Things to Do in Yorkshire Dales: Exploring Unmissable Attractions

8 months ago   •   8 min read

By More Yorkshire
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Things To Do In Yorkshire Dales

In the heart of northern England, the Yorkshire Dales beckons with its mesmerizing beauty and diverse offerings. For adventurers and peace-seekers alike wondering about things to do in Yorkshire Dales, the region promises an unforgettable experience.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park, with its varied landscapes, charming towns, and rich history, ensures every visit is memorable.

From iconic hiking trails to captivating cultural attractions, the choices are boundless. So, gear up, embrace the allure, and prepare to be swept off your feet by the wonders of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.


Highlights of Yorkshire Dales

Top Attractions

Yorkshire Dales is home to several impressive attractions that you should not miss. Visit the majestic Bolton Abbey, where you can explore the beautiful riverside, woodland, and moorland trails. The historic abbey ruins will transport you back in time, while the stepping stones and scenic picnic spots by the River Wharfe let you soak in nature's beauty.

Another must-see is the stunning Bolton Castle, a well-preserved Medieval castle located in Wensleydale. Enjoy activities like falconry displays, archery, and wild boar feeding while getting a taste of life in the Middle Ages.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is the perfect destination for both short and long walks, offering picturesque routes for all abilities. Embark on one of the many short walks available, ranging from 0-2 miles, 3-5 miles, to 6-10 miles, and experience the dales first hand. For the more adventurous, there are also options to tackle more challenging long walks.

If you're a fan of nature and wildlife, birdwatching is another popular activity in the area. Among the various nature reserves, Hudswell Woods and Malham Tarn make excellent spots to observe local and migratory birds.

Amazing Scenery

The Yorkshire Dales are known for their incredible natural beauty, offering a diverse landscape that ranges from rolling countryside to steep-sided valleys. Enjoy the vast heather-covered moorland hilltops and the patchwork of drystone walls and barns scattered throughout the dales.

A top choice location for scenery is Malham Cove, a natural limestone formation that provides breathtaking views. Explore the limestone pavement at the top, or marvel at the towering cliffs from below.

Another awe-inspiring feature is the Upper Wharfedale, a stunning valley that offers a mix of picturesque farmland, woodlands, and limestone features. This idyllic setting encompasses the essence of the Yorkshire Dales' landscapes, making it an unmissable location for any nature lover.


Exploring the Dales

The Yorkshire Dales offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors who are eager to explore its natural beauty. In this section, we will cover some of the must-visit waterfalls, exciting caving experiences, and the charm of the beautiful River Wharfe.

Must-Visit Waterfalls

The Dales is home to several stunning waterfalls, attracting visitors from far and wide. A few notable waterfalls include:

  • Aysgarth Falls: A series of picturesque waterfalls along the River Ure. The falls featured in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
  • Gordale Scar: A dramatic limestone ravine with cascading waterfalls, perfect for adventurers and photographers alike.
  • Ingleton Waterfalls: A popular circular trail that takes you through ancient woodlands and offers stunning views of the waterfalls.

Caving Experiences

For those with a taste for adventure, the underground world of the Dales provides an unforgettable experience. Some notable places for caving include:

  • Malham Cove: A colossal limestone amphitheatre-shaped cliff that leads to a complex network of caves and passages.
  • Britain's Highest Underground Waterfall: Venture into the depths of the Dales to discover the hidden gem, Gaping Gill, where a breathtaking waterfall cascades 98 metres deep underground.

When caving, always ensure you have the necessary equipment and, if possible, a knowledgeable guide to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Beautiful River Wharfe

The River Wharfe flows through the heart of the Dales, providing lovely scenery and various activities. Spend an afternoon picnicking by the river or take a walk along its banks to admire the landscape, rich in wildlife and flora. For the more adventurous, canoeing or fishing on the river offers an immersive way to experience the beauty of the Dales.

Remember to always respect the environment and follow local regulations when partaking in activities around the river, ensuring that the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales remains preserved for future generations to enjoy.


Things to Do in Northern Yorkshire

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle is a must-see historical landmark in Northern Yorkshire. With its impressive stone towers and beautiful grounds, the castle provides a unique insight into medieval life. Wander through the remains of this once-mighty fortress, admiring the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Don't forget to explore the exhibition, detailing the castle's fascinating history, before climbing the tower for a breathtaking panorama of Richmond and the River Swale.

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle, set in the charming market town of Skipton, is another iconic attraction not to be missed. This well-preserved medieval edifice offers a step back in time, boasting its original gatehouse and ancient rooms still intact. As you tour the castle, imagine the lives of past inhabitants, including the influential Clifford family. Make sure to take a stroll through the lovely woodland walk and take in the stunning scenery surrounding the castle.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Discover the Ribblehead Viaduct, an awe-inspiring example of Victorian engineering majesty. This remarkable structure, set amongst the picturesque landscape of Northern Yorkshire, is the perfect destination for a scenic walk or picnic. Wander alongside this impressive 24-arched structure and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Don't forget your camera, as the viaduct makes a stunning backdrop for photography enthusiasts.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Lastly, a visit to the magnificent ruins of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site combines the captivating ruins of a 12th-century Cistercian abbey with an elegant Georgian water garden, creating a unique and fascinating destination. Explore the enchanting grounds, taking in the abbey's stunning architecture and the beautifully landscaped gardens of Studley Royal. Immerse yourself in the history and tranquillity of this serene and picturesque site.


Interesting Spots to Visit

One of the many attractions in the Yorkshire Dales is the variety of unique and beautiful locations scattered throughout the region. In this section, we'll explore three of these interesting spots: Wensleydale and its Creamery, The Forbidden Corner, and Malham Village.

Wensleydale and Its Creamery

If you're a cheese enthusiast, visiting Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes should be at the top of your to-do list. Home to the famous Wensleydale cheese, this creamery offers a unique experience where you can not only sample their delicious products, but also learn about the art of cheese-making. Take a guided tour to see how the cheese is crafted, from the milking process to the final product, and enjoy a tasty cheese-tasting session afterwards. Besides cheese, the area of Wensleydale also offers stunning landscapes and walking trails to explore.

The Forbidden Corner

Explore the unique and enchanting world of The Forbidden Corner in Tupgill Park. This peculiar attraction is a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, and follies that will delight and surprise you at every turn. Embark on an adventure filled with mysterious sculptures, bewitching gardens, and hidden passageways. The Forbidden Corner is an ideal destination for families and those with a keen sense of adventure, but remember to book tickets in advance, as daily visitor numbers are limited.

Malham Village

Nestled within the Yorkshire Dales, Malham is a charming village that serves as the perfect base for exploring the incredible natural wonders of the area.

Pay a visit to Malham Cove, an impressive limestone formation with a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape.

Or, you can walk to the nearby Gordale Scar, a majestic limestone gorge well worth the hike.

One of the most beautiful sights in the Malham area is Janet's Foss (pictured above).

When you return to Malham village, be sure to enjoy a well-deserved meal and drink at one of the cozy local pubs. The quaint atmosphere and stunning surroundings make Malham Village a must-visit location in the Yorkshire Dales.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best views in the Yorkshire Dales?

The Yorkshire Dales offers stunning scenery and picturesque views. Some of the best spots to take in the landscape include Malham Cove, Aysgarth Falls, and the valley of Wharfedale. For a more leisurely walk, consider the National Park car park route that provides great views of the surrounding area.

There are many charming villages in the Yorkshire Dales, each with their own unique character. Recommended villages for a stay include Hawes, Grassington, Settle, and Ingleton. Each of these villages offers a range of accommodation options and amenities to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable.

What activities are available at Aysgarth Falls Visitor Centre?

The Aysgarth Falls Visitor Centre is a great starting point for exploring the beauty of Aysgarth Falls. It offers walking trails, picnic areas, and informative exhibits about the local area. Additionally, there are guided walks available and interactive activities for children, making it a perfect destination for a family day out.

What are some must-visit attractions in the Yorkshire Dales?

Some of the must-visit attractions in the Yorkshire Dales include Malham Cove, Ribblehead Viaduct, White Scar Cave, and Bolton Castle. The area is also known for its extensive network of underground caves, including the longest system in Britain, providing caving opportunities for varying levels of adventure.

How can one spend a day in the Yorkshire Dales?

To make the most of a day in the Yorkshire Dales, you could visit one of the stunning natural attractions such as Malham Cove or Aysgarth Falls, take a walk along the famous Swale Trail, or explore the hidden beauty of the underground caves. You might also consider cycling, horseback riding, or participating in a guided walk to learn more about the unique landscape.

What makes the Yorkshire Dales special?

The Yorkshire Dales is special for its breathtaking landscapes, including deep valleys known as dales, and a patchwork of drystone walls that weave through the countryside. The area also boasts a rich history, charming villages, and a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and caving.

Which is the prettiest of the Yorkshire Dales?

It's difficult to choose just one, as each dale has its own unique beauty and charm. Some of the most picturesque dales include Swaledale, Wensleydale, and Wharfedale. Visiting multiple dales during your trip will give you the chance to appreciate the variety and different characteristics of each.

How do you spend a day in Yorkshire Dales

A day in the Yorkshire Dales can be spent exploring the beautiful landscapes, visiting historical sites, and participating in various outdoor activities. Depending on your interests, you could hike along scenic trails, cycle on the 12-mile Swale Trail, or explore the stunning caves that make the area famous.

Are the Yorkshire Dales worth visiting?

Absolutely! The Yorkshire Dales are a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates beautiful landscapes, rich history, and a variety of outdoor activities. From the charming villages to the stunning natural attractions, there's something for everyone to enjoy in this picturesque part of the UK.

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