Yorkshire Dales Travel Guide

Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales - © Childzy

Overview and Attractions

The Yorkshire Dales Travel Guide outlines local visitor attractions and tourist information for visitors to the region. The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, entertainment, events, facts & figures, maps and accommodation.

The Yorkshire Dales are situated north of Leeds in northern England. The Dales are a wonderful collection of stunning landscapes, are brimming with history and culture and a haven for outdoor activities meaning there is much to see and do for visitors.

There is plenty of culture to discover here, visitors can see colourful local markets and the vast array of craft shops.

There are a wide variety of attractions in the Dales to suit all tastes and suitable for young and old alike. The Yorkshire Dales are synonymous for having some of the finest natural scenery anywhere in the UK.

The contrasting silver grey limestone, moors laden with heather, woodlands and green meadows help to support a wide array of animals, birds and wild flowers and provide an ideal habitat where they are in their element.

The area known as the Yorkshire Dales is approx 1,600 square miles and this includes the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The park is part of the Forest of Bowland AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and the Nidderdale AONB, in recognition of the unique natural heritage and aim to conserve the areas for the future.

A visit to the area reveals an area that can be wild, tranquil, peaceful, charming, and full of character all at the same time. The flower-filled meadows, heather moors and waterfalls give the visitor an insight in to England's green and pleasant lands.

For history buffs there is plenty to enjoy, the stone-built villages are part of the heritage of the area for centuries. In these rural communities agriculture still plays an important role in maintaining the economy of the region.

It is estimated around nine million visitors are attracted to the Yorkshire Dales each year, drawn by the natural beauty, the tranquillity and the variety of outdoor activities that the area has to offer visitors.

The Northern Dales contains an array of valleys, historic market towns and traditional villages to explore. For those with a love for outdoor activities, there are miles of footpaths and the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast long distance routes are within easy reach. Cycling and mountain biking are popular ways to explore the Yorkshire Dales.

The Northern Dales also boasts Wensleydale with broad meadows and spectacular waterfalls and high fells, it provides a wonderful sight. The market town of Hawes is a renowned centre of cheese production, cheese is regarded as a speciality of the whole area. Further north, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale have plenty of rolling hills and riverside meadows.

For those that like traditional craft workshops Reeth in Swaledale, is renowned for these and worth a visit. The fields of Lower Teesdale surround quiet picture perfect villages with traditional village greens and traditional pubs. Visitors would be forgiven for thinking they were part of a picture perfect postcard scene when visiting.

Further south, the valleys of Bishopdale and Coverdale create some breathtaking views. Here there are moorlands, twisty country lanes and countryside scenery galore, it is a tranquil haven for those looking for some relaxation with beautiful surroundings.

The Southern Dales are predominately within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and contain some of the most dramatic scenery in the UK. The landscape is a haven for walkers offering some of the best walking terrain in Britain, with many miles of footpaths to explore.

There are intricate caves, established as favourites for potholers, these are beneath the landscape. For less adventurous visitors, they can see the great show in the show caves.

Further north is Wharfedale, chosen by some as their favourite dale. The landscape here is a mixture of rugged hills and hay meadows, with traditional stone villages full of character such Grassington.

The landscape becomes very vigorous in the Three Peaks and Ribblesdale. The three towering summits of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside stand over scenery you will not see elsewhere in the UK.

The Forest of Bowland has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its woodlands, wildflower meadows and rich range of wildlife, that includes some rare bird species. This area provides great opportunities for cycling, horse riding and walking.

Malhamdale is famed for the limestone features such as Malham Cove. Malham Tarn is one of the largest upland lakes and is a highly regarded wetland area.

The Eastern Dales boast market towns and villages, a historic city and a World Heritage Site. This area enjoys a fine reputation for its local produce of foods such as cheeses, wine, chocolates and beer.

There are plenty of places selling the local produce for visitors to try. If you enjoy the great outdoors, there are a plethora of great activities you can take part in from the increasingly popular mountain biking and sailing to canoeing and pony trekking.

Anglers enjoy the trout fishing in Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Nidderdale has traditional villages, moorlands and meadows and makes for a great destination to do outdoor activities.

Fans of cultural heritage are recommended to visit Uredale and the Harrogate District. The Yorkshire Dales have two historic centres the first is the city of Ripon, it had medieval streets and heritage attractions. The second is the floral spa town of Harrogate with its select of shops and galleries.

The Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden is Yorkshire's world heritage site and is currently the most complete Cistercian abbey remains in Britain, they are made up of more than 10 historic buildings, including temples and statues, follies and cascades. There is also a medieval wild deer park with several hundred deer.

The Western Dales are situated near the borders of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There is plenty of beautiful countryside to enjoy here, visitors will also find a traditional way of life here.

The Yorkshire Dales and Pennine Cycleways run through the area here, the area is excellent walking country with several long distances routes passing through it. Walkers can take part in the themed walks and trails and there are guided walks also in the area.

Kirkby Stephen is a firm favourite for antique enthusiasts and is situated at the northern end of Mallerstang. Garsdale is a tranquil valley with farmsteads.

Dentdale offers some spectacular scenery and there is Dent with its cobbled streets and white washed cottages.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway includes stations near Kirkby Stephen, Dent and Garsdale, is an ideal as well as relaxing way to see further the Southern and Western Dales without needing to have a car. This is definitely one of the most scenic railway journeys you will find in the UK.

All year round the Yorkshire Dales plays host to a wide range of galas, festivals, open air markets and shows. The events start in the spring with snowdrop days and lambing events, this is followed by family based fun over the Easter period.

In Late Spring, Summer and Autumn there are a host of festivals, farmers’ markets, and events that include everything from Maypole dancing to feasts to horse fairs to galas and sports. The historic traditional country houses host special events and show off their immaculate gardens.

Local market towns and villages become awash with locally inspired food and drink festivals. Whilst later on in the summer there is celebration of traditional farming skills and prize winning livestock. There are spectacular fireworks displays to enjoy over the Christmas period.

There is outdoor entertainment in the form of guided walks and bird watching. There are even concerts, jazz festivals and special exhibitions at galleries and museums and open air theatrical events.

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