Filled with castles out of fairy tales and monuments to man’s reverence for God, ruggedly beautiful Yorkshire is one of the richest regions of Britain for travellers. In the east, the rolling hills of the moors are thick with heather that turns the horizon pink in the summertime and nearly black in the winter. Here, villages like Lealholm make you stop in sheer wonder that something so perfectly pretty can exist in this modern age. The breathtaking views of the moors crashing into the sea on sheer cliffs that drop hundreds of feet to the icy waters is broken up by fishing villages like Whitby, with its gothic edge and homely centre, and little nooks like Robin Hood’s Bay, with its smugglers’ history and tiny cottages.

Robin Hood's Bay © Kevin Eaves/shutterstock.com

In the west, the craggy rocks of the dales seem to defy anything to grow upon their sharp edges, and yet the heather persists, against the odds. Here walkers follow trails to picturesque waterfalls, and then retreat to soak their feet in the fabled waters of gorgeous Harrogate. At the centre of it all, the soaring towers of York’s historic cathedral is juxtaposed by the busy modern nightlife in Leeds and Sheffield, where the beat never stops.

Our top picks when visiting Yorkshire: 

- Exploring York's Minster & walls

- Finding out about Whitby's links with Bram Stoker

- Catching a play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

- Following the Brontë trail in Haworth

- Going underground in one of the many caves in the Yorkshire Dales

- Walking in Wensleydale, followed by cheese tasting in Hawes

This is an extract from our Yorkshire Focus Guide by Jo Williams.

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