If you’re looking for a getaway this May bank holiday, North Yorkshire is a great destination. From admiring grand stately homes and ancient castles, to exploring picturesque valleys and seaside resorts, here are some of the best bank holiday May activities in North Yorkshire.
Castle Howard is a beautiful stately home near York. Built in 1699, it has belonged to the Howard family for over 300 years. Make your way around the house at your own pace, and take in the stunning architecture, interior and extensive collection of artwork. If you want to learn more, there are knowledgeable guides who can take you on a range of tours on various areas of interest, including the women of Castle Howard and the visit of Queen Victoria to the house. The house also has a changing programme of exhibitions and displays which bring to life the rich and varied history of the house. Step outside and enjoy 1,000 acres of parkland with lakeside terraces, woodlands, temples and statues, and formal gardens.
This valley in the Yorkshire Dales is famous for its Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese. You can even visit Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes to see how it’s made and sample a bite or three!
If you’re not a fan of cheese, there are plenty of other things to see and do in the area. Visit the market town of Leyburn where you’ll find unique shops and charming cafes, or head to the picturesque stone village of Askrigg. Wensleydale has some incredible scenery too, and there are many footpaths and routes that make their way through the Yorkshire Dales and its beautiful features like Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force. Discover more about the history of the area at one of the attractions including the Dales Countryside Museum, Middleham Castle and Jervaulx Abbey.
Mother Shipton’s Cave
Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough is one of England’s oldest visitor attractions. Mother Shipton was a famous prophetess who was born in the cave in 1488. Her prophecies became known far and wide, and she even foretold the Great Fire of London 1666 and the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The cave lies on the mile long walk which runs along the River Nidd. Here you’ll also see the Petrifying Well, a unique geological feature where everyday objects are turned into stones. The Museum has a large collection of items which have been turned into stone by the Petrifying Well, including a shoe left by Queen Mary in 1923. Before you leave, don’t forget to make a wish in the Wishing Well.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr
A visit to RHS Garden Harlow Carr is one of the most relaxing May bank holiday events in North Yorkshire. There is a great variety of landscapes to see in the 58 acre garden. The Main Borders is one of the original features of the garden and boasts herbaceous perennials, grasses, bulbs and shrubs. Another highlight is Streamside, which is filled with lush plants and a range of wildlife. Other parts of the garden that are filled with colourful blooms and greenery are the Lakeside Gardens, Winter Walk and the Teaching Garden. Check out the Plant Centre and Shop for some unique gifts, books, homeware and a large selection of plants. Complete your visit with a bite to eat at the famous Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms.
Scarborough is a seaside resort with loads of things to see and do. There are two large, sandy bays divided by a rocky promontory. South Bay has all the attractions, including a Victorian promenade which links the beach to North Bay, which is much quieter. For a unique view of the beaches, take a ride on the North Bay Railway. In town, there are tons of museums and art galleries if you’re looking to soak up some culture, such as the Rotunda Museum and Scarborough Art Gallery. An iconic landmark of the town is Scarborough Castle which sits on the headland between South Bay and North Bay. With over 3,000 years of history, it’s a fascinating place to visit.
Nestled in a quiet valley is Fountains Abbey, one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian monasteries in the country. Learn about how it came to be a wealthy and powerful abbey by taking a guided tour, or read about it at the Porter’s Lodge. Within the extensive grounds you’ll also find the Studley Royal deer park with its three types of deer, and the Studley Royal water garden, with its beautifully designed ponds and classical statues.