However long you’ve spent in Yorkshire, there’s always more to see – from discovering England’s first tourist attraction at Mother Shipton’s Cave to wandering through the gardens of Wentworth Woodhouse. If you’re hoping to see some new sights this spring, these exciting destinations are all around an hour’s drive from York.

Castle Howard

Closer to a palace than a house, this impressive stately home sits in the Howardian Hills in the idyllic North Yorkshire countryside. Castle Howard was designed in the baroque style by John Vanbrugh and built from 1699 onwards. It recently featured in its own Channel 4 TV series, which followed its staff and residents through the seasons ending with their preparations for the estate’s enchanting annual Christmas event. You may also recognise it as Clyvedon Castle in Netflix’s Bridgerton or Kensington Palace in the ITV drama Victoria. Castle Howard offers a fun-filled day out for all the family. You can ride a land train through the grounds here, have a treetop adventure on Shelf Island or hop aboard The Dame for a 30-minute cruise around the North Lake. There are outdoor play areas for the youngest visitors and beautiful formal gardens where peacocks strut. You can also walk through the parkland and discover photogenic features like the Atlas Fountain and the Temple of the Four Winds. If all of that exploring leaves you feeling peckish, the estate has two excellent cafes, a tea room and a chocolate shop.

Mother Shipton’s Cave

If your travels take you to Knaresborough, the mysterious natural beauty spot of Mother Shipton’s Cave certainly deserves a visit. Situated in what remains of Knaresborough’s Royal Forest, the cave is said to have been home to the old spa town’s most famous resident, the prophetess ‘Mother’ Shipton (nee. Ursula Sontheil). Local legend has it that Ursula was born in the cave and later returned after becoming a widow, when she made prophecies that foretold events such as the Great Fire of London and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Adding to its intrigue, the cave has a petrifying well that can slowly turn items into stone. This is due to high levels of sulphate and carbonate but in Mother Shipton’s time it must have seemed like magic. Visitors have brought their own items to be petrified since the 1600s, and you can still see encrusted hanging objects, including dolls, teddies, a sock and an old kettle. The nearby River Nidd makes a great spot for rowing or kayaking and boats can be hired from Blenkhorn’s Boat Hire in the High Bridge Gardens. An accompanied rowing service is available for those who can’t row and there’s also a tourist cruise on which you can learn much more about this charming town’s past.

Ripley Castle

This stunning 14th-century stately home can be found in the picturesque village of Ripley, close to the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Ripley Castle has been the home of the Ingilby family for more than 700 years and has extensive gardens and grounds that visitors can explore and get active in. Plant enthusiasts will enjoy wandering through the hot houses or seeing the interesting vegetables that grow in the kitchen garden. Ripley Castle also has a tranquil lake and a deer park, where you might spot fallow deer and rabbits grazing beneath ancient oak trees. Six of the castle’s rooms can be viewed on a guided tour, after which you might want to head to the tea rooms to try one of Ripley’s famous sultana scones. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try your hand at activities like body zorbing, archery or bush craft with Live For Today Adventures.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Situated eight miles south of Wakefield, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a must-visit for art lovers of all ages. The YSP’s scenic parkland spans more than 500 acres and contains an ever-changing collection of contemporary sculptures from artists of international renown. You can currently see four major works by Damian Hirst here, along with Daniel Arsham’s six bronze ‘relics’. Those visiting before April will also find more than 100 pieces by Erwin Wurm dotted throughout the landscape and indoor galleries. Named ‘Trap of the Truth’, this show is the culmination of 30 years’ practice for the Austrian artist, who challenges ‘the limitations of the human body and its relationship to the spaces we inhabit’ to create art that disrupts our perceptions of the familiar and sensible, often with a humorous result. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is dog friendly, making it ideal for those who want to share a day out with their four legged friends. The park has a stylish new restaurant as well as a cafe where you can enjoy delicious homemade food prepared using local produce. Alternatively, you’re welcome to bring your own picnic to eat in the grounds.

Harewood House

Built in the mid 1700s for Edwin Lascelles, the 1st Baron Harewood, this imposing country home near Leeds is a fine example of 18th century fashion. The house was designed by the famous Yorkshire architect John Carr, while its interior was the vision of Robert Adam. On its walls you’ll find family portraits by celebrated painters such as Reynolds and Gainsborough along with Renaissance masterpieces, which sit among pieces of furniture by Thomas Chippendale. From the lavish state rooms where no expense was spared to the vegetable scullery and still room, which are hidden away in the servants’ quarters below stairs, visitors can take a tour of the many different areas on display and imagine what life was like for Harewood’s past residents. If you’d like to blow away the cobwebs with a spring walk, Harewood has more than 100 acres of gardens, which were landscaped by Capability Brown and feature plants from all over the world. There’s also an adventure playground, two cafes and dedicated picnic spots.

Beverley Minster

Beverley’s gothic minster deserves a place among the country’s finest cathedrals – its design is even said to have inspired Westminster Abbey. The land that this historic place of pilgrimage stands on has had a holy purpose since around 700AD, although the building that you see today was constructed between 1220 and 1425. Its design incorporates three architectural styles – English, Decorated and Perpendicular – and a highlight is its stunning Great East Window. Other notable features include a 14th century altar screen and carvings that depict mediaeval musical instruments. You can take a walk around this remarkable building before exploring everything else that the market town of Beverley has to offer, from independent shops and restaurants to the leafy pathways of Beverley Westwood.

Wentworth Woodhouse

Located in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Wentworth Woodhouse is one of the largest Georgian houses in England. Parts of this magnificent home date back as far as 1725 and it has many fascinating stories to tell – Wentworth Woodhouse has hosted royalty and in the Second World War was used as a training depot and headquarters for the Intelligence Corps. Visitors can explore the house by themselves or take a tour with an expert guide before calling into the Butler’s Pantry Café or Long Gallery for an indulgent afternoon tea. The house sits in more than 50 acres of grounds, which include wildflower meadows and two 18th century follies as well as a new natural play area. If Wentworth’s current display of vibrant daffodils leaves you feeling inspired, the estate also has a large, family-run garden centre where you’ll find everything you need to get growing.

Images- @castle_howard, @ripley_castle_estate, @yspsculpture