Essence of the past
With dramatic limestone valleys, one of Britain's oldest cities and Yorkshire's first World Heritage Site, walking through the Dales is like stepping back in time. Many villages and hamlets have occupied the landscape for over a thousand years - surrounded by ancient fields and meandering stone walls they set a scene that's as historic as it is timeless.
Lower the drawbridge
When it comes to castles, you're virtually tripping over these historical treasures in the Dales. Standing over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and well preserved mediaeval castles in England. Its younger neighbour, Ripley Castle, is an impressive 700 years old and Bolton Castle is a magnificent mediaeval fortress that gives the impression that its old inhabitants have literally just stepped out.
Ruined abbeys and priories
For an absolutely stunning day out, head to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens near Ripon. The historical significance of this Cistercian Abbey is as breathtaking as its Georgian gardens and mediaeval deer park. Or visit the Yorkshire estate of the Duke of Devonshire at Bolton Abbey and explore the ruined priory against a 30,000 acre backdrop of ancient moorland, woodland and riverside footpaths.