Exploring doesn’t have to stop just because summer is over. In fact, some places are 20x prettier in the autumn – particularly here in Yorkshire. Boasting a landscape that evolves as the seasons change, God’s Own Country has it all: from sleepy villages and bustling market towns to rolling hills and orange-tinted forests.
Ready to grab your boots and wrap up for a wander? Here’s our guide to the most beautiful towns to visit in Yorkshire this season.
As well as a bustling cobbled market square that is fringed by shops offering local foods, specialty gifts, and arts and crafts, the Yorkshire town of Grassington has some beautiful natural beauty to admire, such as the Linton Falls.
It is just a stone’s throw from some of the Yorkshire Dales’ most famous things to see such as Bolton Abbey, Malham Cove, and more, and also just so happens to be home to an array of traditional pubs serving up local ales.
Grassington is also famous for being home to the fictional village of Darrowby from the hit Channel 5 series All Creatures Great and Small, so fans will surely spot some familiar sights during their stay.
Otherwise known as the ‘Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’, Skipton is a beautiful market town that has tonnes to offer its visitors.
As well as being a busy Yorkshire town where you can enjoy a range of restaurants, pubs and bars, Skipton is also full of historical importance including its Thanet Canal, also known as the Springs Branch, which is a short branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Whether it’s visiting Skipton Castle for a history lesson, taking in the local markets on market days, or experiencing a lovely boat trip along the idyllic canal, you’ll never be short of things to do.
It also has some beautiful bars and local produce to get stuck into, making it one of The Yorkshireman’s favourite places to visit.
3. Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire
Set in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Beverley is a beautiful historic city, nestled within the idyllic countryside. You can enjoy a walk and an ice cream on the Westwood, before heading into town to enjoy some upmarket dining and a few drinks from either one of their nice restaurants, bars, or traditional pubs.
If that wasn’t all, the town also holds a market twice weekly, where visitors can enjoy street food, baked goods, handmade items, and more.
This historical spa town in North Yorkshire is popular with tourists, and for good reason. As well as its heritage as a fashionable spa town and its old-fashioned vibes, the town is famed as the home of Betty’s tea room – which often attracts queues outside.
It is one of the most beautiful towns in North Yorkshire to wander around and take in – especially the beautiful Stray, which is a public parkland in the centre of Harrogate. It also has some fantastic bars and restaurants to try once you’ve finished a tour.
If you missed out on a trip to Italy like us this summer, then Knaresborough is the next best option (well, some might say). With its labyrinth of medieval cobbled streets and deep history, it is the perfect place to visit. Dating back to the 5th century, it is one of Yorkshire’s prettiest market towns.
Due to its unique location perched above the River Nidd, it’s an idyllic place to visit all year round, and is perfect for an autumn stroll by the water.
You can even enjoy a calming row out in your own boat beneath the beautiful viaduct, before popping for an ice cream or a glass of vino at a cafe next to the river.
6. Malton, North Yorkshire
The town of Malton in North Yorkshire is seen as Yorkshire’s Food Capital, thanks to its lovely range of independent restaurants, pubs, and bars.
Artisan grocers, producers, and independent shops thrive here, all thanks to its regular Food Festival’s great reputation and perfect positioning by the North York Moors.
The pretty town is a lovely place for an autumnal potter, and we’d recommend visiting with an empty tum! Oh, and don’t miss the huge Yorkshire pudding recipe mural while you’re there.
7. Settle, North Yorkshire
The gateway to the three peaks, Settle is a beautiful Yorkshire town to visit in the Craven district of the Yorkshire Dales. Surrounded by glorious countryside, the characterful town has plenty on offer, including an array of fantastic gastropubs and quaint, independent shops to potter around.
Explore the history of the Settle-Carlisle railway, before enjoying some great food from one of its independent eateries, and a pint in a nice traditional pub.
8. Ilkley, West Yorkshire
On Ilkla Moor Baht’at! Ilkley is a spectacular West Yorkshire town overlooked by the stunning Ilkley Moors – which you may know as the home to the famous Cow and Calf.
The upmarket town is like a mini Harrogate, with plenty of quaint cafes, fantastic restaurants and cosy pubs to frequent – alongside a number of great shops that you won’t find anywhere else.
We’d recommend Ilkley as a great foodie escape.
9. Pickering, North Yorkshire
Found on the edge of the beautiful North York Moors, Pickering, must like its fellow towns also featured on this list, is full of independent shops and cafes – alongside fantastic antique shops and restaurants.
Additionally, it’s also home to a lovely weekly market, where visitors can peruse local produce, gifts and more in an idyllic setting boasting not only the surrounding countryside, but a picturesque castle, too.
The castle has stood over the town since the 13th century, and there is also the amazing North York Moors Railway to visit – a glorious heritage railway that is not to be missed.
10. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Known for being set in ‘Herriot country’, which has risen in popularity once more due to the success of Channel 5’s reboot of All Creatures Great and Small, the Yorkshire town of Northallerton is a great market town escape.
As well as being a bustling market town, it has fantastic walks and picturesque villages right on its doorstep.
It is also a great place for history as its beautiful Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens is just a few miles away.
North Allerton also has one of the oldest pubs in Yorkshire The Fleece Inn, which was once visited by Charles Dickens and just so happens to be a great place for a pint.
Set beside the River Swale, the market town of Richmond is a wonderfully romantic place to visit – thanks to its beautiful old-fashioned castle looming over the town, like something out of a fairytale.
Richmond is also known for holding one of England’s largest cobbled market squares – which still hosts two market days per week for locals and guests to enjoy.
Full of quaint cafes and traditional pubs, the pretty town is fantastic for a weekend away, and boasts plenty of nearby walks for visitors to enjoy – including the castle, waterfalls, and magical woodlands.
12. Whitby, North Yorkshire
Home of Dracula, 199 steps, Whitby Abbey, and the best fish and chips you’ll ever try (we’re looking at you, Magpie Cafe) the Yorkshire town of Whitby is the quintessential seaside town.
With breathtaking views, historic importance, and a range of fantastic events – including the Whitby Goth Festival – Whitby is undoubtedly one of Yorkshire’s biggest tourist spots. But don’t let that put you off.
There are plenty of stunning sights to see when visiting, including the Abbey, the whalebone, the pier, and more, alongside tons of jewellery shops specialising in Whitby jet, proper seaside amusements, and plenty of places to eat.
Hawes is an idyllic market town in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, unique for the beautiful waterfall that can be found not only running through the centre of town – but between the houses, too.
Naturally, the beauty of Gayle Beck sets the tone as you enter the town, greeting you with its tranquility before you stumble upon antique shops, cosy pubs, old-fashioned grocery shops and other independents.
If you love cheese, Hawes is also home to the famous Wensleydale cheese, which is made nearby at the Wensleydale Creamery.
14. Hebden Bridge
‘Lesbian capital’ of the UK, ‘greatest town in Europe’, ‘fourth funkiest town in the world’ – Hebden Bridge has been named it all. And for us, it’s the perfect place to visit.
Located west of Halifax, at the confluence of the River Calder and the Hebden Water, the market town combines an industrial past with beautiful natural surroundings, and somehow manages to boast a real cool factor in everything that it does.
There’s a real artsy vibe throughout, which is reflected in its strong array of bars, cafes, restaurants and shops – which will have you pottering for the better part of an afternoon.
Among Hebden Bridge’s star attractions are the nearby Hardcastle Crags and the many Happy Valley filming locations.
Another of the Herriot towns, Thirsk is a charming Yorkshire market town that offers a wonderful base for exploring the North Yorkshire countryside.
It’s the home of and the literary inspiration of James Herriot’s novel series (including All Creatures Great & Small) which was inspired by his veterinary work in the area, which is honoured by a museum in the town where guests can wander around the original Skeldale House.
The town is also home to plenty of shops to potter around, alongside, of course, pubs and restaurants where you can fill up after a wander around.