A postcard perfect landscape of green valleys criss-crossed with limestone walls, unspoilt villages with cosy country pubs, and the occasional lost sheep wandering down the centre of the road. Situated in the Pennines in Northern England, the Yorkshire Dales are much loved for the unique and timeless character of their villages and scenery.
The Dales are home to the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks; Whernside (2,415ft), Ingleborough (2,372ft) and Pen y Ghent (2,277ft). Ramblers seeking a challenge will complete all three hills in one day, then settle into a pub for the evening or find a wild camp spot ready to watch the sunset.
Yet beyond the hills, the Dales are scattered with spectacular waterfalls and ancient woodland, dry-stone walls and industrial architecture. Though infamously rainy and bleak, the vibrancy of the hills and warmth of the timeless villages make the Yorkshire Dales a beautiful and peaceful place to spend a weekend.
Located in the middle of the Three Peaks, Ribblehead Viaduct is a Victorian railway bridge surrounded by dramatic scenery. At 400m long and with 24 arches spanning across the Batty Moss, the viaduct makes for an excellent photo opportunity and is certainly worth detouring for.
Getting there: There is plenty of parking in lay-bys near to Ribblehead Station. You can also catch the train to Ribblehead, on the Settle-Carlisle line.
Pen-y-Ghent from Horton in Ribblesdale
Though the smallest of the Three Yorkshire Peaks, Pen-y-Ghent is a beautiful walk offering panoramic views over the Dales. Starting with a relatively gentle climb, the vast figure of the hill comes into sight early on at Brackenbottom Scar; a looming figure with a distinctly steep climb to reach the highest peak. Once at the summit, views look out onto Whernside and Ingleborough, the other two hills that make up the Three Peaks of Yorkshire.
Getting there: Park in Horton in Ribblesdale. There is a Pay & Display carpark and some free roadside parking.
Hike: From Horton in Ribblesdale the hike is 6 miles and takes between 2 and 3 hours. It is a moderate walk with a short, steep climb to reach the summit. Use OS map OL2 or find further details of the walk here.
Gear: Bring a warm, waterproof jacket as it can be cold at the summit. Trainers would be fine for this walk in the summer, but wear boots in the winter as it may be muddy and slippery.
Food & Drink: Grab a coffee and cake at the Pen-y-Ghent Cafe upon your return.
A limestone amphitheatre with a vertical cliff face of around 260ft, Malham Cove is an impressive site just outside the village of Malham. The cove is popular with climbers and is also home to a couple of peregrine falcons you may spot swooping around the area.
Getting there: Park in the village of Malham, from where it is around a 10-15 minute walk to the Cove.
Gear: Trainers would be suitable for this walk as the majority of the route is paved.
Food & Drink: There are a number of pubs in the village of Malham. We recommend The Lister Arms for a delicious pub dinner after visiting the cove.
The Lister Arms
A rustic, country pub in the heart of the Dales, The Lister Arms is situated in the idyllic village of Malham serving delicious home-cooked food and local ales. Within walking distance of iconic settings like Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, the Lister Arms is the perfect place to stop for a mid-walk pub lunch or post-walk pint. The pub is also dog-friendly and a has free wifi.
Getting there: Situated in the heart of the village of Malham. There is plenty of parking in the village itself.