7 Quirky Yorkshire Places to Visit

As Monty Python had it what have the Romans ever done for us? ‘All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?’ Reg must have been a Yorkshireman in the ‘Life of Brian’.

York Cold War Nuclear Bunker

  1. York Cold War Bunker is the most modern and spine chilling of English Heritage’s properties. The York Cold War Bunker in Acomb York uncovers the secret history of Britain’s Cold War. read more
  2. Stanwick Iron Age Fortifications in Forcett North Yorkshire exposes an excavated section, part cut into rock, of the ramparts of the huge Iron Age trading and power-centre of the  most important tribe in pre- Roman northern Britain the Brigantes. Some 4 miles long, the defences enclosed an area of 766 acres. Following the Roman conquest the Brigantian centre moved to Aldborough the Roman Site (also worth a visit at Boroughbridge YO51 9ES ).
  3. Piercebridge Roman Bridge’s stonework foundations are now marooned in a field. The bridge once led to Piercebridge Roman Fort.
  4. Wheeldale Roman Road A mile-long stretch of enigmatic ancient road amid wild and beautiful moorland, still with its hard core and drainage ditches.
  5. Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village is the most famous and intensively studied of Britain’s 3,000 or so deserted medieval villages. Wharram Percy occupies a remote but attractive site in a beautiful Wolds valley.
  6. Burton Agnes Manor House A medieval manor house interior, with a rare and well preserved Norman undercroft and a 15th-century roof, all encased in brick during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  7. View artworks held by the National Trust and discover tales and 18th-century architecture on a visit to Maister House in Hull. Visit during Hull’s UK City of Culture year.

7 Yorkshire Castles to Visit

Image result for cliffords tower gods own county

We are not a warring race but Yorkshire folk have always defended their territory. Here is a selection of castles from former glory days that are now visitor attractions worth your time exploring.

  1. With its 3,000 year history, stunning location and panoramic views over the Yorkshire coastline, Scarborough Castle is one of the finest tourist attractions in the North.
  2. Skipsey Castle is an impressive Norman motte and bailey castle dating from before 1086 and among the first raised in Yorkshire. Earthworks were used to create a fortified ‘borough’.
  3. The castle is not the oldest part of Conisbrough as St Peters Church is the oldest building in South Yorkshire dating from AD 650-700. However by the time of the Norman conquest the manor was held by King Harold. In the 16th century the castle suffered neglect and eventually became a ruin but now happily benefits from some restoration. In the view of many Conisbrough Castle is unique.
  4. Unlock 900 years of life at Helmsley Castle, an essential site for any visitor to the market town of Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park.
  5. Middleham Castle is a fascinating place to visit in the Yorkshire Dales. Once the childhood home of Richard III you can relive the Castle’s illustrious history and unlock the deeds of its great owners. ‘My horse my horse a kingdom for a horse’ by William Shakespeare Richard III – appropriate for Middleham with it’s racing stables.
  6. Spofforth Castle is a ruined hall and chamber of a fortified manor house of the powerful Percy family, dating mainly from the 14th and 15th centuries. Its undercroft is cut into a rocky outcrop.
  7. Richmond Castle has breathtaking views of the Yorkshire dales on the coast to coast path. Richmond Castle is one of the finest tourist attractions in North Yorkshire.
  8. From Clifford’s Tower the stunning view you get of the historic city of York that makes Clifford’s Tower one of the most popular attractions in Yorkshire. Some gory stories are told on York ghost walks.

Contribution from English Heritage – keeper of all these castles and many other prominent Yorkshire sites.




7 Outdoor National Trust Yorkshire Sites to Visit

The National Trust (NT) looks after more than Old Buildings. In its care it includes moor and coast, farm land and country estates many of the best of which are in Yorkshire. Get a dose of good fresh Yorkshire air at one of these seven.

    1. Malham Tarn Estate is a National Trust property in North Yorkshire, England. The estate is located in the Pennines and lies between Wharfedale and Ribblesdale. It covers 2,900 hectares and includes around 65 hectares of woodland
    2. Hardcastle Crags is a wooded Pennine valley in West Yorkshire. At Gibson Mill you’ll find the National Trust Weaving Shed Café serving delicious ethical and locally produced food.
    3. The Pennine Way goes 270 miles from the Peak District to the Scottish Borders. The route goes through the NT Marsden Moor Estate, down the Wessenden Valley and across Black Moss and then along Millstone Edge. Try it using Nordic walking
    4. ‘Brimham Rocks’ and so does the rest of Yorkshire! But as you may know Brimham’s varied and dramatic natural landscape makes it the most diverse landscape in Yorkshire for climbing.
    5. For the coast try The Old Coastguard Station  in the NT centre at the edge of the sea in Robin Hood’s Bay. The  village will help you discover what makes this part of the Yorkshire Coast so special. Hands-on models and fascinating displays tell the story of the area’s distinctive geology and the impact of the elements, local wildlife and the secret history of smuggling.
    6. The National Trust offer lots of footpaths for you to explore at Hudswell Woods, near Richmond. Either  wander along the river or be a little more adventurous and head into the woodlands.
    7. Rievaulx Abbey is an English Heritage site but the NT maintains one of Yorkshire’s finest 18th-century landscape gardens at Rievaulx Terrace. It containing two temples to explore including the lavish interior of the Ionic Temple and you can discover how the rich society of Georgian era spent their time

Ripon 3 Interesting Buildings

‘When someone in the RAF family needs help, the charity they turn to is the Royal Air Forces Association’. This is an old photo of RAFA HQ in Ripon. Other local branches, amongst 400 UK wide include Thirsk, Bedale and Harrogate.

The old office of ginger beer manufacturer W Wells and Sons. In the window the Ripon race adverts are updated annually

The clock on Ripon Cathedral is always right – if you look at it from this position!


London for Yorkshire Folk


This is t’missus swimming with Dolphins on the Thames.

Local fish and chips turned out to be Eels and mash so we didn’t recon much to that.
As for the price of Beer!!! I know this is the capital but it’s punishment.
Still near Tottenham Court Road tube the is an Angel with reasonably priced Sam Smiths in an Edwardian pub setting that hasn’t been spoilt be refurbishment for yonks.

As they say you can always tell a Yorkshireman in London – but you can’t tell him much. With all the tourists asking us for directions it was worse than York on a bank holiday.

Note Ferrets are frowned on in London but Fayed flogs fancy ferrets at Harrods.


  • The Yorkshire Grey is a favourite pub in Fitzrovia. It’s a Sam Smith’s pub so the beers are reasonably priced and the bar staff are very pleasant for southerners and Australians.
  • The Cittie of Yorke Holborn grade ll listed Sam Smiths watering hole.
  • Duke of York  Harrowby Street Marylebone reopened in March 2017

Corn Dolly Bradford’s Best Boozer


In our pagan past it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crops and that the harvest made it effectively homeless.

Corn Spirit was supposed to live in the plaited straw  or corn doll  until the following spring to ensure a good harvest. Straw idols have been made for centuries under the name of Corn Dolls.

The idols in this Bradford pub are the landlord and his selection of beers and lunchtime banquets of pie and peas, hot beef in sandwiches or Yorkshires. You might thing the idle in the pub are tax office escapees but I couldn’t possibly comment. (It is on the old trolley bus route to the real Idle!)

Reverting to the ‘pagan’ theme this is a pagan advert for an ale at the Corn Dolly, probably brewed in the Pagan Place Pendle.


Off to Wetherby Races

Boroughbridge 031

If you are thinking of a drink on the way to or from the races, jump too it. Bear in mind that you need to be well shod at the Three Horseshoes on the Horsefair at Boroughbridge (below). The Wetherby Steeplechase was in the bar at the Grantham Arms (the painting not he race itself).

Boroughbridge 011

Ure river of choice must have been bridged on Ermine Street at a place conveniently called Boroughbridge. The Great North Road was a better name than the A1 but the A1(M) is a traffic jam waiting to happen (or is that the name of my horse at Wetherby?) Continue Reading →


Old and Very Old Yorkshire

Book Cover

Well this is the colour of the dreaded European Passport so I am not sure that a Yorkshire blue would not be more appropriate. Yes I am sure. It also says God’s Own Country when we know and accept that Yorkshire is a county. Admittedly even the ridings are big enough and good enough to stand as individual countries but without the pretensions of Scotland and Ireland.

Anyway to some old business even prehistory.

Rombalds Way

The river Wharfe now flows, and at times meanders, from the source on wild moorland at Camm Fell to join the Ouse below York. It passes through an ancient area known as Mid-Wharfedale. Pre-glacial man has left little trace but from the Mesolithic age there have been many finds of stone tools. Then the new stone age or neolithic period marked a spread of civilisation.

About 2000 years ago ‘Bell Beaker folk’ came to Yorkshire from the Rhine & Russia and there are over 100 Beaker Folk graves in East Yorkshire.

On an area called Rombalds moor covering  Burley, Hawkesworth and Baildon moors plus to the south of Ilkley there are many ‘cup and ring’ carvings. The swastika stone in Ilkley, Knotties stone on the Chevin and the Panorama  stone in Ilkley are all fine examples from the Early Bronze Age

Rombalds is named after  a short lived but fabled giant who is credited in folklore with superhuman strength and feats.
Book Cover

Book CoverA History of Yorkshire

Yorkshire folk aren’t big on blurb but this ‘push piece’ gives you a quick overview of what to expect in this 480 page history of our favourite county.

‘The three Ridings of Yorkshire covered about an eighth of the whole of the country, stretching from the river Tees in the north to the Humber in the south, and from the North Sea to the highest points of the Pennines. In such a large area there was a huge diversity of experience and history. Life on the Pennines or the North York Moors, for example, has always been very different from life in low-lying agricultural districts such as Holderness or the Humberhead Levels. And the fisherfolk of Staithes or Whitby might not readily recognise the accents, ways or customs of the cutlery makers of Hallamshire, still less perhaps of the farmers of Wensleydale or Craven. In some ways, this diversity makes Yorkshire the most interesting of England’s historic counties, a microcosm of the country as a whole. Its variety and beauty also help to explain why Yorkshire is now such a popular tourist desination. Until quite recently people felt that they belonged to their own local area or ‘country’. Few people travelled very far, and it was not until the late nineteenth century that the success of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club seems to have forged the idea of Yorkshire as a singular identity, and which gave its people a sense of their superiority. This single volume describes the broad sweep of Yorkshire’s history from the end of the last Ice Age up to the present day. To do so Professor Hey has had to tell the story of each particular region and of each town. He talks about farming and mining, trade and industry, fishing and ways of life in all parts of the county. Having lived, worked, researched, taught and walked in the county for many years, he has amassed an enormously detailed knowledge and understanding of Yorkshire. The fruits of his work are presented here in what has been described as ‘a bravura performance – by one of the Yorkshire’s finest historians’. With a particular emphasis on the richness of landscape, places and former ways of life, this important book is a readable, informative and fascinating overview of Yorkshire’s past and its people.’


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