things to do

Things to do

Rent a beach hut

Traditional English seaside holidays have been experiencing something of a revival, with families discovering the joys of the bucket and spade, donkeys and amusements break. Scarborough is at the heart of the revival with a spectacular double-bay beach, both with recently refurbished beach huts. Rent one of these in the North Bay all year round, available by the day or the week, and have the beach and sea literally on your doorstep.

Dress up as a Viking

Thousands of heavily armed Vikings in full period costume take over York for a week of historical workshops and Viking Festival events each February. Highlights include a full Viking wedding, held at York Minster, the march of a Viking army through the town , and a battle and fireworks finale. They finish the week off by setting fire to a full-size Viking long ship. You can even dress up as a Viking too if you like, with a competition for the best beard (children only unfortunately).

See a rural show

Get to grips with the farming heritage of the region by spending a day at a local agricultural show. Held throughout the summer in towns and villages across the area (including the Ryedale Show, pictured), the shows are the highlight of the farming year, and give local people the chance to show off their best livestock and produce. The shows include competitions for everything the region produces, as well as chances to show off farming skills with horses, dogs and tractors.

Revel in the gothic

Whitby makes the most of its fame as the setting for Bram Stoker's Dracula by hosting two annual Gothic Festival weekends. Expect thousands of fans of the gothic, most in goth or historic costume. The festival boasts gigs from 10 different bands as well as a range of cultural events in this historic seaside town.

Pick up a modern classic

Furniture maker Robert Thompson sits alongside Britain's best arts and crafts designers, known all over the world as the Mouseman of Kilburn for the tiny carved mice that appear on each of his pieces. Some of his finest work is on show in nearby Ampleforth Abbey, and since his death in 1955, Thompson's decendents have carried on his astonishing work in the finest oak. Take a trip to the visitor centre in nearby Kilburn to see the craftsmen at work, and pick up an exquisitely carved piece from their shop.

Take afternoon tea

Enjoy a famous Yorkshire tea at one of the region's many tea rooms. No trip would be complete without afternoon tea at Betty's tearoom in York. Closer to home, try out the newly finished tearoom at the Black Swan in Helmsley, quickly gaining a reputation as one of the finest patisseries and tearooms in the region.

Go mountain biking

North Yorkshire is a dream location for mountain bikers, with miles of testing bridleways, across spectacular moors and through hidden valleys. Routes are linked with quiet and picturesque country lanes, making it possible to put together long and challenging routes without ever going on a main road. For a more serious challenge, there are miles of forest routes at nearby Dalby Forest, home of the mountain bike world cup.

Explore haunted York

York is famed as one of the world's most historic - and haunted - cities. Ghost walkers ply their gory trade nightly, exploring the city's darkest and most haunted streets and alleys. Join them for a nighttime tour, partly based on myth and stories, and partly on the true history of a major Roman, Viking and medieval city, famous for its ghostly goings-on.

Hit the trail

The area around Argil Cottage is criss-crossed by a network of footpaths, including the Lyke Wake Walk from coast to coast, and the Cleveland Way (pictured). Take the opportunity to get out into some of the best of Britain's countryside, exploring the hills and dales of the North York Moors, and the stunning scenery of the Yorkshire coast.

Learn to surf

Whether you've surfed before or are a complete beginner, the Yorkshire coast can accommodate you. Fast becoming a major surfing destination, nearby Scarborough recently hosted a return visit by the UK Pro Surf championships, with surfers from all over the country making the most of the North Sea waves. If you want to give surfing a go for the first time, it's only a few minutes up the coast to Cayton Bay, with its popular Surf School.