Yorkshire is a diverse county which stretches from the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales all the way to the rugged cliffs that jut out into the North Sea along the coast. It has bustling, industrial cities like Sheffield & Leeds and grand stately homes but one of my favourite things about Yorkshire is the number of gorgeous villages to explore – each one unique and different to the rest.
In fact, even within Yorkshire, each area of has its own distinctive style. Along the North Yorkshire Coast you’ll see terracotta roof tiles, in the Dales grey stone cottages abound whilst dark bricked buildings are typical of West Yorkshire. What they all have in common is how lovely they are and each one of the below I’ve honestly fallen a little bit in love with whilst exploring and photographing their cobbled streets.
Staithes fits snugly into an inlet along the North Yorkshire Coast just a few miles drive north of the bustling seaside town of Whitby. It’s a steep walk down from the car park to the cobbled winding streets of the village but its charm makes the thought of a steep walk back up worthwhile!
Lobster baskets are piled high in the harbour and buoys swing lazily from cottage doors. The smell of sea salt and fresh fish lingers in the air and discarded wellington boots lie askew outside homes. Stroll down to the Cob & Lobster for a beer to sip in the sun (hopefully) or beside a roaring fire as the wind whips around the pub.
There are two spots for gorgeous views across Staithes. Cross the bridge to the North side of the river and turn left up the steep hill until you find the bench which looks over Staithes from behind. To find the sweeping view of Staithes at the top of this section, take the Cleveland Way past the Cod & Lobster pub, through the village and up the hill. This should take around 10 minutes and the view back across Staithes you’ll be rewarded with is one of the best views along the North Yorkshire Coast!
Grassington straddles the river Wharfe in Wharfedale at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. It may be a bustling village in the National Park but there are gorgeous cottages and alleyways to get lost along!
There’s a wonderful walk from Grassington to the tiny village of Hebden along the river Wharfe which takes you along some of the typical dry stone walls that are classic of the Yorkshire Dales. Did you know there are actually over 5000 miles of them across the Dales?!
3. Robin Hood’s Bay
The village of Robin Hood’s Bay clings precariously to the cliffs that tower above the bay of the same name that sweeps below it when the tide has crept its way out. The terracotta tile topped cottages look to be sitting on top of each other with narrow cobbled lanes winding between them at every angle.
First impressions would lead you to think this is just another sleepy fishing villages along England’s coast which charms you at every corner but beneath the surface (literally beneath the surface!) are various passages that tell a different story. Robin Hood’s Bay was once rife with smugglers and illegal goods such as tobacco and gin that was secreted up from the boats in the harbour to the top of the village through underground alleys and basements!
In Upper Wharfedale there’s a sleepy village that once had a bustling market on thursdays. Kettlewell sits along the river Wharfe which flows along the valley floor and through the village. It is perfectly situated to be a starting place for many different walks to suit a range of abilities!
Carry on up the B6160 (up Wharfedale) from Grassington to find this lovely village (complete with a super cute vllage store).
Haworth is a quaint little village in West Yorkshire settled on the edge of weathered moorland to its west and the industrial city of Bradford to its south east. Whilst most people visit here for its strong ties to the literary Bronte family most return because of its tranquil beauty.
Potter from the Bronte Parsonage Museum to Main Street to admire the church that Patrick Bronte was priest of and to pick up some traditional treats at the sweet shop. Main Street is so steep that it allows spectacular views across to the moorland beyond as well as down through the village and the cottages and cafes that line the cobbled street.
Whilst in Haworth take a walk out to Top Withens, the abandoned farm house that is said to have inspired Heathcliff’s unwelcoming home in Wuthering Heights. If it’s too far turn back once you find the Bronte waterfall. There are plenty of lovely cafes to have a well deserved cake and coffee after a moorland walk!
Hidden in the North Yorkshire Moors is the village of Goathland and it makes a nice little detour on the way to the Yorkshire Coast. As you wander along the main road through the village you may feel and odd sense of familiarity. The TV show Heartbeat was filmed here and it also had a cameo in the earlier Harry Potter films as Hogsmeade Station so take your time to spot as many locations as you can recognise.
If you time a trip to Goathland well you may be lucky enough to see the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors steam train passing through on its way along the route over the Moors between Pickering and Whitby.
The enchanting little village of Ripley has Ripley Castle at its heart as well as a beautiful village church and a rather tasty ice cream shop! It’s so charming it’s been named as the best village to live in North Yorkshire.
A visit to Ripley Castle includes strolling through the estate’s grounds. With walled gardens, pleasure gardens and a deer park to explore a drink at the cafe afterwards will be well deserved!
8. Pateley Bridge
Located in North Yorkshire, Pateley Bridge is at the heart of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it’s surrounded by imposing reservoirs, sweeping moorland and distinctive rock formations (like NT site Brimham Rocks). Technically Pateley Bridge is a town rather than a village but I’ve added it to this list because it really doesn’t feel like it and it has a wonderfully characterful High Street. In fact, in 2016 Pateley Bridge won a first prize in the Great British High Street Competition. 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!
Back to the Yorkshire Dales for the final pretty village on this list! Burnsall is settled in Wharfedale with postcard views of the valley and hills that surround it. Burnsall Bridge crosses the river Wharfe with a distinctive 5 arch design.
Burnsall is full of gorgeous cottages and a charming little church. Take a rest on the grass beside the river or hike up to Troller’s Gill – a limestone gorge that according to legend holds all sorts of evil creatures…
Heptonstall is only last on this list because it is the last of these villages that I visited but as soon as I walked up cobbled Heptonstall Road and into the historic centre I couldn’t help but gasp at how gorgeous it is. This historic weavers village has its past woven into the buildings and doorways throughout. Keep your eyes peeled to admire each one.
Despite being so tiny, Heptonstall has three churches (although one now lies in ruins) and a couple of pubs a long the main street – Towngate. Can you imagine the echo of horse hooves clopping through the village in years gone by?
Heptonstall sits above the River Calder and the market town of Hebden Bridge with stunning views over both and to the hills and trees beyond. Walk along Northgate to the Methodist Church for some seriously impressive views.
Which Yorkshire villages have you fallen in love with? For more Yorkshire inspiration check out some of my other posts…