Kirkby Stephen in the upper Eden Valley is a vibrant little market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are pretty individual shops, galleries, antiques, crafts, a delicatessen and Monday market. In the centre of town is the Upper Eden Visitor Centre which can give you all the information you need for a visit.
The Parish Church is well worth a visit as this is where you will find a Loki Stone - only two of which are known of in Europe. Loki was a Norse god and worshipping him would probably have come across with Vikings who settled in the area. The carving shows a figure with sheeps horns and bound in chains.
On the edge of town in Stenkrith Park where the River Eden plunges into a deep gorge. Looking down you should be able to see a series of strange circular holes which have been created by pebbles swirling around in them for hundreds of years. Also starting here is a great route along an old railway line to the nearby village of Hartley.
Kirkby Stephen station is on the Settle to Carlisle railway line which provides one of the most scenic journeys in Britain, but be warned the station is actually 1.5 miles out of town.
This is great walking and cycling country with both easy going valley routes and more challenging climbs to take on. Kirkby Stephen is a 'Walkers are Welcome' town and makes a great base for exploring the area.