With so much beautiful countryside to explore, you’re going to want to spend more than 24 hours in the Yorkshire Dales. If, however, you only have a short time to spend in the national park, we’ve pulled together a concise guide to help you to plan your time. Taking up just over 2,000 square kilometres, it’s impossible to see everything in such a short time, but you can get a true taste for the Dales.
There’re so many possibilities for where to spend the night in the Dales, but if you’re short on time and looking for somewhere with plenty of character as well as traditional pubs and places to eat, we recommend staying in Kirkby Lonsdale. Start your day the right way by rising early and enjoying a hearty breakfast at Lunesdale Bakery in the centre of the town. Secure a spot beside the fire to eat your breakfast and perhaps stock up on a couple of home-baked cakes to snack on during the day.
Following breakfast, take a short walk through the church yard to gaze out over Ruskin’s view. The site of a famous Turner painting, this viewpoint offers beautiful vistas over the River Lune below. Carefully make your way down the Radical Steps and enjoy an easy stroll along the river to Devil’s Bridge.
Late morning, hop in the car and make your way to Wensleydale via the B6255. This dramatic road sweeps through Ingleton before taking in the views of two of the Yorkshire Three Peaks: Whernside to the left and Ingleborough to the right. Make a quick stop to admire the sight of the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct before continuing the drive.
Lunesdale Bakery, 50 Main St, Kirkby Lonsdale +44 15242 71296
Cheese lovers will delight in our choice of lunch time venue. The Wensleydale creamery is the home of the famous cheese and the visitors centre includes live cheese-making demonstrations and an impressive cheese room, where visitors can sample the different varieties of the cheese. Hardly surprisingly, the restaurant boasts a variety of meals that utilise Wensleydale cheese as a key ingredient. If you fancy something light, the Yorkshire Rarebit is sure to impress, but those with a hearty appetite should try the Ultimate Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese Experience, a three-course extravaganza featuring a starter of battered cheese, a main course of chicken in a blue cheese sauce, and a Wensleydale and ginger cheesecake desert.
Suitably stuffed, it’s time to get back outdoors and explore more of the great outdoors. There are three options for interesting walks in the area, all of which feature dramatic natural landscapes that are sure to impress.
If you choose to explore the immediate area, opt for an easy walk across fields to Hardraw where you’ll find the traditional Green Dragon Inn. Behind the inn, a small entrance fee and a short stroll will take you to one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales: Hardraw Force.
If you’d like to see more waterfalls, get back in your car and return to Ingleton where you can embark on the infamous waterfalls walk. This 4.3 miles route is lined with cascades, taking you through a forest before leading steeply uphill past several dramatic falls. The route then flattens out, offering impressive views of the surrounding area before descending past yet more waterfalls.
The final option, for those who prefer more of a challenge is to take on one of the Three Peaks themselves. The 10 miles circular walk up Ingleborough from Clapham isn’t for the inexperienced, as it involves a steep ascent up to the summit. The picturesque route passes beautiful woodlands, a charming river, a scramble through a gorge and a peek at Gaping Gill (a cavernous pothole said to be large enough to house St Paul’s Cathedral) before ascending to boast dramatic views.
Wensleydale creamery, Gayle Lane, Hawes, Wensleydale +44 1969 667664
Green Dragon Inn, Bellow Hill, Hardraw, Hawes +44 1969 667392
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, Holme Head Farm Rd, Carnforth +44 15242 41930
Whichever option you decided upon for the afternoon, chances are that you’re craving a warm shower followed by a large meal and a few drinks. Offering rooms as well as meals, the Sun Inn is one of the best restaurants in the area, located in the centre of Kirkby Lonsdale. Boasting local and seasonal produce, the menu changes with the seasons to provide delicious gourmet grub all year around.
Following dinner, stroll through the village and take your pick of the local pubs. By far the most popular venue in the town has to be the recently opened Royal Barn. Attached to the Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery, the cavernous space features a large bar hosting 12 handpulls, 8 keg taps and over sixty craft beers from all around the world, along with an impressive collection of gins for those who prefer spirits. Wood-burning stoves roar and the crowd is usually raucous with occasional live music performances.
The Sun Inn, 6 Market St, Kirkby Lonsdale + 44 15242 71965
The Royal Barn, New Road, Kirkby Lonsdale +44 15242 71918
Got more time to spend in the Dales? Check out our guide to the best hikes in this beautiful National Park.