Fun for free in Yorkshire

Feeling the pinch after Christmas? Whether you’re a super-fit cyclist, a Sunday morning stroller, a wildlife enthusiast or a parent with children in tow, Yorkshire is packed with things to do on a winter’s day that won’t cost a penny.
Editor Robin Gauldie hand-picks some favourites.

Walks and strolls
You’ll need all the right winter gear for long walks on the moors at this time of year, but there are plenty of gentler strolls in city parks and along canal towpaths – like Haw Park Wood, on the outskirts of Wakefield, where on a quiet winter’s day you may be lucky enough to spot a fox, stoat or even a badger. Or combine a visit to the acclaimed Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with its superb collection of outdoor works of art, with a walk through the neighbouring Bretton Lakes Nature Reserve.

On your bike
Bring your bike to Yorkshire to explore hundreds of miles of cycling trails, from marathon long-distance journeys to networks of world-class mountain bike trails and easy-going bridlepaths.

Cliffs and seabirds
The puffins won’t be back on the North Sea cliffs in big flocks until March, but take a breezy stroll out to Flamborough Head and its historic lighthouse and you may spot gannets soaring and huge ‘rafts’ of guillemots floating on the waves.

On the beach
Paddling and ice-cream are out, but this time of year is perfect for beachcombing along the sands of Whitby or Scarborough, where you never know what flotsam and jetsam the winter waves may wash up. You’ll have miles of beach to yourselves, and it’s a great way to work up an appetite for fish and chips at the end of your walk.

Out of the rain
Get out of the weather for a day of indoor fun at one of Yorkshire’s amazing museums. The National Media Museum in Bradford offers free tours and activities at weekends and during school holidays. Go underground at the National Coalmining Museum near Wakefield, visit the golden age of steam at the National Railway Museum in York, or try your hand at sabre-rattling or archery at the awesome Royal Armouries in Leeds – all for free.

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