Dotted throughout Yorkshire's varied landscape, with rugged moorland in the east and the lush green valleys of the Dales in the west, the county's communities are equally varied, from picturesque limestone villages to busy modern cities. York is almost more museum than city, remembering its ups and downs since the Romans founded it in AD71, which makes it a particular shame that there's a dearth of good hotels here. We wish we could wholeheartedly recommend one, but we can't. However the choice of character hotels is between Middlethorpe Hall, luxurious, pricey and just outside the centre, the Grange, in a Regency house on a busy road, the Bloomsbury, a solid B&B a brisk walk from the famous Minster, and Bar Convent, which offers simple self-catering accommodation. Our other recommendations are in the bustling metropolis of Leeds, fastest growing city in the UK and a paradise for shopoholics; in the pretty hilltop town of Richmond; and the prosperous market towns of Helmsley, near Rievaulx Abbey, Pickering, starting point for the North Moors Steam Railway, and Harrogate. The last of these, a traditional spa town, has shaken off its reputation as a genteel backwater and blossomed into a much cooler destination, confirmed by the recent opening of the buzzing Hotel du Vin. The order by which the hotels are listed bears no reflection on our preference.
Hip and happening hotel from the du Vin chain, popular with travelling businessmen, but tourists too. Excellent bistro food, all the mod cons, overlooking The Stray (the common).
Regency house B&B with an award-winning garden, full of art and antiques. Dinners can be arranged for groups. Three large bedrooms, great comfort and style in historic Yorkshire town.
Traditional old Harrogate hotel transformed with contemporary styling with plush bathrooms and a lively bistro. Close to the centre with fine gardens, a relaxing place to stay.
Lovely old York stone inn-hotel in a picturesque village with chic, modern interiors, and a welcome heated pool and spa. Fine dining, a luxurious stay for local exploring.
Imaginatively updated 16th-century coaching inn with tasteful modern bedrooms, a chill out 'Bothy' for residents, and fine bistro fare.
Unusual guesthouse in an elegant living convent
One of the latest in the growing chain of boutique city hotels with a business twist, with colourful, quirky, contemporary rooms and convenient bistro dining with good wines.