Did you know we are the BBC Countryfile Magazine National Park of the Year? Read on, it will give you lots of reasons why.
There is SO much to do in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and it’s all at your fingertips. Where to begin…
We are going to paint a picture for you – stunning valleys, moorland and meadows, rivers and streams, miles of drystone walls, field barns dotted across the landscape and outstanding limestone formations which include magnificent caves, caverns and waterfalls …yes, all of these can be found in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and there are so many ways to access it all!
1. SHORT WALKS
One of the best ways in which you can enjoy the Dales is by walking; there are many varied short walks you can take to enjoy the wonderful scenery.
2. LONG WALKS
If you fancy more of a challenge, we have some longer distance options, some of which include the Pennine Way, Coast to Coast, Pennine Bridleway, Pennine Journey (100-270 miles), Lady Anne’s Way, Dales High Way, Dales Way (80-100 miles) and the Herriot Way, Ribble Way, Dales Inn Way (52-76 miles).
There is also the Three Peaks challenge where the aim is to walk 24 miles, covering all three summits, Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, in 12 hours!
Other ways to access the Dales are cycling and mountain biking – a great way to take in the landscape and observe the wildlife. We have a network of 900km of bridleways, by-ways and green lanes available for you to use.
As you are passing through some of our quaint little towns and villages why not stop off at some of the lovely pubs and cafes to refresh yourself.
4. TRAVEL ON A HERITAGE RAILWAY
Take a journey on a steam locomotive whilst admiring the scenery as you travel through the Dales.
There are a number of heritage railway lines to choose from in the Yorkshire Dales – including the Wensleydale Railway, the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway and the Stainmore Railway.
Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle line is a stunning piece of Victorian engineering in an iconic location in the middle of the Three Peaks.
5. FAMILY DAYS OUT
If you are looking for a family day out in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park we have some great ideas!
- Dales Countryside Museum – with fun and interesting things for visitors of all ages where you can discover more about the past of the Yorkshire Dales
- Wild Wednesdays – a family drop-in in the summer holidays where the children get to take part in different activities such as stream dipping and making crafts, these largely take place in the Malham, Aysgarth and Kirkby Stephen areas
- Open farms – close up interactive activities for the kids with the cute and furry animals of the Dales; Hesketh Farm Park and Holme Open Farm
- Wensleydale Creamery – home of the famous Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and a popular Visitor Centre
Other attractions include:
- Buttertubs Pass
- Parcevall Hall Gardens
- Bolton Abbey Estate
- Kilnsey Park Estate
- Farfield Mill
- Gayle Mill
- Grassington Museum
- Black Sheep Brewery
- Theakstons Brewery
6. HISTORICAL SITES
There are many historic castles and abbey ruins in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park to explore, such as:
- Bolton Castle – a 14th-century castle located in Wensleydale
- Ripley Castle – a Grade I listed 14th-century country house in Ripley
- Fountains Abbey – one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England
- Middleham Castle – was built in 1190 by Robert Fitzrandolph, 3rd Lord of Middleham and Spennithorne
- Richmond Castle – the castle was constructed from 1071 onwards following the Norman Conquest of England
- Pendragon Castle – a ruin located in Mallerstang dale, Cumbria, south of Kirkby Stephen,
- Skipton Castle – a medieval castle built in 1090 by Robert de Romille located in Skipton, North Yorkshire
Geocaching is great fun – it is basically a big treasure hunt where you can find co-ordinates, look for clues and hunt for the nearest caches – you can also hide your own!
8. LIMESTONE FEATURES
There is an array of limestone features; the most iconic and popular sites to visit are Malham Cove, Malham Tarn, Asygarth Falls, Ingleton Waterfalls and White Scar Cove; however we boast many more caves, caverns and waterfalls throughout the Park.
If you are wanting to release the dare devil in you, get an adrenaline rush by hiring an instructor to go caving, rock climbing or abseiling. You’ll see some of the sites from a different perspective that you might not get by walking or cycling.
Some examples of some fantastic waterfalls, caves and caverns:
If you are fascinated by the night-time sky, enjoy a spot of stargazing or just a night-time walk. We have some of the darkest skies in the country, which means you get to witness some beautiful starry nights. As well as the moon and the stars, it is possible to see the Milky Way, planets, meteors and if you pick your time right you can even see the Northern Lights! How cool is that?
If you are interested in helping to conserve the beauty of the Park, or just to meet new people, you could volunteer with us and get involved in some of our current projects.
We have opportunities a plenty. From the hands-on practical work of maintaining our rights of way or drystone walls, to research projects, to helping other people to get enjoyment from the area in our guided walks programme.
Still want more?
Well… you could just put your feet up, take a picnic to a nice secluded spot under a tree, relax, enjoy the peace and quiet and gaze in wonder at the special landscape.
Last but not least, we have so many events going on throughout the year. You can see our events listing on here or in our official Yorkshire Dales National Park magazine ‘The Visitor’ which can also provide you which lots of suggestions for things to get up to in the Dales!
Don’t forget to stop off at any of our five visitor centres on your way round; these have our very own cafés and shops (we also have an online shop too!)
- Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre
- Grassington National Park Centre
- Hawes National Park Centre
- Malham National Park Centre
- Reeth National Park Centre
Please explore our website for more information on all of these activities and attractions. We can also offer you some great places to stay whilst you are enjoying your visit to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.