The Yorkshire Dales is one of Britain’s most beautiful and changeable settings. They can appear serene and peaceful, excitingly dramatic, or mysteriously ambiguous – sometimes all in one day! Writers, poets and artists have been inspired by the landscape in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park for centuries. Isn’t it time you discovered its appeal too?
Why Choose the Yorkshire Dales for a holiday?
Britain has 15 national parks – ten of which are in England, so what makes the Yorkshire Dales National Park so special? While it’s true that all of Britain’s National Parks are beautiful, the Yorkshire Dales stands apart not only for its breathtaking peaks and valleys, which were formed by ice over several millennia, but for the spectacular system of caves which make what is underneath as impressive as what is above the ground.
Whether you’re staying in the Yorkshire Dales for a weekend or you have longer to explore, you won’t have any trouble finding an unforgettable adventure. Even the most popular beauty spots like Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, which combine to form the Three Peaks, never feel crowded. Walking is not just a means to get from A to B, it’s an exquisite pastime and the best way to experience the Yorkshire Dales National Park up close and personal.
The Pennine Way, Dales Way, Herriot Way and Dales Inn Way are all long distance trails that will stretch your legs nicely. If you’re lacking time or energy, try a shorter walk such as around Malham, or through the Aysgarth woods and waterfalls.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to cover as much ground in the shortest possible time and with the most excitement, you won’t be able to get enough of the superb mountain biking in the Yorkshire Dales. With more than 900 kilometres of legally rideable trails of various surfaces, crossing through moorland and winding up mountains, you can appreciate staggering sights those in cars can never reach.
The caves in the Yorkshire Dales draw caving enthusiasts not only from around the UK, but around the world. There are more than 2,000 caves and 400 kilometres of surveyed passages to explore whatever the weather. Hull Pot, Ribblehead, Gaping Gill and the Kingsdale Master Cave are some of the more popular choices for potholing, while Ingleborough Cave caters for those who aren’t so keen on delving into the depths in overalls and a hardhat, but who still want to see the magnificent limestone formations.
The price for the lush green pastures and moorland of the Yorkshire Dales is rain. It’s not the wettest place in the UK, but there’s a good chance of at least one shower during your stay. A little wet weather isn’t a problem as there are plenty of indoor attractions to keep you happy.
Yorkshire is scattered with stately homes, castles and interesting ruins. Skipton Castle is truly magnificent, while the dungeons at Bolton Castle will leave you with the shivers! There are a number of excellent museums showcasing local history and the role Yorkshire has played in the shaping of Britain. Swaledale Museum in Reeth, the Richmondshire Museum and the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes are all packed with interesting displays and information, with the added benefit of being in lovely towns and villages.
No postcard, however pretty, will prepare you for the sheer beauty of the National Park’s villages. Dent and Sedbergh are two fantastic choices for a self- catering holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. Both are well serviced with shops, cafes and excellent pubs serving top quality local produce – just what you want at the end of a long day’s hiking.
Malhamdale is another great area, while Wallace and Gromit fans may want to stay in one of the pretty villages of Wensleydale (Askrigg is a popular choice, particularly for James Herriot and All Creatures Great and Small fans). Wherever you go you’ll find a genuinely warm welcome from locals who are justifiably proud of the heritage and beauty of their little piece of the Yorkshire Dales.
Food and Drink
There’s no better way to spend a cold winter’s day than in a cosy pub with a roaring fire, delicious menu and generous beer list. Some of the best pubs in the Yorkshire Dales include the Talbot Arms in Settle, the Bolton Arms in Redmire and the Game Cock Inn in Austwick. Take your love of ale one step further and visit The Black Sheep Brewery and the Theakston Brewery, both of which are in Masham and open to visitors.
You would be doing yourself a real disservice if you didn’t visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It caters for all holiday makers from families who are on the go from dawn until dusk, couples after a romantic weekend and people who want to recharge their batteries in the unspoiled surroundings.
For those looking for a two stop holiday, why not combine your trip to the Yorkshire Dales with the Lake District National Park or the North York Moors. Both are within easy reach from many areas in the Dales, whether you want to visit for a day or a few nights.