Yorkshire is the largest county in England; it inspires thoughts of natural beauty, quaint villages, and, most frequently, Yorkshire Tea.
Couples are often drawn to Yorkshire for the romance of the countryside, its charming towns and villages, and the rugged coast.
In a county as large as Yorkshire – home to not one, but two of the UK’s most beautiful national parks – there are hundreds of things to do for couples. These are some of the best.
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Explore a Gorgeous Yorkshire Town, Village or City
Yorkshire’s most beautiful city is overflowing with ‘things to do’ for couples.
You could spend an afternoon in one of the city’s fantastic museums, potentially facing off with Viking animatronics in JORVIK or embarking on the classically romantic art of chocolate tasting in York’s Chocolate Story: two very different dates, but equally fun.
There’s the imposing York Minster, miles of ancient City Walls or the crumbling ruins in the Museum Gardens to explore for lovers of history and architecture. But just wandering around the city, with all its meandering medieval snickleways and crooked buildings, has a romantic feel. You can’t miss the famous Shambles, but going early enough will help you avoid the crowds, allowing you some alone time to stroll down one of England’s prettiest streets.
Another lovely feature of York is the River Ouse. You can buy tickets for a romantic dinner cruise along the river here.
York deserves an article of its own – which is why I wrote one on how to spend a whole day there. You can check it out here.
Robin Hood’s Bay
Tucked away on the North Yorkshire coastline is a quaint fishing village that is almost ridiculously picturesque.
Beautiful stone cottages tumbling down to the seafront on streets of winding cobblestones: this is about as close to postcard-perfect as you can get.
Walk hand-in-hand down one of the most photogenic lanes in England; by Sunny Place, a steep cobbled path lined with stone cottages and lanterns curves up around the hillside. The lower village is a lovely place to explore, as the houses all seem charmingly stacked up on top of one another.
At dusk, settle down on the beach, eat some fish and chips, and watch the sunset together.
It doesn’t take a long time in Whitby to realise why Bram Stoker felt so inspired by the setting. Crashing waves against eroding cliffs, a stark silhouette of the Abbey ruins against a moody sky, and the desolate surroundings of ominous moorland: it is hard to imagine a more fitting setting for Dracula.
You can explore the famous 7th century ruins of Whitby Abbey and follow in the footsteps of Dracula; in the novel he fled to the ruins and graveyard after escaping a ship wreck. The Dracula Experience is a kooky and fun way to experience the story. It is only £4 to enter, and you are led through scenes of the novel by live actors, complete with special effects – whatever you feel about Dracula, this place is good for a laugh.
The rest of Whitby is also worth exploring. You can climb the famous 199 steps to help work off the inevitable fish and chips you will eat for dinner.
Yorkshire’s premier spa town is the perfect place to set aside your worries and let yourself be pampered. Visiting a spa together can be a lovely way to spend some time just relaxing in one another’s company.
The Turkish Baths are arguably the best in town.
To complete your day of decadent self-indulgence, you must experience the one thing, besides spas, that Harrogate excels in: afternoon tea.
There are a number of refined, luxurious hotels that provide their own afternoon tea offerings, but the most famous in Harrogate is indisputably at Betty’s Tea Room. This is the original location for the respected brand that has expanded all over the country, and has been serving customers since 1919. You should book ahead for a table – there are normally queues winding outside the door.
Another quaint village, this time in West Yorkshire, Haworth is most notable for its connection to the Brontë sisters. Escape to the countryside with a trip to Haworth; this is one of those rural villages that feels stuck in time.
The cobbled Main Street is filled with sweet little independent shops and boutiques, all housed in stone cottages. Although Haworth is pretty in its own right, the village draws in thousands of visitors because of its literary connections. You can visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum for some fascinating insight into the lives of the sisters.
The unbridled passion of Wuthering Heights came from Emily Brontë’s experience of the Yorkshire moors. You can walk together along that same moorland, and get a sense of what the author may have felt standing in the same spot centuries ago.
Only 10 miles up the coast from Whitby is Staithes, a lovely little fishing village. The tiny collection of 18th century cottages and Staithes’ scenic harbour is nestled between the Cowbar and Penny Nab cliffs.
A visit to Staithes is an escape from modern life. The traditional fishing village feels practically untouched by the 21st century; a frozen frame of a simpler lifestyle. There are dozens of cliffside walks leading off from the picturesque village, making it easy to spend a whole day in the area.
Romantic Things to Do in Yorkshire
Dramatic waterfalls, brooding moors, stately homes and scenic canals: Yorkshire is filled with romantic places to visit. Aside from the usual fancy restaurants and bars, these are some of the most romantic things to do in Yorkshire.
Ride the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Opt for the dining experience in a Pullman Dining Carriage for a romantic meal on a classic historic steam train.
Enjoy a luxurious four-course meal as you traverse the wild landscapes of North Yorkshire. The views from the train are spectacular, and the vintage ambience in the carriage warm and welcoming. For an extra special experience, reserve a Private Coupe and have the carriage all to yourselves.
For a slightly cheaper experience, hop on one of the trains as regular passengers. You can still enjoy the old-timey experience of riding a steam train, and can choose to visit Whitby, Goathland or Pickering, depending on the line you choose. All the trains run along scenic routes; the sections moving through the moors are unforgettable.
The most inexpensive tickets are for the Moors Explorer, which takes you to the Hogsmeade filming location of Goathland. They are £30.75 per adult – you can book through their website.
Visit Studley Royal Park
Spend a day together wandering the gorgeous grounds of Studley Royal Park. Ancient ruins of Fountains Abbey, a beautifully landscaped garden, a deer park and a Jacobean manor house can all be found on the grounds.
A visit to the park is a chance to get back in touch with nature and each other. The surroundings are so peaceful and serene that the atmosphere immediately relaxes you, and any worries float away. The Georgian Water Garden is particularly lovely in this regard, as the gentle waterways, still lakes and Classical features all promote a sense of tranquillity.
As you walk around the sprawling grounds, you are likely to spot some deer; Red Deer, Fallow Deer and Sika Deer all live within the park.
Bring a picnic with you for a romantic date – whether you are close to the Benedictine ruins or the water garden, the scenery surrounding you will be beautiful.
Explore the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
Yorkshire has a thousand romantic walks to try – not least in the North York Moors National Park – but there’s something about waterfalls and the Yorkshire Dales that is hard to resist.
The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail leads you to some of the most impressive waterfalls in Yorkshire. It is 7km of lovely scenery that takes you through ancient woodland, up spectacular gorges and chasing a series of incredible waterfalls together; Thornton Force is the most impressive.
The £8 entry fee is steep, but the trail is well maintained and has facilities like toilets. The route is circular and easy for most fitness levels.
Only 15 minutes away by car is the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. Time it right and you can sit and watch the unforgettable sight of a steam train passing by together.
Boating at Hebden Bridge
Is there anything more romantic than a simple boat ride through the beautiful countryside? It gives you a chance to spend some quality time alone together and laugh about any mishaps that happen along the way.
Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire is a lovely old mill town nestled in the stunning Calder Valley. It’s a town with an old-world feel, surrounded by an absolute abundance of greenery; it’s the classic English countryside.
The Rochdale canal that runs through the town adds to the picturesque image it emanates.
Traditional narrowboats run up and down the canal – you can hire a boat for a single day, and travel to either Todmorden or Sowerby Bridge and back again. Take lunch with you on the boat, moor up at Sowerby Bridge and head into the woodland for a romantic picnic before your return journey.
See Bridgerton Come to Life at Castle Howard
Explore the beautiful stately home of Castle Howard, owned by the Carlisle branch of one of England’s oldest noble families. The palatial building is only 24km north of York and is a gorgeous example of Baroque and Palladian architecture.
Learn all about the not-so-romantic relationship between one of the family’s most unfortunate members, Catherine Howard, and Henry VIII; she was executed while still only a teenager.
The Howard family were deeply involved in court politics at the time, often to their detriment. Anne Boleyn, the most famous wife beheaded by Henry VIII, was also a member of the family through her mother: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk was the grandfather of both women. You can learn all about the family’s history when visiting the castle, though it was built long after this time period, only 300 years ago.
Ignoring the decidedly unromantic family history, Castle Howard is a genuinely romantic place to visit as a couple. The castle grounds are magnificent, with an 18th century walled garden, a Great Lake and ornate fountains found all over the estate. The interior of the castle is as opulent as its exterior; marble hallways, furniture embossed with gold and elaborate décor everywhere you look.
The romance of Castle Howard has been noticed by filmmakers.
Netflix phenomenon Bridgerton used the castle façade, entrance hall and grounds as a filming location – it’s the home of Simon and Daphne after their marriage.
Things to Do For Adventurous Couples
For the thrill-seeker couples out there, canal boats and steam trains may seem a little tame. These are some of the best things to do for people hoping for adventure in Yorkshire.
Go on an Adventure in the Yorkshire Dales
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure to try as a pair, look no further than the Yorkshire Dales. The landscape of rugged crags, dramatic waterfalls and sweeping valleys lends itself well to the more daredevil activities you might want to try.
Besides the activities you might already have expected, like kayaking, climbing, or mountain biking, the Yorkshire Dales offers some adventures that can be hard to come by in the UK.
- Canyoning. Canyoning involves following a river – usually including a series of waterfalls – downstream, by jumping from heights into the water below, sliding down rock chutes and abseiling past waterfalls. In Ingleton, Lost Earth Adventures offers this exhilarating experience on Beezley Falls.
- Caving. Couples that cave together, stay together. One of the longest cave systems in the world runs under the Yorkshire Dales. It makes sense, then, that this is one of the best places in Europe to try caving. It’s not the claustrophobic nightmare you might be thinking of: think underground rivers, huge caverns and thousands of stalactites instead.
- Via Ferrata. If you want the views and adrenaline associated with climbing, but don’t necessarily have the experience, Via Ferrata is a fantastic alternative. You follow a path of metal rungs and ladders to traverse difficult terrain, all while safely attached to a permanently fixed wire. The only Via Ferrata in Yorkshire is at How Stean Gorge.
- Paragliding. Watch your significant other fly across the sky in one of the most incredible experiences for thrill-seekers available in the UK: paragliding. Get an astonishing birds-eye view over the Yorkshire Dales in a shared experience you will never forget. Active Edge offer paragliding experiences in the area.
Follow A Spectacular Mountain Bike Trail
Yorkshire has plenty of choices when it comes to mountain bike trails, but it really comes down to your skill and fitness level.
For an easier trail, try the 18km route from Ravenscar to Whitby. This is a spectacular bike ride, with views over the moors and the cliffs. As Ravenscar fades into the background, you will move through scenes of endless natural beauty, passing by Robin Hood’s Bay and finishing in Whitby.
Curbar Edge is great for riders of an intermediate skill level with good fitness. The 26km looped trail takes you past stunning views over the Derwent Valley. There are some shorter, easier routes in the same area, however.
Some of the more difficult trails, with draining ascents and tricky technical sections, include routes at Pen-Y-Ghent, Nidderdale and Threshfield Moor.
Hiking and Climbing at Brimham Rocks
Brimham Rocks are so unique that they seem almost bizarre. But as oddly shaped as many of the rocks are, their formation was completely natural; the ice age and years of wind, water and sand whipping away at the limestone helped leave behind the unusual Brimham Rocks we see today.
This site of precariously balanced rocks hovering over cliff edges has been a popular tourist attraction since Victorian times, and is now both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Geological Conservation Review, and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can hike around the 400 acres site in just over an hour to see the area’s biggest attractions.
Couples should look out for Lover’s Leap, a rock formation with a legend of forbidden love behind it. According to folklore, two star-crossed lovers couldn’t bear to be apart so jumped from the ledge, only to miraculously fall gently to the ground. Their families, seeing this dedication, conceded and allowed the pair to marry.
Particularly adventurous couples will see little excitement in the hike around Brimham Rocks. But they may see an appeal in climbing them. You can try both bouldering and rope climbing at the site. Find out more on the National Trust website.
Unique Things to Do
Try something a little different for your romantic day out in Yorkshire.
Hull has a bit of a reputation in the UK, where it has been somewhat affectionately assigned the nickname ‘Hell’ by a substantial chunk of the population. The reputation is a little unearned in my opinion, as the city has more to offer than you might expect. A pretty Old Town, lovely harbour, and, most importantly, a world-class aquarium in ‘The Deep’.
The Deep is a fantastic date idea, and is one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in the UK. Learn about and see the creatures of the deep in person – sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and Gentoo penguins can all be found in the aquarium.
The award-winning Deep is home to over 3500 species of fish, is a pioneer in research for marine conservation, and offers both an enjoyable and educational day out. A trip to an aquarium of this quality can be fun for people of all ages, but is a surprisingly fun date activity; especially if you happen to love penguins.
Slightly rundown, bizarrely named and a whole lot of fun? Small British theme parks are a unique experience of somewhat outdated theming, whacky mascots and wholesome fun. Flamingo Land is great for couples that don’t take themselves too seriously, and can enjoy the park for what it is.
You won’t find rides of the calibre of Disneyland or even Alton Towers here, but there are plenty of enjoyable roller-coasters and smaller rides to try out. Besides the theme park, Flamingo Land is also home to an award-winning zoo.
Black rhinos, Sumatran tigers and African lions are just a few of the selection of animals cared for in the park. Flamingo Land is actively invested in wildlife conservation, conducting research projects worldwide and working with a network of other zoos in order to provide the best care for the animals.
The Forbidden Corner
Hidden away in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, this unique labyrinth maze began as a wealthy estate owner’s private folly. It was opened to the public by popular demand, almost closed for issues with planning permission, then rescued by the same public.
The garden is located in the Tupgill Park Estate, and features a series of tunnels, puzzle rooms, tricky dead-ends and gigantic statues. As you lose yourselves in the maze, you will stumble across a glass pyramid, a temple of the underworld and some surprising water features as you journey through the garden.
Ostensibly for children, but enjoyable for all ages, The Forbidden Corner is a unique date idea you’re sure to remember for years to come.
Follow in the steps of Wallace and Gromit and enjoy a taste of the iconic Wensleydale cheese. Cheese fanatic couples should go straight to the source and head to the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes.
You can watch the cheese being made by experts in the Demonstration Room, learn more about the history of both the cheese and the creamery in the visitor centre, and try a variety of cheeses during their interactive Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese Experience. This is a bit outside of the box when it comes to couple activities, but any cheese – or Wallace and Gromit – fans are sure to have a great time.
Yorkshire For Couples
Yorkshire consists of not one, but four different counties. An area as huge as this inevitably has plenty of choice for things to do. Couples can pick from all manner of activities – if your idea of romance is a visit to Flamingo Land, abseiling down a waterfall, or a picnic in the park, Yorkshire has something for you.
Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.