Yorkshire's Traditional Towns and Great Cities

Yorkshire - from market squares to city streets

The ancient capital of Yorkshire is York, one of the great cities of the medieval world. Still encircled by its ancient walls, the city is dominated by the soaring pinnacles of York Minster, the finest Gothic church in northern Europe. From narrow streets, lively with chic cafes and specialist shops, to trips on its tree-lined river, York is a treasure house with a superb choice of museums and galleries.

York may be the most famous but it is only one among Yorkshire's wealth of historic towns. Enjoy the Georgian charm of Beverley and Howden. Stroll the elegant spa towns of Harrogate and Ilkley. Visit Selby, with its massive abbey, Ripon, with its fine cathedral and busy market square and Otley, birthplace of Thomas Chippendale.

Others of the region's historic towns are still guarded by ancient castles, including Richmond in beautiful Swaledale, Knaresborough, high above its spectacular gorge, Pontefract, where Richard II was done to death and Skipton, market town of the Dales. Bolton Castle, Bolton Abbey and Castle Howard are famous visitor attractions.

Yorkshire is celebrated for its textiles and the wealth of the Victorian era can still be seen in the superb architecture of towns such as Halifax and Huddersfield, fine bases for exploring the beautiful Pennine Hill country.

Yorkshire's traditional country towns bustle with local life. They include Wetherby, Thirsk in 'Herriot Country', Driffield on the rolling Yorkshire Wolds, Northallerton, in its broad green vale and Malton, the gateway to Ryedale. Find northern tradition alive and kicking in little Pennine towns such as Hebden Bridge and Marsden.

In dynamic contrast, there is the big city buzz of vibrant modern centres such as Leeds, Hull, Bradford, Sheffield and Doncaster, with Leeds now firmly established as the UK's second financial centre after London.

York Minster Harrogate