Best walks in Yorkshire

Places to Go

Best walks in Yorkshire

Hewn from rock and heather, Yorkshire is famed far and wide for its spectacular scenes and truly epic walks, whether you’re after a quick coastal stomp or a day-long trek over moor, mound, and fell.

With three National Parks on your doorstep, not to mention the oh-so-dramatic Yorkshire coast, you’ll be spoiled for choice for things to do during your stay. Enjoy a giddy mix of towering fells, shimmering lakes, and rolling scenes of such bucolic beauty you’d be forgiven for believing you’ve fallen into a Brontë novel as you make your way across God’s own country.

Of course, all this walking is sure to fire up a hearty appetite, giving you the perfect opportunity to try out some of Yorkshire’s spectacular Michelin star restaurants and deliciously cosy pubs (needless to say, a Yorkshire pudding and roast dinner are a must during your stay). Or, you can take your home-grown feast with you after filling your bags at one of Yorkshire's fabulous farm shops.

So, lace up those walking boots, pack up the bag with trail snacks, and get ready for Yorkshire’s staggering array of epic walks. Here are a few of our favourites to get you started…

 

Aysgarth Falls, North Yorkshire

Looking through the trees at the iconic Aysgarth Falls in Yorkshire

Best for: A wheel-friendly route

• Distance: 1 mile

• Time: Allow 1 hour for walking and sightseeing

• Difficulty: Easy/accessible

• Starts/ends: Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre

• Parking: Aysgarth Falls National Park car park

• Landmarks: Aysgarth Falls, Freeholders’ Wood

 

Made famous by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Aysgarth Falls is truly a sight to behold, and luckily thanks to a purpose-built footpath, it can be seen by all. Your journey starts in the National Park Centre, which provides visitors with a superb selection of walking routes and trails in the area, as well as some souvenirs to remind you of your visit.

The wonderfully short there-and-back-again path takes you through the dappled delights of Freeholders’ Wood, which boasts beautiful views over the Middle Falls, especially in the autumn when the trees form a copper curtain around the falls – there are lots of benches along the path where you can pause to enjoy the sights and sounds. When you reach the falls, you can either descend the steps to the viewing platform (although you can see the falls from the top), or extend your jaunt a little further along an unsurfaced grass route. This is a great walk for families looking for a quick leg-stretch, especially if you come prepared with a picnic (which we always recommend).

 

Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, and Janet’s Foss, North Yorkshire

The famous limestone formations at the top of Malham Cove with Yorkshire's countryside in the distance

Best for: Watching waterfalls (because TLC said we shouldn’t chase them)

• Distance: 4.5 miles

• Time: 2-3 hours

• Difficulty: Easy

• Starts/ends: Malham post office

• Parking: Yorkshire Dales National Park car park Malham

• Landmarks: Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss, Wedber Woods

 

A circular route that takes in three of the biggest names in Yorkshire? Don’t mind if we do! Great for families, nature lovers, and those wanting epic views without the legwork, this popular route is a win-win.

Starting off in the historic village of Malham, you’ll follow a marked path that leads you north, straight to the iconic white cliffs of Malham Cove (which famously hosted a few scenes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). At the foot of the sheer cliffs, crank up the imagination and cast your mind back a few millennia to when a waterfall larger than Niagara Falls would throw itself over the ancient limestone face. You can partake in a spot of bird watching here too as peregrine falcons call this dramatic cove home, or you can watch daring rock climbers scurry up the cliff face on sunnier days. A path to the left of Malham Cove takes you to the top of the famous limestone formations, where you’ll find a pretty spectacular view that reaches out across the Yorkshire Dales.

Next, it’s time to pass over Sheriff Hill on your way to the grand sights of Gordale Scar. During this stretch you can often stop for refreshments from the food trucks at Gordale Bridge. Gordale Scar is a fascinating gorge that holds an impressive waterfall within its towering cliffs. Forged over thousands of years, this ancient spot is a true testament to the power of nature (it’s also a pretty dramatic picnic spot so make sure to bring a sarnie or two).

Once you’ve taken in the limestone ravine in all its glory, head back to Gordale Bridge where you can continue your journey to the slightly smaller, but no less breath-taking, Janet’s Foss waterfall. Featuring a lovely plunge pool that was formerly used by farmers as a sheep dip, this magical glade is the perfect place to stop and enjoy a spot of forest bathing – meditation or an actual plunge into the pool! It’s easy to melt away with the sounds of the woods around you, so make sure to allow some extra time to just sit here. It’s also a great spot for kids to explore, especially when they learn of the fairy queen who supposedly gave the waterfall its name! Return to Malham through Wedber Woods, where you can sink into a local eatery.

 

Yorkshire Three Peaks, West Yorkshire

A bird's eye view of the Ribblehead Viaduct with the Three Peaks in the distance, one of the best walks in Yorkshire

Best for: An epic challenge

• Distance: 25 miles

• Time: 8-14 hours

• Difficulty: Challenging

• Starts/ends: Horton in Ribblesdale

• Parking: Horton car park in Ribblesdale

• Landmarks: Pen-y-ghent, Whernside, Ingleborough, Hull Pot, Ribblehead Viaduct

 

Whether you want to break it down and complete the route in bite-sized chunks or want to go for gold and complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (if you register beforehand and finish in under 12 hours you get a collectors’ trophy), this mammoth walk is an incredible experience that’s well worth the effort.

While 25 miles is by no means a distance to be sniffed at, it’s the elevation that gets you on this hearty trek as the route takes you up and over three of the most famous peaks in Yorkshire, Pen-y-ghent (694m), Whernside (736m), and Ingleborough (723m). While you can choose how much of Whernside and Ingleborough you climb, reaching the summit of Pen-y-ghent is a must if you want to complete the challenge and claim your award.

You can walk in either direction, although the most popular route starts at Horton in Ribblesdale and takes you up and over Pen-y-ghent first where astonishing views await. There are some rather spectacular sights throughout the walk, including the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, the tumbling waters at Hull Pot (it’s a slight detour from Pen-y-ghent but totally worth it), and the towering heights of Simon Fell.

The route is signposted and waymarked, but it’s recommended you take a map with you as an added measure.

 

Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Looking out over the trees towards the sea at Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire

Best for: Coastal adventures

• Distance: 11 miles

• Time: 6-7 hours

• Difficulty: Moderate/challenging

• Starts/ends: Ravenscar National Trust Coastal Centre

• Parking: Ravenscar National Trust Coastal Centre

• Landmarks: Ravenscar, Howdale Moor, Robin Hood’s Bay, Boggle Hole

 

From fossil hunting to heather hopping, this glorious mix of moorland and coast in North Yorkshire showcases the varied beauty of the North York Moors perfectly. Starting in the coastal village of Ravenscar, you’ll follow part of the Cleveland Way trail while winding your way through the incredible industrial landscape, which hides many fascinating quarries and spoil heaps between its hills.

The craggy heights above Howdale Moor make for a rather dramatic sight, which you can enjoy all the way down to the old Scarborough to Whitby line where the coast opens around you. A famous smuggling haunt, Robin Hood’s Bay is full to the brim with history. At low tide you can scour the beaches for fossils or explore the mystery of Boggle Hole, or you can settle yourselves down on the cliff path above, enjoying the sea views as you tuck into a hearty picnic.

There are some steep descents and ascents along this walk, but the myriad of landscapes and views are a welcome reward for your efforts. There are some cafés along the way, or you can head into Whitby afterwards for a celebratory fish and chips by the coast. After all, when in Whitby!

 

Flamborough Head, East Riding

A bird's eye view of Flamborough Head and lighthouse

Best for: Nature lovers

• Distance: 2.5 miles

• Time: 1 hour

• Difficulty: Easy

• Starts/ends: Flamborough Lighthouse

• Parking: Flamborough Head and Lighthouse car park

• Landmarks: Flamborough Head

 

Short, sweet, and full of seal spotting opportunities, this mini tour of Flamborough head is perfect for those wanting a quick blast in the refreshing sea air. You also have the option of extending your walk around the entirety of Flamborough Head, which takes you to the buzzing wilds of the nature reserve. Indeed, the impressive cliffs that make this coast such a powerhouse of beauty are also home to an impressive array of birds, from puffins and whirling fulmars to gannets – not to mention the bobs of seals that call the waters home.

For those wanting a quick cliff-top stroll, simply head to the lighthouse and walk to the right until you reach a turning in the path that takes you inland across the fields. Then it’s a short road-side stroll until you return to your car. This easy route really is a great one for those who want some epic views without the step count.

 

Penistone Hill, West Yorkshire

A bench on Haworth Moor, surrounded by beautiful moorland

Best for: Drama worthy of Wuthering Heights

• Distance: 5 miles

• Time: 2-3 hours

• Difficulty: Easy with a few slight hills

• Starts/ends: Haworth village

• Parking: There are lots of car parks throughout the village

• Landmarks: Penistone Hill, Brontë Parsonage Museum

 

One for the literary lovers out there, this dreamy walk takes you right across the rough and windswept moors that inspired the Brontë sisters. Starting in the sisters’ home village of Haworth, head out onto the heather-topped moorland and embark on a short walk that boasts the setting of a literary epic. Between August and September, the heather blooms in beautiful shades of purple, adding a stunning wash of colour to the rugged moors.

There is a criss-cross of paths you can follow, providing endless variations for your walks and giving you total control of when and where you turn back. We also recommend exploring the village in the same way, as the cobbled streets lined with an array of cafés and pubs provide the perfect setting for a post-walk refuel. If you want to delve even further into the Brontë sisters' past, a visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum is a must. You’ll find the world’s most comprehensive collection of manuscripts, letters, and early editions by the sisters, alongside a series of events and exhibitions that can’t help but inspire creative minds.

 

Step into Yorkshire’s wonderfully expressive landscape with a stay in the heart of the action, from converted barns to ivy-covered cottages.

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