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Autumn getaways in Yorkshire: Places to stay and explore

Beautiful Blue House for a family gathering.
Beautiful Blue House for a family gathering.

Our pick of Yorkshire staycation spots where you can enjoy a short break away, without straying too far from your doorstep


Great British Life: Autumn colours in Burnsall. (C) Getty Autumn colours in Burnsall. (C) Getty

The Red Lion in Burnsall is definitely a landmark pub with its iconic setting by the River Wharfe. Sweeping fell views, good ale and hearty, comforting food make it a go-to for an autumn break.

Catch one of those crisp, bright autumn days when everything turns golden, and you’ve got Yorkshire at its best. A hearty breakfast, hiking boots on and off you head to stride some miles, working up an appetite for dinner and restorative sleep.

The Red Lion makes a good base. There are roaring fires to warm you as you enjoy a good book – or a fine pint. Outdoor seating means that you can wrap up warm and still enjoy great views on autumn days. And now the pub has jumped into the boutique hotel league with a renovation of its neighbouring Manor House. The manor house’s former 11 bedrooms have been converted into eight larger spaces that are grand and plush in design while remaining sensitive to the historic fabric of the building, which dates back to 1883.

The handsome property – part of the Daniel Thwaites group – is a short stroll from the pub and underwent a transformation following a six-figure renovation following the group’s purchase of the pub in 2021.

Where the 16th Century pub is cosy and compact with low ceilings and intimate spaces, the Manor House lives up to its name with a grand hall, sweeping staircase and impressive rooms.

On the top floor, a suite impresses with beamed ceiling, sofa seating area and bathroom with roll top bath and White Company toiletries. It’s a contemporary feel with bathroom’s opulent tiling, industrial-style fixtures and fittings and relaxing hues.

Great British Life: The Red Lion has undergone a renovation since being taken over by the Daniel Thwaites Group. Daniel Thwaites. The Red Lion has undergone a renovation since being taken over by the Daniel Thwaites Group. Daniel Thwaites.

Colours and textures reflect a modern countryside aesthetic with a hint of Scandi, the design combines rustic oak furniture with pops of colour, giving the new rooms an eclectic mix of furnishings throughout. The feel is modern and restful – and good coffee pod machines are a top touch.

Breakfast and dinner for guests is at The Red Lion where the atmospheric dining room is a lovely place to eat, overlooking the village. Meals are just what you want on a country stay – with a nod to local produce; comforting food if you’ve been out on that hike.

Try a tasty starter of pea and broadbean ‘scotch egg’ with watercress gazpacho, a delicious fish pie for main course or a perfectly executed ribeye steak and chips. Pair it with a pint of Thwaites ale or wine from a good list.

A good night’s sleep guaranteed, then hearty breakfast, boots on. And repeat.

Go ramble

The Dales Way passes through Burnsall on its way to nearby Grassington. It’s a seven-mile round ramble to the village, best kno for its starring role as Darrowby in All Creatures Great and Small. Or you can walk southwards to Appletreewick and beyond. A short drive away and you’ll find the villages of Malham, Bolton Abbey and Nidderdale AONB. Skipton is also nearby if you’d like to discover a typical Yorkshire town


Great British Life: Richmond Castle with the town in the foreground and autumn colours. (C) Getty Richmond Castle with the town in the foreground and autumn colours. (C) Getty

For Claire Kenny, a week in Richmond had all the ‘oomph’ of the most far-flung destination, and none of the hassle.

Imagine if your neighbour was a stunning medieval castle. In Richmond, you don't have to. In this charming market town, it's a bit like the sky – you can see it from almost everywhere. Preferring a hassle-free staycation somewhere green and scenic these days, I've become a passionate ambassador for all my wonderful county has to offer, whether urban or rural. When it comes to the latter, it’s hard to beat Richmond. Bursting with cobbled streets and characterful corners, it’s nestled on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park against the stunning River Swale. And it’s a recipe for a holiday that’s every bit as satisfying as a trip further afield.

A staycation is our main holiday, so choosing a property with a hot tub was a game changer. Sipping my morning coffee or evening drink in the cool air and warm bubbles felt like being in my own spa, and this little corner of paradise at the bottom of our private courtyard garden quickly became the centre of my holiday universe. But there was so much more to enjoy, with food near the top of our list. Richmond has a diverse mix of cuisines and venues, and whether high-end or hearty, everywhere is relaxed, friendly and informal.

Great British Life: Luxury comfort at The Potting Shed in Richmond. comfort at The Potting Shed in Richmond.

Yorkshire has an abundance of culture, and Richmond is an epicentre of history and legend. The castle is breathtaking, with the Keep and much of the 11th-century surrounding wall intact, along with many of the main buildings. It was mind-blowing to stand in the remains of the great hall and see the skeletal structure of the inner apartments inhabited by successive lords of Richmond. The views from all aspects of the site are similarly dramatic, especially looking out over the River Swale.

Finally, one of my holiday traditions is to treat myself to something that will make my home more beautiful when I return. When it comes to retail, Richmond excels in interiors. York House is a must-visit – this unimposing building off the market square is a three-storey treasure trove with every room a destination in its own right. From flea market finds to high-end soft furnishings - there’s even an enchanting yard filled with gorgeous plaques, outdoor mirrors and one-off sculptures - this is a place you can get completely lost in, emerging with armfuls of gorgeous things at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Grey’s Interiors is another must-visit. Elegant, opulent and beautifully laid out, it’s the go-to place for luxury soft furnishings and home accessories. Finally, Mainsgill Farm Shop has it all. Contrary to the name, the top floor has an amazing selection of interiors finds, while the bottom floor is the Harrods Food Hall of the north. This is where you can enjoy browsing fresh, locally sourced food, singing with flavour! You can also grab freshly boxed picnics and afternoon teas off the shelf. We enjoyed the latter in the garden.

Claire stayed in The Old Potting Shed, available from

Richmond black book:

Where to eat: · Rustique on Finkle Street for authentic, no-fuss French fare and lovely friendly staff

The Town Hall pub for something hearty. Their Sunday roast is bang on the money and their desserts pack a real portion punch.

The Royal India for ordering in. The staff are so helpful, including the immaculately dressed delivery man who said he loved his job because he got to meet so many nice people

The Coach House at Middleton Lodge for something truly special. A fresh, modern menu served amongst quiet luxury, tasteful décor and a lush, country garden.

More Yorkshire staycations to explore

Gourmet Goathland

Goathland’s landscape loves autumn and a stay at Homestead can combine a rustic relax with a classy dining destination just steps from the front door. The three-bedroom Homestead Cottage is in the heart of the village with steam trains just down the road and moorland hikes on the doorstep. Explore foodie villages nearby for your self-catering supplies – such as moorland game and meat, fish from Whitby and bakery treats. Book in at the Homestead Kitchen next door to the cottage for gourmet treats. The award-winning restaurant is a dream of a dining spot with Peter and Cecily your hosts. Food is all about making the most of the provenance from the surroundings – including veg from the plot out back!

Glamping (firepit pic)

Snuggling up in the bosom of nature doesn’t have to end when the nights draw in. With many comfortable, stylish glamping destinations across the region, switching off, foraging for food, cooking over an open fire and immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the natural world has never been easier. For off-grid, year-round comfort and style take a look at The Lazy T close to the picturesque market town of Helmsley.

Make some memories 

All-generation holidays can make for memorable family gatherings. Choose the right spot and immerse yourself in walks, board games and family catchups around the table. It’s like Christmas minus the stressy bits. On the Swinton Estate near Masham, there are three cottages sleeping 8-10 people. On the estate there are many activities to keep you busy – from arduous lounging in the spa to wild swimming or studying the deer park. Swinton Grange has a gorgeous fire-pit area for toasting those marshmallows, wood-fired hot tub, miniature football pitch and sunken garden trampoline.

Deer on the doorstep 

Studley Royal Park UNESCO World Heritage Site features the ancient atmospheric ruins of Fountains Abbey ruins and a gorgeous water garden with secret statues and glistening ponds which has remained largely unchanged since the 18th century. In autumn the colours are magical and festive illuminations and choirs create a special atmosphere. The deer park

Where to stay: The Blue House, an 8-bedroom country house with large gardens and a games barn for extended family gatherings.

Sip in style: You're close to Grantley Hall where the clan can gather for a Michelin-starred meal, a spa session or afternoon in style.

On top of the world

Climb to Malham Cove for an awesome Dales view.

Definitely a bucket-list trip, this huge curved amphitheatre of rock in the Yorkshire Dales National Park features limestone pavements, a tumbling waterfall and spectacular views from the top. It was also used as a filming location for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Where to stay: Chance's Well, a two-bedroom holiday cottage with private hot tub and feature glass-covered well in the characterful living room. Gorgeous

Where to stop for a pint and a pie: The Lister Arms at Malham as quintessential a Yorkshire pub as they come, full of character and great ale.

A floral flourish

Spend your time making a flower crown, seasonal wreath or taking part in a floral workshop at The Dovecote Barns near York. It was named silver award winner for Self Catering Accommodation of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023. There is accommodation to suit a range of groups from couples up to 22 people. Activities can include the flower workshops – as well as walks, private chefs and a games room with a pool table, darts board and board games to take away.

Whale watching and porpoise spotting

In the autumn, whales move south along Yorkshire's coastline, following the shoals of mackerel and herring. Late August through to early November is the best time to look for them. Whale watching cruises run from Staithes on Real Staithes’ traditional fishing boat ‘All My Sons’ with Yorkshire Coast Nature or Three Sisters Sea Trips. Along with harbour porpoises and white-beaked dolphins, minke whales are spotted regularly, but sei, fin and even large humpback whales have been seen in recent years too.

Stay at: Waverley House, a Grade II coastal retreat that's less than 100 yards from the sea in Staithes.

Pies & pints

As part of a getaway, enjoy a laid-back Land Rover or Range Rover escorted tour around the Yorkshire Dales from the folks at The Coniston Hotel near Skipton. Gorgeous scenery is on the doorstep. You can do a drive-yourself adventure or let someone else take the wheel as you indulge in the Picnics & Prosecco tour being driven around that spectacular scenery or a warming autumnal Pies & Pints experience that showcases some of the very best watering holes – and beer - Yorkshire is famous for. From £89pp.

Soak up city history 

The Bar Convent Guest House on Blossom Street, York, is full of history and open after a renovation project. History within the walls of the oldest living convent in the UK, established in secret during the reformation. Soak up beautiful original features against the backdrop of a Grade 1 listed building that is steeped in history.

The guest house has always been renowned for its unique location within this beautiful historic convent and for a warm welcome and award-winning breakfast. New rooms have a fresh new look, while remaining sympathetic to this special heritage house.

A stargazing stay 

Imagine falling asleep under a blanket of stars as you tuck yourself in under the Milky Way. As part of your stay at Camp Kátur on October 31 and November 4 you can do exactly that. Enjoying a prime position between two of the UK’s Dark Skies Reserves, join renowned astronomer Richard Darn as he takes you through a two-hour interactive stargazing experience viewing the moon, planets, and stars through telescopes. Gather around the forest fire pit for sundowner drinks before retreating to your luxury glamping accommodation whether that be a geodome (complete with stargazing ceilings), wood cabin or canvas tent.

Cycle and sleep 

Nestled amongst rolling, green valleys of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in Wensleydale, Stone House Hotel is an adventurer’s paradise. With an endless list of cycling routes and world-famous climbs from Buttertubs Pass to Fleet Moss there’s no excuse but to ‘get on yer bike’ and get out! Not only does the hotel have a purpose built ‘Bike Barn’ to keep your bikes clean, maintained, and full secure, but they’ve partnered with Stage One Cycles in Hawes to provide hires, repairs, and guided routes for those looking to get out on the open road. There’s even the option to hire E-Bikes so there’s no literally excuse. Well, apart from not wanting to leave the comfort of your four-poster bed that is.

Open-top adventure

When was the last time driving actually felt exciting and not just a way to get from A to B? Take to the open roads in a classic Morgan three-wheeler and make driving into a bit of an adventure when you stay at Horbutt Barn in Cattal. Experience the fun and passion of classic motoring in this open-top, three wheeled motor car as you zoom round the winding roads of the North York Moors with the wind in your hair and a spring in your motor. After your day’s adventure make your way down a quiet country lane to a beautiful barn that has White Company bedding ready for you to snuggle into.


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