Yorkshire Dales England Holidays

Inspirational cottage holidays in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales

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Wensleydale, one of the Yorkshire Dales and English holiday destinations


The River Ure, Wensleydale

self-catering cottages in Wensleydale YorkshireThe Wonders of Wensleydale from a country cottage. Rent a cottage in Wensleydale for a pleasant holiday and take time to explore this lovely Yorkshire Dale.

This beautiful part of North Yorkshire is the valley of the River Ure, a splendid environment for cottage holidays and taking walks with the family. Heritage and local traditions are everywhere, along with warm hospitality unrivalled anywhere in the country.

One of the most popular visitor destinations is the pretty market town of Hawes, also referred to as the capital of Upper Wensleydale. It’s a pleasant place to browse for antiques or traditional crafts and refreshments offered in welcoming tearooms. Market Day is on a Tuesday, when there is a bustling atmosphere in both the indoor and outdoor markets.

Hawes is well known as the main centre of production for Wensleydale Cheese, one of the most famous cheeses worldwide. If you’re a cheese lover and you’re interested in the process, the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre invites visitors to view the cheese being made from the Viewing Gallery. In the museum, the history of this product, which goes back hundreds of years, is told. Today’s master cheese makers follow the old traditions that give the cheese its distinctive flavour. You can see equipment from previous eras plus areas that recreate a press room, dairy and typical farm kitchen. It’s the perfect way to get an appetite and the coffee shop and restaurant serve up snacks and meals. Sample the different varieties in the cheese shop and take home a souvenir.

Wensleydale Creamery, home to Wensleydale cheese

Ripe museum in Hawes, wensleydaleAnother visitor attraction celebrates a local skill that has brought prosperity to the town. At Outhwaite Ropemaker’s, you can watch the traditional way of making ropes. These ropes are used in many different products, from banister ropes to dog leads. A gift shop enables you to take an unusual souvenir back home. At the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, you can learn all about the history of the Yorkshire Dales and its people, from prehistoric times to the 21st century. Themes are divided into home, school, transport, religion, leisure, tourism, farming, industries and local crafts.

If you want to take the air and get some exercise, the Hawes 2000 Mosaic Trail Walk is a walk round the town, made up of four short routes. Punctuated by mosaics, this walking route was made as part of the town’s millennium celebrations.

Market Day is Friday in the market town of Leyburn. It’s a terrific town for those interested in craft workshops and galleries and it has an art trail to follow. Leyburn Tea Pottery is the place for a large collection of unusual teapots. The Little White Bus stops at Leyburn on its travels through Wensleydale (shown below).


Bedale is another market town in Wensleydale and is known as the ‘gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’. Market Day is Tuesday and it’s a good general shopping destination. History is never far away and Bedale Hall offers superb architecture in lovely parkland. To learn more about the lives of local people across the years, Bedale Museum has fascinating exhibits, including a hand-drawn fire engine.


Askrigg is an example of a small village that gained exposure and, therefore, more visitors due to a television series. The episodes telling the story of the Yorkshire vet, James Herriot, in All Creatures Great and Small, were filmed in the village. Keen fans of the series will be able to pick out the surgery, Skeldale House. Askrigg is worth a visit for many reasons, however and is a charming village with cobbled streets still in place.

Askrigg, Wensleydale

Wensleydale is feted for its waterfalls, the most well known of which is Hardraw Force near Hawes. This is the highest unbroken, single drop waterfall in England and is situated in the grounds of an inn. This location also plays host to a great family day out when the annual Hardraw Scar Brass Band Festival comes to town. Another celebrated waterfall is Aysgarth Falls near the village of Aysgarth. It was one of the locations used in the hit movie, Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves.

If castles are your thing, come to Middleham Castle. Kids enjoy exploring the ruins and history lovers will learn about the castle’s significance as Richard III’s childhood home. A viewing platform affords marvellous views of the dale. Bolton Castle is also worth exploring and is one of the most admired medieval castles in the country. It hosts lots of events, such as archery and falconry demonstrations. More fascinating history is on show at Jervaulx Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery founded in 1156. A victim of the dissolution of the monasteries, it is a popular attraction today, in a lovely setting.

If your tastes turn to elegant stately homes, Constable Burton Hall is a fine example. You can enjoy woodland walks, formal gardens, a rose garden and the house itself, which was completed in 1768 and was designed in the Palladian style.

Heritage railways, steam trains and Yorkshire seem to go together and the Wensleydale Railway is part of that tradition. The service covers 16 miles, from Leeming Bar to Redmire.
If you want to time your break in order to attend the highlight of the events calendar, Wensleydale Agricultural Show will not disappoint. Held near Leyburn, the community comes together to enjoy the livestock classes, crafts, brass bands, stalls and local produce. Another annual event is the Leyburn 1940s Weekend. The decade is celebrated with the music, hairstyles and clothes from the time plus vintage vehicles, dancing and a farmers’ market.

Wensleydale is one of the most well known of the Yorkshire Dales and deservedly so, as it offers such diversity. Town and country destinations will delight and one holiday here won’t be enough! See more photographs of Wensleydale and how beautiful it is.