North Yorkshire has a wealth of places to visit for all tastes, from the pure beauty of the Yorkshire Dales or the sandy beaches and rugged cliffs of the stunning heritage coast, to the striking landscapes of the North York Moors.
With winter behind us, lift your spirits in the stunning countryside. Nature bursts into life shaking off its winter coat bringing wild daffodils, bluebells, birds and bees.
Wildlife and walking experiences are ‘must-do’ activities at this time of year, as the forests fill with birdsong, our iconic moorland birds reveal their extravagant mating displays and Common Seal colonies come ashore to nurture their young.
Find out what wildlife is around at this time of year with North York Moors nature calendar, full of tips, seasonal walks and ideas on the best places to spot birds, animals and wildflowers.
The sun shines on Easter celebrations too, egg-cellent trails will be found at most attractions, happy hunting for the kids, while the beautiful Walled Gardens at Helmsley and Scampston celebrate new growth with spring plant fairs and other events.
It is STRONGLY ADVISED that you check the information provided, and contact event organisers BEFORE setting out an remember to STAY LOCAL.
‘I’m extremely fortunate that I live in North Yorkshire. The same view that I’ve seen a million times never fails to amaze me and the scenery changes with the seasons and the weather’
1. Wild daffodils walks in Farndale
The famed Farndale wild daffodils appear alongside the river Dove in time for Easter, subject to the weather of course! They’re said to have been planted by the monks from nearby Rievaulx Abbey. Wild daffodils are smaller and more delicate, and the trumpet shaped flower is a paler yellow. Follow our famous Daffodil walk from Low Mill to Church Houses; you’ll find them along the riverbanks and in the churchyard at Church Houses.
2. Spring blossom in the Howardian Hills
Spring brings a season of milder temperatures and a burst of growth as gardens and orchards blossom. What better time to sample an Orchard Tour of Ampleforth Abbey’s famous apple orchards? 40 different varieties are grown and you’ll also get a chance to see how their cider is made in the Cider Mill before a tasting or two, not to mention a slice of Ampleforth’s famous apple cake.
The Yorkshire Arboretum is a riot of colour and fragrance too, as spring bulbs and 6,000 trees burst into flower. Over the road, Castle Howard’s 1,000 acres of Grade 1 listed parkland and gardens have stunning displays of daffodils, later followed by bluebells in Pretty Wood. Woodland walks, lakeside strolls and free tours revealing the secrets of Castle Howard’s gardens are all part of the package.
3. Whitby Abbey, the home of Easter
With no fewer than six medieval monastic ruins set in peaceful locations, the North York Moors is the perfect place for spiritual refreshment. Head for the coast to the iconic ruins of Whitby Abbey, set on a dramatic headland with stunning coastal views, which, long before any Dracula associations, played a pivotal part in the setting of today’s date for Easter.
In 664, following disagreements on when it should be celebrated, a Synod was called by the Northumbrian princess Hild, the founding abbess of Whitby Abbey. The Synod finally agreed to follow the Roman calculations for Easter, bringing together the traditions in England for the first time. The calculations agreed are still in use today.
There’s an interactive visitor centre with digital reconstructions and audio tours to accompany you on your wanders. Hostel lovers will adore Whitby’s YHA too, with the best address in town – in Whitby Abbey’s grounds, with coastal views to the side and abbey ruins to the back. An easy walk down the 199 steps takes you into town for cobbled streets, museums, fish & chips and sandy beach.
4. Malton Food Tours and Food Lovers Festival
The market town of Malton, ‘Yorkshire’s Food Capital’, is making a name for itself as a foodie destination. Traditional butchers and fishmongers have been joined by a growing number of artisan producers including microbreweries, artisan bakery’s and a Master Patissier. Munch your way around a selection of ‘Made in Malton’ producers and specialists on a Malton Food Tour.
Not to be missed and now firmly on the foodies calendar, is May’s Food Lovers Festival showcasing Yorkshire’s fabulous bounty and speciality food from further afield. Expect celebrity and passionate local chefs, cookery demos, tutored tastings, 150 food stalls and street food, festival bar, live music and more.
5. Bird watching
The arrival of three of our iconic wading birds, curlew, golden plover and lapwings, to their breeding grounds on the high moors always seems too soon for the weather. The first curlew’s cry comes over an icy wind, flouting the elements to declare winter over, as though it’s the bird that brings the new season in and not the other way round.
Spring is also a good time to find goshawks and migrant birds in the forests and moors of the National Park while over on the coast, gannets and puffins make an appearance at Bempton. Don’t know where to look? Join expert guides from North York Moors Wildlife Photography Tours for a memorable day out on a nature safari, with the chance to see some of the area’s most iconic wildlife.
6. Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, usually in this order, and in under 12 hours. These peaks form part of the Pennine range, and encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
7. Guided Walks
If you not an experience hiker / walker there are a number of guided walks from the Guided Mountain Days are led by a fully qualified mountain leader. Experience the sense of achievement and adventure, safely with fellow like minded people. If you feeling more adventurist why not join the Coast to Coast Guided Walking Holiday and follow in the footsteps of Wainwright.
8. National Trails
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cleveland Way – National Trail. The route is challenging in places, especially on the Cleveland Hills and some of the coastal sections, but this adds to the overall experience. Starting at the historic market town of Helmsley the 110 mile walk skirts the upland ridge on the edge of the North York Moors National Park before reaching the coast to end at Filey. It is often described as two walks in one: The first of beautiful heather moorland and the second of outstanding coastland. The Cleveland Way is an unforgettable way to immerse yourself in nature, stopping to enjoy historic villages and towns each day.