Yorkshire tourism is back after lockdown! It has been a tough few months for the industry, but Yorkshire attractions are slowly reopening.
I’m definitely erring on the side of caution in most respects. However, we can’t stay cooped up forever and, as a vocal advocate for visiting Yorkshire and its many tourist destinations, I really should venture out and check out how Covid-secure the county is.
How to Visit Yorkshire After Lockdown
As a family, we have dipped some tentative toes back into the waters of Yorkshire tourism. We have assessed a range of venues, tourist hotspots and towns to let you know some of the best places to visit in Yorkshire post-lockdown. It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it.
It’s only one family’s experiences and we can only visit so many places. However, I’ll add to this page as we go and explore further. As it stands, here are our reopened Yorkshire tourism reviews so far.
Jump to a review:
Reopened Yorkshire Tourism Reviews
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway invited us to their reopening on Yorkshire Day, 1st August (of course, I don’t really need to remind you of the date, right?). Here’s what happened:
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North Yorkshire Moors Railway #gifted us tickets for their post-lockdown reopening. The kids, Seth and Elsa, were more than a little excited to travel on a steam train from Pickering station. We had a cracking time and there were plenty of safety measures in place to guide people to and from the trains. They had a number of hand sanitiser dispensers and the seating was staggered to help social distancing. I’ve written a blog about the #Yorkshire tourist attractions we have visited and their Covid safety systems. Take a look >>> https://www.bewildereddad.com/yorkshire-tourism/ @northyorkshiremoorsrailway #nymr #northyorkshiremoorsrailway #northyorkshire #northyorks #pickering #visityorkshire #visityorkshireuk #visityorkshiremoors #welcometoyorkshire #steamtrain #steamtrains #steamtrainsofinstagram #yorkshireviews #yorkshiredays #yorkshiredaysout #yorkshiredaysoutguide #familydays #yorkshireblogger #yorkshirevlogger #yorkshirebloggers #yorkshirevloggers
I was particularly impressed by the NYMR coronavirus systems that they had put in place at Pickering station. There was a one-way system on arrival, with plenty of friendly staff to guide you. They had a good number of hand sanitiser stations and we found our way onto the right bit of the train with no issues.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway requires you to wear a mask on board, which makes sense. You can also book a compartment for up to six people, which adds an extra safety dimension. Even in the general carriage, there was staggered seating to help maintain social distancing.
As for the journey itself, my train-obsessed three-year-old, Seth was bursting with excitement. He was not disappointed. His six-year-old sister, Elsa, also had a belting time, watching the North Yorkshire countryside fly by. There are no toilets in use on the train, but they are available on Pickering station.
We also skipped up the hill to Pickering Castle after the journey, ate our picnic and pretended to storm the castle. We were not successful. However, no one poured boiling oil over us to deter us, which was a bonus. That may have ruined the day somewhat.
Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve
You can find Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve near Castleford in West Yorkshire. It is very much on my mum and dad’s “nice places to visit in Yorkshire list”, as they are keen bird watchers. Unfortunately, they did not pass that gene down.
However, it felt like a good place to try out for a socially distanced meet-up with my parents. With its large expanses of open space, coupled with the weather that day being not exactly tropical (even by West Yorkshire’s standards), we thought it would be safe enough. Although we were concerned about the crocodile that a photographer claimed he’d spotted moving about in the rushes.
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We headed to Fairburn Ings near #Castleford to see whether there really is a crocodile 🐊there as claimed by one visitor. You’ll be shocked – SHOCKED – by what we found #Yorkshire #YorkshireTogether #FairburnIngs #fairburningsnaturereserve #crocodile #crocodiles #yorkshire #welcometoyorkshire #visityorkshire #yorkshiredaysout #westyorkshire #castleford
The crocodile thing is really weird. This wildlife photographer reckoned he’d seen it a few months ago, but that the four-foot long croc moved too quickly for him to grab a picture.
The RSPB, who run Fairburn Ings, responded in salty style. They told the Yorkshire Evening Post, “It’s a pity the photographer wasn’t able to get a photo”. Those words were picked very carefully and for that I applaud their cheekiness. Still, despite being ridiculous, when you search the site on Google, it’s the first suggestion that comes up.
As for Fairburn Ings as an example of post-lockdown Yorkshire tourism, we certainly recommend it. They have closed the shop, toilets and visitor centre, but there is plenty of nature to keep you entertained and the one-way system around the entrance and exit keeps everything distanced nicely.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
I hadn’t visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield since I was a student in Leeds more than 20 years ago. What a fool I was for ignoring it for so long. It is simply one of the best places to visit in Yorkshire.
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We headed to Yorkshire Sculpture Park @yspsculpture to see how safe it is as a tourist destination. It's very safe, as it turns out. Acres of room to run around in, plenty to see and do and we had a cracking few hours. Highly recommended. Find out more about our quest to review the reopening of #Yorkshire tourism here >>> https://www.bewildereddad.com/yorkshire-tourism/ #yorkshiredaysout #yorkshirefamily #yorkshiretogether #yorkshiresculpturepark #yorkshiresculpturetriangle #henrymoore #damianhirst #visityorkshire #welcometoyorkshire #visityorks #visityorkshireuk #westyorkshire #wakefield #yorkshireblogger #yorkshirebloggers #yorkshireblog #yorkshireblogs #dadblogger #dadbloggers #dadscomm #dadlasoul #familydaysout
As soon as you arrive, you see why it is a bastion of Yorkshire tourism. And, you can also see how this could be the perfect socially distanced destination for families in the county too. With 500 acres to play with, even at its busiest you can stay away from others.
The sculptures from the likes of Damien Hirst and Henry Moore nestle in the stunning countryside, with sheep bustling around and getting on with their daily business. The only note of caution I have would be that you need to watch where you kneel. Otherwise you might get a sheep poo surprise on your jeans. Source: bitter experience.
You book in advance, with tickets standing at £6 per person. Children are free. This means that you don’t need to use the manual ticket machines at all. A member of staff scans your ticket with a smartphone on a selfie stick on arrival, which is an innovative social distancing solution. There are plenty of hand sanitiser points by the various gates around the park and lots of signs to ensure safe travel around the site.
There is a set time on your ticket for your arrival, but you can stay as long as you like. We were there for five hours, exploring the beautiful park and the fascinating sculptures, and even then we didn’t see everything. We will definitely head back soon.
Saltburn is one of our favourite places to visit on the Yorkshire coast. This is why we chose it as our first post-lockdown beach destination. I made sure I checked whether the public toilets were open before I left, because I am a man in my 40s and that information is hugely important to me. I also have two young children, so that’s a double whammy.
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We explored Saltburn, one of our favourite seaside destinations, as part of our quest to see how safe Yorkshire is for families after lockdown eased. Find out more about our travels here: https://www.bewildereddad.com/yorkshire-tourism/ #saltburn #saltburnbythesea #saltburnpier #yorkshire #yorkshiredaysout #visityorkshire #visityorks #visityorkshireuk #welcometoyorkshire
We made sure we arrived early and parked in the Cat Nab car park, which was quiet before 9am. From there we headed to the beach and bagged a spot not far from the iconic pier. The only remaining pleasure pier in Yorkshire, fact fans.
Because Saltburn beach is pretty big, it felt perfectly safe and we had a great time. Using the public toilets was a little tricky when it came to social distancing, as you can’t really tell if anyone is already inside. That’s obviously great in regular times for privacy purposes, but does cause an issue when you’re trying to stay two metres away from others.
The only other problem came when queueing for fish and chips. The line intersected a main route along the promenade, which meant that folk were constantly getting close as they made their way back and forth. Also, some people are terrible at sticking to basic distancing in queues. As safe as some systems attempt to be, people will always be the unknown quantity in the equation.
However, they were two grey areas on a day that we enjoyed very much. Also, the chips were great.
It’s not just us who enjoyed Saltburn recently:
We went to Saltburn last week, parked at The Ship pub and had lunch in their massive outdoor area then a quick canter around the beach. Definitely want to go back, there’s a play area that looks amazing somewhere near there but we ran out of time.— Rachel Hollingworth (@RAHollingworth) August 20, 2020
Although, Rachel did also make a very good point that I hadn’t thought of when extolling the virtues of Saltburn:
Forgot to say no social distancing problems either, although I hope in saying this every bugger doesn’t head up there. I will add there’s extremely limited parking! pic.twitter.com/P8RPoJafLX— Rachel Hollingworth (@RAHollingworth) August 20, 2020
Otley Chevin is a cracking place to blow away some cobwebs and walk the dog. It’s just down the road from us and offers amazing views of the Wharfe Valley. It can become very busy in the car parks during summer, but there is also a lot of space into which those visitors can disappear.
On the day we took the dog for a run around, we managed to socially distance with ease. The only vaguely busy area was at one of my favourite viewpoints on the hill, but even then it didn’t feel overcrowded by any stretch of the imagination.
If you have never visited Otley Chevin before, I heartily recommend tying it in with a trip to Otley itself, which is a great little town for a mooch around.
Yorkshire Tourism Reopening – Your Reviews
Have you visited a tourist attraction in Yorkshire since lockdown eased? How was it? Did it feel safe? Would you recommend it to others? Share your post-lockdown Yorkshire tourism reviews in the Comments and we can help each other plan day trips for the family in Yorkshire.