Business As Unusual

Unprecedented times for all, but businesses are adapting and their inspirational creativity is showcased in truly wonderful ways … there’s lots to see and experience in Yorkshire.

Surf’s Up

The Yorkshire coast has great surf beaches; ideal in the autumn when the waves are consistent, the sea is not too cold and the beaches are less crowded than in summer. More adventurous and experienced surfers might prefer the winter months when the waves are likely to be at their most magnificent.

Switch ON to Opera North 

Exciting outdoor events and digital projects will be taking place across the North of England this Autumn following the postponement of Opera North’s season (arranged pre-pandemic). So Switch ON to Opera North’s new planned programme, including As You Are, a new soundwalk for Leeds composed by cellist Abel Selaocoe; Will Todd's community opera, Song of Our Heartland, released as a film; also a digital project bringing Act III of La bohème to cities across the North; and a Whistle Stop Opera: Hansel and Gretel will be performed live at outdoor, socially distanced performances including Harewood House, Leeds (30th August), [email protected], Hull (2nd September), Pontefract Castle (4th September) and at the National Centre for Early Music, York ( 5th September). 

Train Time

Travel on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s The Optimist, a pre-booked, steam-hauled journey. Services will depart from Pickering and will travel directly to the picturesque seaside town of Whitby. See the sights en route via Levisham, Goathland & Grosmont, although during current times the train will not be stopping at these stations. The Optimist is available for travel up to Sunday 13th September.

Sense-ational Barnsley Exhibition

Catch Allegories of the Senses a creative collaborative exhibition of artwork from the Arts Council Collection at Cooper Gallery, Barnsley. Replicating or stimulating the five senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing, pieces have been chosen from Cooper Gallery and Cannon Hall Museums collections. Accessibility and inclusion is an important focus for the exhibition, carefully curated by Action for Autism and Asperger’s Barnsley (AfAAB). On display until 21st November. 

Venice Premiere

Filmed in Leeds, Bradford and London The Duke will have its world premiere at the 2020 Venice Film Festival in September, the first major film event to take place since the pandemic.

Starring Academy Award winners Dame Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent the feature film was backed by Screen Yorkshire. During her time filming in the county, Dame Helen Mirren shared images on social media enjoying nights out eating curry and having a great time at Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre watching Billy Pearce and cast at the panto … oh yes she did!

Record Breaking Figures for Kiplin Hall

Opening post-pandemic is a precarious practice but for North Yorkshire Jacobean historic house Kiplin Hall, July was their best visitor month on record. With 2,833 people passing through their grand gates in just 14 days, visitor numbers were up 23% on the property’s previous busiest year. Kiplin Hall may have come through the coronavirus crisis, but it’s also been witness to 400 years of the world's ups and downs, including a civil war, the whole reign of Queen Victoria, the Industrial Revolution, two world wars and more than one pandemic. Check out this heritage hall set in gorgeous gardens and enjoy a bite to eat from Proper Pizzas, serving freshly baked pizzas to eat outdoors, made in an authentic wood-fired oven. Hot drinks and sweet treats from the Kiplin Kitchen are available too.

Bus Stop

York City Sightseeing open-top bus tours are now running every 15 Minutes to meet visitor demand, doubling its timetable to four journeys an hour. Tickets are valid for a full 24 hours, meaning those arriving in York in the afternoon can complete a tour and then take another the next morning. Hop on and hop off at some of the city’s most celebrated sights including  York Railway Station for the National Railway Museum, Museum Gardens for the Yorkshire Museum, St Mary’s Abbey, Mansion House, Yorkboat River Cruises and the Visit York Information Centre, Exhibition Square for York Minster and the City Art Gallery, Monk Bar for the Richard III Museum, The Stonebow for The Shambles, York’s Chocolate Story and Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, plus Clifford’s Tower for the Castle Museum, York Dungeon and the JORVIK Viking Centre

Gulliver’s Yorkshire Travels

Launched just after lockdown, Gulliver's Valley Resort is a new magical, family adventure experience in South Yorkshire’s Rother Valley. Designed for children aged 2-13 and home to indoor attractions and exciting theme park rides. From Western World to Smugglers Wharf, and the Lost World of the Living Dinosaurs, it’s going to be a roaring success. Stay over in a princess or unicorn suite at the Castle Hotel or Lost World Lodges and Western Cabins.

Harewood Dining Room

Tempted to a nine course tasting menu at Harewood House? In September, Executive Chef Josh Whitehead, recently crowned Chef of the Year at this year’s prestigious Yorkshire Evening Post’s Oliver Awards, will be cooking up a treat with a mouth-watering menu featuring sourced produce from Harewood throughout each course, with 80% of the delicious delicacies sourced from the estate. Featuring beef and venison from Harewood’s livestock, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and edible flowers from its historic walled garden and a range of wild foods foraged around vast grounds. Taking place in the “Hovels”, an old stable block built in the late 1700’s around the same time as Harewood House, designed by Robert Carr, the architect behind the Grade I listed stately home. 

The Staycation Express

The picturesque and iconic Settle-Carlisle Railway has a new private charter train operating daily between Skipton, Settle and Appleby, offering a socially distanced, first-class journey, but without the first-class fees. Experience one of the UK’s most historic and scenic railway lines, with views of the stunning Yorkshire Dales and reach the dizzy heights to see the breathtaking sights from the top of the Ribblehead Viaduct. Until 12th September. 

Double Delight

Make it a priority to visit two impressive priories. Gisborough Priory in the Tees valley is dominated by the dramatic skeleton of the 14th century church's east end, an outstanding example of early Gothic architecture. One of the first Augustinian priories to be built in England, Gisborough was founded by the Bruce family, ancestors of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. The canons rebuilt their church no fewer than three times, and what survives gives a glimpse of the priory's former riches. Half an hour’s drive away tucked away at the foot of the Cleveland Hills in North Yorkshire is Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens. Discover the best preserved Carthusian priory in England. Roam the ruins of this unusual medieval monastery and find out what makes the property so unique in the reconstructed monk's cell. The glorious gardens have been recently renovated. Keep a look out for the famous priory stoats! Visit the English Heritage website.

Take Tea

Visit Carlton Towers and enjoy afternoon tea hampers in the beautiful vineyard of this stunning period property, available throughout September and October. Described as ‘mixing the grace of Downton Abbey with the magic of Hogwarts’ the impressive property and gorgeous gardens have been locations for various TV and film adaptations, including as Hetton Abbey in the 1988 film A Handful Of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, it was the stunning backdrop for the television dramatisation of Charles Dickens’ Micawber, starring David Jason, and also in TV’s Masterchef, Kay Mellor’s series Love, Lies & Records and the amazing costume drama Victoria.

Otterly Amazing

Book an online ticket to visit Sheffield’s Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife And Falconry Centre and you may be given an exclusive otter feeding pot (only 20 available each day). Celebrating 25 years of spectacular creatures from birds of prey to parrots, lemurs to crocodiles, butterflies and bats ... it’s animal magic all the way. 


This article was originally written for This Is Y magazine digital edition – Sept/Oct 2020. To view the full magazine, click here