A Guides Guide to Yorkshire


800 years of history set in idyllic surroundings. In 1132 thirteen monks founded what became one of the richest and grandest abbeys in Europe. Join Blue Badge Guide Nick Smith as he brings the stories of this intriguing ruin to life. Explore the ancient mill that once powered the stone masons’ workshop and the sawmill – it was even used for generating electricity. Apr-Sep 10.00am to 4.00pm, closed Fri. Nov-Jan fountainsabbey.org.uk


All Aboard! Travel back in time on the North York Moors Heritage Railway. Reopened by enthusiasts in 1973, the 18 mile route carries more passengers than any other UK heritage line, with trains running every hour in summer. Chuff your way through the countryside of the North York Moors in vintage carriages pulled by mighty steam engines. Blue Badge Guide Sarah Cowling suggests a stop off en route to visit the charming village of Goathland, familiar to Muggles and man as Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. Timetables vary throughout the year nymr.co.uk


With its higgledy-piggledy cottages and winding streets, the old fishing village of Staithes has an air of a place lost in time. It is a stunning location for photographers, artists and art lovers. Blue Badge Guide Tim Barber loves bringing families here for fossil hunting, crabbing and exploring rock pools.


One of England’s greatest stately homes, it has been home to the Howard family for the last three hundred years. The house shot to international fame as the main location in the TV series Brideshead Revisited. Blue Badge Guide Kirsty Wardle loves taking people to this baroque mansion and recommends the trip across the Great Lake on The Dame – the Howard family’s boat. Daily 10.30-4.00pm castlehoward.co.uk


The Minster is the highlight of any visit to York. Taking four centuries to build, it is one of the greatest Gothic churches in Europe, housing some of the finest medieval stained glass in the world. Visit with Blue Badge Guide David Holt, who will show you secrets of the undercroft and remains of a Roman fort, before taking you up the steps of the central tower for panoramic views of York. 9.00am-5.00pm. Sun from 12.45pm yorkminster.org


Set in beautiful countryside, it is home to the largest open-air collection of bronze sculptures in the world. Blue Badge Guide Michele Thompson always shows visitors Antony Gormley’s looming treetop bodycast One & Other. She particularly recommends this year’s special exhibition, a UK first for American artist KAWS and his cartoon inspired works. Daily 10.00am-5.00pm ysp.co.uk


2017 will be Hull’s year, as it becomes the UK City of Culture. The Deep is the city’s spectacular award-winning aquarium with over 3,500 fish and underwater creatures, including sharks and rays, that takes visitors through four billion years of ocean history. Blue Badge Sarah Milne-Day is a big fan of the penguins and the slime exhibition, but always finishes her visits with the exciting lift ride. Daily 10-6pm thedeep.co.uk


With three flights of spectacular waterfalls tumbling over limestone ledges, this is Blue Badge Guide Tess Pike’s favourite destination in the Yorkshire Dales. She describes it as an oasis of tranquillity, featuring a combination of riverside walks and a wheelchair and pushchair friendly woodland path – a perfect place to take visitors. All nicely rounded off with a visit to the tearoom for delicious fresh scones and traditional Yorkshire tea. Daily 10am-5pm in summer season yorkshiredales.org.uk


One of the great English literary shrines, the parsonage is at the heart of the Brontë story. There are activities for families and children, and the dressing-up box is a must for everyone. Blue Badge Guide Johnnie Briggs’ favourite area is the dining room, where the sisters met to discuss their writing. From 2016 until 2020, the parsonage is staging special bi-centenary events. Daily 10-5pm bronte.org.uk


Once the steel capital of the world, Sheffield’s metalworking story is told at Abbeydale. Join Blue Badge Guide Laura Rhodes as she uncovers the fascinating industrial history of this restored 18th century water-powered mill that once forged metal for the local agricultural industries. Find out about the early steel-makers and watch blacksmiths in the craft workshops. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-4pm, Sun-Thurs 11am-4.45pm, closed Fri/Sat simt.co.uk