Ten Beautiful Villages in Yorkshire

Published: Thursday 10th Apr 2014

Written by: Betheny Ellis

Yorkshire is famous for many things, but its landscape is the crowning glory. Two National Parks (Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors), three AONBs, and a dramatic coastline pay testament to that. However, man’s influence on the county shouldn’t be ignored, villages in Yorkshire are some of the most picturesque in the country.

Head to the marvellously named Giggleswick in the Ribblesdale Valley, near Settle, and you’ll find a peaceful little village with an enchanting collection of 17th and 18th century stone cottages, many colour-washed and with mullioned windows. You can see the much photographed Tems Beck as it meanders alongside Giggleswick, while the domed chapel of the fifteenth century school is visible above the slate rooftops from most places in the village.

Just a short journey from Leyburn in Upper Wensleydale is the village of Askrigg. When you arrive you’re greeted with a steep main street on which three storey houses have stood for centuries. Walk the cobbled streets and you’ll find the famous drystone walls, as well as the market cross. You may also have a faint sense of déjà-vu, as Askrigg was used as the setting for the BBC’s All Creatures Great and Small. And before you leave the village, don’t miss the two waterfalls of Mill Gill, easily reached on a walk past the beautiful church.

Is there anywhere more romantically named than Robin Hood’s Bay? It’s probably most famous for being the finish line of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk, but it’s a picturesque village in its own right. Red roofed fishing cottages line the steep slopes of the town, with large cliffs looming above them. The beach has an elemental feel to it, and it’s quite easy to lose yourself as you stare out to sea.

Grassington is a lovely village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You can reach it easily from Skipton and the short journey is well worth it. See the lovely old bridge across the Wharfe, the cobbled lanes, and pretty market square, while in the distance the mighty slopes of Wharfdale provide a splendid backdrop.

You’ll find Thornton-Le-Dale at the foot of the North Yorkshire Moors, just east of Pickering, and once you enter you’ll understand why it’s regarded as one of the most picturesque villages in Yorkshire. Running through it is the pretty Thornton Beck, and on its banks you’ll discover the large thatched cottage that manages to stand out in a village full of beautiful cottages.

Appletreewick is a tiny Dales village close to Grassington, bookended by the High and Low Halls at either end of the main street. In between the two you can discover some fine old buildings, including the 16th century inn, which has recently constructed a cruck barn, complete with heather thatched roof, the first to be built in the Yorkshire Dales for several centuries.

If you travel a few miles west from Whitby you’ll find Goathland in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors. It’s a spacious village with several large greens, as well as some beautiful old buildings which you may recognise from ITV’s Heartbeat which used the village as a backdrop for 18 years. Nearby are several waterfalls, including the spectacular Mallyan Spout.

There aren’t many villages in Yorkshire with their own waterfalls, but when you visit West Burton near Hawes, you’ll find the delightful Cauldron Falls at the start of the village. West Burton is also different because it doesn’t have a through road, and you’ll notice that the lack of traffic improves the experience immediately.

Burnsall is almost the archetypal Yorkshire village. The roads are bordered with drystone walls and hedgerow, the cottages are grey-stone, while all around the slopes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park rise into the sky. The tumbling river Wharfe runs through it and you can cross it using the massive five-arched bridge.

Very few villages in Yorkshire are more striking than Runswick Bay. Bright white cottages with red roofs huddle together under the dark cliffs, while the bay itself curves round towards the horizon. Take a walk along the rocky foreshore and see the fisherman’s boats out to sea, or explore the narrow winding streets that thread through the town.

Betheny Ellis
Betheny Ellis


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