The Yorkshire Dales is home to outstanding scenery, great castles, abbeys and a breathtakingly peaceful atmosphere. At its heart are two very special protected areas – Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – as well as it having the Forest of Bowland AONB and North Pennines AONB as its close neighbours. These protected areas are truly not to be missed.
Table of Contents
Discover The Yorkshire Dales – Peaceful, tranquil, beautiful
Each of the Yorkshire Dales has a different character. The Southern Dales are less remote, yet still wildly beautiful. The Northern Dales provide wild heather moorland and valleys full of hay meadows, dry stone walls and barns. And in the West, the pretty villages and small towns each have their own charm. Only a short drive from major population centres such as Harrogate and historic York, it’s a must see for anyone visiting the region. If you’re staying further south in Sheffield, jump on the M1 and you’re there in over an hour.
The Dales are worth a visit at any time of year – whether it’s to visit a snug country pub with an open fire in the winter months, or stay in a rambling riverside cottage for a summer break. The possibilities are endless!
Towns & Villages of the Dales
Yorkshire Dales Pictures
Yorkshire Dales National Park Essentials
Escape the hustle and bustle
With 840 square miles of outstanding scenery, protected wildlife and rich heritage, the rolling Dales have an unrivalled sense of tranquility. Stroll beside its rivers, hike over its moorlands, cycle its bridleways and climb its limestone pavements. Or follow in the wheels of the Tour de France and explore the area by bike along meandering valley roads or take on the stunning climbs between the dales. However you discover the area, you’ll feel the rest of the world just melt away.
Secrets of the past
Don’t let the uninterrupted views fool you. Yorkshire Dales National Park is a living, working landscape inhabited by charming market towns and picture postcard villages, each with their own unique character and charm. Steeped in heritage, the region boasts historic castles, country houses and old mills all whispering stories about people past who have helped shape the National Park you see today.
Something for everyone
You won’t be short of things to do as you journey across the Dales. Steam trains beckon, traditional food and ales tempt and lively festivals invite each and every visitor to sample the different sights and sounds that make this area so unique.
Dales past, present and future
The chances are your Dales accommodation is an attraction in itself – waking up in a stone cottage or converted stable is a wonderful way to get into the mood for a day’s exploring. A great place to start is with a visit to the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes which tells the story of the people who have lived there before. This converted railway station also has a tourist information centre; historic and informative all at the same time!
The Dales offer a great opportunity to get back to nature. They also hold some unique geological spectacles. Discover the huge, curved limestone cliff at Malham Cove and enjoy the natural playground of weird and wonderful rock formations at Brimham Rocks. And what a refreshing sight to see Britain’s highest unbroken waterfall, Hardraw Force.
Halls that steal your heart
As well as being an attractive market town, Leyburn is also a wonderful base for exploring historic countryside halls and gardens. Constable Burton Hall has romantic gardens filled with roses, tulips and reflection ponds, whilst you’ll fall in love with the carved staircases in Braithwaite Hall’s 17th Century interior.
Browse: more on North Yorkshire.
Yorkshire Dales FAQ’s
Which is the prettiest of the Yorkshire Dales?
Malhamdale has been suggested as one of the most spectacular dales, boasting dramatic limestone scenery just a stone’s throw from the village of Malham. The area featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Which is the best part of Yorkshire Dales?
Visitors will find welcoming attractions and accommodation in Wensleydale, Swaledale, Ribblesdale, Malhamdale and Wharfedale. The Dales is a popular destination for families, nature lovers, hikers and cyclists plus day trippers from nearby Yorkshire cities like York and Leeds.
What is the Yorkshire Dales known for?
The Yorkshire Dales has some of the most spectacular peaks in England, and the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent are amongst the highest in the county, providing an inspiring challenge to walkers from around the world.
Yorkshire Dales Fact Pack
- The Yorkshire Dales is a National Park located in North Yorkshire, England.
- It covers an area of over 2,000 square kilometers.
- The park was designated in 1954.
- The area has been inhabited for thousands of years, with evidence of human activity dating back to the Neolithic period.
- The Dales is known for its rolling hills, valleys, limestone cliffs, and stunning scenery.
- The park is home to a range of wildlife, including red squirrels, otters, badgers, and several bird species.
- The area is popular with hikers, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts.
- The park has several walking routes, including the Pennine Way, the Dales Way, and the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
- The Dales is home to several picturesque villages and towns, including Hawes, Grassington, and Malham.
- The park is home to several historic landmarks, including Bolton Castle and Fountains Abbey.
- The Dales is known for its traditional farming practices, including sheep farming and dairy farming.
- The park has several local breweries, producing a range of craft beers and ales.
- The area is home to several museums, including the Dales Countryside Museum and the Wensleydale Creamery.
- The park is also home to several outdoor attractions, including Aysgarth Falls and Malham Cove.
- The Dales is a popular filming location, with several movies and TV shows having been filmed in the area, including All Creatures Great and Small and Calendar Girls.
- The park has several camping and caravan sites, as well as a range of accommodation options, including hotels and bed and breakfasts.
- The Dales has several historic churches and cathedrals, including St Michael’s Church in Kirkby Malham and Ripon Cathedral.
- The park is home to several traditional pubs, serving local ales and traditional British cuisine.
- The area has several annual events and festivals, including the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival and the Grassington Festival.
- The park has several picturesque waterfalls, including Hardraw Force and Aysgarth Falls.
- The Dales is known for its stunning wildflower meadows, including the wildflower meadow at Grass Wood.
- The park has several geological features, including limestone pavements and sinkholes.
- The Dales is home to several ancient monuments, including the Druid’s Temple and the Nine Standards Rigg.
- The park is a popular location for stargazing, with several dark sky areas located within the park.
- The Dales is a beautiful and tranquil area, with a rich history and stunning scenery.
- The region is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in outdoor activities, local culture, and British history.