Magical encounters with fantastic beasts as Yorkshire holidaymakers discover a new breed of animal attraction

Butterfly clouds, live birdsong festivals, and royal appointments with queen bees are just some of the magical encounters on offer in Yorkshire, as holidaymakers to York and its rural neighbour Ryedale are being encouraged to stand up for British wildlife.

With 40%–70% of native species predicted to go extinct if action is not taken, Ryedale’s tourism businesses are working hard to ‘find a room’ for the neglected and disappearing wildlife, encouraging visitors to shun expensive holidays abroad to enjoy free safaris in one of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, encountering some of the UK’s rarest and undervalued wildlife.

“The Brits are a nation of animal lovers,” explains Craig Nattress of Visit Ryedale the partnership behind the rural renaissance. “We’re captivated by David Attenborough, and our holiday bucket lists often include the chance to encounter rare creatures - but we tend to ignore our own native wildlife! We’re trying to change that in Ryedale, encouraging visitors to celebrate those quintessentially English magical encounters with nature that are so threatened – spiralling larks in summer meadows, brown hares racing across autumn’s stubble fields, colourful meadows of wildflowers with the hum of honeybees, the spring-time peregrinations of baby toads, a glimpse of shy deer in broad-leaved woodland glades. These simple moments are so special – but if they’re forgotten, they’ll easily be lost.”

Visitors to the area can enjoy many close – unusual and free - encounters with wildlife, whilst also giving native creatures a happy future, including:

  • Wander through butterfly clouds and get a free ticket to live birdsong festivals, as the area’s visitor attractions plant miles and miles of colourful wildflower meadow and thousands of native trees, teeming with nature.

  • Make a royal appointment: get suited up to meet the queen of some of the UK’s happiest bees (and their besotted beekeeper), as ancient orchards are restored – with the chance to taste both the fruits and honey of their labours.

  • Discover a new breed of animal attraction: historic country estates, once home to medieval monks and powerful barons, are now ‘des res’ for wildlife, while theme parks are nature’s playgrounds.

  • Introducing the Great Yorkshire Safari – wildlife guaranteed, it’s on your doorstep, and it’s free! And for something a little different, how about a safari by steam on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, or even by husky?

  • A personal nature show (without roughing it): in the comfort of a luxury holiday home eat breakfast with the ‘deer’ neighbours, or watch chicks hatching live in their nests via a webcam direct on the living room TV set!

  • Even artists are going wild: meet top international wildlife artists and craftspeople in their natural habitat – their workshops (or even their gardens)!

  • The UK’s natural supermarket, with wildlife-friendly farming attracting the country’s top chefs and producers (and a golden harvest of awards and plaudits…)

To plan the holiday adventure of a lifetime and support British wildlife, visit or, consult an expert at York’s Visitor Information Centre on Museum Street (near York Minster); for ideas while you’re already out and about in North Yorkshire, there’s free WiFi, maps and guides at Visitor Information Points in Helmsley, Malton and Pickering.


For more media information please contact:

Nicola Bexon, Pyper PR:

01904 500698 or

Samantha Orange, Pyper PR:

01904 500698, or

Notes to the Editor

Visit Ryedale is supported by Ryedale District Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with Visit York, Visit Hull & East Yorkshire, Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit England.

Visit Ryedale's aim is to market Ryedale and its market towns as a must-see destination to the leisure visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in Ryedale.  Visit Ryedale is responsible for leisure marketing, visitor services (running the district's Visitor Information Points) and ensuring a quality visitor experience.

Key fact tourism facts: 5 million visitors annually, £209 million total visitor spend, supporting 7,000 jobs.

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand. Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York

Key York tourism facts: 6.8 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs.