Best Things to Do in Leyburn: Create Unforgettable Memories

2 months ago   •   10 min read

By More Yorkshire
Table of contents

Things to Do in Leyburn

Leyburn is a quintessential market town nestled in the heart of Wensleydale within North Yorkshire, England. Renowned for its traditional charm and stunning landscapes, the town beckons visitors with a unique blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty.

With a rich array of attractions ranging from historical sites to nature reserves, Leyburn enjoys increasing popularity among both domestic and international travellers seeking an authentic Yorkshire experience.

The town's offerings cater to a diverse audience, with reviews frequently lauding Leyburn's family-friendly hotels, quaint independent shops, and local art galleries.

Those interested in delving into history are drawn to nearby Bolton Castle and Middleham Castle, which stand as testaments to the area's storied past. Meanwhile, outdoor enthusiasts relish in the untouched landscapes of the Leyburn Old Glebe Nature Reserve and the picturesque scenes at Wensley Waterfall.

Complementing its historical and environmental allure, Leyburn is also a hub for various curated experiences. Guided bus tours, cultural excursions, and day trips are readily available, providing structured exploration for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of this Yorkshire gem.

The town's innate ability to balance the preservation of its traditions with the welcome of modern tourism ensures that Leyburn remains a timeless destination in North Yorkshire.


Exploring Historical Leyburn

Leyburn, a market town in the heart of Wensleydale, boasts an array of historical sites that offer a window into its rich heritage. From castles to railways, each landmark tells a unique story of Yorkshire's bygone eras.

Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle, an imposing 14th-century fortress, stands as a testament to medieval might and history. It is renowned for its well-preserved structure and the pivotal role it played in English history, including the captivity of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Today, families can explore its grand rooms and dungeons or witness falconry displays.

The Wensleydale Railway

The Wensleydale Railway, a heritage line running through the heart of Yorkshire, provides a nostalgic rail experience. The journey covers a historic route through Wensleydale, offering vistas of the verdant countryside and introducing travellers to the historical significance of rail in the development of the area.

Middleham Castle and Its Environs

Middleham Castle's ruins dominate the landscape, once the childhood home of Richard III. Its environs are laced with walking paths that lead to nearby sites, offering an opportunity to absorb the history of the region and the castle's strategic importance during the Wars of the Roses.


Natural Wonders of Wensleydale

The Wensleydale region, known for its breathtaking landscapes and scenic trails, offers a trove of natural attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages.

Its beauty is captured in the majesty of cascading waterfalls and the serenity of lush gardens, making it a premier destination for those seeking the tranquillity of the countryside.

Aysgarth Falls and the Surrounding Trails

The Aysgarth Falls are a magnificent series of waterfalls on the River Ure, renowned for their picturesque beauty.

Visitors can enjoy different perspectives of the falls from various points along the surrounding walking trails, which offer splendid views of the wooded valleys.

The area is not only famed for the falls but also the diverse wildlife that enhances the area's natural charm.

  • Views: Panoramic vistas of the falls and the Yorkshire Dales
  • Walking: Network of trails ranging from leisurely walks to more challenging hikes
  • Wildlife: Opportunities to observe local fauna in their natural habitat

Forbidden Corner: A Hidden Gem of Leyburn

Praised as a hidden gem within the Leyburn community, Forbidden Corner presents a unique family-friendly adventure.

This intriguing garden comprises a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, and surprises, each uniquely crafted to delight and mystify visitors.

Frequently receiving positive reviews, it has grown in popularity, becoming a staple attraction for the area.

  • Gardens: Mysterious, themed gardens with an array of sculptures
  • Popularity: High ratings and regarded as a must-visit
  • Family-Friendly: Suitable for explorers of all ages, providing a whimsical experience

The wildlife and walking paths at Aysgarth Falls, coupled with the allure of the Forbidden Corner's gardens, establish Wensleydale as a destination filled with natural wonders ready to be explored.


Culinary Experiences in Leyburn

Leyburn, with its charming market town character in the heart of Wensleydale, is a haven for food enthusiasts. The area boasts a delightful array of local eateries, ranging from traditional pubs to quaint tearooms, each offering a taste of North Yorkshire's renowned quality and hospitality.

Traditional Pubs and Tearooms

In Leyburn, one will discover a plethora of traditional pubs serving hearty meals, often made with locally sourced ingredients.

Visitors can indulge in classic British pub fare accompanied by a pint of ale in a cosy setting. The commitment to quality is apparent in the well-kept cask ales and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere prevalent in these establishments.

  • Pubs in Leyburn
    • The Black Swan: Known for its traditional Sunday roasts
    • The Golden Lion: Offers a seasonal menu featuring local produce

Tearooms are another staple in Leyburn, where one can enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate while savouring home-baked scones and cakes beside flickering candlelight.

It's common to find tearooms nestled in between shops, providing a warm refuge and a delightful selection of teas and coffees to local shoppers and tourists alike.

  • Notable Tearooms
    • Serenity Tearoom: Praised for its homemade cakes and tranquil ambiance
    • The Wensleydale Heifer: Serves renowned afternoon tea with a selection of delicate pastries

Artisanal Treats and Handcrafted Delights

Leyburn's shops and boutiques often feature a range of artisanal treats that reflect the area's culinary ingenuity.

Inspired Chocolate is an example of a local shop where one can find handcrafted chocolates that are as visually stunning as they are delicious.

Their offerings include unique flavour combinations, making them perfect for gift-giving or personal indulgence.

  • Artisanal Products
    • Inspired Chocolate: A shop for unique chocolate creations and gifts
    • Dales Delights: Sells a variety of handcrafted wax melts and edible treats

These shops underscore the town's dedication to handcrafted quality and showcase the creative spirit of local artisans. The wax melts available in several shops throughout Leyburn fill the air with delightful fragrances, adding to the sensory experience of shopping in this quaint town.


Outdoor Activities

In Leyburn, outdoor enthusiasts can relish the picturesque landscape through a variety of activities. With opportunities ranging from leisurely family walks to engaging wildlife encounters, there's something for every nature lover.

Guided Walks and Self-led Hiking

Leyburn serves as a starting point for numerous walking routes.

For those who prefer a structured experience, guided walks are available, often encompassing historical insights and geological knowledge specific to the Yorkshire Dales.

Alternatively, a wealth of self-led hiking options offer an intimate experience with nature.

Families can embark on circular walks, which are not only manageable but replete with stunning views of the dales. Maps and suggested routes are readily available for walkers of all levels.

  • Example Route:
    • Name: Leyburn Shawl Walk
    • Type: Circular Walk
    • Distance: 6 miles
    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Start Point: Market Place, Leyburn
    • Highlights: Panoramic views, wildlife spotting opportunities

Falconry Displays and Wildlife Encounters

For a unique and thrilling display of natural prowess, Leyburn presents falconry displays that captivate audiences of all ages.

Demonstrations often feature a variety of birds of prey, showcasing their hunting skills and flight agility.

Additionally, the region's nature reserves offer a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

The Leyburn Old Glebe Nature Reserve, for instance, provides a serene environment where one can observe different species in their natural habitat, including the chance to spot wild boar amidst the diverse flora and fauna.

  • Wildlife Encounter Locations:
    • Leyburn Old Glebe Nature Reserve: Nature walks, diverse ecosystems
    • Local Falconry Centres: Live displays, educational experiences

Shopping in Leyburn

Image Source: dalesdiscoveries.com

Leyburn epitomises the charm of shopping in a traditional Yorkshire market town with a variety of unique local establishments offering quality goods.

Unique Local Shops

Leyburn is host to an array of independent shops where visitors can find a range of quality products.

Shops like Quirky Cow showcase hand-crafted items that reflect the quaint character of Leyburn.

Shoppers can also discover locally-made candles and holders, adding a warm, Yorkshire touch to any home.

Visitors interested in equine themes will enjoy Little Alf, a shop named after the town's famous tiny horse, providing an assortment of equine-themed gifts.

These shops not only offer a memorable retail experience but also provide a personal touch with hand-picked and artisanal items.


Events and Markets

In the heart of Leyburn, events and markets are integral to the local culture, offering unique experiences for visitors and residents alike.

Particularly notable are the weekly markets, which provide a showcase for the local produce and crafts.

Leyburn’s Weekly Market

Leyburn’s market tradition stretches back centuries, with Friday being the key day for the weekly market.

The market takes place in the Market Square, a pivotal point in the town.

Stalls open early, offering an array of goods from fresh, locally-sourced food to handmade crafts.

  • Location: Market Square, Leyburn
  • Day: Friday

Vendors from the surrounding areas bring their produce to Leyburn's Market Square, giving shoppers the chance to buy fresh and high-quality items.

Goods range from fruits and vegetables to meat, baked goods, and dairy products, as well as non-food items like clothing and household goods.

What makes the weekly market special is not just the shopping experience but also the opportunity for visitors to engage with local traders.

They can gain insight into the origins of their purchases and support the regional economy.

The market also serves as a social hub, where people meet, shop, and catch up with one another, enhancing the community spirit of Leyburn.


Surrounding Attractions

The area around Leyburn is rich with historical sites and family-friendly attractions. Visitors can find a variety of opportunities for sightseeing, walking, and exploring the scenic Wensleydale region.

Richmond and Its Historical Appeal

Richmond is a market town with a wealth of history to offer.

At its heart stands the imposing Richmond Castle, which provides an insightful peek into medieval times with stunning views over the River Swale.

The town's cobbled streets and Georgian architecture frame a bustling centre with shops, restaurants, and cultural offerings, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and casual sightseers alike.

  • Attractions: Richmond Castle, Georgian Theatre Royal, The Green Howards Regimental Museum
  • Activities: Historical tours, sightseeing, shopping

Bedale, Masham, and Northallerton

Bedale is a traditional North Yorkshire market town that offers a quaint atmosphere for visitors.

It houses attractions that are ideal for families and individuals interested in local heritage, such as the Bedale Hall and the town's charming museum.

  • Bedale Attractions: Bedale Hall, Bedale Museum
  • Activities: Exploring historical buildings, family walks

Moving on to Masham, visitors will find a vibrant community famed for its brewing heritage with breweries like Theakston and Black Sheep welcoming guests for tours and tastings.

Masham is also a gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, providing ample walking paths and nature sightseeing opportunities.

  • Masham Highlights: Brewery tours, Masham Market Square
  • Activities: Walking, sightseeing, tasting local ales

Lastly, Northallerton is the county town of North Yorkshire, offering a broader shopping experience and access to local produce at its lively market.

Its High Street is lined with a mix of stores and eateries, presenting a modern contrast to the rural charm found in nearby areas.

  • Northallerton Features: High Street shops, betty's tearoom, County Court
  • Family Activities: Shopping, dining, enjoying local markets

Travel and Accessibility

Leyburn's accessibility by road and rail is a testament to its connection with the wider Wensleydale region, providing visitors with convenient options to reach this charming market town.

Road Networks Leading to Leyburn

Leyburn is well-served by an array of road networks that facilitate easy access to and from the town. The main routes include:

  • The A684, which runs directly through Leyburn, connecting it with the A1(M), the region's major motorway.
  • Additional local roads that link Leyburn to neighbouring towns and the scenic Yorkshire Dales.

Motorists can appreciate the town's relatively hassle-free parking, which serves as a starting point for exploring the surrounding countryside.

Local Transportation and Connectivity

When it comes to local transportation:

  • Buses: Leyburn has a network of local bus services that connect it with Richmond, Ripon, and other nearby towns and villages.

As for rail:

  • The Wensleydale Railway, a heritage line, offers a unique rail service from Leyburn to nearby destinations like Bedale and Leeming Bar.
  • Trains run on a seasonal basis, often driven by volunteers, providing both a practical and nostalgic way to travel.

Despite Leyburn's position as one of England's more sparsely populated parts, its transportation options ensure visitors can reach this destination with relative ease.


Frequently Asked Questions

Leyburn offers a variety of activities for all types of visitors, from dog-friendly walks to unique shopping experiences. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked queries about what to do in this charming market town.

Where are the best places to take dogs for a walk in Leyburn?

One can take dogs for a stroll around the Leyburn Shawl, offering panoramic views of the countryside, or to the Leyburn Old Glebe Nature Reserve for a peaceful nature walk.

What activities are available in Leyburn for adults seeking entertainment?

Adults seeking entertainment in Leyburn can explore local galleries, attend events at the town hall, or enjoy a scenic ride on the Wensleydale Railway, connecting the town with the surrounding area.

Which retail shops offer unique shopping experiences in Leyburn?

Shoppers can visit independent shops along Leyburn's market square for unique local crafts, antiques, and Yorkshire delicacies, providing a distinctive shopping experience.

Can you recommend some top-rated dining venues in Leyburn?

Leyburn's dining scene includes options like Thirteen, a venue known for its modern British cuisine, and Penley's Cafe and Bistro, which offers casual dining with locally sourced ingredients.

What outdoor activities are available in the surrounding area of Wensleydale?

The surrounding area of Wensleydale offers ample opportunities for hiking, cycling, and fishing in the Yorkshire Dales, with routes suitable for all skill levels.

Which pubs in Leyburn are known for their ambiance and quality ales?

The Black Swan at Middleham and The White Swan Hotel are popular among locals and visitors alike.

They are known for their welcoming ambiance and selection of quality local ales.

Spread the word

Keep reading