Cars are essential if you want to explore North Yorkshire properly. The remoteness of its attractions and beauty spots are the area's main selling point, and you don't want to be relying on public transport to get around.
Leeds Bradford International Airport (www.leedsbradfordairport.co.uk), Durham Tees Valley Airport (www.durhamteesvalleyairport.com) and Newcastle International Airport (www.newcastleairport.com) are dotted around the region's edges.
The National Express East Coast train (www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com) from London King's Cross to York takes a little over two hours. Northern Rail Lines (www.northernrail.org) can take you from York into the North Yorkshire Moors or the Yorkshire Dales.
UK country code: +44; York: 01904; Helmsley: 01439; Wensleydale: 01969.
James Herriott's All Creatures Great and Small and its many sequels describe the life of a rural Dales vet. In Dracula, by Bram Stoker, the infamous Count arrives in the UK via a ship that washes up in Whitby bay. Kate Atkinson's wonderful Behind the Scenes at the Museum is set in 1950s and 1960s York.
Do go / Don't Go
There's never a bad time to come to North Yorkshire - the weather is equally unpredictable all year round. Summer sees the biggest influx of tourists, when the narrower country roads can get a little clogged, but the region is plenty big enough to accommodate everyone. Spring and autumn can be romantically wild and windy, while winter offers the sort of snowfalls rarely seen outside Narnia.
The only thing that gourmands and Yorkshire folk have in common is that they would both drop the 'h' when pronouncing 'haute cuisine'. This is meat and two veg country, where owt fancy is eyed with suspicion - and simplicity and freshness are rightly revered. Yorkshire pudding features heavily - try it in its plate-sized version, filled with North Yorkshire pork sausages and thick onion gravy. Keep an eye out for Wensleydale cheese and dense slabs of ginger parkin - traditionally eaten around 5 November to commemorate the grisly death of former York resident Guy Fawkes. And don't leave without trying a bag of Seabrooks crisps, made in nearby Bradford, which, as every Yorkshireman and woman will tell you, are simply the best in the world.
You're far better off hiring your own car, but if you do want to have a pint or two of Timothy Taylor Landlord bitter when you go out in the evening, you can always get your hotel to arrange a taxi back for you.
Service is not generally included, so tip on the generous side of 10 per cent in cafés and restaurants. US visitors, unused to the complexities of British culture, should be aware that tips aren't expected in pubs. Some smaller establishments only accept cash.
Pound sterling (£).
Bring stout boots and plenty of waterproofs - you're going to want to go walking, and the weather's very changeable up here. Don't forget to pack some Tupperware in which to bring back all those delicious Yorkshire cheeses either.
North Yorkshire is home to more than its fair share of venerable ruins, and the crumbling Cistercian abbeys at Jervaulx, between Richmond and Harrogate, and Rievaulx, near Helmsley, are filled with 15th-century stonecarved walls, and graceful arches and columns. For more modern pleasures, head to the Georgian Theatre Royal (www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk) in Richmond, an 18th-century building that offers an eclectic range of shows from flamenco dancing to panto. Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre (www.sjt.uk.com) is where playwright Alan Ayckbourn chooses to premiere his plays.
Outside of York and Harrogate, there aren't many high-end boutiques in these parts. Concentrate instead in filling your larder with the sort of authentic local produce that you'd struggle to find at home. The Wensleydale Creamery (www.wensleydale.co.uk) in Hawes sells Wallace and Gromit's favourite cheese in all kinds of configurations. Sampling is very much encouraged. Pick up jam from Raydale Preseves (www.thedales.org.uk/RaydalePreserves) in Stalling Busk, where sweet treats aplenty are lined up for your delecation, and stock your freezer with super-creamy, farm-made ices from Brymor Ice Cream (www.abmoore.co.uk). Beer - of the dark, dense and served-at-room-temperature variety - is taken very seriously up here, and it's worth stocking up on chunky bottles of the stuff from Theakston's (www.theakstons.co.uk) and Black Sheep (www.blacksheepbrewery.com), both in Masham, as well as from the renowned Wensleydale Brewery (www.wensleydalebrewery.com) in Bellerby. If you want to pick up lots of fresh produce from one place, then the town of Leyburn, west of Northallerton, has a farmers' market on the fourth Saturday of each month.
For awe-inspiring, 360-degree views of the North Yorkshire Moors - and, on a clear day, out as far as Teeside and the Yorkshire Dales - clamber up to the summit of Roseberry Topping, just east of Helmsley.
Wander the woodlands of the Yorkshire Dales and keep an eye out for rare-as-unicorns red squirrels. The National Park is keen to discover how many of these elusive creatures are left in the wild, so would love to hear from you if you do spot any.
March Enjoy some of the world's finest ecclesiastical music at the Colleges Choirs Festival, held in the grand surroundings of York Minster. The acoustics are pretty good, apparently. April The Scarborough Literature Festival offers you the chance to meet top writers such as Ian Rankin, Joanne Harris and Mark Billingham. There are also plenty of workshops in which to brush up your prose style. August Yorkshire Day, on 1 August, is when all things white rose are celebrated throughout the county - as well as by Yorkshire expats all over the UK. September Verdant blooms vie for attention at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, held at the town's Great Yorkshire Showground.