Last Updated on March 12, 2024 by Suzy McCullough

The stunning county of Yorkshire is scattered with a superb variety of English Heritage properties to visit with all of the family. From Manor houses and castles to abbeys and forts, there is just so much diversity within the English Heritage portfolio.

A huge part of the work done by the staff of this wonderful charitable organisation is to manage and conserve properties of interest. From the stunning architecture of Gothic and medieval abbeys to the beautiful grounds of Brodsworth Hall, there is plenty to discover in Yorkshire this season.

Many of the properties in Yorkshire are ideal family days out where little ones can stretch excitable legs and everyone can enjoy some fresh air. There is also an educational element to the properties too, so history lessons can be undertaken without the children even realising they are learning! There are usually seasonal events that take place throughout the year at many of the sites.

There is such a rich variety of days out that all the family will enjoy that it is definitely worth considering investing in a family membership.


Brodsworth Hall

Brodsworth, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN5 7XJ

Following the owners’ financial difficulties, the stunning stately home, Brodsworth Hall sadly fell into a serious state of disrepair. Rescued by the English Heritage it has now been restored to its former glory and today visitors are invited to explore the house and admire the impressive gardens.

This property positively retells the stories of various people who have lived and worked within it which is as fascinating as it is educational. The gardens are the perfect place for a stroll through the statue walks, where you can enjoy the vast variety of plants and flowers. There is also a children’s play area.

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Scarborough Castle

Castle Rd, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1HY

Scarborough Castle enjoys a fabulous location looking out over the North Sea. With an intriguing and fascinating history to learn about and extraordinary views, a family day out here is perfect for a sunny day.

This once-mighty fortress has endured attacks from Vikings, medieval barons, Tudor rebels, and a Parliamentary army during an epic Civil War siege. Visitors are invited to explore the ruins, enjoy the sixteen acres of surrounding greenery, and enjoy a light refreshment at the Coffee Shed.

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Mount Grace Priory, House, and Gardens

Staddlebridge House, Mount Bank, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3JG

A visit to Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens which is located in the stunning Cleveland Hills, is the perfect day out for all the family. Here you are invited to explore the most successfully restored Carthusian Priory in the whole of England with lots of ruins to wander around.

The gardens are the ideal place for little legs to let off steam and horticulture enthusiasts will love admiring the floral displays and beautifully manicured bushes, trees, and hedges.

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Helmsley Castle

Castlegate, Helmsley, North Yorkshire, YO62 5AB

With over nine hundred years of diverse history, Helmsley Castle is a must–visit property for anyone with a fascination for the past. Located in the quintessentially British town of Helmsley it is right in the heart of the North York Moors National Park.

Visitors will discover how this fortress has evolved throughout the centuries, from a formidable castle to a splendid Tudor dwelling and finally a delightful Victorian mansion. For those with a keen interest, there are guided tours available.

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Byland Abbey

Byland, Coxwold, North Yorkshire, YO61 4BD

Byland Abbey in the picturesque area of Coxwold, was, once upon a time, one of the best and most awe-inspiring monasteries in all of England. An extraordinary example of ancient gothic architecture, the ruins left today are just as imposing and indeed fascinating as the monastery was back in its day.

Byland Abbey, in all its glory, inspired the design of church buildings throughout the country going forward. Today visitors can enjoy guided tours, seasonal events and access to the on-site bookshop.

Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village

Centenary Way, Wharram-le-Street, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 9TD

Believed to have been founded in the 9th or early 10th century, the village of Wharram Percy was occupied continuously for six decades. However, by the early 16th century it was deserted, and time and nature gradually reclaimed the area.

Today the ruined church is the last standing medieval building which is surrounded by the grassed-over foundations of the various other dwellings which once made up the bustling village. Wharram Percy is one of the largest and best-preserved British medieval villages and a fascinating place for the whole family to visit.

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Clifford’s Tower

Tower Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9SA

York is one of the UK’s most beautiful and fascinating cities, rich in history and ancient architecture. Clifford’s Tower has enjoyed a diverse existence, built originally by William the Conqueror to calm the unrest in the North, it has since been a royal mint, a medieval stronghold, and a garrison.

Today the tower stands proud over the city, sporting a new roof deck offering stunning panoramic views of York’s historic skyline. Inside, new walkways and staircases have opened up parts of the tower that have been off-limits for centuries promising visitors an interesting and immersive experience.

Middleham Castle

Castle Hill, Middleham, North Yorkshire, DL8 4QG

When visiting the Yorkshire Dales a trip to explore the remains of Middleham Castle should definitely be on your family’s itinerary. Boasting a superb location with stunning views over Wensleydale, this historic property was once the childhood home of Richard III.

Today visitors are invited to re-live the castle’s fascinating and illustrious past. The remains of the original oven and horse mill survive on the castle grounds. Also, a visit here gives plenty of scope for long exhilarating walks through the Yorkshire countryside.

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Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx, nr Helmsley, North Yorkshire, YO62 5LB

Pack up the family, walking boots and a picnic and head over for an exhilarating day of exploring the Rievaulx Abbey tucked away deep in the North York Moors. After you discover the impressive ruins of one of England’s most impressive Cistercian monasteries in the area you can visit the on-site museum which displays previously unseen artefacts. These jewels of the past tell the story of the rise and dramatic fall of this, the first Cistercian Abbey in the North of England.

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Whitby Abbey

Abbey Lane, Whitby, North Yorkshire, Yo22 4JT

Whitby Abbey has to be one of the most magnificent and breathtaking properties on the English Heritage portfolio. These spectacular ruins are exceptionally Instagram–able, whatever the weather and the backdrop of the North Sea add to the dramatic effect.

As you explore you will learn stories of saints, of poets and you will discover the fascinating link that Whitby Abbey has with Dracula! There are acres of space to enjoy, far-reaching views and even a cute little gift shop.

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Richmond Castle

Tower Street, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4QW

With its enviable position offering spectacular views over the Yorkshire Dales, Richmond Castle is considered by many to be one of the finest tourist attractions in North Yorkshire. Built many years ago to help control the lawless and troublesome north of the country it became one of the greatest fortresses of Norman times.

Today families are invited to enjoy exploring the ruins, joining in with the seasonal activities and live-action events, and browsing through the gift shop.

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Conisbrough Castle

Castle Hill, Conisbrough, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN12 3BU

Conisbrough Castle was the inspiration, in 1860, for Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, his first novel based outside of Scotland. The incredible views and exceptional design must have had much to do with his decision.

The castle floors and roof have been sympathetically restored in the lofty circular keep, ensuring you can fully appreciate the magnificence of this original 12th-century building. The surrounding fields and grass stretches are perfect for fun family games and delicious, memorable picnics.

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Pickering Castle

Castlegate, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7AX

Pickering, a delightful market town on the North York Moors is home to Pickering Castle, a 13th-century fortress with endless stories of battles, tragedy, and change. This popular tourist attraction located in the heart of the National Park has been many things to many people over the years including a royal hunting lodge, holiday home and a stud farm.

It has been the dwelling of a succession of medieval kings. Today it offers a great family day out, where you can walk, enjoy a picnic and browse around the gift shop.

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Fountains Abbey and Royal Studley Water Garden

Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY

Fountains Abbey in Ripon, North Yorkshire has been drawing visitors to admire its beauty and elegance for many years. The once magnificent and imposing abbey is today an awe-inspiring and atmospheric ruin.

It is one of the largest and best-preserved Cistercian monastic ruins in England. This fascinating and educational property has now received the accolade of being a World Heritage Site, and rightly so. Studley Royal Water Garden features sparkling ponds, elegant statues and amusing oddities and cleverly incorporates the stunning ruins into the design.

Please note the web address above takes you to the National Trust listing for Fountains Abbey. English Heritage members can use their membership cards to visit here for free.

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