To make your visit to the Yorkshire Dales one not to forget, why not try one or many of some of these wonderful experiences iconic to the Dales… Develop a traditional craft skill, hone your creative talents and learn from one of our great local artists, photographers, local food producers or outdoor providers.
There are also many opportunities to learn an outdoor skill such as caving or navigating. Have a look at our Call in the Experts page for details.
Arts and crafts courses
Here are a few ideas for developing your creative side.
- If you’re looking to do something that you have never done before, then The Malham Smithy offers a unique opportunity to have a go at blacksmithing, learn key basic techniques and forge your own personal work of art.
- Learn how to throw pottery on a wheel at Bentham Pottery who run courses for two to six people on inexpensive half day sessions.
- ArtisOn in Masham run creative courses including painting, printing, ceramics, jewellery making, and stained glass.
- You can hone your picture taking with Natural Light Photography who run weekend and full-day workshops at locations such as Aysgarth falls, Bolton Abbey, Malham and Ribblehead.
- In Wensleydale, take a course with professional artist Winifred Hodge in Carperby Village Institute, or outdoors when it is possible.
- Get away from the distractions and stresses of everyday life and be inspired by the peace and tranquillity found at the remote Garsdale Retreat which offers creative writing courses, tutored by professional writers. Or have a go at one of the blacksmithing, willow weaving, spoon carving or painting courses occasionally held at Broadrake Bunkbarn, at the base of Whernside – one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks.
- The Thomas family run Nethergill Farm tucked away at the head of Langstrothdale. Courses are based in the superb farmhouse field centre and there are plans to include woodcarving, ceramics and jewellery making courses.
- Farfield Mill near Sedbergh specialise in workshops revolving around fabric and material.
- The Threshing Barn, runs courses covering a range of crafts and skills in the village of Reeth.
- Want to get to grips with stone? Pip Hall Stone carving courses take place in a variety of locations in Cumbria including Dentdale.
Arts and crafts
Food, drink and cookery courses
- Chris Wildman, a Malhamdale farmer, runs a farm shop and butchery courses as part of Town End Farm Shop at Airton. You can learn how to carry out pork butchery, make sausages, curing or charcuterie.
- The Yorkshire Dales is famous for its cheeses. The Courtyard Dairy near Settle, runs courses for people who want to learn about making their own cheese. There’s the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, with its famous tasting room and visitor centre offering daily demos, and Lacey’s Cheese, providing a full day of cheese-making delights.
- If you want to truly experience Yorkshire cuisine, book into Humble Pie Cookery School. Courses can be tailor-made to your requirements and celebrate the finest ingredients produced within the dale.
- At Swinton Park, the Cookery School runs a busy programme of two day, one day and half day cookery classes throughout the year. All cookery classes are hands-on and practical, from Game to Baking and from Dinner Parties to Wild about Food foraging courses.
- Breweries local to the National Park are Wensleydale Brewery in Leyburn, Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery and Yorkshire Dales Brewery in Askrigg where you can call in to sample tempting tipples or do the full Brewery Tours at Black Sheep Brewey or Theakstons in Masham.
- If artisan gin is your thing, you can visit the beautifully renovated Otterbeck Distillery on the banks of the River Aire, where Bell Busk Mill once stood and find out about its rich history and learn how their premium Gin is produced. If you’d like to try your hand at making your own gin call into the Gin Experience at the Spirit of Masham Distillery.
Food and cookery
Wildlife, nature and outdoor experiences
- Go for a walk with a difference in the company of Nidderdale Llamas who are gentle, friendly and great fun. This is a unique and personal experience in the lovely setting of the eastern Dales. Or let Semerwater Alpaca Ambles take you truly back to nature. Explore the beauty and stunning views of Raydale in Wensleydale accompanied by a new woolly companion.
- For fly fishing, Stone House Hotel near Hawes run courses on both still water and the River Ure, at Bolton Abbey tuition is available on the River Wharfe, and up the valley at Kilnsey Park is great for beginners.
- There is no better way to understand the Yorkshire Dales farming life, than to actually have some truly hands on experience. Be a farmer for the day with The Wensleydale Experience on the Swinithwaite Estate. Learn about the traditional skill of drystone walling, animal husbandry, and the importance of farming for the area.
Wildlife, nature and the outdoors
Activity providers and walking specialists
The Yorkshire Dales provides the most stunning landscape to explore by foot but if you’re not sure where to start or looking for someone with the knowledge and expertise of the area to help you get the most out of your trip then there are many experienced walking providers to help. You can choose from self-guided walks, guided walks, navigation training and even combining photography tuition with walking to explore the area.
You can find a list of all the activity providers in the Yorkshire Dales here.
The National Park Experiences Collection
If you’re looking to try something different, learn a new skill and enjoy unusual experiences that you can only find here in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, then take a look at our specially created National Park Experiences which brings the stories of our National Parks to life. Each bookable experience offers an authentic insight into the landscape and special qualities of a National Park. A proportion of the booking fee will be reinvested into sustainable tourism initiatives in UK National Parks.