What to do on a sunny day in Yorkshire

17th June 2019

Sunset on the Yorkshire countryside

When the sun is shining there is no better place to be than in Yorkshire. If you’re lucky enough to be in this gorgeous county when the weather is hot, then grab your sunglasses and sun cream and choose from the many sunny days out. From exploring historical sites and enjoying an alfresco lunch, to wandering through seaside towns and cooling off in the sea, read on to discover the top things to do on a warm day during your visit.

Relax on the beach

Sunglasses on the beach

Is there anything better than being by the sea when the weather is hot? Yorkshire has many stunning beaches to choose from, all of which are ideal for basking in the sun and dipping in the sea to cool off, with Scarborough beach being at the top of the list. The seaside resort has attracted tourists for nearly 400 years, as people find the sandy beaches and historical charm hard to beat. When you’re leaving your hotel in Scarborough for a day out, make sure to pack a towel and a swimming costume as you won’t be able to resist relaxing on the beautiful South Bay Beach and going for a dive under the blue waves. At some point in the day, wander into the town and explore the shops, amusements arcades and maybe even treat yourself to an iconic beachside fish and chips.

Learn some history

Experience a bit of history whilst the sun is shining by visiting Kirkstall Abbey. With free admission, you can wander around the historical architecture that was founded over 800 years ago in 1152. Surrounding the abbey is a parkland which is the perfect picnic spot, grab a blanket and some snacks and relax in the sun on the banks of River Aire. If you want to learn more about the history of the abbey, pop into the interactive visitor centre. Our top tip for planning a visit is to choose the last weekend of every month (between March and November) as you’ll get to enjoy the delicious foods from the deli market that sets up just alongside the abbey.

Tina from Tea is for Tina, a lifestyle, travel and wellbeing blog, tells us what she recommends doing in Yorkshire in hot weather: “Whenever the sun comes out in Yorkshire, I take a trip to Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds, to sit in the sun and relax with friends and a picnic! If not, I’ll take a walk along the canal, ending with some food and drink outside at one of the canal-side bars, such as Aire Bar or Waterlane Boathouse.”

The Aire Bar, as per Tina’s recommendation, is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing drink in the sun. The bar has a stylish lounge interior with an outside decking area that looks onto the River Aire and if you’re getting a bit peckish, wander down and take a seat in the Water Lane Boathouse and delve into one of their artisan sourdough pizzas.

Go on a countryside walk

Road in the Yorkshire moors

Yorkshire is one of the best places in the UK to enjoy a countryside walk. Put on your walking boots and get ready to see some of the stunning scenery on offer, you may even recognise a few locations as Yorkshire’s beauty has attracted many films and TV shows. One of our favourite countryside walks is to Malham Cove, which is a natural beauty consisting of limestone formations. You can reach the cove after a half an hour walk from Malham village, on the route you’ll also spot beautiful rivers and views.

After a steep walk up the steps, you’ll find yourself at the top of the cliff unveiling an amazing view of the Yorkshire Dales and the unique cliff edge. After walking back to the village you’re bound to be hungry, so stop by The Buck Inn and enjoy a hearty pub lunch in the sun.

Explore old Tudor streets

When the weather is nice you have the perfect opportunity to explore some of Yorkshire’s best shops and restaurant. Tina from Tea is for Tina continues: “When I have people visiting me in Yorkshire for the first time, I always make sure I take them to York to explore the old Tudor streets, enjoy York Minster and the great restaurants in the old alleyways and take a walk by the canal.”

Along the cobbled streets in York are dozens of independent contemporary shops filled with everything from stylish designer clothes, unique gifts and modern art. After you have finished shopping, relax in the sun at one of the independent cafés with outdoor seating. A favourite for locals and tourists alike is Circles Café & Gin Bar, who serve up some delicious light bites and food platters that are all made with local produce.

Enjoy a cream tea

Cream tea

Much like roast dinners and winter, cream teas and summer is the perfect combination. When in Yorkshire make sure you enjoy a delicious scone with clotted cream and jam, accompanied by a pot of tea, whilst sitting in the sun.

We spoke to Maggie from the Dale Head Farm Tea Garden to find out why it’s the perfect location to indulge in a cream tea: “Our tea garden is a beautiful place to come on a sunny day. Enjoy a loose-leaf cup of tea and a delicious cream scone or a slice of Yorkshire moggy cake whilst gazing at down at the beautiful view of Rosedale valley. I would recommend a walk around Rosedale Railway and enjoy the history of the area passing by the old kilns and remnants of the industrial past. You can also enjoy the wildlife and stunning views!”

Refresh yourself with a cocktail

Tray of red cocktails

If you’re visiting Yorkshire for more of a city experience, there are still plenty of opportunities to bask in the sun. All the cities have countless bars, restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating available, all of which are brilliant spots to relax after a day of shopping. Whether you unwind with a beer, cocktail or soft drink, head to one of the many bars in Yorkshire and enjoy a refreshing beverage.

We spoke to Tom from The Yorkshire Gentleman, a UK men’s lifestyle blog, for his recommendation of what to do on a sunny day in the city: “Check out some of the amazing hidden beer gardens and rooftop terraces. My top picks would be Headrow House and Angelica, both are perfect for enjoying a few of your favourite cocktails and catching a bit of sun!”

Visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Tiger laying down

When the sun is shining it’s a great time to visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and spot animals from all over the globe including lions, rhinos and tigers. We spoke to David and Donetta from the lifestyle and parenting blog David and Donetta to find out their favourite things to do: “On a sunny day our top thing to do is to visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. There's so much to do, animals, play areas, picnics and more! To be fair, using our annual passes we tend to visit no matter the weather, but a nice sunny day always feels better.”

Stroll through a Victorian garden

Travel back in time to the Victorian era and visit the Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, an English Heritage site located in South Yorkshire. The lavish interiors and stunning architecture of this house will amaze you, not to mention the well-kept gardens covered in beautiful flowers and displays. Make the most of the hot weather and stroll along the formal gardens and peep into the restored summer house. Afterwards, sit on the tearoom’s terrace and tuck into a dish made with local ingredients, alternatively, you could pack a picnic and relax in the garden.

David and Donetta continue: “Brodsworth House and Gardens is another sunny day favourite of ours. It's so picturesque which is great for photos, obviously helps with Instagram!”

For quick reference, here is a list of the top things to do on a sunny day in Yorkshire:

Relax on Scarborough beach

Tuck into a seaside fish and chips

Learn the history of Kirkstall Abbey

Go on a countryside walk in the Yorkshire Dales

Explore old Tudor streets in York

Enjoy a cream tea in the countryside

Treat yourself to a cocktail in the sun

Visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Stroll through the Brodsworth Hall and Gardens