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A Guide to the Yorkshire Dales

Monday 13th April, 2020 by hostandstay

If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, the Yorkshire Dales will be your perfect match. With beautiful landscapes of heather clad moorland, rolling hills and narrow valleys, this area of the UK is particularly special. 

It doesn’t just end there though. The Yorkshire Dales are also steeped in history. Home to some of the finest castles and abbeys, there is plenty to discover. Add charming market towns, quaint villages and popular attractions to list and we’re getting a clearer image. With so much to offer, where do we begin?

The Yorkshire Dales National Park

Originally created in 1954, The Yorkshire Dales National Park is 840 square miles of protected land covering the majority of the Yorkshire Dales. Home to some of Yorkshire’s most iconic scenery and attractions, it’s no surprise the Yorkshire Dales National Park attracts over 8 million visitors each year. 

The stunning landscape is filled with character and there is something for everyone. Explore its vast open moorland, climb its hills, amble beside its rivers, cycle through its bridleways, visit its waterfalls, take in its incredible views. 

It doesn’t stop there. Sample its local produce, try its traditional ales, get into the spirit at its lively festivals. Everything you see in the Yorkshire Dales is unique and you’ll find the stresses of everyday life soon melting away.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is alive with nature. It’s a living, flowing, breathing landscape. Don’t be surprised if you spot an animal or two during your visit. You may even see a red squirrel or a peregrine falcon, which are species within the park’s wildlife conservation scheme. 

The Rich History of the Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales is steeped in history. Boasting one of Britain’s oldest cities and Yorkshire’s first World Heritage Site, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped in a different time period. Many of the villages and hamlets throughout the Dales have occupied the landscape for over a thousand years so there is plenty for you to uncover. 

Let’s start with its incredible castles. Head to the lovely market town of Skipton and you’ll find one of the best well preserved medieval castles in England. At over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is an outstanding sight to behold. You can visit every inch of the castle, from the Dungeon to the top storey of the Water Tower. 

Another special castle is located in the town of Ripley, just three miles from Harrogate on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Here stands Ripley Castle. At an impressive 700 years old, the castle has been in the same family for over 26 generations and the fun-filled guided tour follows their lives throughout the years. Ripley Castle also has stunning grounds, walled gardens, lakes and a deer park.

Next up is the abbeys. If you’re looking for beautiful architecture and historical significance, head to the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens near Ripon. Here you’ll find the Cisterican Abbey and its magnificent Georgian gardens. Or head to the ruined priory of Bolton Abbey which has a 30,000 acre backdrop of moorland, woodland and riverside paths. 

If you’d like to discover local history, geology and archaeology, Ingelton is the place for you. This picturesque Yorkshire Dales village is set within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is bursting with history. With a rich and diverse history in mining, railways and textiles, there is plenty to see. Not everything is above the ground though as Ingleton is also home to Britain’s longest show cave, White Scar Cave, where you can explore the natural trail to see underground streams and waterfalls. We can’t mention Ingleton without mentioning Sherlock Holmes too! The author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was a regular visitor to the area as his mother lived there between 1882 and 1917.

Where to Stay in The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales is packed with idyllic villages and delightful market towns. With so much to explore, you’ll need a place to stay! 

One of our favourite spots is Aysgarth. Home to the three stepped Aysgarth Falls, the area has been welcoming visitors for over 200 years. There is a nature reserve alongside the falls so you can see beautiful flowers blooming here in the springtime. If there are any Robin Hood fans out there, it was even used as the setting for a dramatic scene in the new Robin Hood Prince of Thieves film! 

Stay at Bumblebee Cottage and you’ll have Aysgarth Falls right on your doorstep!

Another of our favourites is the market town of Leyburn within Wensleydale. This area is brimming with unique shops, independent cafes and spectacular restaurants. It is also the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park so it’s the perfect base for walking, hiking, cycling and sight-seeing. Visit the Wensleydale Creamery, which is the home of Wensleydale Cheese. You’ll see how the famous cheese is made and also taste some delicious samples too! 

Stay at Penhill House to experience a touch of luxury in the Leyburn countryside! 

So there you have it! Our guide to the Yorkshire Dales – a truly beautiful part of the world and one of our favourite places to visit.

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