It’s been nearly 3 years since I moved to Leeds and started to explore Yorkshire – England’s biggest county. If you’ve spent any time in ‘Gods Own County’ you’ll know exactly why Yorkshire has got that nickname. From the limestone escarpments of the Yorkshire Dales to the rolling green hills of the Yorkshire Wolds, from the historic streets of York to the narrow lanes steeped in a smugglers past of the Yorkshire coast villages it packs a lot into one county!
It means there is plenty to do all across Yorkshire and many places to take photographic memories of. The 10 on this list are my favourite locations in Yorkshire to get an absolutely champion Instagram shot!
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1. York Shambles
The Shambles must be the most famous as well as the most Instagrammed street in York if not the whole of Yorkshire. I’m sure you can see why! The cobbled street with overhanging Elizabethan buildings are what makes it so distinctive. This narrow street is also alleged to be one of the real life inspirations for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. For a photo with no one else around I’ve found visiting early on a Sunday morning (I’ve visited at 7.30am in Summer and 9am in Spring) to be the best time.
It was hard to pick just one place in York to feature on this list so for more photogenic spots in the city have a look at 12 gorgeous Instagram spots in York!
Haworth in West Yorkshire is most well known as the literary home to some of the world’s best classic works as the Brontë family lived and worked here. The Brontë Parsonage Museum is based in the family’s home and here you can learn about their history and view letters, manuscripts and first editions.
After learning about the Brontë’s past in the village it’s time to explore and the main street offers a host of photographic opportunities. The hill might be incredibly steep but the walk down (and back up!) is worth it to see the full beauty of Haworth.
3. Leeds Arcades
The best spot in Leeds for an Instagram shot is without doubt in County Arcade in the Victoria Quarter of the city centre. The detail in the design and finish of this shopping arcade is exquisite and was designed by Frank Matcham who was the architect for many theatres which comes through in the marble columns and gilt mosaics throughout! Since it is a shopping arcade the best time to visit for a quiet shot is on a Sunday morning when the arcade is open but the shops are yet to open their doors.
4. Whitby Abbey
The iconic image of Whitby Abbey stands strong and formidable on the headland overlooking the toybox seaside town below. You may well know that the impressive Gothic ruins were the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and they are well worth a visit. The Abbey makes a striking shot, especially at sunrise as the morning light casts a soft golden glow onto the ruins.
The village of Saltaire along the River Aire and Leeds-Liverpool canal, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. The village was built by Titus Salt to accommodate the workers in the textile mill that he constructed alongisde.
Salts Mill where villagers worked has been completely transformed from its original purpose as a textile mill. It is been converted to a recreational hub that is brimming with vintage treasures, cafes & restaurants, a beautiful bookshop as well as an art gallery full of unusual works by locally born David Hockney (he produced them all on his iPad!).
6. Pateley Bridge
In 2016 Pateley Bridge won first prize for a village in the Great British High Street Competition and its no surprise to see why! Located in North Yorkshire, Pateley Bridge is at the heart of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village is surrounded by imposing reservoirs, sweeping moorland and distinctive rock formations (like NT site Brimham Rocks). After photographing Pateley Bridge’s high street take some time to potter down and investigate the cafes and shops including The Oldest Sweet Shop in England which traces its family history back to 1827!
In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is the quintessentially Yorkshire village of Grassington. The village is straddled around the River Wharfe and a short walk from the car park to the River will take you along paths flanked by the dry stone walls typical of the Dales. In fact, there’s estimated to be more than 5000 miles of them in the Dales alone!
Head back into the village itself to find lots of lovely cobbled streets as well as pubs and cafes to refresh in after a walk out into the surrounding countryside of Wharfedale.
8. Robin Hood’s Bay
Charming Robin Hood’s Bay is a paradise for tourists looking for a sea breeze with plenty of cute old fishing cottages to stay in to turn a daytrip into a weekend visit. There are nooks and crannies at every corner and narrow cobbled streets winding their way all through the village to get lost wondering along. But this peaceful village once held a dark secret.
Robin Hood’s Bay was a haven for smugglers bringing in goods like gin and tobacco to sell on the black market. There are hidden alleys, basements and passages in many of the houses and pubs through the village that concealed the illicit goings on…👀
The North Yorkshire Coast has lots of hidden gems and pretty corners so turn a visit to Robin Hood’s Bat into a road trip with 6 stops you need to make on a roadtrip of the North Yorkshire Coast.
9. Malham Cove
You didn’t study Geography GCSE or Standard Grade if Malham Cove didn’t feature in your lessons! And with very good reason as Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales is an exceptional example of a limestone pavement located 75 m above the valley below. In the past a waterfall crashed down its front into the river below but now that waterfall flows underground.
If you didn’t study geography then instead you might recognise Malham Cove from the Harry Potter film series where it featured in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows.
Reflections of the railway bridge in the River Nidd below are what make a perfect postcard of Knaresborough. In the Summer, the river is filled with rowing boats as visitors enjoy the sun and cool down with ice creams from the waterfront cafes. The town has some strange features including a church built into a quarry and the petrifying well of Mother Shipton’s Cave. Knaresborough is only a 10 minute drive away from Harrogate so pop to Betty’s for a ‘Fat Rascal’ scone!
Which places have you been to already?