This time last week, Heidi and I were just heading home from a couple of days away in Brontë Country. We had three days of absolute bliss, tucked away in the peace and tranquility of the West Yorkshire countryside. I wanted to book a last minute escape for us and decided that the Haworth Moors would be the ideal location. The untamed wilderness of Brontë Country called to me and I thought it would be wonderful to visit out of season, in the dead of winter. I have visited this part of Yorkshire before but never in the winter and it didn’t disappoint. We were treated to snow every day we were there. The winds were bitterly cold and the terrain was incredibly beautiful, with its layer of frost and snow. Each morning we awoke to a mass of wildlife, all tucking into their breakfasts outside the window of our farmhouse bedroom. Bunnies, squirrels, pheasant, woodpeckers, blue tits, grouse, robins, finch and more. It felt like we were a world away. If you too are looking to explore this part of England, here are my recommended things to do in West Yorkshire.
This is the exact itinerary that I had written out for Heidi and I. Due to the weather we weren’t able to do everything in this list, instead we enjoyed very slow days together, relishing each others company and making time for lingering in pubs and cafes having fun together and keeping warm! Some of the places I discovered were also closed during the winter period so we were unable to visit those on this trip. I’ll include the itinerary just as I made it though as you will be able to visit all of these places in the months to come when winter passes and everywhere opens once more.
Things To Do In West Yorkshire – Day 1
Walk To The Brontë Waterfall
The Brontë sisters are one of the biggest draws to this part of Yorkshire. They lure millions of tourists to the small town of Haworth every year. To this day you can walk in their footsteps and take the paths across the Haworth Moors that they would have walked on countless occasions. One of the most popular sites to visit is the Brontë Waterfall.
The best part about this walk is that it can make it as short or as long as you want. You can begin the circular route at Haworth as the Brontë sisters would have done themselves, walking to the waterfall and on to Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse said to be the inspiration behind Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights. If you’re looking for a shorter walk (as I was with Heidi as it was cold and snowy) then you can park your car at Penistone Hill Country Park Carpark or as I did for an even shorter walk, park at the top of Enfield Side Road where it meets with Moorside Lane. Here you will find space for four to five cars along the side of the wall and parking here is free of charge. From here it is a direct path straight to the waterfall which will take you about 30 minutes at a leisurely pace.
The small town of Haworth is one of the biggest draws in this area because of some of its rather famous former residents – the Brontë sisters. This famous literary family still bring in tourists in their thousands and for good reason; you can visit their former home, which is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, you can visit the church they attended and are subsequently buried in, you can see the school they attended which is also where their father Patrick as well as Charlotte taught at. You can visit so many places with ties to the Brontë sisters that it’s no wonder the town of Haworth has become a literary Mecca. When it comes to things to do in West Yorkshire, a trip to Haworth is a must.
Brontë Parsonage Museum
I was longing to go into the Brontë Parsonage museum on this visit as I have always missed out on previous visits to Haworth. I hadn’t taken into account that the museum is closed in January for its annual cleaning so I shall have to pay a visit when I return this summer. Instead, we stepped inside the church, directly across from the museum. The interiors are beautiful and you can see the plaque that details where their family vault is – beneath a pillar in the church – where all of the family except Anne (who is buried in St Mary’s Church in Scarborough) are laid to rest.
Cabinet of Curiosities
Wander down the high street and you will find some fabulous independent shops, one of my favourites being The Cabinet of Curiosities which is styled, complete with original furniture, as a Victorian Apothecary. The rich mahogany and glass display cases reach floor to ceiling and are laden with the most wonderfully scented soaps, balms and lotions. All of which are made using old traditional recipes containing all natural ingredients and packaged in traditional tins, glass bottles or hand wrapped. It’s like stepping back in time, it’s wonderful! They’ve even started selling a few extra trinkets such as wands, which Heidi had to have as she’s recently gotten started on the Harry Potter stories and naturally now wants to live in a magical world.
ForTeas or Pickles & Pots/Cobbles & Clay
At the bottom of the high street in Haworth is a tearoom which came highly recommended by friends. It’s called ForTeas, appropriately named as it is a tearoom with a 1940’s theme. Unfortunately for us they were closed in January for their holidays so I can’t report on how the food and service is, but it is on my list for my return in summer as I love unique places like this. Instead, Heidi and I walked back up the high street and got a table upstairs at Pickles & Pots which is paired with Cobbles & Clay – a great idea as you can go in and enjoy food from the deli whilst also picking an item of potter to paint! The staff were extremely friendly and the service speedy. I ordered myself a cajun chicken flatbread whilst Heidi couldn’t resist the chocolate pancakes. It’s safe to say that both of our plates were empty within a matter of five minutes, the food was really good. I was actually tempted to order something else but thought best not or I wouldn’t eat my dinner later at the pub across the road, The Hawthorn.
Once we’d finished eating Heidi popped into the room next door and selected a little clay unicorn to paint and we sat and enjoyed tea and hot chocolate while she painted. I hadn’t realised that the pottery had to be cooked and said to the staff that we would be going home in a couple of days so wouldn’t be around to collect it. Not a problem they said, we can post it out which I thought was great on the service front. So off I went to pay and was pleasantly shocked when the total came to just £26.40 for two meals, two hot drinks, Heidi’s unicorn and the postage on top of that. I had to double check they hadn’t missed something off the bill! I was definitely expecting it to come to more. If you’re travelling to Haworth with little ones I would really recommend this cafe, Heidi loved it.
N.B. When it comes to parking in Haworth, there are two main car parks at the top of the high street. There is the central car park which is the larger of the two, but be careful, if you go over your ticket time the fines are EXTORTIONATE. Alternatively there is the Brontë Parsonage Museum car park just around the corner which is where we parked. This was cheap for the day, £4 if I remember correctly and you can pay on the RingGo app so if you only pay for an hour or two and decide to stay longer and need to add extra time onto your ticket, you can do this quickly and easily through the app instead of having to head back to the car park.
Visit By Marie Wiik
Next door to Cobbles & Clay you will find a highly recommended florists, By Marie Wiik. I hadn’t realised this under I shared stories on my Instagram account about our first day in Haworth and I had dozens of messages asking if I had popped into her studio! I wish I had known sooner as I would have been straight in here. For those who don’t know, Marie Wiik is a Scandinavian floral designer who you may have seen on the popular tv series Escape To The Chateau DIY. She has since left France and made her home in Haworth! One I will be making sure to visit on my return trip in July.
Dine at The Hawthorn Pub
The Hawthorn is a lovingly restored, Georgian gem of a building located right in the centre of Haworth, directly across the road from Pickles & Pots. Inside the atmostphere is really cosy and relaxed, which I love when solo travelling with Heidi as I don’t feel like I have to worry about her being on her absolute best behaviour while we’re having dinner. The menu offers a good selection of seasonal British food but on our visit it was pizza night (every Wednesday alongside their usual a la carte menu), so of course we couldn’t resist ordering one of those with a side of triple cooked chips – a treat that kept both Mum and Heidi very happy!
N.B. Other options for dinner which came with quite a lot of recommendations to me were the Old Silent Inn and The Grouse Inn, both of which are a short ten minute drive just outside of Haworth. I didn’t get chance to sample these so shall update this post when I pay another visit in summer as I definitely intend on visiting.
Things To Do In West Yorkshire – Day 2
Day two we were met with heavy snowfall so I didn’t dare do the drive to get to all the places I had planned which I was quite sad about. On the plus side, Heidi and I had a lovely walk around our Airbnb and then spent the afternoon playing board games so it was nice to have quality time in each others company. Needless to say though, I will be visiting all these places this summer so shall do a full write up and share images with you all in July.
The quaint village of Appletreewick is one I have been wanting to visit for a few years now. The village itself is set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscape in Wharfedale. There is one main street through the village which is lined with charming old cottages, some of which date back as far as the 12th century! I was keen to visit here during winter as I know it’s an incredibly popular spot during the summer months with people coming here to enjoy walks and bike rides in the surrounding area. I have a feeling this will be somewhere you’ll need to get to early in the morning to avoid disappointment.
Enjoy Lunch at The Craven Arms
There are two pubs in Appletreewick, The Craven Arms and The New Inn. The interiors of The Craven Arms are what I especially wanted to enjoy, particularly in the cold winter months. This building dates to the 16th century and still retains a lot of its original features like its large open fireplaces, stone flagged floors and low beamed ceilings. I thought this would be the perfect place to snuggle up with Heidi and enjoy lunch sat next to the log fire. In summer, they have a beer garden where you can enjoy your lunch outdoors, accompanied by some fantastic views from what I’ve seen other people share!
Parcevall Hall Gardens
A short 6 minutes drive away from Appletreewick is Parcevall Hall Gardens, a place I have only recently discovered but look absolutely wonderful. There is a beautiful grade II listed manor house at the heart of the garden which is surrounded by renowned landscape gardens. I’ve heard this 24 acre garden described by people in the know as a hidden gem so I’m looking forward to getting to see it soon and share my images with you!
15 minutes away from the gardens you will find Bolton Abbey. Yorkshire is famous worldwide for its abbey ruins and for good reason; the county has some of the best in the country. Fountains Abbey probably being the most famous of these – which incidentally is a 35 minute drive from Parcevall Hall Gardens if you wanted to visit that one instead. Or if you find the time, I’d definitely try and fit both in. Fountains Abbey is simply breathtaking. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting once but it completely blew me away with the sheer scale of the place and I couldn’t help imaging what it would have been like before the dissolution that brought about its end. Bolton Abbey is smaller that Fountains Abbey but still an impressive place to visit. One of the most popular attractions not to miss if you visit are the stepping stones which lead across the River Wharfe.
N.B. As far as things to do in West Yorkshire goes, Fountains Abbey is high up on the list to visit. If you were to add Fountains Abbey onto your itinerary I would highly recommend paying a visit to Ripley Castle afterwards which is just a short 15 minute drive south, before heading to Bolton Abbey.
East Riddlesden Hall
East Riddlesden Hall looks the epitome of a West Yorkshire hall with its black coloured stone. Although not originally black, Yorkstone turns this colour with age and weathering. The hall has walls that date to the early 1300’s although the hall as we see it today was built in 1642 by James Murgatroyd, a wealthy clothier from the nearby town of Halifax. The interiors are all quite original in their appearance which I absolutely love as they tell the story to a place. The hall, being the oldest part of the house was my favourite room, with its enormous stone fireplace and wooden staircase leading to the rooms above. Make sure to enjoy a wander around the gardens too which are particularly pretty in the summer months and a great place to sit and enjoy a picnic.
Dine At Holdsworth House
Leaving East Riddlesden Hall, take a short 25 minute drive to the gorgeous Holdsworth House. The restaurant in this 17th century Jacobean manor serves up really great food (a lot of which is locally sourced) in a relaxed setting, so nice and kid friendly. As ever, I was a sucker for the wood panelled walls! If you go, make sure to look out for Eric, the hotels resident cat who loves a good fuss in between naps. P.S Don’t worry, he isn’t allowed anywhere near the restaurant!
If you fancied you could always book a stay here in one of their beautiful rooms, some of which have even hosted The Beatles who came to stay in 1964. I stayed here a couple of years ago and still remember how comfortable the room was and the bliss at waking up to the birdsong outside my window. You can check prices and availability here.
Things To Do In West Yorkshire – Day 3
With heavy snowfall again where we were staying on Day 3, I didn’t dare drive too far but managed to tick off both things I wanted to do before we headed back home to Derbyshire. Both of these places are technically in the neighbouring county of Lancashire but the first stop of the day is tied to the Brontë sisters so I couldn’t help but visit and include it in this itinerary.
Visit Wycoller Hall
We took a 20 minute drive to nearby Wycoller Hall where coincidentally, the snow hadn’t settled. That said, it was bitterly cold so we didn’t do that walk around the area which is supposed to offer lovely views of the surrounding countryside. Instead we had a little amble around the village, enjoying the really pretty houses with me wondering what they looked like inside, before crossing one of the quaint old bridges across the ford over to the ruins of Wycoller Hall. The old hall at Wycoller is reputed to have been the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. In the novel Ferndean Manor is described as a “desolate spot…even more retired and hidden” than Mr. Rochester’s home at Thornfield. I have to say I agree! It’s very remote with only one narrow winding road to reach it.
N.B. Do not try to drive into the village to park, parking in Wycoller Village is for residents only as there are only a handful of spaces available. Instead, there is a car park on the right hand side of the road as you approach the village. Park here for a walk into the village and the surrounding area.
Lunch at The Emmott Arms in Laneshawbridge
After our bitterly cold walk, our hands needed thawing out so we headed to The Emmott Arms pub in the nearby town of Laneshawbridge. Due to the fact it was snowing and the middle of winter, we didn’t need to book. We arrived there at opening and parked in one of the 10-12 car parking spaces out front before settling ourselves by the large open log burning fire, just bliss! The interiors were so warm and inviting and the service very friendly. Heidi opted for the burger off the kids menu and I wanted to warm myself through with something really hearty so I opted for the fish, chips and mushy peas which I didn’t regret one bit. It was the best fish and chips I’ve had in a very long time. The batter was so light, crisp and non-greasy and the chips were absolutely divine. I’m already looking forward to eating here again on my return visit this summer.
Where To Stay In West Yorkshire
I booked the self contained flat at Whitestone Farm for our stay. I wanted somewhere that was a little more remote so we had walks on our doorstep but was also within a short driving distance to Haworth. Set inside a much larger farmhouse where the owners Simon and Judith live (who are very friendly and helpful!), this one bedroom flat has a decently sized kitchen, a small bathroom with shower, plus the main living space which is also the bedroom. It was nothing luxury, I’d say quite the opposite, it was fairly basic but all the basics you require are there and we didn’t want for anything during our stay. They had a collection of dvds and books to enjoy so we had a Harry Potter marathon most evenings. There was also a lot of boardgames and things like chess to sit and play too which we made good use out of. If you look for luxurious, chic and stylish places to stay then this place isn’t for you. If however you require somewhere well located that is clean, super quiet and comfortable with the Haworth Moors quite literally out the back gate, then this is your place.
Check it out here. Prices are an absolute steal at £60 per night pretty much all year round, even the height of summer when I’ve booked to go back again!
29 Main Street
The other contender I was looking at booking is this beautiful cottage, 29 Main Street, which is right in the centre of Haworth. We could have booked a week here for just £393 which is a bargain for an entire week. It is a lot more modern, with beautifully styled interiors. The reason I didn’t book it was purely down to wanting to have fields out my door. If however, you want to be right in the heart of Haworth, ready to explore the town and all it has to offer without having to worry about driving anywhere then this cottage is well worth booking! It is available through a holiday let company called Sykes Cottages, who I’ve worked with before, and their properties are not only all gorgeous and in sought after locations, they are all really well maintained and run by a lovely company which is always a bonus.
Check out 29 Main Street here.
Wherever you choose to visit on your trip to Yorkshire I hope you enjoy it! If you’re looking for more places to visit in the north of England then check out my posts on Northumberland and the Lake District. Two spectacular parts of the country that aren’t to be missed!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may earn a small commission to help with the running of this website, at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclaimer Page for more information. Thank you for your support!