Things To Do In Malham and Beyond: A Weekend in Yorkshire

8 months ago   •   12 min read

By More Yorkshire
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Things To Do In Malham

Looking for things to do in Malham? Well, you're in for a treat! Tucked away in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park, Malham is more than just a scenic village – it's your gateway to experiencing the English countryside in all its glory.

As you stroll through this delightful spot, you'll realize there's no shortage of adventures waiting for you. Fancy checking out the mesmerizing Malham Cove? Or perhaps a calming walk around Malham Tarn is more your speed? And if you're keen to dive deep into the area's highlights, don't miss the Malham National Park Visitor Centre.

But wait, there's more! The expansive Yorkshire Dales National Park surrounding Malham is crisscrossed with trails that cater to both casual strollers and seasoned hikers. And for those of you who like to pedal your way around, there are paths perfect for cyclists of every skill level.

Oh, and while you're here, why not get a taste of Malham's culture? From taking a step back in time with historical tours to indulging in the local cuisine, there's a whole world of experiences waiting for you to dive into. So, immerse yourself and embrace the magic of this captivating region!

Exploring Malham Cove

Adventures on the Limestone Pavement

Malham Cove is a breathtaking limestone formation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park that offers various opportunities for discovery and adventure.

One of these is exploring the unique limestone pavement at the top of the Cove. This geological wonder is characterised by a clints and grykes pattern, which results from the erosion of the rock over time.

As you wander along the pavement, you can marvel at the variety of flora and fauna that have adapted to thrive in these unusual conditions.

Reaching the Top

Climbing to the top of Malham Cove is an experience not to be missed.

The journey begins with ascending the endless-seeming well-made steps that have been carefully constructed to facilitate easy and safe access.

As you make your way up, take the time to appreciate the impressive surroundings of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and soak in the natural beauty of the area.

Be prepared for a bit of a workout, as the climb can be quite strenuous, but the reward at the top is definitely worth the effort.

Fabulous Views

View from the top of Malham Cove showing lush green fields stretched to the horizon

Once you've reached the summit of Malham Cove, you'll be greeted with truly fabulous views stretching for miles across the Yorkshire Dales landscape.

This vantage point offers a perfect opportunity to take in the breathtaking scenery and snap some memorable photographs to share with your friends and family.

From here, you can also see the quaint village of Malham, which provides a charming backdrop for your memories of this unforgettable experience.

Venturing to Janet's Foss and Gordale Scar

A Walk to the Waterfall

As you set out on your journey to explore Malham, be sure to visit the enchanting Janet's Foss waterfall.

Begin your walk at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Car Park, and head towards the charming village of Malham. Cross over Malham Beck using the quaint footbridge, then turn right.

The path to Janet's Foss is wide and easily identifiable, leading you through picturesque woodland until you reach the tranquil waterfall. As you take in the stunning scenery, listen to the soothing sound of the water and feel yourself connecting with nature.

Unveiling the Gordale Scar

Continuing your adventure, make your way to the breathtaking & mighty Gordale Scar – a geological marvel nestled in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. After visiting Janet's Foss, retrace your steps slightly before following the footpath sign directing you towards Gordale Scar.

As you walk along the gravelled path, the landscape opens up to reveal the magnificent limestone gorge with its cascading waterfalls.

Take some time to explore this immense feature, forged over millions of years by the power of water and ice. The dramatic cliffs and rugged beauty of Gordale Scar provide a captivating backdrop for avid walkers and nature lovers alike.

Make sure to capture memories of the stunning scenery as you marvel at the raw power of nature at work.

Discovering Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn Experience

Malham Tarn, situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, offers you an idyllic setting surrounded by beautiful views. As Britain's highest limestone lake, it has something for everyone.

There are several walks you can do to explore this extraordinary natural wonder. One popular option is the Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk offered by the National Trust. Beginning at Watersinks car park, this trail takes you on a journey through breathtaking scenery and diverse landscapes.

You will encounter various geological features along the trail, which will deepen your appreciation for the area's beauty. The landscapes surrounding Malham Tarn are a mix of limestone pavements, heather moorlands, and woodlands, providing a rich and varied experience for visitors.

Take some time to admire the spectacular views and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of this unique location.

Wildlife at Malham Tarn

During your visit to Malham Tarn, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that inhabits the area.

The diverse habitats surrounding the lake support a wide range of species, both on land and in the water. You may spot various birds, such as curlews, lapwings, and oystercatchers in the skies above or resting on the shoreline.

Additionally, Malham Tarn and its surroundings attract animals like otters, hares, and roe deer, which you may encounter while exploring the landscape trail.

The unique limestone lake also hosts an interesting variety of aquatic life. You'll find plant species that have adapted to the alkaline conditions of the water, as well as invertebrates and fish which contribute to the ecosystem.

As you explore the various wonders of Malham Tarn, remember to respect the habitats of the local wildlife. Keep a safe distance, avoid disturbing nesting birds, and take care not to trample the fragile vegetation. In doing so, you will have done your part in conserving this special place for future generations to enjoy.

Walking the Pennine Way

The Trail's Landscape

The Pennine Way is a breathtaking footpath that stretches over 268 miles from Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. As you traverse this magnificent trail, you'll experience a diverse range of landscapes, from the rugged moorlands of the Peak District to the lush, green pastures around Malham.

As you make your way towards Malham, you'll encounter picturesque fields and charming stone walls lining the countryside.

Hike through the tranquil, infant river Aire and immerse yourself in the history of villages like Airton, Kirkby Malham, and Hanlith.

The route takes you via several stunning sights, such as Malham Cove and Watlowes Valley, where you can admire the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.

Footpath and Terrain

The terrain of the Pennine Way presents a mix of well-trodden, well-signed footpaths, gravelled and grassy tracks, and, occasionally, some challenging and rocky sections.

While the hike from Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale covers Fountains Fell and the iconic Pen-y-Ghent, these areas require a reasonable level of fitness and attention to navigation.

However, this should not deter you from participating in this extraordinary journey.

Malham's section of the Pennine Way offers a mainly level route, with some gentle uphill stretches, making it suitable for walkers of various abilities. To help minimise the impact on the environment and the landscape, the trail features elevated boardwalks and well-constructed stone paths to protect sensitive peat areas.

Remember to come prepared for the ever-changing British weather, as the conditions can vary greatly along the way. Wearing appropriate footwear, waterproof clothing, and carrying a map and compass will enhance your safety and enjoyment of the Pennine Way's enchanting landscapes.

Visitor Centre and Facilities

Services Available

At the Malham National Park Visitor Centre, you can find a wealth of information to plan your visit to this stunning area. The helpful staff will provide you with details about walks, attractions, and events happening in and around Malham. They can also offer advice on exploring iconic spots such as Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, and Janet’s Foss waterfall.

The visitor centre features toilets and a car park, conveniently located so that you can easily access the attractions of the National Park. Additionally, various maps and guides are available at the centre's office, which will make your visit more enjoyable and well-informed.

Getting Here

To reach the Malham National Park Visitor Centre, you can either drive, cycle, or take public transport, depending on your preference.

There is limited parking available nearby, so it's advised to arrive early if you plan to drive. If you prefer public transport, there are buses connecting Malham to the nearby towns of Settle and Skipton, from where you can catch trains to other major cities.

The centre is ideally located as a starting point for exploring the Yorkshire Dales National Park, so once you have all the information you need from the helpful staff and resources, you can head out and make the most of your time in Malham.

Food and Drink Options

Malham offers various food and drink options to suit your taste and preferences. In this charming Yorkshire Dales village, you will find delightful pubs, bars, and cafés to enjoy during your visit.

Pubs and Bars

In Malham, there are several welcoming pubs and bars where you can enjoy a hearty meal, snack, or refreshing drink. The Lister Arms is a popular choice, serving traditional British cuisine in a cosy atmosphere. Here, you can relax with a pint of local ale or sample their selection of delicious dishes.

Another notable pub is The Buck Inn, which also offers tasty and satisfying meals alongside a range of beverages. Make sure to try their pub classics or treat yourself to one of their mouth-watering homemade pies.


If you prefer a lighter bite, Malham has some lovely cafés to explore. Start your day with a steaming cup of coffee from The Old Smithy, where you can enjoy freshly brewed beverages and tasty homemade cakes. This quaint café is the perfect spot for a relaxing break between your adventures.

For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to visit Cawden Barn, known for its delicious cakes, quiches, and Easter lambs. Additionally, many of the cafés offer ice cream, an ideal treat for a warm day spent exploring the stunning landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales.

In Malham, you will find an array of food and drink options designed to cater to various tastes and preferences. Whether you enjoy sipping on a coffee, indulging in some ice cream, or dining at a historic pub, Malham has something for everyone to enjoy during their visit.

Malham's Historic Interest

The Old Barn

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If you're interested in the history of Malham, a visit to the Old Barn is a must. This historic site features the NT Town Head Barn, a well-preserved example of an 18th-century agricultural building.

As you explore this historic barn, you'll get a glimpse of the fascinating agricultural history of Malham and the surrounding area. Make sure to take note of the unique architectural features, such as the original flagstones and the sturdy, hand-built drystone walls.

Blacksmith Skills

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Another aspect of Malham's history lies in the ancient craft of blacksmithing. To get a first-hand experience of this traditional skill, consider taking part in an Experience Day at the local blacksmith.

You'll have the opportunity to learn about the tools and techniques used by blacksmiths over the centuries and even try your hand at forging your very own creation.

As you work with the blacksmith, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for this age-old craft and its important role in Malham's community throughout history.

While visiting Malham, make sure to set aside some time for these historic sites and experiences. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the area and learn about important aspects of the local culture that have helped shape this charming corner of the Yorkshire Dales.

Accommodation and Nearby Attractions

Staying in Malham

Malham is a picturesque village located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, offering a range of accommodation options to suit your needs. From cosy bed and breakfasts to welcoming guest houses, you'll find the perfect place to rest after exploring the area's stunning landscapes.

While in Malham, you can take advantage of various outdoor activities such as walking tours and excursions. Tailor your trip and explore Malham's top attractions, like Malham Cove, on sites like TripAdvisor and Viator. Don't miss out on nearby points of interest, including Janet's Foss Waterfall and Gordale Scar, both within walking distance from the village.

Outside Malham

If looking for things to do in Malham isn't enough for ya and you plan to venture a bit further?:-) There are plenty of attractions in the surrounding areas.

Skipton, a bustling market town, is a short drive away and offers a variety of shopping and dining experiences, as well as historical attractions such as Skipton Castle.

For a more urban adventure, you can visit Leeds, a vibrant city within easy reach by car or public transport. Enjoy the rich history, cultural offerings, and excellent shopping opportunities in the thriving heart of Yorkshire.

Remember to plan your visit according to booking data and availabilities, as this popular destination can be busy during peak seasons. Utilise platforms like TripAdvisor to browse a range of activities and make the most of your time in and around Malham. Your trip to this enchanting village and the surrounding areas will undoubtedly leave you with memories to cherish.

Useful Tips for Visitors

When planning your visit to Malham, it's always a good idea to check Tripadvisor for up-to-date information and reviews on popular attractions and activities. Reviews can provide helpful insights into which spots are worth your time, and where you might want to stop for a bite to eat.

A picnic is an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful scenery whilst taking a break during your explorations. Be sure to pack your favourite snacks and drinks, as well as a blanket to sit on. Remember, though, that Malham can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays. So, arrive early if you want to secure a prime picnic spot.

Keep in mind that Malham's natural terrain can sometimes be challenging for visitors. When walking or hiking in the area, you might encounter wet stones and muddy pathways. To avoid getting dirty feet, wear sturdy waterproof footwear with good grip.

As the landscape consists of trails and walkways that may require some climbing, taking special care when traversing wet stones is crucial for your safety. Additionally, ensure you have appropriate clothing, as weather conditions can change quickly in the Yorkshire Dales.

Lastly, always practice responsible tourism by respecting the environment and local community, which includes disposing of your rubbish appropriately and following any posted guidelines. This way, you'll contribute to keeping Malham a beautiful destination for all visitors to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions in Malham?
Visiting Malham Cove, a stunning limestone formation, is a must-do for those exploring Malham. Other popular attractions in the area include Janet's Foss, Gordale Scar, and Malham Tarn.

Are there any guided tours available in Malham?
Yes, there are various tours and sightseeing options available in Malham. You can choose from walking tours, cultural and theme tours, as well as private and custom tours to suit your interests.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Malham?
Malham is a popular destination for outdoor activities, particularly walking and hiking. The area offers various walking trails with different difficulty levels, such as the Malham Cove walk and the Malham Tarn circular walk. Besides walking, you can also enjoy activities like birdwatching, cycling, and photography.

Where can I find visitor information about Malham?
You can get visitor information at the Malham National Park Visitor Centre, which provides maps, guides, and local advice to help you make the most of your visit.

Is Malham suitable for families?
Yes, Malham is a fantastic destination for families. With its beautiful scenery, numerous walking paths, and outdoor activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. However, keep in mind that some walks may not be suitable for young children or pushchairs, so consider the accessibility of your chosen routes.

How do I get to Malham?
Malham is situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with Skipton being the closest main town, approximately 14 miles away. You can reach Malham by car or by bus, using the local bus service that connects Skipton with the surrounding villages.

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