After four years of living it up in Berlin, I’ve finally decided that it’s time to head back to the UK. Whenever I’ve been telling friends about my upcoming relocation, they usually have already made up their mind on where I’ll end up - London, right? How about Manchester? Maybe up to Edinburgh? When I tell them I’m going back to North Yorkshire – the area where I grew up – I’m always met with the same: a look of sheer disbelief. Going back to such a quiet, rural area after life in the big city? Yep. And here’s why…

1. Whitby’s Vintage Seaside Charm

Whitby harbour - vintage seaside town photo by Bay Photographic

Whitby oozes vintage seaside charm. Not only is it pleasing on the eyes, but you’ll also find some sweet treats to get your tastebuds dancing… Fish and chips, rock candy and creamy fudge. (Hungry yet? I know I am…) Take your nibbles with you on a walk down the pier and embrace all that refreshing sea air. The view from the pier back into town is one of my favourites: you’ll see the famous abbey on the clifftop and old fishing boats bobbing up and down in the harbour.

2. Picture-Perfect Glaisdale

Why You Should Visit North Yorkshire Now - Glaisdale, Beggar's Bridge photo by Andrew Bowden

The fact that I grew up in Glaisdale might make me ever so slightly biased here, but bear with me on this one guys. Not only is it an example of picture-perfect English countryside (great for those Instagram snaps!), it’s also any hiker’s paradise. You can stick to the paths and pass pretty chocolate box cottages or head off through the thick forest and follow the tranquil river. My favourite walk through the village is a section of the route for the Coast To Coast Walk — a 309km route leading from the west coast of England all the way to the east. The village’s most popular attraction, the 17th-century Beggar’s Bridge, spans the picturesque River Esk and is found by the entrance to the peaceful forest.

3. Creamy Wensleydale

Why You Should Visit North Yorkshire Now - Wensleydale Creamery photo by Emma

Wensleydale is slap bag in the middle of the sprawling Yorkshire Dales National Park. The valley has a rich history; it’s said that Richard III grew up in Middleham Castle. There’s an even better reason to head to this gorgeous valley though… its cheese! I always enjoy watching this creamy cheese being made at the Wensleydale Creamery and there’s always plenty of yummy samples on offer! The town is also known for its independent pottery and traditional toy shops and, of course, there are many quaint old fashioned coffee shops serving tempting cream teas: Berry’s farm shop is my fave.

4. The historic streets of York

York England

It is not all about rural villages in North Yorkshire — there is one fairly big city, and it is a good one! York is one of the UK’s oldest cities and it has quite an exciting past — originally founded by the Romans, Vikings conquered York during their pillaging of the north. To really get your teeth into the whole Viking story, head to Jorvik Viking Centre where you’ll be transported back in time to sample life under Danish rule. Shopaholics will also find plenty of places to splurge and the compact city centre means you won’t feel like dropping after all of your shopping! What’s more, all of the quirky, vintage shops are located in the historic Shambles area, so you’ll be able to spot cute Tudor buildings while picking up a bargain. Don’t forget to pop into Betty’s teashop; I haven’t had a better afternoon tea anywhere else — just expect a wait for a table!

5. Fun and Games in a Fairytale Garden

Why You Should Visit North Yorkshire Now - Fairytale Garden, The Forbidden Corner photo by vagueonthehow

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure for a big surprise… In fact, scrap that. You don’t have to go as far as the woods, just head to this mythical garden of follies and high jinks! The Forbidden Corner is an adult playland made up of spooky labyrinths and underground tunnels which have been decked out with quizzical statues and shin mosaics. It’s a fun day out that you won’t grow out of—I’ve been visiting for years and still discover curious details and characters whenever I return! If it’s a sunny day don’t forget to pack a snack (how about taking a few cakes from Betty’s if you’ve already been) as you’ll find leafy picnic areas around the glistening ponds.
These five points are my personal favourites, but there’s so much more left to see. Yorkshire’s a huge county –the UK’s largest in fact – and can keep you busy exploring for days!


This is a guest post by Laura Harker.

lauraaa Originally from the UK, Laura has been living in Berlin for around 4 years. She’s Slow Travel Berlin’s Assistant Editor and has written about food, travel, politics and culture for other publications including Exberliner and [Wherever] Magazine. Follow her on Twitter here.