Since I moved back to England six weeks ago for the first time in seven years, I’ve been seeing it with fresh eyes. Australia taught me to really explore and now I’m back, I’ve realised there’s so many places I haven’t seen in England yet, Yorkshire being one of them.Back in Sydney exploring the famous Royal National Park
So for my brother’s birthday, we decided to spend a weekend celebrating it in the Yorkshire Dales which is a national park in the north of England. Almost on the opposite side to England where we’re currently living in Brighton, I honestly had no idea how I would be completely wrong about what it would be like.
Everyone had mentioned how beautiful it was, but for some reason I sort of had it in my mind that the further north you go in England, the more run down it would be. But because everyone said it was nice, I thought well, maybe the countryside would be alright. I actually can’t believe how wrong I was about all of my preconceived ideas about Yorkshire.
Here’s 9 reasons why I was wrong about Yorkshire.
1. The countryside is amazing
As we drove through this countryside, we were all in absolute awe.
I knew the countryside would be quite nice but I had no idea how utterly amazing it would be. As we drove around in the summer sun, the rows and rows of rolling fields were just mind blowing. Now, I did actually grow up in the countryside and I have never seen anything as beautiful as what we saw in Yorkshire. Hats off to The North for providing the best countryside in the country!! Bravo, bravo.
2. We stayed in a cottage
Our beautiful cottage is on the right, right next door to Fountains Abbey
We stayed in a beautiful picturesque cottage which we found on the National Trust website here. To be honest, I didn’t even know what the National Trust even was. I’m such a different person now to who I was when I last lived in England that I even bought a book about the National Trust’s best coastal walks whilst we were in Yorkshire. Thanks Australia for teaching me about the great outdoors!
The cottage wasn’t cheap though and cost us £700 for 3 nights to fit 6 people, a bit on the pricey side, but for an entire house with dining room, living room, kitchen, three bedrooms, a bathroom and extra toilet, and parking space, it would only work out to be just over £100 each really which isn’t bad at all.
3. Fountains Abbey
We stayed right next to Fountains Abbey, a UNESCO world heritage site, and because the cottage is part of the National Trust, we were able to gain access to the ground after hours. This meant we had access when all the visitors had gone home or before they arrived in the morning and we had absolutely no idea how amazing Fountains Abbey would be. Built in 1100’s as a monastery, the remains are still in tact (just) that the huge area is a sight to be seen. With plenty of paths, lakes and beauty surrounding the monastery, it’s somewhere you could easily bring a picnic and spend the day at. We all absolutely loved it here.
4. The Yorke Arms
Our private dining area at The Yorke Arms in The Yorkshire Dales.
I couldn’t believe I found the gem, The Yorke Arms. We were celebrating my brother’s birthday and I wanted to find somewhere special for his big day. I then stumbled upon The Yorke Arms which is a Michelin star pub right in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. The drive over to the pub was incredible and as I booked us our own dining area out in the garden with our own waitress, it was absolutely magical. We even had one diner who came over by helicopter because it was that nice!
Thought all the best art galleries are based in London too? Yep, I did. The Sculpture Park near Wakefield is so amazing, I couldn’t believe the long list of artist’s works sat in the large grounds. From Ai Wei Wei, Barbara Hepworth, Anthony Gormley, Henry Moore, the list goes on. This park is a great day out, you’ll need at least 3 hours and it’s FREE. You just need to pay for parking which is £20 for the day or 6 for 2 hours. Make sure you don’t miss the incredible James Turrell’s ‘Skyspace’ piece, it’s awesome.
6. The Hepworth Museum
Another amazing gallery just six miles away from The Sculpture Park is The Hepworth Museum, dedicated to British sculptor, Barbara Hepworth. I’ve been to her studio in St Ives before but the museum in Wakefield is amazing. Her work is so beautiful, you’d be mad to miss out on seeing it. And, it’s FREE too!
So we popped into Harrogate to check it out, to actually visit the famous Betty’s tea rooms but there was a long queue so we decided pop into the shop, pick up some tea to take home and some sandwiches to sit on the green. Harrogate itself is beautiful. It’s amazing to think it’s not that far from Leeds yet what a huge difference the two are. After seeing a standard UK city, you’re transported into a beautiful town that one would dream of living in. I think we quickly learnt that the small towns and villages are what really bring out the character of Yorkshire.
8. The people
We found the people in Yorkshire to be absolutely lovely. Although we live in South England, it almost felt like we had gone to another country. There was something really endearing about the people up’North that we just loved. And I know what you’re thinking, the people up’North are always much nicer than down Saaffff.
9. There’s just so much more I need to see
The beauty about Yorkshire is you’re surrounded by so many places to visit that the list goes on and on. If there’s one thing I quickly learnt, it’s that I’d love to go back and visit as soon as possible. Next time I’ll be bringing my hiking boots and will go out exploring that beautiful countryside more, and of course all of those little villages again.
If you’ve been to Yorkshire, where is your favourite place?
Check out some of my other posts about our return to England below: