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There are few counties in England with as much history, natural beauty and sheer romance as Yorkshire. The county, the largest in the UK, includes the National Parks of the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales, and offers some of the most rewarding walking to be found anywhere in the UK.
Whether you’re a resident of the UK looking to explore this famous region of your own country, or a visitor from overseas after a taste of true English countryside, Yorkshire has it all. Dramatic, windswept moorland, dramatic North Sea coastlines, rolling hills and picturesque villages are all on offer when you visit the region that’s so special, it’s known as ‘God’s Own Country’.
Here we take a look at some of the best walks for discovering Yorkshire.
The Dales Way
There’s no doubt about it – the Yorkshire dales are downright beautiful. Ask many people to paint a picture of the quintessential English countryside, and they’ll present you with a scene of the Yorkshire Dales. Soft rolling hills, limestone edges, green valleys, waterfalls, Roman roads, interesting old churches, an abbey and some lovely pubs all feature here - as well as villages proud of their heritage.
The Dales Way runs for 78 miles from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria. We offer both 8-day and 10-day self-guided itineraries.
The Cleveland Way
The Cleveland Way was the second of the UK’s National Trails to be established, in 1969. What makes it so special is the contrast between the stretches along the hilly Yorkshire coastline, and the inland stages across the rolling moors. Along the Cleveland Way you’ll experience walking across field-quilted farmlands, forests, dramatic sandstone rock scarps, bleak moorlands and the rugged coastline, punctuated by beautiful little fishing villages, clinging to the cliffs.
Castle to Castle: The Richmond Way
The Richmond Way starts at Lancaster Castle, and finishes 69 miles later at Richmond Castle – visiting Bolton Castle along the way. As such, it is a walk that’s rich in fascinating history – the ancient trading routes that the route follows have existed at least since Roman times. It is a beautiful walk, visiting riverside footpaths, pretty little villages and the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, whilst offering stunning views over the Wensleydale and Swaledale valleys.
James Herriot Way
This 50 mile, circular walk, has been designed to take in some of the countryside beloved by James Alfred Wright, who, under the name of James Herriot, wrote a series of books about his life as a vet. The books were turned into a hugely popular BBC TV series – All Creatures Great and Small. As well passing through some of the finest villages and countryside that Yorkshire has to offer, the walk is a little shorter than some of the others in Yorkshire, and therefore slightly more manageable if walking for 8 days or more is a challenge.
You can also try these classic walks that include long stretches within Yorkshire, as well as other counties:
The Coast to Coast
The iconic Coast to Coast starts in Cumbria, and then heads through the Yorkshire Dales, and on to the North York Moors National Park, where it finishes on the coast at Robin Hood’s Bay. Find out more here
The Pennine Way
The UK’s first, and longest National Trail, passes through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales on its way from Derbyshire to the Scottish Borders. Find out more here
They say 50 is the new 40. Well, if that’s true, then there’s plenty of life left in 3 of the UK’s most popular walking routes, which all celebrate their 50th anniversaries in 2019.
The Cleveland Way, the Dales Way and the Offa’s Dyke Path are all reaching this major milestone over the next few months, and you can help to celebrate their birthdays by walking the routes with Sherpa Expeditions.
Let’s take a look at what makes these routes so special as they prepare to celebrate turning 50 years young.
The Cleveland Way, which turns 50 on 24 May 2019, is a 109-mile long trail in the North York Moors National Park – and was one of the UK’s earliest official National Trails.
One of the things that makes the Cleveland Way so special is that it’s a combination of coastal and moorland walks, so you can enjoy some real variety in terms of terrain and views. Along its length there are contrasts in walking between quilted farmlands, forest patches, dramatic sandstone rock scarps, isolated moorlands and the highly eroded coastline, punctuated by beautiful little fishing villages, clinging to the cliffs.
There’s also a great deal of history to be enjoyed along the Cleveland Way – including the remains of the Norman Rievaulx Abbey, the 13th century Whitby Abbey, and Whitby’s Captain James Cook Museum, whose ships were all built in the coastal town.
You can have a look at the events currently planned to mark the Cleveland Way’s 50th anniversary.
Departure dates from 6 April to 1 October 2019 – read more here.
The first public Dales Way walk took place on 23rd March 1969, and was organised by the West Riding Ramblers, who were also pivotal in the creation of the route. The Dales Way runs for 78 miles from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria, following mostly riverside paths, running right across the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the gentle foothills of southern lakeland to the shore of England's grandest lake, Lake Windermere.
Along the Dales Way, you’ll come across plenty of interesting old churches, an abbey, lovely real ale pubs and traditional villages. Much of the trail follows pretty river valleys - especially the Wharfe, Dee, Rawthey, Lune and the Kent. All have beauty spots for shady picnics, small ravines and rapids and are patrolled by birds such as Berwick swans, kingfishers, dippers and wagtails.
Visit The Dales Way Association’s website for information on events taking place to mark the 50th anniversary.
Departure dates from 6 April to 5 October 2019, with 8-day and 10-day itineraries available – read more here.
The Offa’s Dyke Association marks its 50th anniversary on 29th March 2019. This National Trail follows the English-Welsh border for 177 miles, although our 8-day itinerary follows the southern half of the trail from Chepstow to Knighton, roughly half the length of the full route.
Offa was the King of Mercia in the 8th century. He decided to define his territory and protect it from the marauding Welsh by building a huge earthwork. Today the remaining 80 miles of embankment forms Britain’s longest archaeological monument.
This is a journey packed with interest through patchworks of fields, over windswept ridges, across infant rivers, by ruined castles and into the old border market towns. Traditional farming methods have more or less remained intact and the hedgerows, oak woods and hay meadows form good wildlife habitats, home of buzzards and the rare Red Kite.
Read more about the 50th anniversary of Offa’s Dyke here.
Departure dates from 7 April to 6 October 2019 – read more here.
Best Pubs in the UK for Walkers
The UK is famous for its historic inns and pubs, and no matter what your choice of refreshment, relaxing in one at the end of a day’s walk is an essential part of a walking holiday in the UK. We’ve asked around the office and here is a list of our favourite pubs that you can visit on one of our UK walking holidays.
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Langsdale
Located in the Lake District, the Old Dungeon Ghyll is a famous climber’s bar that has offered accommodation and sustenance to weary fellwalkers and climbers in the midst of some of the highest mountains in England, for over 300 years.
Why we like it: Stunning location and a great place to rest up with other exhausted walkers and listen to their epic tales.
Visit the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and more on our Cumbria Way walking holiday >>
DORSET AND WESSEX TRAILS
Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills
This lovely old pub dates back to the 13th century and was once the home of the leader of the most notorious gang of smugglers in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries (Emmanuel Charles).
Why we like it: Cosy inn near the sea has some good ales and its location makes you feel miles from the real world.
Visit the Smugglers Inn and more on our Dorset and Wessex Trails walking holiday >>
Red Lion, Burnsall
The Red Lion in North Yorkshire was originally a Ferryman’s Inn from the 16th century and on top of some delicious real ales the pub also serves up a tasty selection of local game and produce. Image from Tip Advisor
Why we like it: Good old-fashioned pub with great food, nestled right by the old bridge.
Visit the Red Lion pub on our Dales Way walking holiday >>
GREAT GLEN WAY
Glenmoriston Arms, Glenmoriston
Another pub that was originally a Drover’s inn, the original hotel built on the site dates back to 1740, six years before the battle of Culloden.
Why we like it: Great old bar with over 100 varieties of single malt Whisky, including some from extinct distilleries.
This renowned whisky bar has a huge range of single malts to choose from and friendly bartenders who can talk you through the tasting of Scotland’s national drink.
Why we like it: Great food and whiskey (obviously) and a relaxing place for a meal after a visit to Urquart Castle.
Visit the Glenmoriston Arms, Fiddlers and more on our Great Glen Way walking holiday >>
WEST HIGHLAND WAY
Kings House Hotel, Glencoe
The Kings House hotel is one of the oldest (and most remote!) licenced inns in Scotland and offers an extensive bar with magnificent views of the hills. It even has a sneaky climber’s bar round the back.
Why we like it: Location, Location! This pub has one of the most famous backdrops in Scotland (Buchaille Etive Mor).
Visit the Kings House Hotel and more on our Great Glen Way walking holiday >>
COAST TO COAST
Buck Hotel, Reeth
Originally a coaching Inn dating back to around 1760, the Buck in has been refreshing weary travellers for centuries. Inside you’ll find a cost bar with many of the original features still in tact.
Why we like it: Good range of well-kept beers/ales on draught and great zippy food.
Black Bull, Reeth
Older still than the Buck Hotel, the Black Bull dates back to 1680 and offers a wide selection of hand-pulled ales and good hearty food.
Why we like it: The Black Bull’s position on the village green makes for a great spot to rest in the sun (if you’re lucky!) and the pub is also amusingly famous for its ‘Old Peculiar on draught’; two pints of which apparently and you are anyone's!
The Lion, Blakey
The Lion Inn on remote Blakey Ridge is a 16th Century freehouse. Located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park, it offers breathtaking views over the valleys of Rosedale and Farndale.
Why we like it: This cavernous old pub in the middle of nowhere has a great feel to it inside with open fires and low beams, and outside in the beer garden you have some great views over the dales.
Horseshoe Hotel, Egton Bridge
The 18th century Horseshoe Hotel sits on some stunning grounds on the bank of the River Esk, in the quaint English village of Egton Bridge. Catering to walkers it is a great place to relax and replenish your energy.
Why we like it: You always hit this old fashioned pub right about when you feel like a drink! It’s beautiful beer garden is a great place to rest your weary feet before you contemplate crossing the Esk on stepping stones!
Visit these pubs and more on one of our Coast to Coast walking holidays >>
The Boathouse is a traditional pub, with low-beamed ceilings, stone floor and a dark wood bar decorated with tankards, pump-clips, and paintings.
Why we like it: Extraordinary range of 12 varieties of real ale or cider on hand-pulls and great home-cooked meals.
Twice Brewed Inn, Once Brewed
Overlooked by Steel Rigg, one of the best stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, the Twice Brewed Inn’s setting in rural Northumberland is quite unique. There are many theory’s surrounding it’s unique name that you can learn more about on your visit.
Why we like it: Once a brewery, this pub lives up to its name with a range of tasty ales.
Visit the Boathouse and Twice Brewed Inn on our Hadrian’s Wall walking holiday >>
Image credits: Some images used in this article were sourced from the pub's website, Trip Advisor or Visit Scotland.