Our pick of what to see and do in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Wander around Wensleydale Creamery, Visitor Centre and Museum
Gayle Lane, Hawes, North Yorkshire, DL8 3RN
Many regions around the UK are famed for their local produce – Kent has their strawberries, Lancashire has their hotpot, Devon has their cream tea, Wales has the welsh cake (I know, that one surprised me too!) and Yorkshire is no different, home to the multi award-winning Yorkshire Wensleydale. At Wensleydale Creamery – the Cadbury World of the cheese industry – you can take the little ones to watch a demonstration of how locally sourced milk becomes the world-famous creamy, crumbly cheese. After this, you can venture to the rest of the small museum and look at the old cheese-making equipment and read about how Wallace and Gromit (‘not even Wensleydale?!?) contributed to making it a household name. Now we’ve saved the best “til last, the unmissable cheese-tasting room where you can sample (and then if you wish to, buy) free cubes of any or every cheese on offer?
For something traditional-
Yorkshire Wensleydale, Naturally Smoked Cheddar, Red Leicester.
For something fruity-
Yorkshire Wensleydale and Cranberries (mother’s favourite), Yorkshire Wensleydale and Apricots, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Pineapple.
For something with a bit of a kick-
Oak Smoked Yorkshire Wensleydale, Yorkshire Wensleydale with Garlic and Chives, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Ginger (mother’s favourite).
For the daring-
Wensleydale Blue, Hot and Spicy Cheddar.
Fall in love with the dramatic Aysgarth Falls
Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 3TH
Like anyone who has visited Scotland or North Wales will know, sometimes the most challenging of journeys can lead to the most spectacular of views. If you are blessed with confident driving skills, just be prepared for the steep gradient down. It can be easy to assume that all waterfalls are similar but Aysgarth Falls is a particularly mesmerising one due to the strong power of the water and the triple layering. The woodland walk surrounding the falls is a favourite with locals and tourists alike due to its links with being in Herriot Country (famed for its namesake James Herriot – renowned veterinary surgeon) and for the views of nearby Castle Bolton.
Leave a York Rose at Middleham Castle – where car park King Richard III learnt to become a knight
Castle Hill, Middleham, North Yorkshire, DL8 4QG
It is still strange to think that this year, 2015, people lined the streets of Leicester to get a glimpse of the famous medieval king being taken to be buried. It was like being in a time warp, like the past and present had been intertwined for one time only. While people still do not agree about whether Richard III was a good or a bad king (and whether he killed his own nephews to help him secure the throne), as the last English king to die in battle, it seems appropriate to learn about him as a historical figure and how far we have come since then. Middleham Castle was Richard’s childhood home and there is a statue where white roses are left in remembrance. The castle itself is “open-top”, similarly to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire and can be explored and walked upon. It’s not a large castle by any means but there are spectacular views of the local Yorkshire countryside which can be seen atop the many steps in this fortified historical building. It is also owned by English Heritage so it is free if you have membership.
Take a day trip to the North York Moors and bird-watch at Sutton Bank National Park
Sutton Bank, Hambleton District, North York Moors National Park
Like Aysgarth Falls, this particular stop-off requires a confident driver, due to some steep climbs of around a 25% gradient. Beware of some fog too perhaps because of the sudden height. However, once you have made it, the stop-off is full of toy sheep, handmade jewellery and local delicacies – everything you might need towards the end of your trip. There’s a fun, interactive camera that you can control to zoom in on particular birds within the aviary to see them up-close without actually having to be worried about scaring them or invading their habitat. A nice, peaceful outing and probably the only time when it’ll be acceptable to text your mum with: “Spending an afternoon staring at tits” (blue tits).