Yorkshire Dales England Holidays

Inspirational cottage holidays in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales

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Self-catering holiday cottages in Birkdale


Birkdale is an unspoilt part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, situated at the end of Swaledale in scenic North Yorkshire. It’s one of the smallest of the dales and is characterised by isolated farm houses, dry stone walls and field barns - the perfect place to rent a self catering cottage. Click on the button below to find somewhere to stay in the Yorkshire Dales.

self catwring Yorkshire Dales

The hamlet of Birkdale is located in the dale, just two miles from Keld. Keld was a favourite of Alfred Wainwright (author of many walking books) and the poet, W.H. Auden.

Keld is a small village in neighbouring Swaledale, beside the River Swale. Its claim to fame is that it is the location for the most intensive concentration of waterfalls in the country. It’s situated at the intersection of two famous, long distance walks, namely The Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast. A community project, the Keld Resource Centre, runs the Keld Countryside and Heritage Centre with displays on village history, local hill farming and wildlife conservation. It also organises a calendar of events including local craft demonstrations. Visitors can rest in the village café and admire the sandstone buildings. Walk a little way to find several attractive waterfalls that include East Gill and Currack Force.

Walkers are in heaven in this part of the world and one of the landmark fells is Kisdon, with a height of 1,636 feet (499 metres). Part of The Pennine Way falls on the eastern side of the fell. Many walkers start the route from Keld, but it’s advisable to study which route on the map is appropriate for your abilities. On reaching the summit, a cairn and lovely heather awaits. An SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) area covers the western side because of its rare ground cover and wild flowers.

A popular activity is to walk or drive to Tan Hill Inn above Reeth, the highest pub in Britain! If you decide to walk, you can do so from Keld and you will come across the Pennine Way on your travels. It may be exposed (at 1,732 feet /528 metres) but it’s cosy inside with a fire to warm your toes. Stone flags on the floor and exposed beams give a lot of character to the inn, which dates from the 17th century.

Reeth is a village well worth visiting. Its Market Day is Friday and is held on the large village green, which also hosts village events. Craft shops and traditional tea rooms make browsing a pleasant activity. Reeth is also home to the Swaledale Museum (closes in winter), which houses interactive displays on life in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. Run by a team of volunteers, the exhibits include information on Iron Age settlements, the lead mining industry, local trades and crafts, local food and farming and how the area was geologically formed. Visitors also enjoy the gift shop and café.

Reeth Show is a popular, traditional annual agricultural show with craft stalls and animal displays, including rabbits, sheep, poultry and horses. One of the highlights of the show is the fell race, which is part of the national fell race competition. Crowds watch Reeth Brass Band as they parade through the village streets. The very best produce and horticulture are given prizes and there are vintage tractors, handicraft competitions and a fancy dress contest.

Reeth also is heavily involved in the annual Swaledale Festival, which lasts for two weeks. Music is at the heart of this festival, with concerts and workshops. The famous Brodsky String Quartet appeared in 2012. Other festival events across the area involve guided walks, drama, poetry and natural history themed events.

Birkdale is a superb cottage holiday getaway if you want the peace and quiet plus the hospitality that this part of Yorkshire has to offer. The locals here value tradition but also provide all the amenities required by the modern-day visitor.