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4 days in Yorkshire: Leeds, North York Moors and Yorkshire Coast

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Planning to spend 4 days in Yorkshire and looking for an interesting 4-day itinerary for a road trip to Yorkshire? We’ve got you covered! In this post, we will share with you our most recent itinerary for a long weekend in Yorkshire, visiting Leeds, hiking in North York Moors, visiting the prettiest villages and seaside resorts of the Yorkshire coast and a very unique “bird city” – RSPB Bempton cliffs!

But first, here’s what you can find in this post:

Our itinerary for 4 days in Yorkshire:

Alright, let’s start with the overview of our itinerary for our 4-day road trip to Yorkshire.

Day 1: Departing London at 9 am. Exploring Leeds. Staying in Leeds overnight.

Day 2: Hiking in the North York Moors – Chop Gate route. Staying overnight at Kirkbymoorside near Harome at The King’s Head Inn

Day 3: RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes. Staying overnight in Whitby at the Stag Lodge

Day 4: Exploring Whitby, Sandsend, visiting a few farm shops and driving back to London

Please note that this itinerary doesn’t include visiting York. That’s because we already visited York previously and have a few posts about York on this blog.

You can find more information about the best things to do in York in these posts:

Leeds & Yorkshire road trip

Do you need a car for this trip?

We created this itinerary with having a car in mind. Some of the locations are easily accessible without a car; however, some aren’t (e.g. Chop Gate, Bempton Cliffs or Robin Hood’s Bay). You can access some of them by bus, so it’s definitely not impossible, however, you won’t be able to visit all the places in this itinerary without a car in just 4 days.

If you need to rent a car, you can do it via Rentalcars.com – we always rent our cars there.

If you don’t have a car and absolutely don’t want to rent one, I recommend adjusting this trip and heading to York, Whitby & Robin Hood’s Bay instead. You will be able to get to York by train & from there, you can either take a bus or a train to Whitby.

4 days in Yorkshire: Road trip to Leeds, North York Moors and Yorkshire Coast

Day 1: Exploring Leeds – cool spots to visit in Leeds

We spent the entire first day of our Yorkshire road trip exploring Leeds. Leeds is one of England’s biggest cities; however, it’s usually not too popular with tourists. Despite its large population, the city centre of Leeds is very compact! To see all of it, you will need 3-4 hours. However, it’s amazing that the centre is pedestrian-friendly!

Leeds is the city of arcades! There are galleries around every corner, and some of them are historical. I recommend strolling around the city centre and just visiting some of the ones that catch your attention. The most famous market in Leeds is the Kirkgate Market – it’s absolutely stunning inside. Moreover, if you’re hungry, you can grab a bite there.

Where to eat in Leeds?

Alternatively, you can visit the waterside pub called Stew & Oyster. They have a large outdoor space with some amazing views over the River Ayre! I recommend booking it in advance, as it’s quite a popular food spot in Leeds.

Another food highlight from Leeds was Rudy’s pizza – unfortunately, due to the government regulations, indoor dining wasn’t allowed, and Rudy’s didn’t have a terrace. Hence, we bought a cook-at-home pizza, which turned out very delicious! I can only imagine how amazing it is when you eat it prepared at Rudy’s!

If you’re looking for street food markets, we actually found two spots (which we didn’t manage to visit); however, I would still like to share them with you because maybe you will be interested! One of them is located in Temple Leeds (Globe Road) called Chow Down. Another one is Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen.

Unusual places to visit in Leeds:

If you’re interested in unusual places to visit in Leeds, head to the Corn Exchange. This former market hall was transformed into a vibrant shopping mall occupied mainly by some unusual and hipster shops as well as some interesting places to eat.

Leeds Dock is another area that went through a radical change. You can find many nice coffee spots (North Star Coffee is particularly good) and bakeries in the area.

What about museums and art galleries?

If you like museums, Leeds has a few to offer! First of all, the Royal Armories (that moved to Leeds from the Tower of London back in late 2000s). You also have Leeds Art Gallery, and if you’re okay driving a bit further, you can visit the beautiful Harewood House.

Where to sleep in Leeds?

Finally, let’s talk about sleeping in Leeds – where to stay in Leeds overnight. Luckily, Leeds is nowhere as expensive as London (or Lake District or most of the places in the UK on a bank holiday :D). Some of the best places to stay in Leeds are:

The Chambers

Briggate Boutique

EasyHotel Leeds

Day 2: Hiking in the North York Moors

On the second day in the morning, we grabbed a quick bite and a coffee from North Star Coffee in Leeds Dock and drove all the way to North York Moors. 

We were looking for a not-too-long and not-too-easy scenic route in North York moors and came across a hike that starts in the village called Chop Gate (I wouldn’t even call it a village, as it is very small, only a couple of houses here and there). However, there is a pub in Chop Gate, so if you’re hungry, you can definitely grab a bite (or a pint there). There is a large parking, where you can leave your car for the entire day just for £2. 

There are no shops nearby, so make sure to bring some snacks and water with you on a hike. 

You can find the route of the hike we took here. 

The overview of the Chop Gate circular hike

Overall, this hike was a very scenic one (just as we hoped), and we passed a lot of grouse moors, hills and stunning panoramic spots. The hike was circa 14.5 km long, and we completed it in under 4 hours (including numerous stops for photos and a 20-minute lunch break). 

I don’t think that you need any walking sticks for this route, however, make sure to bring very comfortable hiking shoes that don’t slip and are waterproof. You’ll have to pass a few spots which can be quite wet even on a sunny day, so if it rained a day before, you definitely need proper waterproof shoes!

Hiking boots like these ones would be great for this walking/hiking route. 

Staying overnight in Kirkbymoorside and visiting a Michelin-starred pub in Harome

Later on, we drove to our inn, where we were staying overnight. The inn was called King’s Head Hotel, and it was located in Kirkbymoorside. Overall, it wasn’t bad, and we spent a very good night there; however, it felt like it was in desperate need of renovation. There are some better options to stay nearby (sadly, all the other ones were sold out when we were booking our trip), for example:

Burnley House 

The Fox & Hounds Country Inn

The Fairfax Arms

After checking in and resting for a while, we headed to the Star Inn at Harome – a famous gastropub with a Michelin star. I recommend booking a table at least a week in advance (or maybe even earlier), as the pub gets very busy! 

I must say that every dish was exceptional and we loved everything we’ve tried at the Star Inn!

Day 3: Exploring Yorkshire Coast

Robin Hood’s Bay

On our third day of the Yorkshire road trip, we finally headed to the Yorkshire Coast. We started with Robin Hood’s Bay as this small smugglers’ village is often very crowded, so we wanted to get there early. It’s around 40 min driving from Kirkbymoorside, and it’s definitely worth it.

We parked our car and went for a stroll around the village that got its name after a famous ballad where Robin Hood defeats French pirates and distributes their loot among the poor residents of this village. 

We also grabbed a quick breakfast from one of Robin Hood’s Bay best spots – Estelle’s – their breakfast sandwiches were superb!

Robin Hood’s Bay is a village where you can stay for a weekend and just unwind: go for some scenic hikes along the coast (you can walk all the way to Whitby in around 4 hours), have fish & chips at the beach and just enjoy the slow-paced weekend.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Another place we visited during this Yorkshire road trip was RSPB Bempton Cliffs – a unique city of birds. All types of gulls and even puffins come there to nest from April to July and the cliffs are bustling with life! 

We’ve never seen anything quite like that and it was definitely worth a £6 entrance price. We could even see puffins from very close – something we totally didn’t expect and it was the best surprise ever!

Staithes

After RSPB Bempton Cliffs, we headed back to the north, this time to the village called Staithes. Staithes is a bit similar to Robin Hood’s Bay, and it’s another highlight of Yorkshire Coast. It’s bigger – there are more shops, restaurants and cafes and it’s a perfect place to have lunch or dinner on the Yorkshire coast. Staithes also has a lot of superb walks at its doorstep, so if you’re looking for a nice coastal walk, you can start one right in Staithes! 

Staying overnight at a unique lodge in Whitby 

Finally, at the end of the day, we went to our accommodation. We booked a unique lodge with a sauna and jacuzzi very close to Whitby (about 5 minutes driving or 45 minutes walking). This lodge was probably the most impressive place we have ever stayed in England! We loved the cosy atmosphere (everything was made of wood & natural materials), immaculate cleanliness and even a fancy TV! The lodge is called The Stag Lodge at the Cross Butts Farm.

Soaking in the jacuzzi after a long cold day of walking and exploring was definitely rewarding. 

While this lodge was definitely on the pricier side, we enjoyed every second of staying there and would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an impressive and rewarding stay.

Day 4: Exploring Whitby and visiting a local farm shop. Heading back to London

Whitby

After having breakfast at our lodge, we went to explore Whitby properly. Whitby was definitely my favourite place of the entire trip, and here’s why! 

First of all, Whitby is a large seaside town! It means that there is so much to do in Whitby – there are plenty of attractions, from Whitby Abbey to walking on the beach and visiting plenty of amazing local shops. 

Secondly, Whitby is famous for its fish and chips. The town is home to some of Britain’s best fish & chips, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to try fish & chips in Whitby!

Finally, Whitby is beautiful and impressive – it’s one of the most photogenic places in Yorkshire. There are also many very extravagant people dressed as Dracula & in steampunk fashion. 

I thought that we would be done with Whitby in about 2 hours, but we spent 4.5 hours in Whitby and could have spent much more if the weather was a bit better!

Visiting a local farm shop

The road from Whitby to York leads through a lot of different farms and farm shops! Some of them are pretty amazing, so make sure to pick the open one and grab lunch or buy some delicious groceries from there.

After visiting the farm shop, it was time for us to drive back to London – we had a long drive of 4 hours ahead! 

Summary of 4 days in Yorkshire: Our road trip around Yorkshire & Yorkshire Coast

I hope that you enjoyed our post about the Yorkshire road trip & our experience visiting Leeds, North York Moors and Yorkshire Coast! We only wish we had more days in Yorkshire, as we would love to visit Harrogate and Yorkshire Dales as well, but that would have definitely required five or even six days in Yorkshire, not just 4.

We didn’t include York in this trip, but that’s only because we visited it before. It’s still one of my favourite cities in England, so I would definitely recommend including it in your Yorkshire itinerary! You can read more about visiting York here. 

Some of the posts you might like:

3-day trip to Bath & the Cotswolds

Sussex day trip to Rye, Battle & Hastings

7-day itinerary for Scotland (the ultimate road trip)

Weekend in Wales: Cardiff & South Wales

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