Special Covid-19 refund policy: We'll refund you in full if you can't travel due to Covid-19 governmental changes in travel restrictions. Details here.

The Very Best Things to Do in the Yorkshire Dales

Prepare for your Yorkshire Dales adventure, and discover the greatest things to do

~

A view of large green meadows and hills on a sunny day in the Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

With its rocky peaks, magnificent valleys, breathtaking waterfalls and picturesque countryside, it’s no surprise they call Yorkshire ‘God’s Own Country’. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is full of adventure, whether you want to take on a challenging hike, explore deep caves, chase waterfalls, or simply relax in the serene nature. Here at Plum Guide, we consider ourselves the experts in all things travel, and as a result, know the Dales like the back of our hand. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun, we've curated this guide to the very best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales, so read on. You won't regret it.

Hike along the Ingleton Falls Trail

Waterfalls over rocks and trees in the forest at Ingleton Falls Trail, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

Waterfalls over rocks and trees in the forest at Ingleton Falls Trail, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

The Yorkshire Dales is home to numerous waterfalls, but those found along the Ingleton Falls Trail are undoubtedly among the most scenic. If you like to get your money’s worth (who doesn't?), then you'll want to listen up, as the Ingleton Falls Trail takes you past not one, not two, but five different waterfalls. Yes, five. Described by celebrated British fellwalker and author A. Wainwright as “the most delightful walk in the country”, the trail is a moderate 4.5 mile route which shows off some truly picturesque parts of the national park (which is not a very difficult feat to accomplish).

The well-defined footpath winds along two rivers, passing through glens filled with ancient oak woodland and base rocks that support a variety of rare plants, birds, and trees. The trail takes you past Pecca Falls, before arriving at Thornton Force - the most well-known, and spectacular, of them all. Dropping 46 feet into the River Twiss, this majestic waterfall was cited as inspiration for renowned artist William Turner (guess what he painted). You can even go for a refreshing dip in the plunge pool, or brave the slippery walk behind the falls. The trail continues past Beezley Falls, Rival Falls, and Snow Falls, before taking you through the pretty village of Ingleton back to your starting point. And relax.

Primrose Point, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

Primrose Point, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

Explore White Scar Cave

Feeling adventurous? Just outside Ingleton is White Scar Cave (the longest show cave in Britain), so grab your hard hat. Follow your tour guide on an exciting adventure deep underground to explore the winding passages, magical rock formations, and large chambers. The cave walk covers a mile of underground streams and waterfalls, including the thundering ‘first waterfall’ which can drop 55 tonnes of water per minute (try not to stand underneath it). As you wander through the passages, look out for the Witch’s Fingers and the Devil’s Tongue hanging from the cave roof - folklore says you should avoid being dripped on by the Devil’s Tongue, or else. You have been warned. There are several other interesting natural features, such as the elegant Arum Lily and the delicate orange ‘carrots’ stalactites. It’s said that a disembodied murmuring voice follows the last guide out at closing time, so we’d book a morning tour just to be on the safe side.

The English Spa, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

The English Spa, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

Take a trip to Wensleydale

There are many beautiful valleys in the Yorkshire Dales, but Wensleydale just has that X factor that makes it extra special. This wide open valley is dotted with rolling green hills, majestic waterfalls, and historic villages and market towns. There’s an endless list of places to see in Wensleydale, but we recommend starting in the bustling market town of Hawes. As well as an array of independent shops and a lively market, Hawes is home to the famous Wensleydale Creamery, where you can see how the delicious Wensleydale cheese is made (and gorge yourself on the testers, of course). It’s a must-do for cheese-lovers and Wallce and Gromit fans alike, and deserves a place on any list of things to do in the Yorkshire Dales. Elsewhere in the valley, the spectacular Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force are well-known attractions, but there are other beauty spots to enjoy too - Cauldron Falls is a lovely waterfall, for example, made famous by the artist J. M. W. Turner. On a hot summer’s day, there’s no better place to relax than Semer Water, the largest natural lake in the Dales. Its calm waters are ideal for swimming, canoeing, sailing, and fishing, so you really can make a day of it.

Ducks On The Water, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

Ducks On The Water, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

Enjoy a day out at Bolton Abbey

A view of the ruins of Bolton Abbey from within its structure, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

A view of the ruins of Bolton Abbey from within its structure, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

Nested on the banks of the River Wharfe, a trip to Bolton Abbey is the perfect day out. Set in 30,000 acres of peaceful countryside, there are over 80 miles of footpaths which take you through moorland, woodland, and along the charming river. Explore the ruins of the 12th-century Augustinian monastery before making your way across the river via the stepping stones (concentrate, please). Just north of the stepping stones is a large beach area, ideal for a family picnic and even a paddle on a hot day. Walk further afield to Strid Wood, an ancient woodland renowned for its flora and fauna - look hard and you’ll spot roe deer, otters, and kingfishers. If you’re visiting with the little ones, Bolton Abbey has a variety of family events throughout the year such as easter egg hunts, outdoor theatre, open air cinema nights, and pumpkin trails, so there's never a bad time to come.

The Old Post Office, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

The Old Post Office, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

Embark on a hike up Pen-y-ghent

What would a list of things to do in the Yorkshire Dales be without at least one hike up a fell? Don’t worry, we’ll be nice and only recommend the lowest of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks. At 2,277 feet (yes, this is the lowest), Pen-y-ghent is a Yorkshire classic. Take a circular route from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, which climbs gently up Brackenbottom Scar. You’ll then follow the famous Pennine Way on the climb to the high (low) summit. Depending on your fitness level, this peak usually takes around three hours to climb. If this sounds a little too easy for you, why not put your fitness to the test with the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge? The aim is to take on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in less than 12 hours. Good luck.

Wander through Parcevall Hall Gardens

A close up of pink flowers in Parcevall Hall Gardens, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

A close up of pink flowers in Parcevall Hall Gardens, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK

If simply the thought of all that physical activity has worn you out, then you’ll enjoy this one. Parcevall Hall Gardens, in the heart of Wharfedale, sprawls across 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens. Set on a hill, the garden is laid out on terraces with something different on each level, whether it’s alpine plants or vibrant rhododendrons. Other gems include a remarkable rose garden with over 200 varieties, an orchard with unusual apple varieties, and plants collected from the Himalayas and China. Settle down on one of the many benches and just relax amongst the greenery, enjoying the sound of a trickling stream in the background. Be warned though: you’ll never want to leave.

Related Articles

Stay in the world's most beautiful homes

Search for a holiday home