Both Helen and I have lived in West Yorkshire all our lives which has given us the opportunity to experience a lot of the many great things to do in Yorkshire. In this post we’re going to be covering all the great things to do in Yorkshire. This post is broken down based on the type of activity; museums, parks etc.
As always if you’ve any further information that you think we should share with others about any of these places please let us know in the comments below.
- Historical Landmarks
The Royal Armouries is both an educational and entertaining day out for the entire family. It’s no surprise that it’s my number one on my list of things to do in Yorkshire.
Open daily, from 10.00am – 5.00pm (except the 24th, 25th and 26th December) the Royal Armouries is situated south of Leeds city centre at Leeds Dock.
Make your way through the six themed galleries to the centrepiece of the museum. Admire over 8,500 items from the National Collection of Arms and Armour before heading to The Hall of Steel. The Hall of Steel features over 2,500 different pieces making it the largest display of arms since the 19th century.
If you thought the Royal Armouries was going to be boring, then think again. There are plenty of hands-on experiences to be had with everything from learning how to fire a crossbow to live outdoor shows.
The Royal Armouries also plays host to plenty of events such as exhibitions and experiences this is particularly seasonal.
Royal Armouries Parking
On-site, there are 10 coach spaces and 4 disabled parking spaces. If you’re not coming as part of a large coach party or have a blue badge to reserve a disabled space then you’ll need to park elsewhere in the city centre.
The Royal Armouries website suggests parking in the nearby CityPark at Leeds Dock which has more than 1,600 spaces. However, other nearby options are also available.
Marks in Time
To celebrate the 100th Birthday of Marks and Spencers in 1984, the company began collecting many historical items from all over the country to create the Marks and Spencers Company Archive.
Marks and Spencer started at Leeds Kirkgate Market. It then grew to what is now the most well-known department store in the country. Visiting the Marks in Time exhibition at the Marks and Spencers Company Archive is one of many great things to do in Yorkshire.
Since the Marks and Spencers Company Archive started the archive team have worked hard to collect and catalogue all kinds of records of the companies past.
Today the archive contains more than 70,000 items from 1884 to the present day including; Documents, reports, letters, speeches, employee magazines, annual reports, photographs, films, clothing, food packaging and other merchandise.
Situated south of the city centre of Wakefield is The Hepworth. An award-winning and free to visit a museum dedicated to the works of Barbara Hepworth.
The museum often plays host to new exhibitions so if you live local it’s worth visiting more than once. The Hepworth also has a wonderful Café for drinks, snacks and even lunch alongside some fantastic craft/market events. For more information check out The Hepworth website. This is one of the most visited attractions in Wakefield and easily on our list of things to do in Yorkshire. Whether you are staying in Leeds or visiting for the day it is an easy place to get to and see.
If you’re looking for somewhere to dine on some finger sandwiches, scones and tea after taking in some amazing Sculptures then visit our list of the best places to have afternoon tea in Wakefield.
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is located in the quaint and historic city of York. The museum itself houses up to 1,000,000 objects from the last 300 years. The museum has everything from train carriages, engines, railway art and more, suitable for everyone in the family. With ample parking spots nearby as well as the train station itself there is plenty of ways to get there. The admission is free, though there is the option to donate to the museum.
Making this a great family day out, with exhibitions changing to keep things fresh and new there is always something to see. The National Railway Museum houses some of the most iconic trains in history including the Flying Scotsman and Royal Carriages. It is no doubt on almost every list of things to do in Yorkshire. The Royal Carriages are the carriages used by Queen Victoria herself where you can peak in and see the lavish carriage in which she travelled in. Exhibitions like this one are on all year round as well as other exhibitions that change up from time to time.
As a child and even in older years I have visited the National Railways Museum. Though I am not an eager fan of trains I can really appreciate the beauty and magnificent work that went on these trains. There is plenty of activities to do with children of all ages and plenty of spots for a bit of lunch. The Railway Museum is a wonderful place to visit with everyone including grandma and grandad, with something for everyone this can easily fill your day and keep even the youngest entertained.
National Railway Museum Parking
National Coal Mining Museum
This is another of Yorkshire’s greatest treasures, hidden in the city of Wakefield. Here at the National Coal Mining Museum you can go into a real mine and discover what it was like to work down there. With the opportunity to travel 140 metres underground and discover one of Britains oldest working mines.
The museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily and is completely free to enter. With ample parking available there is no excuse to not bring the whole family on to experience one of the best things to do in Yorkshire.
The museum offers up wheelchairs if needed and there is wheelchair access down the mine, due to access the tour is slightly short that the other one. Unfortunately, under 5’s are not allowed down the mine. There are plenty of more family-friendly activities to do upstairs as well as more to look at and see. There is a nature trail for the nicer weather as well as ponies to visit, the National Coal Mining museum itself is perfect for visiting any time of the year.
The National Coal Mining Museum offers up a full day of fun where it is recommended a 3-hour time slot to get around but you can easily spend the day there. There is a cafe on sight to feed those hungry miners as well as a shop for any tokens of your visit. What I love about the museum is that they offer up and under 5’s soft play area while the older kids go off to the mine. Making it the ultimate family-friendly place to visit and a diamond in Wakefield of things to do in Yorkshire.
If you’re wanting to grab something to eat afterwards, we have a great directory of places to eat in Wakefield.
Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined monastery, set in parkland along the banks of the River Aire. Founded in 1152 it was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the command of Henry VIII. Almost 1,000 years later it’s one of the most popular things to do in Yorkshire.
The abbey is now a Grade I listed building, and after a £5.5 million renovation project. The visitor centre set on the grounds tells you more about the lives of the 12th-century monks and includes a catalogue of images of the abbey from the 18th century to the present day.
The Tetley Brewery headquarters is an amazing Art Deco building constructed in 1931. It was designed to be the Main Office Block for an ever-expanding business. Although it has undergone numerous refurbishments over the years, the building still boasts many of its original features.
If all that wasn’t enough. The Tetley also hosts a large number of events and exhibitions, both as one off’s and as reoccurring classes.
A trip to the Tetly is one of the very best things to do in Yorkshire, better still it’s just a 7-minute walk away from either the Leeds city centre bus or train station.
Spanning 700 acres and featuring lakes, woodland, specialist gardens and a mansion house. No list of things to do in Yorkshire is complete without mentioning Roundhay Park.
The parks history dates back to the 11th century where it was gifted to a knight from Normandy by William the Conqueror thanks to his support during the Harrying of the North.
The park then spent the best part of 800 years being passed through knights and kings until it was put up for sale in the year 1871. Then through an Act of Parliament, Leeds City Council came to own the park, who gave it to the people of Leeds as a public park.
The park offers a multitude of opportunities for recreation including walking and running routes, tennis courts, a golf course, football and cricket pitches, bowling greens, a skate park and a playground.
Parking is readily available at various points within the park. You’ll also find easy access to public transport from the city centre or surrounding areas of Leeds.
There are two cafés on-site, including the Lakeside Café (my personal favourite) on a summers day you’ll also find plenty of ice-cream vans to help keep you cool in the rare British heat.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
I am a massive fan of zoos, I love seeing animals and being at the zoo. Yorkshire Wildlife zoo is no different, I first visited when the first opened and not had the chance to go back since. The zoo is tucked away in the rural area of Doncaster. Ticket prices vary see image below, these may change from season to season so always double check online for more information.
The zoo is family friendly, pets are not permitted into the zoo and not allowed to be left in cars. Wheelchairs and buggies are permitted but in certain areas such as the walkthrough areas which allow the people and animals access to each other. While the majority of the pathways are paved and accessible for wheelchair users, if your wheelchair does happen to get a little dirty there is a wheelchair wash available.
The zoo offers up not just a great view to the animals but 5 different indoor and outdoor play areas for the kids to play. There are up to 3 walkthrough areas that allow interaction between the animals and the person. There are 5 cafes on sight carefully spread out through the park as well as additional snack bars along the way.
I don’t know many people that don’t enjoy going to the zoo and with plenty to do you can certainly get your money’s worth. I would definitely recommend adding this to your list of things to do in Yorkshire for your next visit.
Brimham Rocks is a wonderful outdoor natural wonderland in Harrogate. I have been here numerous times as a child and in later years. The rocks are a weird and wonderful formation of large rocks that you can hide in, run around and climb on. Perfect for family visits to wear the children out, along with the great Yorkshire fresh air they will be tired out in no time. Making this one of the best things to do in Yorkshire and great for all.
There is a cafe on sight that has won awards for the amazing pies. There are plenty of picnic benches for lunch if you bring your own. Parking for non National Trust members cost £6 for 4 hours or £8 for a full day. Groups are permitted but need to book or send enquiries and minibus parking is £10 for the day. Though parking may be a little high I would still recommend this and make it one of the things to do in Yorkshire.
The site is open to everyone dogs included. Though through the months of April to June they ask for dogs to be on leads to protect the nesting birds. The site is open all year round.
Brimham Rocks often have events on throughout the year as well as rock climbing activities and classes to take. If you are into your photography and looking to get some beautiful shots, this is the place to be. Brimham Rocks offers up different walks along the moors and the rocks to climb on to get fantastic views.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Set just off the M1 between Wakefield and Barnsley is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This park is open daily throughout the year, and is free to enter (although parking a vehicle is charged based on the amount of time spent inside the park)
Parking is available within the grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It costs £3.00 for less than an hour, £6.00 from 1 to two hours and £11.00 for all day parking. With the gates to the carpark closing at 6pm.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is suitable for both adults and young children with plenty of interactive exhibitions both inside and outdoors. There are new exhibitions and events taking place throughout the year, for events taking place during your visit I suggest heading directly to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.
Pubs Near Yorkshire Sculpture Park
There is a lovely cafe on site at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park upstairs in the main building.
However, if you’re looking for somewhere else to visit for a drink and a bite to eat then I might suggest one of the many pubs near Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Pugneys Country Park
Pugneys Country Park is a 300-acre park with a cafe, activities and a lake situated one mile from junction 39 of the M1 in Wakefield. Dogs and BBQs are all permitted here which makes it a wonderful place for those looking to spend the school holidays and sunshine outdoors.
There’s a large children’s play area including a very popular zip wire, as a wonderful Adventure Trail. The activities don’t stop there with Geocaching, water sports and a light railway all on-site. Making Pugneys Country Park a haven for those looking for something super fun to do in Yorkshire.
These are just some of the things to do in Yorkshire, there are plenty more things to do. If there is anything you feel we have left out of our things to do in Yorkshire post or think needs to be added let us know in the comments below.