With good reason, the Yorkshire Dales has recently been named the Best National Park in Europe!

One visit to the Yorkshire Dales and it is easy to understand how the Dales has beaten beauty spots in Iceland and Croatia to be named number one choice in the Tripadvisor awards. With something to offer everyone, visitors can find peace and tranquillity as well as thrilling adventure in the outstanding scenery.

The must-see sights, the unspoilt, picturesque wilderness of the Dales and expansive moors including Hardraw Force, Gordale Scar and the Three Peaks is a paradise for artists, ramblers and lovers of the outdoors.

Our Top Tips for Exploring the Yorkshire Dales

Take the chance to explore picturesque towns, villages and beautiful countryside. If you are looking for more of a challenge from your family holiday or group getaway, join the exhilarating Coast to Coast Way or head to Malham Cove, some of England’s most rugged landscape. Wherever you are there's great food and drink nearby; from pub grub with unbeatable local beers, to fine dining restaurants and great coffee.

Time to go exploring the Yorkshire Dales area...

1. Swaledale, the northern Dales

Expect peace, tranquillity and natural beauty. Famous for wildflower meadows, heather moors and beautiful tumbling waterfalls such as Richmond Falls, Kisdon Force and Catrake Force. Swaledale is the best destination for walkers and cyclists. There’s beautiful hills, mountains and moorland to explore, with an abundance of wildlife on offer.

After a long day out, The Copper Kettle in Reeth has a great afternoon tea with views over the Village Green. For a cosy country pub, the local grub is good in the sleepy village of Grinton or Gunnerside. Pop into The Bridge Grinton serving local fresh food, whilst you relax by the log burning stove. We also enjoy the fine dining at the Burgoyne Hotel.

Get involved with the community at the Yorkshire Dales Swaledale festival, with events ranging from open mic poetry, live music and the popular Wensleydale Walk.

2. Hawes, a thriving market town

Hawes is home to Wallace and Gromit’s favourite; the world-famous Wensleydale Cheese. Visit the Wensleydale Creamery to be inspired with delicious recipe ideas, or the Dales Countryside Museum to hear about Hawes’ heritage. Explore the market every Tuesday, with its carnival atmosphere as the whole community gets together. Visit the local Farmers’ Auction Mart and stock up with provisions at the indoor and outdoor markets.

The famous Hardraw Force falls is a must-see attraction; the highest single-drop waterfall in England at over 100 feet. A popular beauty spot, this location was used in the hit Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves!

Be sure to plan around the annual brass band festival, fancy dress gala or the sheep show where you can see some vintage tractors, meet some friendly sheepdogs and buy local produce. Hawes is a day out for the whole family like no other.

3. Leyburn, a Wensleydale market town

Leyburn is well known for independent shops. The Little Chocolate Shop is an excellent chocolatier. Campbell’s is a delicatessen and grocery store. Plus find quaint tea rooms and Tennants Auctioneers – the town’s antique auction house. A must visit is the Dales Haven Guest House for a local brew and a slice of carrot cake.

On your way back pass along Aysgarth Falls, renowned for its show of spring wildflowers and three beautiful waterfalls. For something a little different, The Forbidden Corner has been voted the best children’s attraction in Yorkshire – a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created in a 4-acre garden which will challenge and delight children of all ages.

With spectacular countryside views, unusual local shops and cafes, traditional pubs and a weekly market, it’s an ideal base for exploring on foot, sightseeing or just watching the world go by.

4. Middleham, a jewel in the Wensleydale crown

Nestled between two rivers, Middleham is a great day out on a family holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. Expect cobbled market squares, Georgian and Victorian tearooms, galleries and a rich horse racing heritage. Perfect for walking, cycling or just sightseeing, and it’s a favourite haunt for many artists. Why not get up early to watch the racehorses training at the famous gallops. Follow it with lunch at The White Swan or The Blue Lion with its welcoming fire. Make sure, of course, you save some room for a Brymoor ice cream on your way home!

Pay a visit to Middleham Castle, once home to Richard III, which has the largest keep in the North of England. Its royal heritage once earned it the title of the ‘Windsor of the North’. Whilst visiting, pop into the Saddle Rooms for a unique dining experience too which will end your unforgettable day out perfectly!

5. Masham, a market town with two top breweries

Located in lower Wensleydale, Masham has a lively and friendly community filled with artists, authors and craftsmen and established links to JW Turner and Lewis Carroll. Pop into The White Bear Hotel for a drink with the locals or have eat in the dining room whilst relaxing fireside.

If you enjoy your local ales, take a guided tour of the family run Black Sheep Brewery. Sample locally brewed ales and find out how they brew ‘God’s Own Beer’. After head to the legendary Theakston Brewery, have a tour and taste brews fresh from the cask and smell the hops in the air.

If ale isn’t your thing don’t worry, head from the town to the annual sheep fair, visit the traction engine fair with vintage vehicles, steam engines and motorcycle display teams, or simply enjoy the all year round beauty of the Dales. A must see is the Jervaulx Abbey; with its dramatic yet tranquil ambience it has won the heart of many visitors. Definitely worth a visit!

Our Adventure in the Yorkshire Dales

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