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

Welcome to Otley – LS21

Otley Clock

Otley is a thriving market town renowned for the number and quality of its pubs (see earlier posts). The Clock commemorates Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, battles in the Transvaal and war time exploits. Near-by is the Navvies memorial that commemorated those railway workers who died building local tunnels. There is lots to see for history buffs.
The surrounding countryside provides  scope for fishing, clay pigeon shooting, riding and other outdoor sports.
Walking is a major activity as Otley is set in beautiful surroundings close to the Ebor Way and the Dalesway with the new attraction of the Six Dales Trail. This 38 mile route from Otley to Middleham  formally  inaugurated on 26th June 2010 by Janet Street Porter.

Otley still retains it’s cattle market, agricultural suppliers, blacksmiths, paper manufacturers, printers, engineers, lens manufacturers, a busy shopping centre and popular open street markets.
Disappointingly there is a shortage of bed and breakfast and overnight accommodation, surprising for such a bustling town but no shortage of pubs.

Otley from Moors

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Otley

  1. 1000 years of worship and the solid All Saints Church The church are organisers of the Otley Parish Church Beer Festival. A restoration and refurbishment project is currently underway in the church
  2. Thomas Chippendale cabinet maker extraordinaire celebrated by Otley-online
  3. Otley Folk Festival 2010
  4. Otley Show – The agricultural show for Lower Wharfedale first held in 1796.
  5. Wharfedale Morris Dancers the Wayzgoose
  6. Otley Museum
  7. Otley Courthouse cafe and event venue. Celebrating its 10th anniversary with lots of art and shows. Currently raising charitable funds to buy new chairs
  8. Otley Victorian Fayre and Christmas Market
  9. Otley Chevin and the Danefield Estate for walks and views.
  10. Titty Bottle Park and the riverside with a fine weir, ducks and park amenities.

Cloggers Otley

Around the corner is the Otley Lions bookshop that raises funds for good causes using only volunteer staff. Pop in for a chat and a book or two.

Welcome to Harrogate – HG1

Cloud conference

Harrogate is ‘a bit county’ with a long reputation as a Yorkshire Spa and tourist attraction. For a day trip or as a base for a Yorkshire holiday you are sure of a good welcome.

Top Ten Harrogate Activities and Attractions

  1. Harlow Carr gardens are managed by the Royal Horticultural Society. They have a superb new Alpine house and modern eco-library as well as the gardens and woods to visit. At Harlow Carr they hold national collections of Rhubarb, ferns Polypodium and Dryopteris plus Fuchsia of the Quelusia section.
  2. The Great Yorkshire Show is held at the show grounds in July every year 13-15th in 2010. It claims to be ‘the country’s leading agricultural event’ and us Yorkshire folk have long believed that to be so.
  3. The Royal Pump room is now a museum containing ancient Egyptian treasures including a Mummy cast, Mummy masks, canopic jars, jewellery and more. After a look around you can see the sulphur wells and taste the strongest sulphur water in Europe! Hard to believe this was why Victorians came to Harrogate to take this water! Ugh!
  4. The Valley Gardens lead up the hill from the pump room and as well as some immaculate and interesting council parks and garden layouts there are the caps of several wells that produced a variety of Spa water.
  5. The modern International Exhibition centre hold a variety of events in October for example Harrogate Antique Fair, Rotary 1040 Conference, CGP Annual Conference 2010, Association for Perioperative Practice, and the not to be missed Institute of Revenues Rating & Valuation Conference.
  6. There are 3 good performance venues, The Royal Hall with it’s elaborate decor, perfect acoustics and great location my personal favourite. The International centre main hall and the Harrogate Theatre
  7. The sumptuous council run Turkish Bath is a great place to unwind and have a bit of pampering see details
  8. Harrogate has many fine hotels and a variety of accommodation. Pick a time when there is no special event in the town and you will get a good Yorkshire deal.
  9. As a centre for touring the dales, Fountains Abbey or other beauty spots there are good bus, train and coach trips.
  10. After shopping or walking the ‘Stray’ you can always queue at Bettys cafe for a cup of Yorkshire  tea

There are other annual events in Harrogate like the Great Yorkshire Shoe, The Crime Writing Festival and the Spring & Autumn flower shows.

Horse Racing in Yorkshire

Horse race

There is a Yorkshire racecourse to suit all tastes for a day visit or evening out! Some key links are listed below to find dates and times of key events.
Where there’s muck there’s brass but it might be horse muck and horse brasses so don’t bet the farm.


Horse racing

York Special Mention
The celebration of fifty years of the John Smith’s Cup on 10th 11th July 2009 was an event not to be missed. The informal party highlight of the year combines betting excitement and summer fun. Ever since it was first run in 1960, the John Smith’s Cup has had a story to tell.
On 15-16 June 2012 enjoy top class racing whilst raising money for charity. Since 1971 this charity event has now raised over £5,000,000. The John Smith Cup meeting is on 13-14 July this year
The support of the Tadcaster brewer makes this the longest running sponsorship on the flat anywhere in the world and the golden jubilee celebrations promise to be fun. A range of special cask ales will be brought in specially to toast the occasion. Other special events will be announced here as the big day approaches.

Photo credits

Horse race by Boston Public Library CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Horse racing by Paolo Camera CC BY 2.0

Tea Rooms to Visit on the Yorkshire Tea Council Trail

bettys harrogate

In 1919 Frederick Belmont opened his first Bettys Café Tea Rooms in the fashionable spa town of Harrogate. It seems like I was queuing from that date as the people snaked around the corner last weekend. There are six Bettys Café Tea Rooms to explore: the spa town of Harrogate has two branches one in the town centre and a second at the RHS garden at Harlow Carr. York has one in the square opposite St Helen’s and Little Bettys is just around the corner in Stonegate. You can also also find Bettys in the market towns of Northallerton and Ilkley.

The above logo from the Tea Guild has an Afternoon tea group that may interest those who like to pause in welcoming surroundings with a good cup of tea and a bite to eat. The Yorkshire locations include:

De Vere Oulton Hall – West Yorkshire
The George Hotel – Huddersfield
Swinton Park – North Yorkshire
Bagden Hall – West Yorkshire
Grinkle Park – North Yorkshire

Other Tea Council locations include Elizabeth Botham & Sons, plus Bullivant both of York and The Black Swan Hotel, Market Place, Helmsley. The Bridge Tea Rooms in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire has been named as the winner of The Tea Guild’s prestigious Top Tea Place 2009 Award but that is not the Bradford Yorkshire where I have still to discover a true tea room but see Shipley’s earlier story.

The UK Tea Council’s “incognito” Tea Guild inspectors have taken tea in tearooms and country and city hotels across Britain, to find the finest tea experience. The anonymous judges award points in fifteen different categories which include the variety and excellence of the teas offered, efficiency and knowledge of service, décor, hygiene and cleanliness, ambience, presentation skills and most importantly the choice and quality of teas served. That seems like a fine job to have I wonder how much you have to pay them to go eating and drinking Teas?

Just a note on the Tockwith Tea Party where Betty’s of Fat Rascal fame sought to stop Fat Betty’s Cheese Nibbles from being made and sold. I understand the Cheese nibbles won but crumbs what a fuss.

Days Out for Kids to age 92

With Half Term and Easter just around the corner you may want some ideas where to take the kids or grandchildren for a day out. This is just a short selection of Yorkshire based attractions and I would add the Royal Armouries in Leeds and the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Jorvik Viking Centre is a York based time travel experience that is worth queuing for ‘Whether it has been five or fifteen years or even your first time to visit JORVIK, the JORVIK Viking Centre has something new for everyone’ ‘Vikings were warriors. More precisely, Viking is the name by which the Scandinavian sea-borne raiders of the early medieval period are now commonly known.’ Dig around in York there is a wealth of interesting historical activities you can get the children involved with.

The Magna Science Adventure Centre at Rotherham ‘Leap, twist and climb your way around mind-blowing structures and gravity defying activities at one of Europe’s largest outdoor play areas or Spray, squirt, mist and drench…and more importantly get very, very wet at one of the UK’s largest outdoor water play areas.’ If that sounds like the fun your children will enjoy then Magna may work for you.

The Deep ‘The worlds only Submarium’ in Hull is a winner of many awards which include gold award for The Green Tourism Business Scheme and silver for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2009 and it should have got another award for inventing a new word so it can claim to be ‘the worlds only’. With attractions such as Slime, Coral Realm, Kingdom of Ice and a Twilight zone there is something for everyone including the 3500 fish. The Deep in Hull you will find fun and an education about our seas.

Eureka moments come only occasionally when you get to my age but kids up to age 10 experience them at every twist and turn of this Halifax museum. ‘Everything at Eureka! has been designed to inspire children to find out about themselves and the world around them through 100s of hands-on exhibits’.

National Coal Mining Museum (NCM) at Overton near Wakefield explores mining through the centuries. Don a hard hat and descend into a mine then visit the pit ponies to find out what they did for the mining effort. Admission is free!

York Castle Museum ‘is one of Britain’s leading museums of everyday life. It shows how people used to live by displaying thousands of household objects. It is best known for its recreated Victorian street, which combines real shop fittings and stock with modern sound and light effects, to evoke an atmosphere of Victorian Britain. Prison buildings are explored in York Castle Prison, where visitors come face to face with ex-prisoners including highwayman Dick Turpin, who was hanged in 1739 for horse stealing.’ Tickets do allow you to revisit during the next 12 months if you can’t take it all in at one visit.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is South Yorkshires newest attraction of 45 acres of walkthrough including Lemur Woods and Wallaby walkabout. Ideal for environmentally friendly children who want to see a range of animals including the most endangered the Painted Hunting Dog. May only open at weekends until summer but check here.