Photographer Sarah Banks knows Yorkshire like the back of her hand, having written a brilliant Wild Guide to the area. Here she tells us about the places off the beaten track she loves to walk, explore – and yes, photograph.

Something in Yorkshire that makes you smile?

It has got to be the warmth, friendliness and humour of Yorkshire people. Whether you’re in a café, a queue or on a bus or train, Yorkshire folk love to strike up a conversation, so much so that by the end of it you feel like you’ve known each other for years. It also makes me smile that Yorkshire people are so proud of their region, describing it as God’s own Country.

A place you love to eat?

The café at City Screen in York is a great place for a drink and something to eat before or after watching a film. It’s got a view of the River Ouse; serves good food and has a nice relaxed atmosphere - you often end up chatting to the people on the next table or the sofa opposite about the film you’ve just seen or are about to see.

A place to take friends?

It’s hard to beat the spectacular scenery of the Yorkshire coast so I am always keen to show it off to visitors. You have got the towering chalk cliffs, coves, caves and sea stacks of Flamborough Headland; fishing villages like Staithes and Runswick Bay as well as long sandy beaches at Scarborough, Whitby and Sandsend. Walking the coastal path is a great way to take it all in.

Great British Life: Coastal villages like Staithes inspire Sarah's photography. (c) Sarah Banks Coastal villages like Staithes inspire Sarah's photography. (c) Sarah Banks

A childhood memory?

Myself and my brothers had a very outdoorsy childhood and our house was like a scene from All Creatures Great and Small. My parents took in all sorts of animals and that led to many scrapes including goats that my mum milked but weren’t so popular when they devoured the neighbour’s fruit trees; a goose that took flight and my dad had to chop a tree down to release it; naughty ponies that were straight out of a Thelwell cartoon and even a family of ducks that were allowed to swim in the bath - I can’t imagine my mum allowing that now but that was the 1970s for you!

A cultural go-to?

I used to live in London and really enjoyed going to the theatre, art galleries and cinemas there. I have been to some excellent productions at both the West Yorkshire Playhouse and York Theatre Royal. More locally the Milton Rooms together with Kemps in Malton puts on some wonderful events. We have enjoyed entertaining evenings with BBC radio presenter and author Jim Naughtie, journalist Polly Toynbee and in September I was on stage chatting to TV personality Julia Bradbury. We are also very lucky to have an independent cinema in Malton. We’ve also discovered At the Mill in Stillington for some fantastic music gigs and outdoor theatre productions. I love going to the annual Staithes Arts and Heritage Festival where the little fishermen’s cottages throw open their doors to become pop-up art galleries.

Inspiration Outdoors?

My parents moved to the Yorkshire Wolds about 30 years ago and this area has been a huge revelation. It is one of Yorkshire’s hidden gems. The deeply incised dry chalk valleys are a unique landscape which have inspired artist David Hockney. It’s very easy to drive through this area and only see rolling arable fields and immense skies, but it really is worth making the effort to get out of the car and wander down into these beautiful remote valleys. I walked the Wolds Way a few years ago with my mum and it led us through some beautiful dales and skirted some very pretty villages. If you haven’t been there, I’d recommend walks from Thixendale, Huggate and around Kirby Underdale. You will also find some great Yorkshire pubs here.

Great British Life: Sarah loves the landscape of the Wolds. (c) Sarah BanksSarah loves the landscape of the Wolds. (c) Sarah Banks

A place for indulgence?

I feel like I have evaded indulgence over the past couple of years as I have been so busy out and about in the wilder parts of the North East researching my book, so thinking about it I am definitely overdue a treat. I really enjoy going to the Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbena Spa in Helmsley for a relaxing afternoon with friends. It is a tranquil place to catch up with each other, and the outdoor pool illuminated with twinkly fairy lights is a magical place for a swim all year round.

A Yorkshire view that inspires?

I love coastal walks and one of my favourite views is on the walk from Runswick Bay to Staithes along the Cleveland Way. You need to stick to the path nearest the cliffs as you approach Staithes - there is an alternative inland path but you miss the views on that one. There’s a viewpoint here where I always stop to take a photograph. I must have several variations depending on the time of year and whether the tide is in or out. Looking down on the harbour, you can admire this perfect little fishing village which retains a timeless and authentic feel.

I’m never happier than when…?

…I am out on a hike with my husband David, our three sons and Lola, our labradoodle, in a beautiful location, somewhere far from anywhere and we find the perfect watery place - it could be a waterfall, a river pool or a moorland beck for a dip - followed by a delicious picnic.

Three words that sum up your best Yorkshire life?

Outdoors, variety, friendly