Our Top 10 | Must-dos in and around Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales
1) Ramble to the old lead mines on the Gunnerside Ghyll Walk
If you like to hike, then you’re in the right place. There’s a plethora of walks for all, whether it be a short meander along the river Swale in Gunnerside village, or the 9.5 mile circular hike, starting and finishing in Gunnerside. The route takes you up to Gunnerside Ghyll and down Swinner Gill and you’ll get to see lots of old lead mine workings along the way – Here’s some tips from The Walking Englishman on this particular hike, which he has rates hard. Click HERE to find out more.
2) Have a pint at the highest pub in Britain
The world-famous Tan Hill Inn is the highest pub in Britain and most definitely has the most windiest beer garden in the world in November! On a lonely site high in the Yorkshire Dales and right out of the opening scene in 80s cult classic American Werewolf in London, you wouldn’t catch me wandering around it at night alone. Although I expect I probably wouldn’t be alone – the resident ghost and a couple of headless horseman would make sure of that – still, it’s a must-visit, if just for a selfie next to the signage. Find our more HERE
3) Drive across Buttertubs Pass – “England’s truly spectacular road”
Jeremy Clarkson described the drive as “England’s truly spectacular road” and he ain’t half wrong. The 37 mile drive from Hawers to Muker through Wensleydale and Swaledale is nothing short of breath-taking. It’s no wonder Yorkshire has laid claim to being God’s Own Country – if God was going to appear – it would be up here – you can practically tug on his shirt tails through the clouds. Take to time to stop every so often, get out of your car and just take it all in. Park the car up, twirl round and round and pretend you’re Maria Von Trap. No one will hear you up there, so sing as loud as you can. It’s very liberating.
4) Visit Hawes – England’s highest market town
Pretty market towns in Yorkshire are two to a penny, but Hawes has a special claim to fame – the picture-perfect town is England’s highest market town. The chocolate-box shops and tea rooms and cafes – all of which offer a cracking Yorkshire afternoon tea (make sure you pop into Herriots in Hawes for a jar of their homemade raspberry Jam – it’s incredible), line a steep cobbled street and the centre piece is a 18th Century water-powered cotton spinning Gayle Mill – converted to sawmill and electricity generation with original working Victorian turbines, line shafting and woodworking machinery – the rushing water can be heard from all over the town.
5) Taste some lovely cheese at Wensleydale Creamery
If you are in Hawes then schedule some time to visit Wensleydale Creamery. If, like me, you live for cheese then this place is an absolute must! It’s the home to proper Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese – the only place in the world that makes the real deal. It’s a cheesy treat for all the family – make some time for their interactive experience that takes visitors on a journey through the art of cheese-making. Watch Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese being made by the team of master cheese-makers in the Creamery whilst the kids watch clips of Wallace & Gromit films. They can also drive the milk tanker and learn how a cow makes milk. A visit to the cheese shop is a must. Take some back to School House and enjoy it with wine in front of the roaring fire. Lovely cheese Gromit. Find out more HERE
6) Take the kids to the Forbidden Corner – The strangest place on earth
The Forbidden Corner has been awarded a couple of awards over the years. It bagged ‘The Best Folly of the 20th Century’ by the Folly Fellowship (all very Lord of the Rings), and has also been voted the Best Children’s Attraction in Yorkshire. It’s definitely one for the Yorkshire must-visit list, if only for its peculiarity, sinister character, and damn-right strangeness. Read my full review HERE
7) Take afternoon tea at Jervaulx Abbey
Now I have to admit that I haven’t actually been lucky enough to sample the afternoon tea at Jervaulx Abbey but I have it on very good authority that it is nothing short of exquisite. Carol and her daughters own the Abbey and have over 20 years of experience baking cakes and there are up to 16 cakes to choose from every day. Everything is cooked onsite and sourced from Yorkshire and cakes come in all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours to include wild flower honey. Afternoon tea must be pre-booked. I’m waiting patiently for my invite to road-test what is meant to be one of the most exquisite afternoon teas in Yorkshire. It’s certainly located in the most breath-taking of locations. Find out more HERE
8) Brush up on your Yorkshire medieval history at Bolton Castle
Bolton Castle in Leyburn is one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles and holds over 600 years of fascinating history including involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace, Mary Queen of Scot’s imprisonment and a Civil War siege. Falconry displays, archery demonstrations, wild boar, bees, rare breed sheep and hands on crafts and games as just some of the fun stuff on the cards. The gardens are spectacular and there’s an on-site tearoom for that all important cup of Yorkshire tea. Find out more HERE
9) Visit Yorkshire’s Hollywood film set – Aysgarth Falls
The three stepped waterfalls at Aysgarth have been a tourist attraction for over 200 years. It was these very falls in Yorkshire that provided the dramatic setting for the Hollywood movie – Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Yes, that’s right, Kevin Costner has visited, and that alone is a good enough reason to put Aysgarth on in this top 10 must-visit attractions. There are a number of easy paths winding through it so a perfect day trip for all the family. Bring a picnic and enjoy it in the primrose filled woods – look out for the roe deer. Top tip – the waterfalls are at their most dramatic after heavy rain.
10) See Yorkshire in style on the back on a trike
For a proper Yorkshire adventure like no other – get ‘Trike Man of the Dales’ – Jason – to chauffeur you and your no. 2 along the winding roads of the dales at up to 55mph on the back of his boom trike. I’ve been lucky enough to experience zooming round the dales with the wind in my hair on more than one occasion with Jason and I can promise you, it’s the icing on the Yorkshire-break cake. There are a number of set tours available and Jason will pick you up pretty much anywhere in the Yorkshire Dales. He knows his stuff too and headsets in your helmets mean you get to learn along the way. Read my full review HERE
Visit Swaledale’s official website for more inspo – CLICK HERE
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