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Exploring West Yorkshire – Haworth, Bolton Abbey and the Yorkshire Dales

May 2, 2018

Bolton Abbey with Daffodils - exploring West Yorkshire

It’s funny, I’ve spent so much time up in Manchester but just not enough time going a little further up. So I decided to remedy that and start exploring West Yorkshire. As trust me, this will not be my final trip! Originally we had planned to go for Easter, but with the trains being a bit of a pain – we settled in for April instead. So let’s get exploring West Yorkshire!

How to get to West Yorkshire

Not gonna lie, you do really need a car if you want to explore these parts. It makes it much easier to get around and the public transport isn’t great. We got the fast train up to Manchester, picked up my Gran and then drove up. It’s only about 90 minutes from Manchester so you could easily rent a car from there an do a little round trip!

Where we stayed

I find if you need more than one room then it’s always much cheaper to try and get an apartment or in this case, an AirBnB. We got an airBnb near Silsden on a farm a few minutes out of town. It was a gorgeous little two bed apartment, home to two of the cutest and friendliest cats.

However, if you don’t like staying in airBnb’s then there are plenty of Yorkshire Dales pubs with rooms that you can stay in. It gives you a great chance to experience what it’s like to live there plus you can meet some amazing people. There’s something so nice about being out in the countryside, especially where we stayed with rolling hills and the misty mornings each day. Add in a log burner and it was the perfect spot. Plus easy driving distance to all the sites we wanted to see in West Yorkshire!

What to see in West Yorkshire

Haworth Church and gardens - exploring west yorkshire


One of the prettiest little villages that you have to see! It was the home of the Brontes (which is why I spent the weeks before reading Wuthering Heights for the first time!). So everything is quite Bronte oriented, that said even if you’re not a fan then it’s still worth going for the cobbled streets and cute little shops.

We went to the Bronte Parsonage which is where the family grew up. I think it would be interesting even if you haven’t read their books as the family was a bit of a strange one! It’s a little museum – won’t take more than an hour but definitely worth a wander.

There are lots of tea rooms around which was perfect for a spot of lunch. We went for dinner at The Old Registry Restaurant for dinner one night which was super delicious too.

Steam train going through countryside - exploring west yorkshire

West Yorkshire Steam Railway

I mean… can’t beat an old train right?! As we were with my grandma we wanted a few activities which weren’t just all walking and the railway was perfect! It runs old school steam trains and runs around 25 minutes one way before it turns around and heads back. You can get snacks onboard and get off and then back on at any of the stops.

We did get off at one and had a little wander around the small train museum, but just being on the train was the best bit! We got on a Keighley and it’s definitely worth doing a trip.

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey wasn’t really on my list before we headed to West Yorkshire but it ended up being my favourite place we went to! It encompasses the little town of Bolton Abbey but the most famous area is the old Abbey ruins. You park in the village and then go for a wander around. The grounds are so beautiful and there are many a lawn of daffodil which I loved!

Combine that with stepping stones and a gorgeous wishing well and it’s a perfect place to take a walk. They have lots of trails in the area too so it’s a great place to start and then head off for a wander. Plus, more fabulous tea rooms (I feel like Yorkshire does the best tea rooms!!).

Haworth cobbled streets - exploring West Yorkshire

Skipton Castle

Skipton is one of the bigger towns in the area and home of the giant Skipton Castle! We didn’t manage to go in on this trip which was a shame but it looks great. Definitely one which we will be going back to.

We did have a wander around the area though and see the outside of the castle and the town does have a lot of charm. They have a great market on a Saturday through the town too.

Misty green moors - exploring West Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dales National Park

And of course, you’re on the border of the gorgeous national park! We had a little drive through, but honestly, a drive around the whole area is gorgeous. So many green rolling hills, lots of mist in the mornings make it super atmospheric too. There are SO many walks in the area, if you’re nearby then I am oh so jealous!

If you’re in the area then definitely consider going to York too. I went a couple of years ago and loved it there! Plus you can combine your trip with some time in Leeds or Halifax too.

Overall, it’s such a worthwhile trip and one of my favourites that I’ve had in the UK! I reeeally want to go back, maybe as part of a bigger trip and do some of the Lakes again too. If you haven’t been then get it on your list ASAP.

Have you been to West Yorkshire? Where do you recommend heading?

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