Free Things to do in North Yorkshire

Many of the main attractions in our local area have an entrance fee, but there are some great activities in North Yorkshire which are free of charge.

We are lucky to have a great selection of scenic spots perfect for a day out on the Yorkshire Coast, plus there are some wonderful cost free attractions further afield a short drive away.

Peasholm Park

Peasholm Park in Scarborough is open for everyone to enjoy all year round, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Entrance to the park is free. Within the park is a boating lake with a Japanese-themed island to explore in the middle. There are also lots of pathways leading around the park and surrounding woodlands. Take some nuts as you may see a squirrel or two!

Brass bands hold concerts on select Sunday afternoons throughout the summer or, if dinosaurs are more your thing, download the Augmented Reality Dinosaur Safari for free and start tracking them down around the park. Search ‘Love Exploring’ in your app store.

Visit our dedicated page on Peasholm Park to find out more.

Peasholm Park

Yorkshire Beaches

An obvious choice when visiting the Yorkshire Coast, heading to the beach is a perfect way to spend a sunny day out. We are spoilt for choice of beautiful sandy beaches too.

Cayton Bay is ideal for dog walks, surfers, and those looking for a peaceful spot to relax. For families, Scarborough’s North and South Bays offer long stretches of golden sand lined with tons of things to do including donkey rides and amusements.

Everything you need for a beach day you can grab from the Crows Nest supermarket – buckets and spades, balls and beach shelters for the little ones. We even have nets for those heading to the local rock pools.

Cayton Bay

Scarborough Trails

The Scarborough Trails are a collection of walks around Scarborough with things to see and activities to do along the way. They are a great way of exploring the town away from the usual tourist attractions.

Their walks include the Castle Trail, heading past the stunning Scarborough Castle headlands, Peasholm Park and the Spa Bridge.

The Mere Trail takes in the natural landscapes of Oliver’s Mount with its historic war monument and views over Scarborough, as well as the lakes of The Mere – home to a handful of wildlife including swans and birds. 

The Railway Trail known as “The Cinder Track” due to its cinder track ballast, now forms 21 miles of the National Cycle Network and is very popular with cyclists and walkers. Operating along the Yorkshire Coast from 1885 until 1965, the old railway line is now a quiet off-road route passing quiet bays such as Crook Ness and Cloughton Wyke.

The Mere

Danby Lodge

Close to Whitby, Danby Lodge National Park Centre is an official Dark Sky Discovery Site and entry is free.

Set in an idyllic spot on the banks of the River Esk, you can walk for miles crossing moorland, woodland, farmland with miles of hedges, drystone walls and historic buildings. Take a picnic and make a day of it.

Danby Lodge - A Dark Sky Discovery Site


On a dry day, York City Walls are a great way of seeing the city from another point of view. Take some paper and crayons for your children and keep them busy by creating “rubbings” of the golden discs they will pass on the way round. Not suitable for those with pushchairs since some areas are very narrow and there are lots of steps.

Whilst you’re visiting York, the National Railway Museum is a fantastic, free attraction for all the family. Steeped in history, you’ll be able explore past locomotives, learn about trains being used in the present and find out what may be to come.

National Railway Museum

Local Paddling Spots

Who doesn’t like a paddle to cool down on a hot Summer’s day?

You don’t have to be by the sea to enjoy paddling. Our favourite paddles can be found at becks in Hovingham, Thornton-le-Dale, Kirkdale or close to Beck Isle Museum in Pickering.

If you want to add a walk, explore the surroundings of Hutton-le-Hole and enjoy cooling off in the stream that runs through the village.

North of Scarborough you will find Falling Foss, a local favorite, ideal for a paddle and a day out for the family beside a beautiful natural waterfall set in the North York Moors.

Falling Foss Waterfall
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