Hearty food, thick and friendly accents and a dedication to keeping the fascinating history of England’s largest county alive. In Yorkshire, they do things properly, and weekends are no exception. Wind down from your week in a cosy pub, start your Saturday with a brew and a butty, uncover an underrated art scene, fill your boots with some humble pie and mash and then walk it off over sprawling moorland. Find somewhere special to stay within our unique collection of self-catering Yorkshire accommodation.
There has never been a better time to explore Yorkshire. Cities, towns and villages that once lay dormant and struggling are being rejuvenated, their heritage embellished and infused with modern British culture. An artisanal revolution is taking over the eateries of York, edgy bars continue to pop up in Sheffield and little towns like Malton are championing independent spirit. Pack your walking boots, layers and a good book; but if you forget the latter you can pick one up in one of the many bohemian bookshops you’re sure to stumble upon.
As aforementioned, Yorkshire is not a small place. We’ve broken down just some of our ideal weekend activities for you, but please note these are just our highlights; there is so much more to find.
For a charming city break fuelled by great coffee
One of our favourite things about York is how accessible it is. Jump on a train from London's King's Cross and you can be here in two hours, from Manchester it's a little over an hour and from Edinburgh, it's just over two and a half hours! Founded by the Romans, the heart of this city is still contained within ancient walls. These days, ghost-chasers, history buffs and excessive tea drinkers roam its comely web of cobbled streets and art and music thrive. York is an ideal city break if you want the perfect blend of cosmopolitan and chill.
Resist the urge to stay in on a Friday night and take The Bloody Tour of York instead. Learn about the gruesome history of York on a 90-minute stroll with Mad Alice. Hear the stories of murders, criminals and executions, as well as bloodthirsty kings and queens.
Let there be brunch
Describing itself as the dysfunctional family-run neighbourhood cafe, The Pig & Pastry is the quirky egg-and-avo spot to start your Saturday right. Its communal tables are a great way to get chatting to locals but be prepared to queue – this little gem is very popular!
Shopping counts as cardio
You won't be short for things to do in York, but for shopaholics, it's a particularly special sanctuary. Dig out some vintage treasures at the Dog & Bone and rummage through the retro racks at Bowler. The Shambles is York’s most Diagon Alley-esque street and it's freckled with independent stores. Get kitted out for Hogwarts at the Shop that must not be named and stop by the market stall The Miniature Scene of York to coo over how tiny everything is.
Don’t get hangry
Wander through York and you’re sure to find a restaurant that caters to your cravings. Our personal favourite for a magical evening out is The Ivy. Londoners are likely to be familiar with this small chain, but that’s no reason not to visit York’s. The decor is dreamy and the extensive menu offers an eclectic mix of modern British comfort food and international dishes.
If you want an intimate night out with good drinks and live music, The Habit is the haunt for you. Pop up to the roof terrace on a clear evening for impressive views of York Minster. If you’re after a livelier night, start at The Biltmore for cocktails, then on to Fibbers, the downtown rock ‘n’ roll social club.
Hide & sleep
For a contemporary haven overlooking the city’s historic walls book yourself into Pear tree house, but if you’re looking for unique accommodation, take a look at Lendal Tower.
For a classic seaside break complete with fish 'n' chips and copious amounts of ice cream
One of the UK’s most quintessential English seaside towns, Scarborough evokes nostalgia that leaves you desperate for a 99 ice cream (or get an Instaworthy one at Holy Cow) and salty chips that are soggy with vinegar. The shop fronts of the esplanades are as vibrant as ever; the only thing that’s changed over the years is the introduction of vegan menus and decent coffee.
But first, brunch...
Craving a classic fry up? Relish will satisfy your appetite with hearty food and a wholesome atmosphere, and you’ll feel even better knowing everything is locally sourced.
The harder the climb, the better the view
Climb up the cliffside to Scarborough Castle to experience 3,000 years of history and take in spectacular views of the town. There have been settlers here since the Iron and Roman ages. However, the fortification ruins we see today originally started out with King Henry II’s Great Tower, or the Scarborough Keep, which was built in the 12th century. It acted as both a royal palace as well as a stronghold.
Wine + dinner = winner
The Green Room is a restaurant you’ll be desperate to tell your friends about. With just half-a-dozen tables in a stylish yet simple dining room, it’s no surprise it always has a cheery buzz about it. Unpretentious, reasonably priced and absolutely delicious.
Scarborough is best known for its array of beautiful beaches and for being the oldest seaside resort in England. What better way to spend a Sunday than with your toes in the sand, fish ‘n’ chips in hand and a play in the penny arcade.
Hide & sleep
Wake up to sea views at The Old Jet Works, a delightful vintage bolthole for two in the heart of Scarborough.
For a sophisticated and rejuvenating weekend break
An elegant jewel in the crown of the north, Harrogate became a popular UK holiday destination in the 19th century thanks to its strong subterranean sulphur springs. Indulge in a weekend of afternoon teas, soaking in Turkish baths and trying all the gin in this darling honey-hued town.
Brunch is always a good idea
Bettys Tea Room is an obvious choice not to be missed, but if you’re on the hunt for some perfectly poached eggs, then Hoxton North is the one. Its current home is at 1 Royal Parade where they specialise in showcasing speciality coffee roasters as well as traditional, vegan, and dairy and gluten-free food offerings.
Relax, refresh, reconnect...
Renowned as a fashionable spa resort, you can’t miss reading up on Harrogate’s heritage at the Royal Pump Room Museum, and then taking a visit to the Turkish Baths & Health Spa. Built in 1899 and renovated in 2004, it offers a eucalyptus-infused sauna plus other rooms to sit back and relax in as you admire the beautiful Islamic arches and ornate ceilings.
WTF (where’s the food)
Get a taste of Italy in little old Harrogate at Stuzzi. Named after stuzzichini, which are little plates of Italian delicacies served in small osterias and bars throughout Italy, it has knowledgeable staff, an exciting atmosphere and the chance to eat more than one bowl of pasta. Sold.
Hide & sleep
We have an abundance of sumptuous apartments and cottages in Harrogate to make your stay special, including the Artists' Loft or The Penthouse.
For those who wish to spend their entire weekend eating delicious food
Found halfway between Scarborough and York, Malton is the feisty food capital of Yorkshire. After undergoing a recent regeneration, this market town is now known for its gastro delights as well as other riches. Arrive with an empty belly so that you have room for all the sweet and savoury treats and leave with a satisfied stomach and soul.
Today’s good mood is sponsored by coffee
Get your fix at Roost. Set in an old coaching yard, coffee connoisseurs will be blown away by the incredible selection from around the globe. Start your day right with one of its popular roasts: Brazil, Rwanda or their signature 'Roost Espresso' blend.
Just roll with it
If the smell of freshly baked bread leaves you happily comatose you better step over the threshold of Bluebird Bakery. Perfecting the art of the sourdough as well as sweet and savoury baked goods, this place is the definition of an artisan bakery with a fantastic range of other loaves too.
In crust we trust
If you still have room for more by the end of the day, try the authentic wood-fired pizza at La Pizzeria, a stylish and relaxed restaurant where you can watch the pizzas being made in a huge oven while you sip on a cool beer or Italian wine. There is a takeaway section and a hip courtyard at the back for al fresco dining.
Drink happy thoughts
Meet a whisky and gin specialist at McMillans of Malton. Tap into the owner’s encyclopedic knowledge of whiskey, shop a cleverly curated selection of fine beverages and try and book yourselves in for a tasting session.
Hide & sleep
Spring Cottage is a characterful home just 6 miles outside of Malton. Full of thoughtful touches for guests, including a generous welcome basket, this is an excellent base for exploring Yorkshire.
For those looking for literary history or even some literary inspiration
Rows of terracotta roofs, a dramatic coastline and gothic undertones define this sweet seaside town. With the imposing ruins of Whitby Abbey looming over the town, it's easy to understand how this provincial spot became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. It’s not all gloom and doom, however; Whitby is picturesque and the waves lapping up on the shore make it a very serene place to escape to.
Go on a merry adventure to Robin’s hood
Pop down the coast to Robin Hood’s Bay, a little fishing village that is impossible not to fall in love with. It has stories to tell too, as it once served as a useful smuggling point for contraband from Europe. Legend also has it that Robin Hood encountered pirates here. He redistributed their winnings to the village’s poor, giving the place its name.
Time for a history lesson
Visit one of the oldest abbeys in England, Whitby Abbey. At nearly 1,400 years old, it fell into ruin, like many other abbeys and monasteries across the UK, when Henry VIII decided to dissolve them all and use their wealth to fund his conquests. Now you can walk around its worn structure and under its arches and try to imagine how grand it must have been once upon a time.
Taste of tradition
It wouldn’t be a trip to Yorkshire without filling up on a wholesome and hearty classic, which is why we urge you to try Humble Pie & Mash. This simple and cosy little nook serves up the best pies around, with a generous side of mash and slathering of gravy.
Hide & sleep
If there’s just two of you, whisk yourselves away to the stylish Spyglass 1708 apartment or bring some friends and stay at the charming Crag Cottage that sleeps eight. Both holiday homes are in the heart of Whitby.
Before you go...
We hope you found some inspiration for a weekend getaway to Yorkshire; we could write a book on all the amazing places there are to visit. We couldn’t help but leave you with a few last tips:
Discover great art
Venture to Wakefield for a leisurely stroll around the Sculpture Park where you may also bump into some handsome Highland cows who are also lovely to look at. A trip to The Hepworth is also a must so you can view the impressive and rarely seen works of sculptural legend Barbara Hepworth.
Take a life-affirming walk
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a distinctive landscape of high heather moorland, flat-topped hills and home-like country pubs. The whole area is like a postcard picture and easy to explore, whether you’re wanting to take on a challenging ascent or a gentle stroll; The Malham Tarn archaeology walk is particularly spellbinding. You’ll spot impressive landmarks wherever you go, but try and see Skipton Castle, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in England.
Do go chasing waterfalls
On the far west of the National Park is the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, a majestic and well-defined footpath which runs as close to the edge of the two rivers as possible to provide spectacular views of the waterfalls.
Book your weekend break to Yorkshire
We have an excellent collection of self-catering accommodation across Yorkshire for you to book yourself into for a weekend break. Whatever the occasion, be it a romantic getaway or a chance to take your dog on holiday with you, we have something for everyone.