Great Days Out

23 Great Days Out

We thought you might like some ideas for days out for your holiday so here are our 21 suggestions in no particular order:

1.Visit the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes 

Local history museum and often used for art exhibitions and installations.  Inexpensive.  Great research facilities but you will need to book these.  Great for kids to run around but interesting for adults covering the full swathe of Dales history.  Information point, café parking (not free).

Open every day

National Park Centre, Station Yard, Burtersett Rd, Hawes DL8 3NT

2.Find Beatrix potter

Visit Sawrey the home of Beatrix Potter and the cottage where she wrote her famous books, Peter Rabbit etc.   Explore the surrounding area which inspired her writing, including Hawkshead with its cafe's and specialist shops.  Spice up the journey by crossing Windermere on a chain pulled ferry from Ferry Nab in Bowness-on-Windermere to Ferry House at Far Sawrey, part of the B5284.

3.Go Underground

There are lots of potholing opportunities if you are a caver.  For the rest of us there are spectacular "show caves" open to the public.  The nearest is White Scar Cavern

  • White Scar Cave: The longest show cave in England lies off the B6255 Ingleton to Hawes road on the lower western slopes of Ingleborough.
  • Stump Cross Caverns: On the Grassington to Pateley Bridge You could tie this in with a visit to these two beautiful Dales villages

4.Climb a Mountain

You are surrounded by mountains.  There are great walking books in the bookshelf but the recommendations would include:

  • Addleborough stands guard over Bainbridge. It is best climbed from Thornton Rust.  This is access land meaning that you have a right to roam freely over the land but please observe the countryside code
  • Wether Fell. Leaving Bainbridge on the Countersett road you will see the Roman Road ascending Wether Fell and you can walk along this road which passes close to the summit on your right.  Walk a little further on and you could follow the road back into Hawes.  Wether isn’t a miss-spelling, a wether is a castrated ram.
  • The mountain dominating the entrance to Upper Wensleydale looming over West Witton further down the valley.
  • Askrigg Common. If you want the mountains without the pain of climbing up them, take a drive from Askrigg over the road to Muker.  At the top of the hill is a convenient car park with magnificent views looking down into the valley and looking over Bainbridge.  There is a reasonable path which offers a walk to suit you fitness (there and back).     
  • We are developing some local walks starting and finishing at the cottage over time.  The first of these can be seen by clicking on the name below:

5.Find a Waterfall

Upper Wensleydale is the land of waterfalls. 

  • Aysgarth Falls is the most famous waterfall in Britain and has been a tourist destination since tourism was invented. Three sets of falls (upper, middle and lower falls) are all within a short walk of the falls visitor centre and large car park.
  • Hardraw Force near Hawes is the longest single-drop waterfall in England. The falls are on private land and there is a small charge payable in the pub which you have to pass through.  On a weekend in September, an annual brass band competition is held in the gorge formed by the falls which has peerless acoustics.

There are a number of smaller, but in their own way, spectacular falls. These include:

  • West Burton Falls – very easily accessible from the beautiful village of West Burton.
  • Mill Gill waterfalls in Askrigg and only a couple of miles walk from the cottage
  • Aysgill Falls south of Hawes and with a lovely walk from the creamery.

6.Capture a Castle

This part of Wensleydale is blessed with two important castles.

  • Bolton Castle near Redmire is privately owned and a self-guided tour takes you through the swathe of history of the area. Viewed coming in from Bainbridge the castle looks like a complete “classic” castle but as you drive up to it, one of the corners of this square castle has collapsed.  Great for kids and adults.  Birds of prey displays.  Mostly indoors so a day out on a rainy day.
  • Middleham Castle just the other side of Leyburn was the childhood home of Richard III and in its time one of the most important seats of power in England. The castle is in ruins but is a very extensive site.  The castle is self-explored and younger children love to run around imagining themselves as knights or ladies.

There are also a couple of excellent castles a little further afield.

  • Richmond Castle is another important early castle and is adjacent to the market square in Richmond which is a great day out in a traditional country town.
  • Brough Castle is a smaller castle but interesting to visit. Access is next to a farm-made ice-cream parlour!

7.Visit an Abbey

One of the first abbeys built after the Norman Conquest was actually in Bainbridge (Fors Abbey) but there are no remains visible for this. 

  • Jervaulx: The monks moved further down the valley to Jervaulx and there are beautiful remains there which you can wander through in a peaceful location. The abbey is on the A6108 on the road from Middleham to Masham and Ripon.  (Great ice-cream parlour made on the farm a little further down the road.
  • Fountains Abbey is a longer journey but is regarded as the most beautiful abbey remains in the country. The grounds were landscaped by Capability Brown and are as much a part of the whole experience.  The abbey is 3 miles south west of Ripon off the B6265.

8.Go for a Cruise

It’s not as far as you might think to the Lake District.  You can get to the banks of England’s largest lake (Windermere) and there are lots of cruising options on the lake, as well as small boat hire opportunities.  From Hawes take to road to Kendal (one hour) and follow the signs for Windermere.

9. Get steamed up

Wensleydale has its own heritage railway.  The nearest station is at Redmire and the line goes from there to Bedale via Leyburn.  There are a limited number of journeys, check out details first at:

You might also fancy a more conventional train ride on the Settle - Carlisle line.  Catch the train from Garsdale station (less than half an hour away) and head south across the dales to Settle or Skipton, or north up to Carlisle.  It is a frequent service and a relatively inexpensive way to view some of the best scenery (and highest mainline)on the whole rail network.

10.Get Cheesy

Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes is a must-visit attraction.  There is an excellent museum, cheese making demonstrations and a visit to see Wensleydale Cheese being manufactured in the dairy.  There is also a particularly good visitor centre with excellent café and restaurant and a cheese tasting area where you can sample all of the company’s current production (and that must be around 20 cheeses) and the tasting is for FREE!  Open every day.  Find details at:

11.Visit a Gallery

The Yorkshire Dales are an inspiration to craftsmen of all varieties and this results in a number of craft and art galleries.  You could take a tour one day and visit some of the many galleries.  Go up Wensleydale, cross over Buttertubs Pass to Swaledale, down the dale to Reath and back to Wensleydale ay Leyburn then up the dale and home.  Galleries include:

En-route you might well pass other great galleries, let us know what you find:

12.Go for a swim then watch a film

The nearest swimming pool is at Richmond in the old station yard.  Whilst in station yard you can take in a visit to the cinema, view the art on display, see local crafts and eat at the café which offers good unusual meals.

13.Become King of the Mountains

In 2014 Yorkshire hosted the start of the Tour de France, the world’s greatest bicycle race.  The route passed through Bainbridge after crossing over the “mountain” between Swaledale and Wensleydale via Buttertubs Pass.  If you fancy your chances in tackling Buttertubs and becoming the “King of the Mountains” or simply fancy a ride on the quiet roads down the northern side of the valley, bikes can be hires from: which is found adjacent to the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.  There is also bike hire in Reeth, see: 

14.Visit the Forbidden Corner

There is only one attraction like this:  the Forbidden Corner is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created within a four acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park (follow the signs from Leyburn). A tourist visitor attraction unlike anywhere that you have been before, ideal for the adventurers and those young at heart!  Advance booking is ESSENTIAL.

15.Visit a Brewery

Like much of the UK, Wensleydale has its share of micro-breweries and a great selection of local brews can be tasted at many of the local pubs.  Look out for Yorkshire Dales Brewery beer, brewed in Askrigg, our nearest brewery.  If you want to see a brewery in action we recommend a trip out to The Black Sheep Brewery in Masham which has an excellent cafeteria and extensive gift shop.

16.Visit a Market

There’s nothing like a country market.  The best (very) local market is Leyburn on Fridays but Hawes market on Tuesdays is also well worth a visit.  Both markets are held on the main road through the town.  You could also visit the livestock markets (held on the same days) and watch the sale of local farm animals, but be careful not to twitch and buy yourself a sheep.

17.get an ICE-CREAM

Wensleydale has two own ice-cream parlours serving speciality ice-creams made on the farm.  Just down the valley (follow the A684 towards Aysgarth) the parlour is on your right in a barn just off the road. .  Further down the valley just beyond Riveaux Abbey on the road to Masham is the home of Brymor Ice-Cream (complete with children's play area):

18.Visit Yorkshire’s Highest Pub

Tann Hill Inn is the highest pub in Britain.  Standing all alone above Swaledale this unique and historic place dates back to the 17th century.  It is so exposed that it was famously used by Everest Windows to show the effectiveness of their double glazing in early adverts.  This is a wilderness location at 1732 feet above sea level.  You might want to warm up with a warm drink or pub grub.

19.Encircle a Lake

An afternoon stroll from the cottage door (2 miles each way) or short drive gets you to the remote and beautiful Lake Semer Water.  Visit Low Blean farm to pick up a walking guide to take you round the lake visiting two of the remotest villages in Yorkshire, Marsett and Stalling Busk.  The lake was painted by Turner and you can sit in the exact location and perhaps paint your own picture.  If you want some delightful jam or pickles, call at Raydale Preserves in Stalling Busk.

20.Find Peter Rabbit

The World of Beatrix Potter is a magical experience for toddlers and younger children.  Peter Rabbit comes alive with dioramas.  Café and shop with all things Beatrix Potter.  In the centre of Bowness on Windermere you can tie this in with a day trip to the lakes.  Also consider for the older children and adults a visit to Hill Top, Sawrey, the home of Beatrix Potter and a sample of old Lake district.  (If you do the two, get the car ferry across the lake for fun).  Just beyond Sawrey is Hawkshead, busy but full of Lake District charm.

21.Beautiful Villages

There are lots of beautiful villages to be visited in the dales.  All these are within easy reach and with either a café or pub or both for a drop off.  We would recommend:

  • In Wensleydale

                Middleham; West Burton; Redmire; Carperby; Askrigg and Hardraw

  • In Swaledale

                Keld; Thwaite; Muker; Gunnerside; and Reeth

  • A Little Further Afield

                Kettlewell; Buckden; Arncliffe and Dent

22.Visit a Show

NOTE for 2020 - Most shows have been cancelled due to Coronavirus - Check websites for details

Most of the local villages have a "show", "fete" or "bash" on summer weekends.  These are       advertised up and down the dale on roadside posters.  Another good source of local event information is the Upper Wensleydale Newsletter, a monthly publication with bags of local    information.  It is available from the Cafe or the garage and many of the local pubs.  Big local agricultural shows include:

  • Wensleydale Agricultural Show      (Leyburn - Last Saturday in August)
  • Muker Show                                        (First Wednesday in September)
  • Moorcock Show                                  (on the Kendal road outside Hawes - First Sunday in September)


There are some great local gardens to visit.  In Aysgarth village centre is the free Victorian rock garden - small but fascinating.  A little further afield is the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park with wonderful woodland walks and inspiring sculptures.  Further information and directions from:  Advance booking is recommended.