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Things To Do In Yorkshire Dales: Our Top 10

Posted: 22nd July 2022

Getting away to the Yorkshire Dales this summer? Or thinking of treating yourself to an autumnal escape? Whether your glamping, staying in one of our luxury lodges, or booked a room at The Gamekeeper’s Inn, we’ve compiled the perfect itinerary to make the most of your adventure in the Dales. These are our 10 best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales National Park!

Table of Contents (click to jump)

Things To Do In Yorkshire Dales: Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

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Photo by Praveen Thotagamuwa

On the western edge of the Dales you’ll find the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, a stunning circular trail through gorge woodlands and deep wooded glens, with incredible views and a well-defined footpath. It passes through a nature reserve managed by the Ingleton Scenery Company with sections managed by the Woodland Trust.

This trail is just over 4 miles long and will take you between 2 and 4 hours to complete. Around the mid-way point you’ll find a grassy area that is ideal for a picnic, including a great view of Thornton Force, the most famous and spectacular waterfall on the trail. No wonder this popular trail is one of our top 10 things to do in Yorkshire Dales!

From here you’ll hike up into the hills, where you’ll usually find an unexpected ice cream van, perfect for a mid-walk sugar boost.

There is a small admission fee which goes towards the protection and conservation of the trail; visitors should enter the trail via the ticket office at Broadwood by the viaduct in the village of Ingleton.

We advise wearing a solid pair of walking shoes or boots and, in these summer months, plenty of water. Although well-defined and signposted all the way, sections of the trail are steep and can be slippery after wet weather.

Yorkshire Dales things to do: Explore the White Scar Caves

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Photo by Ian Cylkowski

White Scar Caves just outside Ingleton is the longest show cave in the UK, open daily between February and October, and during weekends from November to January.

White Scar Caves deserves to be in our list of Yorkshire Dales things to do. The caves feature underground streams and waterfalls, prehistoric mud pools, flowstone, and the enormous Battlefield Cavern with thousands of stalactites. This is an amazing place to explore for geology fanatics, nature lovers, and anyone looking to explore something completely different.

You can also learn all about the history, discovery, and exploration of the caves and how they formed, with a guided tour lasting around 80 minutes.

The cave can get cold in places and is nearly always wet, so dress appropriately; in the summer months you'll soon warm up again in the on site café.

And be prepared to do some crouching and bending as some areas of the caves are narrow!

Things to do in the Yorkshire Dales: Malham Cove Trail

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Photo by Dan Blackburn

Close to Ingleton and White Scar Cave, next on list of things to do in the Yorkshire Dales is the trail around Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, and Janet’s Foss, a 4.9-mile looping hike.

Along this trail you’ll discover incredible cliffs curving round the gorge of Gordale Scar like a limestone amphitheatre, and Janet’s Foss, a picturesque waterfall cascading into a circular pool. If you reach the top of Malham Cove and find that it looks familiar, think back to a scene in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part One!

The 260 ft high cliffs of Malham Cove were in fact the face of a massive prehistoric waterfall, which carved out a natural amphitheatre in the limestone. In fact, the only time a waterfall has appeared over the top of Malham Cove in living memory was after Storm Desmond in December 2015!

The climb to the top of Malham Cove from the village of Malham is easily signposted and stepped all the way, but it can be steep in places. We advise wearing proper hiking shoes/boots, plenty of food and water, and a map.

Hike up Pen-y-Ghent or Fountain's Fell

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Photo by Ian Cylkowski

Looking for the perfect Dales hike? You’ve come to the right place! The Yorkshire Dales National Park is home to some of the best hikes you can find.

Looming over the countryside in the west of the Dales is Pen-y-Ghent, the smallest of the iconic Yorkshire Three Peaks and a very popular choice for hikers of all abilities. This is one of the few fells in the Pennines laying claim to a name with pre-Anglo Saxon origins; it is believed to mean ‘Hill on the Border’! Take the circular route, starting from the village of Horton in Ribblesdale, which will take around 2–3 hours over 5.5 miles.

For the more experienced hikers looking for a challenge, try the strenuous walk up the Pennine Way to the top of Fountains Fell, where you will be rewarded with breath taking views of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Starting from Malham Tarn, this is an 8-mile circular hike that will take you through scenic landscapes for around 4 hours in total.

Recognise these names? All of the en-suite bedrooms at The Gamekeeper's Inn are named after local peaks, fells, and dales!

Visit the historical market town of Grassington

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Looking for places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales that's a little less strenuous? Have a relaxing day out to the delightful market town of Grassington, less than a 10-minute drive from Long Ashes Park.

Visit the bustling cobbled market square, with friendly cafés, a variety of shops, craft studios and art galleries, and a vibrant community, all nestled within the heart of the stunning Yorkshire Dales.

Linton Falls by JThomas

Additionally, there's a little walk you can do south from the town centre to the incredible Linton Falls.

Did you know? Grassington is also known as the fictional market town of Darrowby in Channel 5’s "All Creatures Great and Small!"

Here you’ll find fantastic cafes and attractions for the whole family such as the Grassington Folk Museum or Hesketh Farm Park.

Places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales: Wensleydale

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Photo by Darren Richardson

Who doesn’t love cheese? Further north in the Dales you’ll find Wensleydale, the picturesque dale known for its valleys, peaks, moorland, historic castles and, of course, its creamy and crumbly cheese.

Discover Wensleydale Creamery, with its heritage of cheese recipes dating back 1000 years, hand crafted by master cheesemakers using local milk from family farms. The award-winning Flagship Cheese Experience and Visitor Centre makes for a brilliant day out for the whole family, with its interactive activities, tastings, demonstrations, and its gift shop with over 20 varieties of artisan Wensleydale cheese, along with locally sourced food and handmade gifts.

The 1990s were a worrying time for the creamery, but it is said the fortune's of the business were saved when the animated Wallace & Gromit films popularised the cheese and bumped sales!

The main town in the valley is Hawes, a beautiful market town with plenty of local shops, pubs, restaurants, and cafes. Nearby, in the village of Hardraw, one can visit one of England's tallest waterfalls, Hardraw Force, made famous by Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Historical places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales: Bolton Abbey

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Photo by James Genchi

The enormous estate of Bolton Abbey, just outside of Skipton, makes for a perfect day out, with something for everyone and stunning views at every point.

Explore the incredible Gothic ruins of the Priory, have a picnic by the gently meandering River Wharfe and walk along the many woodland and moorland paths. You’ll also find a variety of local produce in the restaurants and cafes, and unique gifts in the gift shop.

Built in 1154 AD, Bolton Abbey has been lovingly managed by the Devonshire family since 1755 and hosts a wide array of events and activities. There is an admission fee, and the car parking is a little on the expensive side, however you will be able to see from the quality of the site that this money is invested in its conservation and maintenance.

Explore Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden

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Photo by Gibbon FitzGibbon

For some even more dramatic abbey ruins with a deeply rich history, visit Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in England, and an easy inclusion for our list of things to do in the Yorkshire Dales.

This abbey was founded in 1132 AD and survived against all odds until 1539 AD, when it closed abruptly in the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII.

This World Heritage Site is a fantastic must-see for history enthusiasts, with guided tours, interactive experiences and more. And with over 800 acres of beautiful scenery to explore, as well as places to eat, shop and relax, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

Pack a picnic and get ready for a day of exploring! There is an admission fee, but National Trust and English Heritage members may enter free of charge.

Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

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Photo by Josh Kirk

Wanting something a little more eccentric? How about a steam engine experience followed by afternoon tea?

At Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway you can take a ride on a steam engine train from Embsay to Bolton Abbey and back, enjoying great food in the cafes at either end.

You could even treat yourself to first-class tickets or take a unique journey in Queen Victoria’s very own saloon. And with exciting events such as Murder Mysteries year-round, there is lots of fun to be had.

What to do in the Yorkshire Dales: Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail

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Photo by Martin King

Last, but certainly not least, is the Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail, a great day out that everybody will adore.

This 2-mile trail is short and simple, guiding you to a designated viewing point for a community of red squirrels that have made their home in the Snaizeholme valley.

Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels all along the trail; tread carefully and quietly and see how many you can find! There is a small parking area that can be pre-booked via the Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre in Hawes, or alternatively a bus service from Hawes stops at the very top of the trail.

Do you have any favourites?

What do you think of our Top 10? Been to any of these places yourself? Or do you think we've missed something that should be included?

We'd love to know your thoughts! Just leave a comment below, or join our social media on Facebook and Instagram and join the chat.

Everything we've listed above is easily accessible from Long Ashes Park, so book your stay with us and explore everything the incredible Yorkshire Dales has to offer!

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