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Enjoy a City Staycation in York & North Yorkshire

11th July 2019

Famous for its windswept moors, rugged coastline, chocolate box villages and rich history, it’s no wonder our research revealed that half of Brits would like to holiday at home in ‘God’s Own County’.

Yorkshire is also home to the most beautiful city in the UK, York, as well as some of the UK’s most photogenic coastline, including Scarborough and Robin Hood’s Bay.

Enjoy a City Staycation in York

A city break in York has something to please everyone. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway or have bundled the children into the car, York has a versatility that allows you to tailor your staycation to what suits you. One activity that everyone enjoys is sightseeing – so charge your camera and pack your walking shoes as York has a lot of sights for you to see.

York Minster

York Minster is considered one of York’s most magnificent cathedrals and is well worth a visit. Over 2000 years old, the exterior and interior design is simply unrivalled. The cathedral has more medieval stained glass than anywhere else in the country and is home to York Minster’s Central Tower which is “the highest point in York and offers unbeatable, panoramic views of the city.” You can also take a look at “medieval stonework and gothic grotesques as you climb the 275 steps to the top." If you have children in tow, York Minster offers a range of activities to keep them entertained as you take in the beauty around you.

Enjoy a City Staycation in York - York Minster

The Castle Walls of York

The Castle Walls of York are one of a kind and you must see them to really appreciate the history behind them. At 3.4 kilometres long, these beautifully preserved walls protected and defended the city for nearly 2000 years. If you want to walk around the whole wall, it will take you around 2 hours, but there are multiple points in which you can stop. As you can imagine, the views are spectacular and is the perfect way to see a lot of York in one afternoon. Although this is a free activity, the guided tour is highly regarded!

The Castle Walls of York

Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s Tower is a picture-perfect attraction that has beautiful scenic views and allows you to gaze over Old York. As the only remnants of York Castle, there is plenty of history to learn and enjoy. The castle also hosts games and costume play for children (and adults can participate in too!) Pause for a moment and contemplate the history that surrounds you – then have an ice cream to celebrate.

Attractions for the Family

JORVIK Viking Centre

The world famous JORVIK Viking Centre is a ‘must-see’ for visitors to the city of York and is “one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK, welcoming over 18 million people in the past 30 years.” Journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets and experience life as it would have been in 10th century York. Fun for all the family!

JORVIK Viking Centre

National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum is a great way for the whole family to run off some steam. Full of activities for adults and children alike, you can enjoy lots of railway activities, such as steam rides, royal carriages and turntable demos. There’s also an outdoor activity area if the weather is on your side.

National Railway Museum

York and the Magic of Harry Potter

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you may (or may not!) know that York has strong connections to the story that shaped a generation. York is often cited as a huge inspiration to the franchise and once you’ve explored, its not hard to see why.

The Shambles bears a strong resemblance to Diagon Alley and is now filled with Harry Potter inspired shops, such as The Shop That Must Not be Named, The Boy Wizard and World of Wizardry. Step onto the busy, cobbled streets and you’ll feel like you’re shopping for potions!

York and the Magic of Harry Potter

Malham Cove and Brimham Rocks were both used as filming locations in the Harry Potter films. Malham Cove was famously featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 back in November 2009 and Goathland Railway Station was the setting for Hogsmeade Station.

Just Outside of York

If you have some more time to explore or just fancy heading a bit further out, the breath-taking Yorkshire coastline is less than an hour away, where you’ll have your pick of the beautiful Yorkshire seaside resorts of Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington. The seaside is the height of British staycation and Yorkshire has some amazing options for you to enjoy.


If sand between your toes isn’t quite what you were after from your city staycation in York, Harrogate offers something a bit more grown up. A Victorian spa town, Visit Harrogate describes it as a “rural district that contains the medieval city of Ripon, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and four charming, but very different, market towns; Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham and Pateley Bridge.” Whether you want to indulge in a Turkish Bath, visit the Royal Pump Room or stroll through the Valley Gardens, there’s plenty of scope for ‘me time’. However, if you’re looking for more than luxury, Harrogate is also great for museums, galleries and activities such as mountain biking rock climbing and abseiling.

Harewood House

Harewood House

Harewood House lives in the heart of Yorkshire and is one of the Treasure Houses of England. Built in the 18th century, a vast majority of the house has original decoration and furniture for you to admire. Filled with art, culture and heritage, it’s still owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood. Plus, it’s only 45 minutes from York and Harrogate. Although the aesthetics are breath-taking, there are a lot of activities that the whole family can enjoy including Alpaca walking, tours and festivals. The large garden and lake are simply beautiful and the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic with your loved ones.

Best Places to Visit in the Yorkshire Dales

The Dales is a vast and plentiful place to explore so we’ve had to just pick our favourites. If you’re heading there for your staycation, we would recommend researching beforehand to make sure you get to see everything on offer.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey is a World Heritage Site that’s owned by the National Trust and is home to beautiful water gardens, created by John Aislabie, and the ruins of the Abbey. From humble beginnings of devout monks seeking a simpler existence, “the atmospheric ruins that remain are a window into a way of life which shaped the medieval world.”

Fountains Abbey

There’s also plenty of opportunity to eat and drink your way around the Yorkshire Dales – the most famous being the Wensleydale Creamery and the Black Sheep Brewery. The Wensleydale Creamery is a must if you are a fan of cheese – especially one that is part of history. Enjoy the cheese making demonstrations, museum and treat yourself to something tasty in the gift shop. If you’re inclined to something a bit stronger, the Black Sheep Brewery is waiting for you to explore. For an experience you’ll never forget, take a tour around the historic brewery, indulge in some home cooked food and enjoy a range of freshly served beers.

Preserve your Staycation Memories

Once you’ve returned from your staycation (wherever that may be!), make the most of your photos with a CEWE PHOTOBOOK. Whether you’ve captured some shots that you are particularly proud of or just want to reflect on your amazing family holiday, a CEWE PHOTOBOOK will allow your memories to last a lifetime.

Enter our Best of Britain Competition

To celebrate our Best of Britain campaign, we have three vouchers to give away with holidaycottages.co.uk for you to enjoy your very own staycation. We’ll also be gifting CEWE PHOTOBOOK vouchers to lucky runners up too.

To be in with a chance of winning, upload your own photo of your favourite location in Britain and tell us why you love it. Simply head to our Facebook page and upload your photo to our competition post. You can also enter via Twitter and Instagram – just upload your photo with the hashtag #CEWEstaycation. Whether it was a weekend in Windsor or a summer holiday in Somerset, show us your snaps of Britain.

For full details on the competition, please read the Terms and Conditions.

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