Walk off the excesses in a Yorkshire wonderland

Walkers climb up onto Ilkley Moor past the Cow and Calf rocks.
Walkers climb up onto Ilkley Moor past the Cow and Calf rocks.
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Yorkshire is a beautiful county even in winter so tourism agency welcome to yorkshire has compiled this list for our READERS of walks to enjoy over the festive period.

Brodsworth Hall

Not only is Brodsworth Hall a beautiful, true-to-its-time Victorian country house, it is also home to some wonderfully restored Victorian gardens which are ideal for a post-Christmas jaunt in rural South Yorkshire.

The gardens, fully restored by keepers English Heritage, are noted as a fine collection of grand gardens in miniature. There’s a Victorian Alpine rock garden, a flower garden, romantic views from the summerhouse, statues, and a beautiful wild rose dell.

And don’t worry about it being winter – there’s still plenty to marvel at. Evergreens are in abundance, and looking better than ever thanks to spring and summer preening. And, pending some winter sun, walking through the flower garden should add a sprinkling of colour to your visit.

Brodsworth, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN5 7XJ, www.english-heritage.org.uk/brodsworthhall

Brontë Way & Top Withens

While the full Brontë Way route tops 43 miles in length, don’t feel you have to do it all straight after your Christmas dinner. Instead, complete a more modest leg, and visit Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse just south-west of Haworth said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw home from Emily Brontë’s world-famous novel, ‘Wuthering Heights’. Needless to say, it’s best to wrap up warm, but pack your camera too, as the views really are breath-taking.

But for a warming coffee stop, try one of the many delightful cafés on the cobbled main street. And to finish off a Brontë-themed day, swing by the famous Brontë Parsonage in Haworth itself. Reopening after Christmas on 27 December, the Parsonage is where the Brontë sisters spent most of their lives, writing their most famous novels.

Haworth, West Yorkshire, www.bronte.org.uk

Bolton Abbey

With over 80 miles of footpaths and just shy of 30,000 acres of beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, there is plenty to see at the Bolton Abbey estate besides the magnificent ruins of the 12th century priory.

Other attractions such as the spectacular Strid and wood, the tranquil Valley of Desolation and even the stepping stones across the River Wharfe in front of the abbey are sure to please all visitors to the estate.

There are plenty of eateries for a warming snack too, including the Cavendish Pavilion, Dusty Bluebells, and Buffers – all provide a good choice of warming fayre.

Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EX, www.boltonabbey.com

Bridlington beach

Maybe a visit to the beach isn’t the first thing that springs to mind in the middle of winter, but hang on. What better way to blow away the cobwebs than a bracing stroll along the seafront? Breathing all that sea air will help you recover from all the food and drink consumed on Christmas Day, and visiting the beach at Bridlington will remind you just how good Yorkshire’s beaches are.

What’s more, the elegant promenades of Bridlington’s sea-front and historic harbour ensure there’s plenty to explore despite there being no donkey rides at this time of the year!


Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

Set just west of the cathedral city of Ripon, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal is a World Heritage Site, with 800 acres of beautiful countryside on offer, as well as magnificent 12th century abbey ruins and the beautiful landscaped Georgian water garden of Studley Royal.

And if you’re quick about it, the Abbey will be illuminated by a spectacular spectrum of light for the final time this year on the Saturday and Sunday immediately after Christmas Day.

What’s more, there will also be festive music being performed inside the Abbey.

Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountainsabbey

Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens

This country house museum is set in 70 acres of historic parkland which, for almost three centuries, has been home to a family who made their fortune in the local iron industry. Parkland and gardens were landscaped in the 1760s by a chap from Chertsey, and the historic walled garden adjacent to the main hall is enjoyable whatever the weather.

Don’t miss the greenhouse which is home to the 200-year-old Cannon Hall vine, a cutting of which was exported to Australia – its descendants produce today’s fine Australian wines.

Cannon Hall Museum, Bark House Lane, Cawthorne, Barnsley, S75 4AT, www.barnsley.gov.uk/cannon-hall-museum-park-and-gardens

Wentworth Castle & Gardens

At Wentworth Castle, there are as many as 60 acres of formal gardens, reflecting different periods in garden history, ranging from a formally laid out Union Jack Garden, to others with an informal feel such as the Wilderness.

And even though it’s winter, there is still plenty to see as you amble around. Whether it is the final hydrangea of the previous season, or the first snowdrop of the New Year, there’s always something to enjoy, and panoramic views are guaranteed.

Lowe Lane, Stainborough, Barnsley, S75 3ET, www.wentworthcastle.org

Ilkley Moor

Ilkley is a pretty spa town well worth a visit, but drive a little further, park somewhere on Ilkley Moor, leave the car, and explore the swathes of bracken and famous Cow and Calf rocks.
Part of the larger Rombalds Moor, Ilkley Moor is home to many a curiosity, including the famous little and large rock formation the Cow and Calf, the intriguing stone carvings, and White Wells Spa Cottage.

Delve into the folklore behind all of these features, and you’ll discover stories of freezing cold baths, heavy-footed giants, and Celtic influences from the Iron Age.


The Yorkshire Wolds

The Yorkshire Wolds are a broad crescent of rolling chalk hills and valleys, south of the North York Moors, arcing from the coast at Flamborough westwards towards Malton and then south to the Humber Bridge. 

There is plenty of opportunity to explore the Wolds, but if you’re feeling hardy enough, then you could always try taking on a leg of the Wolds Way. In its entirety, the route is 79-miles long starting in Hessle and ending in the North Yorkshire coastal town of Filey, but with plenty of picture postcard villages along the way, there’s plenty to see.


Lotherton Hall

Once home to a family by the name of Gascoigne, Lotherton Hall is now host to collections of pottery, porcelain, paintings and furniture.

Outside of the Hall, however, there are distinctive Edwardian gardens, a bird garden which is home to 150 different species, and even an orchard, with 109 varieties of mixed use trees including many from the Yorkshire region.

With a playground for the kids too, this is a great place to wrap up warm and explore following your Christmas traditions.


For more on walks and the outdoors see: www.yorkshire.com. Or see: www.yorkshire.com/outdoors

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