The dramatic moorland of the Yorkshire Moors was made for driving through. Meandering roads take you up and over heather moorlands, past dense forests, and through green fields where sheep graze beside old drystone walls.
While most road trips focus on either the North Yorkshire Moors or the Yorkshire Dales, there’s no reason why, with a bit of planning, you can’t visit both. To make all the stops on this route, you should ideally allow for up to a week, though you can do the trip in around four days if you’re happy to skip a few places.
Starting off from the rural village of Reeth, you’ll pass wildflower-filled meadows, scenic waterfalls, and some of the best hiking paths in the country. You’ll then hit the small market town of Hawes, and after that, the lovely village of Grassington, where at each place there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy a pub lunch, potter around in shops, sample fresh local produce, or find somewhere to stay for the night. If you prefer to stay somewhere more lively, you may want to wait until you reach Harrogate. There’s plenty to do in this historic spa town, so it’s a good idea to leave a day to explore.
Next, it’s York, where history enthusiasts may want to take a tour of this ancient city, which has Roman roots and a Viking past. After that, you’ll leave the Yorkshire Dales and head out into the wild North Yorkshire Moors. There are plenty of great spots for walking here, but you may also want to stop off at Dalby Forest, which will be on your right after you pass the vibrant market town of Pickering – which is also a great place to spend the night.
At the village of Goathland, you can hike towards Mallyan Spout, which is the tallest waterfall in the Moors, and well worth a visit. After that, you’ll finish up in the village of Grosmont, in the Esk Valley. If you’re not ready to end your trip, however, you can head further north to the seaside town of Whitby. Here you can browse museums, galleries, and boutique shops to your heart’s content. There’s so much to do and see here that you can comfortably spend a few days exploring, so if you want to extend your holiday it’s a good idea to plan to end up here.
The Yorkshire Dales and Moors are some of the most dog-friendly regions in the country, so if you’re lucky enough to have a dog, this is definitely a road trip they can come along for. Do bear in mind that the wild nature of the moors means that sat-nav isn’t always reliable, so it’s advisable to take a map with you, especially if you plan to do any hiking.