It’s been a strange year. With all the lockdown and social distancing measures, it’s hard to remember anything enjoyable that happened earlier in the year. Many people decided to stay home and avoid chancing holidaying abroad, as did we. So after a few weeks of deliberating, we took it upon ourselves to jump in our 1995 campervan and explore the beauty that was right on our doorstep here in Yorkshire.
Taking a retrospective moment this New Year’s, we’ve selected some of our favourite places we visited in God’s Own Country during 2020. After a hard look back, we found that we’ve experienced some beautiful landscapes, quaint little villages with traditional pubs, and most of all, a little bit of happiness in a turbulent 2020. Check out our ultimate guide to exploring Yorkshire.
Haworth, West Yorkshire
We could literally visit Haworth every day of the year and not get fed up of it. Quaint pubs, idyllic streets and friendly folk, this traditional West Yorkshire village has it all. On top of that, it has an incredible sweet shop that’ll take you right back to your childhood – with every sugary treat you could imagine. Trust us when we say, no trip is complete without a visit. In addition to the extra cavity from all the sweeties, there are plenty of traditional pubs to enjoy a cheeky pint in, and the village is fringed with beautiful Yorkshire countryside, too. We would highly recommend you put it to the top of your list if you haven’t been already.
Marsden, West Yorkshire
If you love a good countryside walk, you’ll surely enjoy a trip to rural village, Marsden. Sitting on the Pennines, there are a number of vast reservoirs to roam around – each of which boasts impressive views that have inspired many writers and artists (including Simon Armitage). Head five minutes out of the village and you can enjoy a ramble around Butterley Reservoir, Blakeley Reservoir and Wessenden Reservoir, and when you return, enjoy a nice pint in many of Marsden lovely watering holes (followed by some lovely fish and chips, of course).
Anello is actually the only restaurant mentioned as a standalone highlight on this list – a testament to how much we enjoyed our visit. The owners who brought us the cult favourite Rudy’s in Manchester opened up their brand new venture in the sleepy town of Slaithwaite this summer, giving us another reason to visit besides the lovely ales and the access to the Pennines. Their pizzas are some of the most delicious you’ll ever taste this side of Italy, and the venue is a casual delight to visit. If you’re a fan of Neapolitan pizza, you may as well try it from the guys who made it in the rankings of top ten pizzas in the entire world.
Malham, North Yorkshire
Home to the famous Malham Cove that featured in the Harry Potter Franchise, Malham has some fantastic scenery to take in. Really, it’s unbeatable. As well as the epic countryside it has to offer, it’s also home to our new favourite hotel, Beck Hall, which is a 4-star dog-friendly hotel that perches next to a lovely babbling brook which you can sit next to with a glass of vino. The beautiful hotel is 2 minutes from the Cove, and was a huge highlight of our year. If you’d like to try out on the famous Malham walk, read up on it here.
Transpennine Ale Trail, West Yorkshire
A distant memory now, but pre-Covid, we took on the ale trail – which is a train journey pub crawl in which you stop off at several pubs on the Pennine trail between Manchester and Leeds. Not only do you get to try some of the best ales that Yorkshire has to offer, but you also get to take in the wonderful sights of the fields, countryside and natural beauty of the Pennines – while making a few friends along the way. We’ll no doubt be back on the booze train once all this is over.
Popping into Leeds city centre (before lockdown) to enjoy the newly opened Rudy’s pizza – which was amazing, as always – we took a day out of our usually hectic schedule to enjoy Leeds like a tourist, something we haven’t actually done before being fairly local. While we were there, we popped into The Banker’s Cat for a chilled glass of wine and a pint, which had the perfect old-style vibes of which we can only compare to the Peaky Blinders. A nice break away from the city’s saturated cocktail bars, we’d highly recommend for a bit of a refuel after a day of shopping.
Skipton, North Yorkshire
Known as the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, Skipton is always a joy to visit – and it was much the same this year. This summer, we become regulars at the Woolly Sheep Inn – with their selection of Masons Gin and gorgeous pub grub well and truly winning us over. Not to mention the laidback beer garden that we spent many an hour in during each visit. The town is right next to Malham, so it’s a great centre point if you’re looking to head to a couple of places in the Dales during your stay there.
Bridlington North Beach, East Yorkshire
We took the Yorkshireman’s newest recruit – our lovely little pooch, Stella – to enjoy the sandy beach over the Christmas period, which was a great reminder of the beautiful spots on our doorsteps that we often overlook. The beach is a lovely sandy stretch that has some spectacular Yorkshire coastline to enjoy – and while we didn’t quite get to paddle in the sea, as Chief Pupper wasn’t quite ready to dip her toes in yet, we did get to take in that fresh, salty air that we just love about the British seaside.
Kelham Island, Sheffield
During the summer of Covid we managed to squeeze in a visit to the amazing Kelham Island, which has come on leaps and bounds since we last spent time in Sheffield. It was quite the foodie tour, which our tummies paid for later, chowing down on amazing tacos and orange wine at Piña, before stuffing our faces with yet more pizza at the cool new food hall Kommune. And naturally, with all the grub came litres of booze, with Saw Grinders Union providing the tasty cocktails to finish us off after a day of eating.
Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire
While we travelled the Dales in our little campervan, we passed through the idyllic town of Pateley Bridge – home to the oldest sweet shop in England (and allegedly, the world!). The main street looks like it was plucked straight out of a postcard, with some lovely little independent shops and Butchers to try out during your visit. We picked up some pork and apple sausage rolls to fill our tums, before enjoying a pint in the local pub and camping at the Coldstone Cut – a fantastic art installation just down the road next to the Coldstone Quarry.
Cow & Calf, West Yorkshire
Just outside of Leeds, the Cow and Calf rocks make for a beautiful place to take a little stroll. You can take in the beauty of the natural rock face (which is usually complete with free-roaming sheep), before you climb on up to take in the views over Ilkley from the top. On a clear day, you can see West Yorkshire and surrounding areas for miles, and it literally feels like you’re on the top of the world.
Grassington, North Yorkshire
Making a spontaneous stop-off during our unplanned trip to the Dales this summer, Grassington made our list thanks to its quintessentially Yorkshire market square, dotted with pubs, bookshops and independent businesses to potter in. The town was packed full of guests this summer thanks to Channel 5’s All Creatures Great and Small, so we dipped out for a bit of lunch at The Devonshire – a proper Yorkshire pub serving proper pub grub. The real draw of Grassington, however, is the lovely Linton Falls – and although it’s not one of the biggest waterfalls to check out in the Yorkshire Dales – it’s the perfect spot for a picnic and makes for a very picturesque sight.