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Yorkshire Dales

Thinking about taking a couple of days to venture up from York to the park. We like to hike and want a village experience. Any thoughts, feedback or suggestions? Places to stay & things to experience recommendations are appreciated. Also, can hire a car, but if you know of public transport that's even better.

Posted by
5775 posts

Our coast to coast walk included the Yorkshire Dales. We used Contours Walking Holidays to book accommodations, provide luggage forwarding, maps and walking directions. Contours has a Dales short break trip following the Dales section of the coast to coast.

Coast to Coast Short Break - Central Section - 3 nights, 2 days

Taking in a central stretch of the Coast to Coast Walk through the
Yorkshire Dales, this short break offers a fascinating trek among the
ruins of Swaledale's lead industry, along with beautiful riversides
dotted with flowers, wildlife and waterfalls.

Setting off from the hamlet of Keld, the trail encounters the remains
of smelters, forges, mines and other examples of the region’s past
before reaching Reeth. From here, the trail passes through little
villages and peaceful woods filled with life, before arriving in the
historic town of Richmond.

How to get to start, from finish:
If you could add a day, you can walk from Kirby Steven to Keld (11 miles).

Posted by
890 posts

Hi -

There are plenty of decent bases for the Dales and hiking therein.

Personally I enjoy walking in the area north of the A65 road to the Lake District which features in Alfred Wainwright’s ‘Walks in Limestone Country’ a collection of excellent day walks - I’ve had many a golden day wandering the Dales with that slim volume in my hand.

Of course it depends on how far you want to go and what you hope to see. For a first time trip I’d suggest the village of Malham which has loads of interesting walks straight out of the door of your accommodation (there are many places to stay in and around Malham, the Buck Inn, the Listers Arms and Beck Hall to name but three - other options are available).

Also look at Horton-in-Ribblesdale which is slap bang in the middle of ‘Three Peaks’ country, but because it is the base for the long distance challenge walk it gets hugely busy, especially at weekends. Bigger Settle is nearby, but generally lacks the ‘straight out of the back door’ walks the villages can offer.

Quieter, but not quite as handy, are the villages of Clapham (not the London one!) and/or Ingleton. Further afield is Dent, a splendid little village which is nearer to the Lake District. Near Dent but further west, Sedbergh is a little bigger in terms of size but is a good base for the ‘herd of sleeping elephants’ that comprise the Howgill Fells (also documented by Wainwright in a separate volume). These are to the northwest and are actually in Cumbria, but in a vagary of planning will be included within the expanded Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Grassington, nearer the major conurbations of Leeds and Bradford is another popular and potentially busy village with interesting but possibly less strenuous walks and hikes nearby.

Hawes is another good base for the northern Dales but the aforementioned Keld is very remote comparatively - it’s position as the crossroads for the west-east Coast to Coast walk and the south-north Pennine Way is it’s modern day claim to fame.

If you are not planning to hire a car, then I’d suggest picking up/searching for the timetables for the Dales Rail train services and the Dalesbus services which are walker friendly transport facilities during the summer months.

If I can offer any further assistance with details of areas and walks or clarify any queries you might have in further planning then don’t hesitate to contact me here or by PM. As you can see I live in the area so I have some local knowledge!


Posted by
2882 posts

We found Grassington charming with many lovely walks, and one more strenuous to the lead mines. Also Bolton Abbey begins a nice walk as well. We did not have a car so relied on the bus to get to Bolton Abby, and then walked back to another bus stop (although we just called the taxi). You could take the train to Skipton and then catch the bus to Grassington. Skipton is a nice market town.

I like Hawes or Leyburn, at either end of Wensleydale, to be good places to stay. Nice sized towns with a good range of shops.

The main thing to do in the Yorkshire Dales is to walk, so make sure you have proper worn-in walking boots and a good waterproof coat.

I’d hire a car - gets you to more off-the-beaten track places.

Posted by
5470 posts

Hawes, Leyburn, Dent and Malham would have been my suggestions, but others have beaten me to it! A car would be an advantage, as rural bus services can be sporadic (or non existent on a Sunday).

Posted by
23 posts

Great feedback and suggestions. The decision is to either hire a car or take the train to the 'Dales'. Not sure which way to go at this point. Car allows us to tour more area, but taking the train eliminates any of the hassle with renting & driving. We're planning next May, so plenty of time to continue our planning.

Posted by
890 posts

Generally speaking, the Dales is poorly served by rail, with the exception of the places along the Settle to Carlisle line. That’s the line the majority of the Dalesrail services run on. Best option is a car really, especially if you want to tour the area extensively. But I could understand why US visitors wouldn’t be enamoured of driving on the winding, hilly, narrow Dales roads.


Posted by
2231 posts

We spent three nights in Grassington two years ago. Wonderful little town with lots of scenic hiking right from the town. By sheer luck, we were there for the 1940s weekend (September), which was a lot of fun. We stayed at Grassington Lodge and had a wonderful room. Service was excellent and breakfast was good. Perfect location. There were quite a few choices of places to eat (pubs, one excellent restaurant, and a great takeout place) and some cute shops.

We traveled to Grassington from Helmsley in the North York Moors. It's a bit over an hour by car/taxi, but we used public transportation. Bus to York, train to Leeds, train to Skipton, and bus to Grassington. It took four hours and sounds a bit daunting, but it was no big deal. In fact, we rather enjoyed it. Don't be afraid to use the buses in northern England. We found then to be universally excellent. They are quite comfortable (some are double decker with good views), the price is really reasonable, and you travel mostly with locals who are going about their daily business.

Posted by
161 posts

Being an Aussie we of course were not driving on the wrong side. One thing though is most of the roads are only one car width anyway.

Posted by
12933 posts

I am going to sound like a broken record, but I will once again recommend HF Holidays for this kind of visit, if you want to hike. They have large country houses ( two houses to choose from in the Yorkshire Dales) and provide lodging, excellent meals, and guided hiking at three levels ( easy, moderate, or strenuous) each day. They provide directions for travel by train to the nearest station and often offer a shared shuttle from the station to the house ( the West Dales house does this). They also provide transport transport to and from the trailheads. The guides are well-trained volunteers, and the camaraderie on the hikes, and at meals, is very enjoyable. Some houses will have pub games after dinner, which we did on our last visit and found really fun.

We have done 3 or 4-day stays at two country houses so far, and plan to included another on each visit to the UK.