The North York Moors in North Yorkshire are a sea of heather, babbling brooks, ancient woods and Jurassic-age coastline. By day this is a land of skylarks, red grouse and kingfishers. If you’re lucky, they’ll share their home with you for a week or two. There are 2,300km of paths to explore, so make sure you bring your hiking boots.
By night the landscape is given over to a different kind of beast. Tawny owls, brown hares and hobgoblins (if you believe local folklore) come out of their burrows and nests.
Come armed with blankets and hot chocolate, for after sundown the open skies of the moorlands transform into a stargazer’s paradise. Away from light pollution, you can while away the hours watching distant galaxies and shooting stars. Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society hold stargazing events in Dalby Forest.
If you’re planning a family break you should consider visiting Whitby. For all its spooky connotations (see Dracula and the ruined gothic abbey), Whitby promises everything you might expect from a traditional seaside resort: ice creams, fish and chips, a sandy beach and brightly painted fishing boats.
Those who are footloose and fancy free can jump abroad the Esk Valley Music and Ale Train. On warm summer nights you can start at Whitby and alight at a village of your choice for dinner, before being whisked off, back through the countryside.
You might be surprised to learn that Whitby is also a whale-watching hotspot. Scholes of shimmering mackerel and herring are followed by white-beaked dolphins and minke whales. Trips run from June until November.
Other North Yorkshire holiday attractions include Robin Hood’s Bay, the historic city of York, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens, and Roseberry Topping.