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Good Bases for Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors

My husband and I are traveling to northern England in September of this year. We have three weeks, of which we plan to devote 8-10 nights to the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks. We are looking for two or three towns or villages in which to stay - preferably picturesque places with at least one or two casual pubs or restaurants and access to good walking. By good walking, I mean walks/hikes of 5-10 miles with beautiful scenery, possibly passing through nice villages. We are willing to take short bus or train rides to access good hiking, but prefer to just walk from where we are staying at least one day of each stay.

We really, really don't want to rent a car. In fact, we have pretty much made up our mind that we will not rent a car. I know we won't be able to see as much without a car and that is okay. (We have rented a car in the UK several times, so we know what it's like.) We will also be visiting the Lake District, Hadrian's Wall, Durham and Edinburgh.

I would appreciate any recommendations. Thank you.

Posted by
13225 posts

My first thought is to suggest you look at HF Holidays. This is a member-owned cooperative that has country houses all over the U.K., perfectly situated as walking bases. They offer guided or unguided walking options, at several levels of difficulty each day. You book for 3 or 4 nights and all meals and transport are included.

Thus have two houses situated for hiking the Yorkshire Dales and one for the North Yorkshire moors. Scroll down this list to find them:

We did a 3- night holiday in the Lake District with them and were very happy with the quality of the walks, the guides, the food, and lodging, and we enjoyed the camaraderie.

If you would rather do it all yourself, I will address that in a separate post.

Posted by
13225 posts

My thought for a do-it -yourself option would be to head to Whitby on the coast as a base for the North Yorkshire moors. It is nice village ( but touristy) with a good selection of B and B's and pubs/restaurants. You can walk the Cleveland Way in either direction (or both) right from town. And then use the historic North York Moors heritage railway (which starts at Whitby) to access other hikes.

I recall seeing maps and brochures suggesting various walking options from this train at the Whitby station.

Posted by
16883 posts

I have not explored how extensive the bus service is around the Yorkshire Dales, but the train service running between Settle and Carlisle is considered quite scenic and could easily get you to/from a new hiking terminus (5-6x/day). See a zoomable rail map that shows all the stops.

Posted by
89 posts

In the North Yorkshire moors I have done lots of cycling in the area and recommend Osmotherly and Helmsley. Each is reachable in under 2 hours from York by train and bus or bus. Osmotherly is on the C2C path and Helmsley is a fairly short walk to Reveault ( spelling ? ) Abbey. Each of these villages has several pubs with good food, B&Bs and a hostel. Both villages cater to walkers. I thoroughly enjoyed both.

Posted by
2664 posts

Thirsk is a great base, it's 14 miles from Helmsley (which is 45 minutes from York), 11 miles to Rievaulx Abbey, 20 miles from Jervaulx Abbey in East Wilton. Thirsk is the home of Dr James Herriot, they
have nice pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Posted by
2930 posts

Regarding the Yorkshire Dales, I suggest and I love Grassington. It's a lovely tudor period village in the middle of the national park. There are many holiday rentals or Inns there as well. There are also several pub and restaurant options. We did not have a car. We took the bus from Skipton. Many different walks, village to hamlets via pubs..., or up to mines, etc. The country side is absolutely beautiful. You can also take the bus to Bolton Abbey and then walk for as far as you want and then pick up the bus or call the cab.

Posted by
728 posts

We spent several days in the Yorkshire Dales and Moors this past Summer. Its is such wonderful part of England that is often overlooked by American tourists. Without a car, I think Settle may be a good base for the Yorkshire Dales. It has regular bus and train service. There are some great walks around that area. Check out the site The railway station in Settle is just beautiful. In the Yorkshire Moors I would suggest Helmsley. You could also consider taking The North Yorkshire Moors railway leaving at Pickering to Whitby. Whitby would also be a good base to hike. Robin Hoods Bay is just 5 miles south. Just some great options in this part of England.

Posted by
2283 posts

Thanks so much for the great recommendations and suggestions. They are super helpful. Now back to researching towns and potential walks... I have been pouring over the websites.