern and classical programme.

Some inner areas of York have been untouched by modern developers resulting in a medieval feel to many streets and corners. You can walk through the Shambles for example and be taken back centuries. This original thoroughfare is so narrow at one point you can take three steps and go from one shop across the cobbles and into another!

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The York Dungeon


London has the London Dungeon, York the York Dungeon. It's all quite gruesome and ghastly. You get to see how our ancestors had to learn about life the hard way! There are torture chambers, mock executions, murder trials and other lighthearted exhibitions and displays that will absolutely grip you.

Not for those with nervous dispositions. But great fun.

You can find out more here:

The York Dungeon

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View of York Minster
View of York Minster
Yawning koala bear, from the museum's massive photographic archive.
Yawning koala bear, from the museum's massive photographic archive. | Source

2. National Media Museum, Bradford


This excellent resource museum isn't really a museum at all, it's a modern complex dedicated to all things media....radio, photography, television, cinema. It boasts three cinemas, amongst them the Cubby Broccoli and the IMAX, the latter being a huge screen specialising in 3D visuals.

The Pictureville Cinema has been described as 'the best cinema in Britain.'

Movie buffs and other enthusiasts regularly flock to its doors for rare and prestigious screenings but it welcomes all - from school groups to professional researchers and archivists.

Also kept here and open to the public are the first ever photographic negative, the earliest t.v. footage, the world's first moving pictures - Louis Le Prince's 1888 films taken in nearby city Leeds - and over 3 million culturally valued items.

A shop, cafe and seven permanent exhibitions mean this city centre space is a 7 day week attraction.

More information here:

National Media Museum

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National Media Museum, Bradford

National Media Museum
National Media Museum | Source

3. King Richard III's Castle, Middleham, Yorkshire


A walk over the fields to Middleham Castle via the beautiful River Ure is a great treat. You can cross elegant stone bridges, becks and country lanes to reach this very well preserved stone castle, once the home of young Richard III.

This most controversial of English kings enjoyed a happy childhood in Middleham village, learning how to ride and look after horses, the art of swordsmanship, and taking on responsibility in his duty as a royal prince.

Richard's complete skeleton, recently found in Leicestershire, confirmed the fact that he had a twisted spine and did indeed walk with a stoop. Yet in all probability this would not have hampered his mobility. Wound marks on certain bones point to his demise in battle, reflection of a brave king who fought with his men to the bitter end.

Shakespeare, with artistic license, portrayed Richard, Duke of Gloucester as a villain -

And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover

To entertain these fair well-spoken days,

I am determined to prove a villain

And hate the idle pleasure of these days.

You can read more about Richard here:

King Richard III

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Middleham, King Richard III's castle.
Middleham, King Richard III's castle.
A view of Middleham Castle.
A view of Middleham Castle.
Approaching the castle
Approaching the castle
Richard III played here as a boy!!
Richard III played here as a boy!!

4. Whitby, the Coastal Town of Dracula


Whitby lies on the north coast of Yorkshire, huddled between the cliffs some 50 miles from York and has been a fishing port for centuries. Your visit would be worthwhile for this fact alone but Whitby has some major surprises up its sleeve.

For example, the English sailor and explorer Captain James Cooke set off from Whitby in the 18th century on his ship The Endeavour. He was the first to chart the New Zealand coast and also discovered what was to become Australia on one of his many important voyages.

The author Bram Stoker spent many hours in Whitby. He part devised his famous book Dracula whilst holidaying here, devoting chapters 6-8 to the seaside town, Stoker's choice for the arrival of none other than Dracula himself. Check out the extracts from his book down below.

Could this be the reason the young Goths have their annual outing in Whitby? Black clothing, dark make up and pale faces take over the town - but don't worry, they're a fun loving, peaceable lot. Not a vampire amongst them.

There's much more to do in Whitby:

Coastal cruises

Festivals and Other Events

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A fine view of Whitby. The abbey and church are on the hill above the houses.
A fine view of Whitby. The abbey and church are on the hill above the houses. | Source
Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker | Source

Extracts from Dracula


Chapter VII From a Correspondent Whitby.


One of the greatest and suddenest storms on record has just been experienced here, with results both strange and unique.......The wind suddenly shifted to the north-east, and the remnant of the sea-fog melted in the blast; and then, mirabile dictu, between the piers, leaping from wave to wave as it rushed at headlong speed, swept the strange schooner before the blast,with all sail set, and gained the safety of the harbour. The searchlight followed her, and a shudder ran through all who saw her, for lashed to the helm was a corpse, with drooping head, which swung horribly to and fro at each motion of the ship.

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Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey | Source


Chapter VIII Mina Murray's Journal


For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St Mary's Church and all around it. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and the churchyard became gradually visible. The coming of he cloud was too quick for me to see much, for shadow shut down on light almost immediately; but it seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell; I did not wait to catch another glance, but flew down the steep steps to the pier and along by the fish-market to the bridge, which was the only way to reach the East Cliff.

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5. Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Sunshine and drinks in Hebden Bridge.
Sunshine and drinks in Hebden Bridge. | Source

Hebden Bridge For Music, Poetry and Eccentrics


Hebden Bridge is a small town with a big eccentric heart. It is full of bohemians, artists and musicians and welcomes all to its annual Blues Festival, a celebration of blues music in all forms.

You'll discover a quiet radicalism as well as an open minded non conformism which goes back centuries, to a time when the industrial revolution was sweeping through the local valleys and dales.

An indication of this love for the minority is reflected in a demonstration given by Hebden Eccentrics in support of the Naked Rambler, a man who was arrested in Hebden Bridge for walking nude through the main street, as part of a 200 mile naked protest walk.

Several inhabitants stripped off on the ancient river bridge and held a banner up in protest.

Just how popular is Hebden Bridge? Well, Patti Smith the veteran rock singer decided to play a gig here, in aid of the recent flood victims. She is said to have been so inspired by the nearby Bronte Sisters home at Haworth that she wanted to give something back.

Walk a short way out of the town (fully clothed is best) and you'll find Heptonstall, a village where the American poet Sylvia Plath is buried.

You can read more here:

Sylvia Plath

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All images by chef-de-jour unless otherwise stated.

Copyright chef-de-jour@Hubpages

Help stop plagiarism. If you suspect this original article has been stolen please contact the author.

© 2013 Andrew Spacey

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  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    You've hit the nail on the head! The truth is out.

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Nah, I suspect it was the church secretary who had access to the Honesty Box...and a fondness for vintage wine, red or white. lol!

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Nah, I suspect it was the church secretary...who had a fondness for vintage red wine. lol!

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Nice story re the church honesty box.....perhaps the only person who could access that box was the minister...now we know who paid for his weekly bottle of vintage red wine??!!

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Re dinosaurs: the same can be said for my neck of the woods, too! Most are in the Natural History Museum in Norman, OK, but some - the two-legged variety - are my neighbors! (-:

    btw, not to quibble, but of the 6 or 10 village churches my B&B hostess took me to - I lost count after the fifth one - near Taunton, Somerset in the South, any that had brochures about the church's history on a table in the foyer/vestibule had a little sign saying how much of a "donation" was requested for each brochure, to be placed in the honesty box somewhere near the table. One I remember distinctly was a slit in the church's stone wall just wide enough to insert a coin. No idea how the receptacle inside was accessed or emptied, but thought you might like to know hoesty boxes are NOT "only in the North". ;D

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    A classic line from a thick skinned Tyke. There are many dinosaurs left roaming in this neck of the woods.

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    lol! I had to drag out my British Road Atlas to look up Wakefield, but being in West York I already had a feeling it was near CompoLand. (What? Doesn't every American have a Brit Road Atlas?) Hard to believe off-screen Owen was quite the fastidious dresser, or that when the show was being cast there was a question that a London stage actor could speak like a York native.

    That said, Norman Clegg is still my fave of the two. I have a neighbor who is quite proud that he doesn't own a microwave (or a computer), which always puts me in mind of Clegg's famous line: "I never even mastered toaster"! ;D

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    I can see Holmfirth valley from my garden, about 8 miles away, on a clear day. Compo was waving at us from atop a muckheap if I'm not mistaken.

    Yes, Cumbrian dialects are very different from Yorkshire, milder, less gutteral, with nasal twists and a distant touch of I don't know what,, whereas we speak with a blood and jovial dull thunder, full of hawthorn, grass and hilltop.

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Did I forget to mention I've watched EVERY episode of "Last of the Summer Wine", many of them multiple times, so the Yorkshire accent totally unfamiliar. ;-)

    As a matter of fact, thanks to Summer Wine, I was able to explain a few Yorkshire-isms to a friend who got hooked on "Last Tango in Halifax".

    That said, it's my understanding that people west of the Pennines, where my North of England ancestors hail from, has its own unique dialect, which is perhaps why my mother and her siblings could never understand a thing their English grandmother said. Sigh...

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Perhaps next time you're over here with your camera and family tree you'll venture north to Yorkshire where the accent is exceedingly rare, common sense an art form and the scenery quite magical. Much appreciate the visit.

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    One set of my English ancestors, the earliest (1609), was from Somerset, and the other, most recent (1882) was from a part of Cumbria in the North that's often overlooked (Penrith and Appleby). Alas, when I finally visited England for 2 weeks, I confined myself to the South and have regretted it ever since!

    Yes, the cultural differences are pronounced, but isn't that what makes England so interesting? How such a tiny country manages to pack so many different cultures into an area roughly the size of the state of Kansas in America never ceases to amaze me!

    Thank you for sharing a part of the North that I wish I'd had the good sense to visit when I had the chance! ;D

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Hey many thanks for the visit and comment. York would be ideal for a base no doubt!!

  • cam8510 profile image

    Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

    I have read a few travel hubs about England and I usually vow that one day....well, you know. This one is no different. One day I will and one day I will visit York in the north. Thanks for such such a fun and informative hub.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Many thanks for the visit, much appreciated. Yes, Yorkshire is famed for its folk and folklore! If you ever visit England, make sure you go North!

  • mperrottet profile image

    Margaret Perrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

    I especially loved reading about these areas, as my Grandmother and Grandfather were from the Yorkshire area, and although I don't stay in touch with them, I still have relatives there. Looking at how beautiful and interesting this area is, I fell inspired to take a trip over there sometime in the future. Voted up, interesting and useful.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Graham, many thanks for the visit and comment. Such a rich heritage we have - so much to take in!!

    From Lancashire I see? A wonderful county.

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hi Andrew. This really is a wonderful hub describing the many attributes of Yorkshire. You research is first class, pictures and presentation are excellent. Well done.

    voted up and all / following.

    Graham.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Hey thanks for the visit and comment Paul. Yes you'll have to experience York, it's a beautiful old place. Take a walk on the Roman wall, step into a Viking's house and have a pint of real ale in a beamed pub!

  • Paul Kuehn profile image

    Paul Richard Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

    chef-de-jour,

    This is such an awesome hub that I couldn't resist reading it again and looking at the spectacular pictures. You really have me hooked on Northern England now. York and Yorkshire would be ideal places for me because I want to experience England as it was centuries ago. Voted up and sharing again with my followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Chitrangada thank you for the visit and comment from afar! If ever you get to the UK visit north Yorkshire.You must!

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Paul Kuehn thanks for the visit. There's a rich history and culture in this part of the world. I'm glad I've stirred up interest!

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Sneha Sunny much appreciate your visit and comment, so glad you enoyed a brief look at north Yorkshire.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for the comment livingsta.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you very much livingsta for the visit and comment, appreciated. Whitby is worth a week or two exploration.

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

    I would definitely like to visit all the places, you have mentioned here. I love traveling and exploring beautiful places. The pictures are great! Thanks for sharing the description and the tour!

  • Paul Kuehn profile image

    Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

    chef-de-jour,

    This is an awesome hub and your pictures are fantastic. I never was much interested in England until I started reading the three novels by the Bronte sisters: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey. Their descriptions of the moors in North York were really great along with the depiction of life in the mid 1900s. After reading this hub and seeing your photos I am even more interested in making a trip to the north of England. Voted up as awesome and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

  • Sneha Sunny profile image

    Sneha Sunny 4 years ago from India

    These are the kind of places I like. But I don't know if I could ever go there in real or not. But it was a very nice read! I enjoyed the pictures and the description!

    Thank you for sharing! :) Rated and voted up!

  • livingsta profile image

    livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

    Interesting hub with beautiful pictures. The Whitby Abbey looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Votes up and sharing!

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