Famed for its stone-built villages and beautiful scenery, it’s not hard to see why the Yorkshire Dales attracts millions of visitors every year. Whether you’re a lover of long walks or prefer a slower stroll around stunning tourist attractions, the beautiful scenery and varied attractions offer something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales.
1. Bolton Abbey
The Bolton Abbey estate boasts 30,000 acres and over 80 miles of footpaths to explore. At the heart of the estate are the ruins of a 12th century Priory. The estate is one of our favourite places to walk in the Dales – it has a number of marked walking routes of varying lengths, so you’re bound to find a route that’s perfect for the family.
A particular highlight of a trip to Bolton Abbey is crossing the stepping stones across the River Wharfe. Just don’t forget to take a pair of waterproof walking boots – some of the steps are slightly submerged!
Famed for its cheese, idyllic villages and acres of countryside to explore, Wensleydale is a great base if you’re wondering where to stay in the Yorkshire Dales. The main town in the area is Hawes, home to the Wensleydale Creamery. The Creamery is best known for its name-sake, but also produces a selection of traditional English cheeses.
In the 1990s, sales of Wensleydale cheese started to drop off dramatically, and there was fear that the Creamery would have to close. However, it was inadvertently saved by the popularity of Wallace and Gromit – with Wensleydale being the former’s favourite cheese!
3. Malham Cove
Malham Cove is a huge, curved, limestone cliff face, attracting all sorts of visitors. The cliff face makes it a challenging location for climbers, scrambling up the rock. It’s also one of the best places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales if you’re a keen bird spotter. Keep an eye out for green woodpeckers, swifts and redstarts, and if you’re lucky, you might just spot the pair of Peregrine Falcons, nesting in the cliff. The RSPB runs a viewpoint at Malham, attracting casual and more serious bird spotters alike.
4. Skipton Castle
For an area so steeped in history, few places are better to visit than Skipton Castle. This medieval castle was built at the end of the 11th century, and was in use until 1645. It’s one of the best preserved medieval castles in England. Walk through the castle and imagine what life would have been like all those years ago, when residents were on constant alert from invaders. Pay a visit to the 350-year-old Yew tree in the Conduit Court – sitting around it is the perfect spot for a family picnic.
While you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Hawkshead store in Skipton for all your outdoor clothing and accessories.
5. Kilnsey Park
Need things to do with kids in Yorkshire? Visit Kilnsey Park, where the kids can get outside, get their hands dirty and let their imagination run wild. We love it for the unique fishing experience they offer. You don’t need to bring any equipment with you, everything’s provided. The fishing pond is full of rainbow trout to catch. What better way to spend an afternoon as a family – and the little ones will never forget their first catch! If you aren’t successful, pay a visit to the shop’s fish counter for some local delights.
6. Brimham Rocks
For days out in Yorkshire, you can’t beat exploring the dramatic rock formations in the moorland at Brimham Rocks. They were formed by a flowing river, over 320 million years. You can climb up the rocks to enjoy the breath-taking surrounding views. Rocks rest on one another, and some look like they’re precariously balancing on others – but don’t worry – they are firmly connected at the base. The rocky landscape is like nothing you’ll see in Britain, making Brimham Rocks one of the best places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales.
7. White Scar Cave
One of the Yorkshire Dales’ most stunning features is the abundance of limestone. It can be seen on cliffs, pavements and valleys. But why not go one step further and see it underground? Visit the longest show cave in Britain – White Scar Cave. Located in Ingleton to the west of the Dales, White Scar Cave is an adventure for the kids (and the big kids in your family). Highlights of the tour include the Judge’s Head – an upward growing stalagmite that looks eerily similar to a judge, and the Carrots – a selection of orange stalactites.
8. Aysgarth Falls
Visit beautiful waterfalls on the River Ure, where the water passes over three stages – upper, middle and lower. Spend some time walking around the falls, taking in the surrounding beauty. Aysgarth Falls is perhaps best known for appearing in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and if the kids are old enough, why not watch the film before going, to see if you can spot the surroundings?
So there you have it – inspiration for your fun-filled visit to the Yorkshire Dales! We hope you have a great trip – don’t forget to share your photos with us on Instagram using the hashtag #mycraghoppers.