Last updated on July 5th, 2012 | Written By Jon Howe
National Trust attractions in Yorkshire
Fountains Abbey. Photo attribution: Rick Harrison.
Apparently 80 per cent of Britain’s happiest people have a connection with nature and the outdoors. If that’s the case it is hard to understand why Yorkshire folk have earned a stereotype of being dour and cantankerous, because God’s Own County boasts some of Britain’s finest landscapes and most fascinating outdoor heritage.
If your enthusiasm is triggered by the challenge of rambling through acres of green fields, and over striking rock formations or if you prefer to explore ancient ruins, stately homes or beautifully-preserved gardens and woodland, the National Trust owns land in Yorkshire that comfortably satisfies your needs and offers you options for many other days.
National trust membership
Membership of the National Trust gives you the freedom of choice, with free parking and limitless return visits taking the stress out of decision-making. A staggering 4 million people have that freedom, and the National Trust membership packages offer variations on groups and individuals, plus annual or life membership depending on your requirements.
Looking at what is on offer in Yorkshire alone, never mind the rest of the 400 National Trust-owned landmarks in Britain, makes a membership package a tempting consideration but all these venues also welcome non-members on a day-to-day basis.
Fountains Abbey, Ripon
Combined with the Studley Royal Water Garden, Fountains Abbey is a classic example of how the National Trusts venues in Yorkshire have something for everyone. Children can entertain themselves in the play area and run amongst the dramatic ruins of the Abbey.
The banks of the River Skell offer a tranquil setting for a stroll and a picnic and there are also the Georgian water gardens and gothic church for those with a keen eye for exploration. Open all year and within easy access of the A1, Fountains Abbey also has a café and tea rooms.
Brimham Rocks, Harrogate
A natural playground for young and old, Brimham Rocks is a visually-stunning collection of rock formations that offer endless opportunities for climbing, rambling or just enjoying the magnificent views over Nidderdale. There are obviously many obstacles and cliff edges so caution should be taken with the very young, but the adjoining moorland and woodland offer alternatives. A shop and visitors centre offer local produce and an insight into the geological and social history of the area.
Malham Tarn Estate
Situated in North Yorkshire near the village of Malham, the Malham Tarn Estate offers an opportunity to simply enjoy the great outdoors. Whether that is walking or cycling, the limestone pavements, hill farms and meadows all present stunning views, and there is also the option of seeking out the nearby Janet’s Foss waterfall. The accompanying National Nature Reserve is also home to rare plants and animals and is particularly impressive in the summer.
Nostell Priory, nr Wakefield
The Georgian mansion belonging to the Winn family is the centrepiece of the Nostell Priory and houses a huge collection of Chippendale furniture, rare paintings and antiques. The 300 acres of adjoining gardens and parkland offer relaxing picnic spots and ample room for the kids to wear themselves out. Café’s and gift shops stock local produce and souvenir items and in the summer there are weekend barbecues in the grounds.
Beningbrough Hall, York
Interactive galleries and living history exhibits are different features of a visit to Beningbrough Hall. The gardens and woodland allow for hours of exploration and picnic opportunities in a relaxed and undisturbed setting, but inside the Hall guided tours offer an intriguing insight into the history of the building and the paintings within. The ‘Walled Garden Restaurant’ is supplied via produce grown in the gardens. The crops can be viewed, and later purchased from the on-site shop and plant centre.
Hardcastle Crags, nr Hebden Bridge
A haven for the more serious walkers or a refuge for those inquisitive on local history, the Hardcastle Crags is a wooded valley with deep revines, streams and waterfalls and 25 miles of pathways bordered by wildlife and striking greenery. Four circular walks each offer challenging terrain, but there are simple options for those wanting a relaxed stroll.
Alongside the river is a former cotton mill, now a sustainable visitors centre, where exhibits and tours explain the rich 200 year history of the valley. The adjacent ‘Weaving Shed’ café offers local and seasonal produce and the gift shop is also well worth a visit. These are just a taster of what the National Trust preserves and maintains within Yorkshire, and we have not even looked at the east coastline where various heritage sites can compliment a traditional trip to the seaside.
Wherever you choose to visit, be reassured that your patronage allows the great work of the trust to continue and the membership packages form a significant part of the trusts financial planning, allowing Yorkshire’s majesty to be enjoyed by us and future generations.
National Trust places to visit in Yorkshire
Browse the map and click on the pins to find the location of the places featured in this guide.