Ten of the most scenic Yorkshire road trips, from the Dales to the coast

Yorkshire is famous for its awe-inspiring scenery and natural wonders - from natural amphitheatres set in dramatic valleys to ancient rock formations and endlessly rolling hills.
Iconic Ribblehead ViaductIconic Ribblehead Viaduct
Iconic Ribblehead Viaduct

If you’re looking for some incredible routes that allow you to take in the breathtaking scenery of God’s Own Country from the comfort of your car, you’re in the right place.

Here are ten road trips that show off the rolling countryside, striking landmarks, and charming villages that Yorkshire has to offer.

1. North York Moors and the Yorkshire Coast

The unique landscape of the Yorkshire WoldsThe unique landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds
The unique landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds
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A scenic route from the North York Moors to the Yorkshire Coast, this trip begins in Pickering - and ancient market town, with plenty of independent shops and cafes

From there, follow the route along to the picturesque village of Thornton-le-Dale.

Next up, Dalby Forest is a short drive away and boasts 8,000 acres of woodland to explore.

The route then moves on to Goathland, which Harry Potter fans may recognise as the location of Hogsmeade Station.

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Robin Hood’s Bay - an iconic and beautifully quaint seaside destination - is next on your itinerary. From there, drive on to ever-popular Whitby for more coastal views.

The route then moves to Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Here, wander down the stunning Victorian pier before tucking into a mouthwatering portion of fish and chips.

Finish at Roseberry Topping - a stunning hill in the North York Moors with impressive views of the rolling hills of Yorkshire.

2. Pickering to Sleights

This route begins at Pickering and follows the A169 to Sleights.

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The A169 is known for its stunning views of the surrounding moorland and passes by the RAF Fylingdales.

On this trip, you’ll also drive by Hole of Horcum - a stunning section of valley in the North York Moors National Park and a natural amphitheatre that is 400 feet deep.

The route finishes after 17 miles and ends at Sleights, which is a traditional North Yorkshire village with bakeries, butchers, independent pubs, and characterful stone brick houses.

3. North Yorkshire and the Dales

This route winds its way through a selection of picturesque North Yorkshire towns and villages, not to mention some truly stunning parts of the Dales.

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It begins in Harrogate, home of the famous Betty’s tea rooms, and then moves on to Knaresborough, where you can take a stroll along the River Nidd.

Now head to the historic town of Richmond, where Richmond Castle, Friary Gardens and Culloden Tower should be on your sightseeing itinerary.

Heading through the Dales, the next stop is Aysgarth - home to the stunning Aysgarth Falls.

The route then moves through to Hawes, a charming market town, before dipping south of the Dales and on to Burnsall.

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Next up, in Skipton you’ll find a bustling town packed with pubs, restaurants and shops - many offering local produce and crafts.

The scenic village of Malham is the next stop on your adventure, and then you’ll arrive in Settle where the route ends.

Settle is home to an outdoor market and provides stunning views of the viaducts, cliffs and caves of the Dales.

4. Buttertubs Pass

Buttertubs Pass is a high, winding mountain pass that travels through the Yorkshire Dales and offers scenic views the whole way.

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It has a summit of 1725 feet and takes motorists over wild moorland and past 65 foot-deep limestone potholes - a sight that's worth stopping for.

The road has various different routes for drivers to pick from, so you can choose your own adventure.

5. The Yorkshire Coast highlights

As its name suggests, this route travels through some of the most picturesque towns and villages on the Yorkshire coast.

The drive starts at Flamborough Head, where you’ll find stunning white cliffs and views of the sea, and then heads towards Filey - a traditional seaside town.

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Moving further up the coast, next up are Ravenscar and the North York Moors.

Ravenscar is a quiet seaside village that has both coastal and moorland views.

The route travels onto Robin Hood’s Bay and through to nearby Whitby - two indisputable Yorkshire highlights.

Sandsend is the next destination. Stop here to explore its cycling and walking trails, splash around in rock pools on the beach, and tuck into a traditional fish and chip lunch.

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Motor onto Runswick Bay, and then to Staithes - a coastal village with a small harbour.

Finish in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, where you can delve into the town's rich Victorian history and explore the local shops and cafes.

6. Ribblehead Viaduct

Keen to see one of Yorkshire’s most iconic and most beloved landmarks?

Begin in Hawes and follow the road down to Ribblehead Viaduct to see the awe-striking infrastructure that featured in Harry Potter.

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The viaduct was built in the 1870s and many workers lost their lives building it - so many that the railway company paid for an expansion of the local graveyard.

This route provides ample opportunities to stop and admire the viaduct and surrounding views of the Dales - rather than simply motoring past.

7. Saxton to Driffield

This route begins in Saxton and explores the Yorkshire Wolds - an otherworldly example of Yorkshire countryside, which is set to become an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Travelling along the B1249 to Driffield, this trip gives long distance views of the rolling countryside and is a great way to get a quick fix of some of Yorkshire’s most scenic locations.

8. Settle

This road trip begins in Leeds on Otley Road before venturing onto Ikley Road - taking you through the natural, scenic landscape of Ilkley Moor and the bustling town of Skipton.

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The route then turns off at Eshton and plunges you into the stunning Yorkshire Dales, towards Malham.

Following onto Cove Road, drivers will be able to see Malham Cove and then travel through to Henside Road.

The route takes you along seven mile-long Goat Lane, passing by Pen-y-ghent, the smallest of Yorkshire's Three Peaks, and Fountains Fell - a must-see waterfall.

Travelling through Stainforth, the route then finishes in Settle, a charming market town.

9. Pateley Bridge to Grassington

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This route is only ten miles long, and takes drivers through the Yorkshire Dales.

It begins in Nidderdale - a historic village in Pateley Bridge that is worth stopping by to visit its craft shops and the oldest sweet shop in England.

Next, motor along the B6265, where you’re treated to views of vast open countryside brimming with heather and long grasses, and finish in Grassington - a characterful village in Upper Wharfedale with traditional stone houses, shops, and cafes.

10. Holmfirth to Woodhead Reservoir

This scenic route is only a short eight miles and begins in Holmfirth: a picturesque town that sits in the heart of Holme Valley.

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You’ll travel along the A6024 and through the villages of Holmbridge and Holme, then head towards Woodhead Road.

Holme Moss Transmitting station is the next stop on the route, where you can enjoy views of Huddersfield and Kirklees.

Continuing along the road, soak in the sights of the surrounding valleys before ending your journey at Woodhead Reservoir.