Attractions available in Swaledale and the Yorkshire Dales

MuseumsGardensCastlesCavesFarmsWaterfallsShoppingAnnual EventsChurchesTrainsBreweriesOther

There are so many to choose from, but don’t miss the first one in this list!

The next few on our list are a selection we like very much close to Laykin, and the rest are sorted by area.

Swaledale Museum – Reeth – 4 Miles  (10 mins)

This little gem is tucked away behind the post office on Reeth Green.  If there is a yellow sign on the village green it will be open.  Helen Bainbridge who owns the museum is an exceptionally talented curator who has transformed the museum and is a fount of information about mining and the area.  It is run by volunteers and often hosts interesting exhibitions.  It is wonderfully hands on and will appeal to young and old alike.  Children love the challenge of finding all the many hidden pairs of spectacles and (there is a prize for finding more than 20) and playing the harmonium.  There is a shop and a café but no loo!
You will see rocks and local archaeological finds, a wealth of information about lead mining and items which are made of lead.  A collection of tools from various trades:  masons, wallers, joiners, blacksmiths, clogmakers & tinsmiths.  Information about farming, shops and shopping in the dales, music and Methodism, local crafts, and an archive and library specialising in local and family history.  We love to listen to the audio recordings upstairs.  Pop in for an hour, or stay all day!
Tel: 01748 884118

Museums close to Laykin

Wensleydale Cheese Museum – Hawes – 14 Miles (40 mins)

Head back through the centuries in this museum, to find out how the art of Wensleydale cheese-making has evolved, and watch the skilled Wensleydale cheese-makers in action from the viewing gallery, then taste the cheeses in the shop, and take some home with you!  There is also a café.

Dales Countryside Museum – Hawes – 14 Miles (40 mins)

This fascinating museum, managed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, tells the story of the people and landscape of the Yorkshire Dales past and present, and stimulates visitors to think about its future. Displays interpret the development of the Dales from prehistoric times to the present day. Themes include: school days, home life, leisure time, religion, transport, communication and tourism, farming, local crafts and industries.
The Museum itself is housed in an exciting and imaginative conversion of the Hawes railway station.

Ropemakers – Hawes – 14 Miles (40 mins)

This is right next to the Dales Museum and worth a quick look.  It is interesting to see the different types of ropes being made, from dog leads to barrier ropes and yachting ropes.  You get the chance to learn to tie various knots and there is a small shop.  It is free to visit and doesn’t take long.  Ropes have been made here since 1841.

The Old Working Smithy & Museum – Gunnerside – 2 Miles (4 mins)

The Smithy was established in 1795 at the bottom of Gunnerside Ghyll and displays an interesting collection of objects amassed over the years.  All the artifacts on display are from the Smithy itself – nothing has been brought in. Cartwheels were made by local joiners and hooped here by the blacksmith. Horses were used on farms until the 1950s and horse shoes were a mainstay for the blacksmith.  Stephen Calvert, shown at work in the Smithy, is the sixth generation of blacksmiths in the Calvert family to work at Gunnerside.
Ledgers (day books) have been kept by the blacksmiths continuously since 1840 and extracts from these are displayed where possible.  You can also see lead mining tubs and things made by the blacksmith.  He takes commissions!
Open:  11am till 5pm Easter until the end of October but closed on Mondays
Tel: 01748 886577

Richmondshire Museum – Richmond – 14 Miles (30 mins)

Richmondshire Museum was founded in 1974 by the Soroptimists of Richmond and the Dales; it opened its doors in 1978 in a former joiner’s workshop, and has gradually grown ever since.
Visitors begin their tour in the reconstructed cruck house which houses the museum’s collection of domestic bygones.
They then move on to the leadmining gallery. This details the industry which flourished in Swaledale and Wensleydale until the end of the last century.
The museum also has a transport gallery which has a model of Richmond station, a chemists shop from Catterick Garrison and also the famous James Herriot set from the TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small”.
01748 825 611

Green Howards Museum – Richmond – 14 Miles (30 mins)

The Green Howards’ Museum is situated in a converted church in the middle of the market place in Richmond, at the heart of the Regiment’s recruiting area. The Museum tells the story of the illustrious Green Howards Regiment from its very beginnings to the present day.  Artefacts and photographs of the Crimean War, the North-West Frontier of India, the Boer War and archive film of World War I form just a small part of the vivid presentation of the Green Howards’ story in both peace and war. We welcome visitors of all ages to our award-winning Museum, which will be an exciting experience for all and will bring an enhanced awareness of the history and proud tradition of the Green Howards.
This is more of an adult museum.  Older children may find it interesting, those interested in history or the military will be enthralled.

The Bowes Museum – Barnard Castle – 14 Miles (45 mins)

The Bowes Museum is a hidden treasure, a jewel in the heart of Teesdale. The magnificent building stands proud in the historic market town of Barnard Castle housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts.
Our favourite item is the life size model of a silver swan which is clockwork and gets wound up every day when it comes to life, bends it’s neck and eats a fish- it is a sight not to be forgotten.
Children love the dolls houses and old toys, but there is so much more to see for adults.

The museum was purpose built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum has a wonderful story to tell.  John Bowes was a successful businessman who travelled to Paris in 1847 to explore his interest in the arts. It was here he bought a theatre and met the Parisian actress Joséphine Coffin-Chevallier whom he married in 1852. Joséphine was a talented amateur painter who was interested in a whole range of art forms including paintings, ceramics, furniture and textiles. Soon the couple began to develop the idea of creating a world-class museum back in John’s ancestral home of Teesdale in order to introduce the wider world of art to the local people.

Further Afield

Kilhope Mining Museum – Weardale.

Small attraction of the year award 2010.

A visit to Killhope is a fully restored nineteenth century Victorian lead mine, where you can experience for yourself the life and work of the lead mining families of the Pennine dales. This trip is suitable for all ages.

Their enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are there to help you get the most from your visit, they are what makes Killhope a multi award wining venue.

Killhope is famous for its huge working waterwheel, but there is much more to Killhope. You can experience the mineshop where miners lived. You can work as a “washerboy” looking for minerals and galena (which is the lead ore). You can see the working machinery (which Fred Dibnah admired so much) in the “jigger house”. But above all, Killhope’s award-winning mine tour is unique.

Jorvik Viking Centre – York

One of the top attractions outside London.

Visitors literally travel backwards on a fairground style track with little cars and journey in time to reconstruction of Viking-Age streets, as they would have been 1000 years ago. Jorvik Viking Centre also offers four exciting exhibitions and the chance to actually come face to face with a ‘Viking’.

The remains of 1,000 year old houses are revealed beneath your feet and objects taken from the excavations are explored and Viking-age timbers are brought before your eyes.

New audio and video displays help you to investigate all of the information gathered from the 5-year long dig at Coppergate and piece together the jigsaw of where the Vikings came from, why they came here and how they lived and died.

National Railway Museum –York

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is a museum in York forming part of the BritishNational Museum of Science and Industry and telling the story of transport in Britain and its impact on society. It has won many awards, including the European Museum of the Year Award in 2001. It is the home of the national collection of historically significant railway vehicles, as well as a collection of other artefacts and both written and pictorial records. You will see over 300 trains including Mallard and The Flying Scotsman and the red steam train from Harry Potter fame. A mecca for train enthusiasts, young and old.

York Castle Museum – York

The museum’s displays include recreated period rooms such as a Victorian parlour and a 17th century dining room. There are displays of everyday life including an exhibition about rites of passage and an exhibition all about washing and cleaning. There is also a Hearth Gallery with recreated fireplaces and kitchens. A display about life in the prison has been opened in the cells of the old Debtors Prison. There is also a recreation of a Victorian street (Kirkgate, named after Dr. Kirk). What was once an Edwardian street (Half Moon Court) is now an exhibit on the 1960s. The museum also has a Barn Gallery, a Children’s Gallery and military and costume displays. The former Condemned Cell, possibly once occupied by Dick Turpin, can also be visited.

Yorkshire Air Museum – York

The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is the largest independent air museum in Britain and is the most original Second World War RAF Bomber Command station open to the public. It is also the only Allied Air Forces Memorial in Europe. The Museum has a good international reputation and profile with established branches in Canada and France and is supported by over 4,000 registered “friends” across the world. It is a Corporate Member of Friends of the Few (Battle of Britain Memorial) and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The Museum’s principal activity is in education and the history of flight, through which it is involved with aerospace manufacturers and organisations via its long term “Reach for the Sky” project which delivered the first KS2 History of Aviation educational resource book to all 26,000 primary schools in UK, supported by RAeS and the Ministry of Transport.

The Museum has around 50 aircraft scanning the development of aviation from 1853 up to the current GR4 Tornado. Several aircraft are kept live and operated on special “Thunder Days” during the year.

Yorkshire Museum – York

It is the home of the Cawood sword– one of the finest Viking swords ever found -and has four permanent collections, covering biology, geology, archaeology and astronomy. It underwent a £2 million refurbishment from November 2009 to 1 August 2010, with major structural changes and a re-development of all existing galleries.

World of James Herriot – Thirsk

The museum covers the life and books of the vet and author James Herriot (1916–1995). The museum is located in a 1940s period house with veterinary science exhibits. It was the original practice of James Herriot, at 23 Kirkgate, known as “Skeldale House” in the books.

When James Herriot died in 1995, Hambleton District Council bought the house and started a £1.4 million restoration programme. This included a recreation of the original living quarters and sets from the All Creatures Great and Small television series based on the books. The Austin 7 car used in the TV series is in the garden.

Beamish Outdoor Museum – Beamish, County Durham(60 miles)

You will need a full day for this experience. We love this Museum- it is unique and unforgettable for all ages.

Experience a real sense of your past at Beamish, and discover what life was like in North East England in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times. Feel terrified in a Victorian classroom with your slate and chalk doing mental arithmetic with a fierce teacher, or go into the dentist shop and further quake in your boots at the instruments used in bygone days!

Beamish is a living, working museum, set in 300 acres of County Durham countryside. Costumed demonstrators bring to life the Edwardian Town and Pit Village, complete with original drift mine. At Home Farm and Pockerley Old Hall, experience firsthand how the Industrial revolution transformed agricultural life in the region. The buildings you see at Beamish are not replicas, but have been reconstructed brick-by-brick to give visitors a real sense of history.

They have a vast collection of objects, photographs and ephemera at our Regional Resource Centre, which can be accessed by appointment.

Throughout the year Beamish hosts an exciting programme of events, from a Georgian Fair to the Great North Steam Fair and much more besides, including a whole season of Christmas!

Tickets to Beamish are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase for an unlimited number of visits to the Museum.

The Weardale Museum – Ireshopeburn- pronounced Aesopburn (40 miles)

High House Chapel is now the oldest Methodist chapel in continuous weekly use since its foundation in 1760 and is one of only 4 chapels listed by Simon Jenkins in his book ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches’, 1999.

Wesley preached here 13 times and the small folk museum next door includes a dedicated Wesley room, an 1870 period Weardale cottage room, local history displays and a superb collection of local crystallised minerals. The museum is the home of ‘The Weardale Tapestry’, a 16ft free style embroidery depicting the history of Weardale from prehistoric times to the present day.

The museum also offers a genealogy search facility for visitors looking for ancestors in Stanhope and Wolsingham Parishes.

The museum tells the story of John Wesley and the Methodists. Our Wesley Room holds a fine collection of Methodist memorabilia from chapels and homes in the valley. It is probably the largest collection in the whole of the North East.

Wesley first preached outside, beneath the nearby thorn tree, but also in the historic chapel next door.

The chapel is now the oldest purpose built Methodist chapel in continuous weekly use, it is open for Museum visitors.


Constable Burton Hall  – 18 Miles  (40 mins)  (not to be confused with Burton Constable in East Yorkshire) Between Bedale and Leyburn

A woodland garden full of majestic trees.  Well known for spring bulbs and an acer collection as well as the lily pond and stream garden. It’s the garden of a private house and you are free to wander around the garden as you want.

Mid March- Mid September 9am-6pm.

Parcevall Hall Garden – Wharfdale near Skipton – 38 Miles  (One hour and 45 mins)

Parcevall Hall Gardens are a renowned historic plantsman’s garden located at the heart of Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Located at the head of a small valley, the gardens are a hidden treasure and well worth seeking out. Comprising of 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens they rise up the hillside for 200 feet giving wonderful views in every direction.
The gardens were laid out by the late Sir William Milner from 1927 onwards, and are planted with specimens from around the world, many collected from Western China and the Himalayas.
Within the grounds, visitors will find many facets of the garden, including, woodland walks, formal, south facing terraces, a bedrock limestone rock garden and a beautiful rose garden where it is a pleasure to sit and relax. All set against the stunning back-drop of the Yorkshire Dales.
Open between 10-6 from April to October.  Dogs are welcome on a lead.

Scampston Hall and Walled Garden – Malton – 80 Miles (2 hours)

Open April to end of October  Tuesday to Sunday plus Bank Holiday Mondays between 10am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Scampston Walled Garden is a stunningly beautiful contemporary garden, quite unlike any other. Designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf, and featuring modern, perennial meadow planting alongside more traditional areas, the garden has been open to the public as a tourist attraction since 2004.
Already acclaimed as one of the finest gardens to visit in North Yorkshire, it boasts the The Garden Restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious lunch or simply a refreshing cup of tea and a snack. Many of the plants that you will find in the garden can also be bought on site in our plant nursery sales area, including those interesting and unusual plants that are particular to Scampston Walled Garden.
The other parts of the grounds to enjoy whilst you are here at Scampston are the Cascade Circuit, a peaceful area to enjoy a quiet stroll and to explore the gardens around the Hall, and The Park. Designed by Capability Brown,the park provides a beautiful setting, magnificent views and plenty of space for events.

Forbidden Corner – Middleham – 18 Miles (40 mins)

Not really a conventional garden, but a folly set in the grounds of Tupgill Park.  Mazes and strange sculptures and great fun for a all the family.  Expect to be surprised!

Thorpe Perrow Arboretum – Bedale – 28 Miles  (50 mins)

Thorp Perrow Arboretum is one of the finest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country. This 85 acre arboretum is unique to Britain, if not Europe, in that it was the creation of one man, Colonel Sir Leonard Ropner (1895 – 1977) and is now owned and managed by Sir John Ropner.

It’s a great area for kids to run about, and they have themed events at different times of year. For example at Halloween, there is a spooky trail.

Open all year round.  Mid February to Mid November.  Open daily from 10am to 5pm.  Winter 11am to 3pm.

Animal Encounters at 11.30am.  Flying Displays at 1.30pm & 3.30pm.  You can do courses in Falconry here and enjoy animal experiences.

Also Santa’s magical winter wonderland grotto in December.

Dogs welcome on leads.

Milgate House – Richmond – 15 Miles  (30 mins)

The garden at Millgate House won the first  National Royal Horticultural Society/ Daily Mail National Garden Competition out of 3200 entries.

Since then the garden has featured in many publications both nationally and internationally.  It has interesting and unusual planting and amazing roses.

Open 1st April to 31st October 10am-4.30pm.

Kiplin Hall and Gardens – Near Richmond – 22 Miles  (50 mins)

The Gardens which date back to 1723, at Kiplin Hall are under restoration, having slipped into disrepair over a hundred years ago.  The grounds feature The Topiary Garden, The Walled Garden, The Rose Garden, The Sensory Garden, Lakeside, Peninsula Wood and Snowdrop walk.   The carpets of snowdrops and aconites in February are a big attraction.
Check the website for information on opening times.

Newby Hall – Near Ripon – 44 Miles  (One hour and a quarter)

“A Garden for all seasons” – Newby’s 25 acres of award winning gardens, created in the early 1920s, have evolved over the years making a major contribution to 20th century gardening. They provide a haven for both specialist and amateur gardeners alike. Designed astride one of Europe’s longest double herbaceous borders which slope gently down to the River Ure, are numerous compartmented gardens – ‘rooms’ – off a long corridor. Visit Newby in the Spring, Summer or Autumn and discover the secrets of Sylvia’s Garden, a species Rose Garden, Autumn Garden or the Water Garden and even a Tropical Garden. Newby also holds the national collection of CORNUS (dogwoods). It is quite simply an experience that no garden-lover should miss.

Not only a garden, also a wonderful place to take children. There is an amazing adventure playground and little railway, giant sandpit, fountains to play in and lots of space. There is a teddy bear’s museum and doll’s house collection which are wonderful too.

The house is also very interesting.

Even on a busy day, there is so much space that crowds just dissipate.

Check the website for opening times, which vary through the year.  The garden is open from April to the end of September.

RHS Harlow Carr – Harrogate – 44 Miles  (An hour and a half)

The 58 acre garden has many seasonal highlights including the UK’s longest streamside garden, woodland, wildflower meadows, perennial borders and kitchen garden.  It has more of a character of a public park than a private garden.  You could combine a trip to Betty’s tea room however!

Open every day from 9.30 am.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal – Ripon – 35 Miles  (An hour and a quarter)  National Trust.

A World Heritage Site, set in 800 acres of beautiful countryside, offering an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the range of England’s heritage.

Discover the magnificent 12th-century abbey ruins and the only surviving Cistercian corn mill.

Amble through the beautiful landscaped Georgian water garden of Studley Royal, complete with Neo-classical statues, follies and breathtaking views.

Admire the deer in the park.

Open every day from 10am.

The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park – Ripon – 35 Miles  (An hour and a quarter)

The garden was launched in 2005 and supplies the rarer and more unusual varieties of Species and Hybrid Rhododendrons as well as Azaleas, Magnolias, Cornus and other Himalayan plants.  The spectacular woodland garden shows off the plants to their best advantage in a natural setting at 850 feet above sea level.  In 2009 this garden was awarded ‘Environmental Project of the Year’ as part of the Yorkshire Rural Awards.
Open End of April to Mid June only 10 am til 4pm but not Mondays.

Austwick Hall – Settle – 34 Miles (An hour and a half)

Known for snowdrops
Only open on Mondays.

Eggleston Hall – Barnard Castle – 20 Miles  (An hour)

The walled garden specialises in rare and unusual species with an emphasis on hardy herbaceous stock, which thrive in the climate of the northern dales. The surrounding wall is home to a variety of fruit trees and an alphabetical apple walk has recently been planted. The ruins of the old village church can be visited with some fine stone carving.
The paths are mainly gravel but wheelchair visitors are very welcome. Dogs on leads can also enter the gardens.

There is a large sales area as well as wonderful borders, glasshouses and mature trees.

Thornton Hall Gardens – Darlington – 30 miles  (50 mins)

Stunning new garden which was reborn in 1985 and is now one of the finest gardens in the North East.  Amazing herbaceous borders full of colour around the grade one listed Hall built in 1550.

Durham University Botanic Gardens – 48 miles  (An hour and 15 mins)

The garden is set in 10 acres of mature woodlands in the outskirts of Durham.  It has plant collections from around the world, including China, Japan, North America, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile, as well as a woodland garden, alpine garden and bamboo grove.  In the glasshouses you will find a collection of tropical rainforest plants (including the giant Amazonian water lily, Victoria amazonica), desert plants, and more familiar plants from the Mediterranean. They also have some tropical bugs, stick insects, scorpions and tarantulas.

Crook Hall Gardens – Durham – 48 Miles  (An hour and 15 mins)

A hidden gem in the city, it is small but you get great views of the cathedral.  Gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor, especially for the afternoon tea!

Castles and Abbeys

Bolton Castle – Near Leyburn – 10 Miles  (30 mins)

Bolton Castle provides a huge range of exciting things to do.  You will find a raft of sights, sounds and smells which bring the castle to life and make for a truly memorable trip.

Bolton Castle is one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles; originally built as one of the finest and most luxurious homes in the land, the castle bears the scars of over 600 years of fascinating history. The castle is still in the private ownership of Lord Bolton, the direct descendant of the castle’s original owner Sir Richard le Scrope.

The castle provides a wide range of fun activities for the whole family, both educational and entertaining. It has wonderful gardens and a café. There is enough to here for a whole day out.  You can witness magnificent flying displays from the hawks and owls in the Castle Courtyard and experience the incredible sight of a falcon stooping to the lure against the spectacular backdrop of the Castle. Experience the excitement of wild boar feeding time and learn more about archery in sport, hunting and warfare during the Medieval Archery talks. Visit the Wensleydale sheep and the bees in their hives.

Richmond Castle – Richmond – 15 Miles  (30 mins)

With its breath taking views of the Yorkshire Dales, Richmond Castle fully deserves its place as one of the finest tourist attractions in North Yorkshire. The castle was originally built to subdue the unruly North of England it is one of the greatest Norman fortresses in Britain.

Learn all about the castle’s past in the interactive exhibition before taking a peaceful stroll round the secluded Cockpit Garden. The castle’s fun and exciting events programme will give you the perfect chance to enjoy live action events and don’t forget to bring a picnic.

There is also an exhibition dedicated to the conscientious objectors and a tranquil garden. The castle is perfect for a couple of hours while you are visiting Richmond, and there is an excellent fish and chip shop just behind the Green Howards museum.

Middleham Castle – 16 Miles  (35 mins)

Middleham Castle was the childhood home of Richard III.
This is a very attractive castle set in the heart of Middleham, and you will be able to while away an hour or so there quite happily. There are a couple of very good pubs close to the entrance that serve very good food.

Barnard Castle – 14 Miles  (45 mins)

Set on a high rock above the River Tees, Barnard Castle takes its name from its 12th century founder, Bernard de Balliol. It was later developed by the Beauchamp family and then passed into the hands of Richard III.

With fantastic views over the Tees Gorge this fortress sits on the fringe of an attractive working market town also known as ‘Barney’, where very close by is the amazing Bowes Museum making this a very good day out.

Raby Castle – Staindrop, County Durham – 22 Miles  (An hour)

Home to Lord Barnard’s family since 1626, Raby is one of the finest medieval Castles in England.

Every room in Raby Castle, from the magnificent Barons’ Hall, where 700 knights gathered to plot the ‘Rising of the North’, to the Medieval Kitchen which was used until 1954, gives an insight to life throughout the ages.

Behind the powerful exterior of towers and fortifications, Raby houses a fantastic art collection and splendid interiors. Treasures include an important collection of Meissen porcelain, tapestries, furnishings and paintings by leading artists such as Munnings, De Hooch, Teniers, Van Dyck and Reynolds.


Jervaulx Abbey – 20 Miles  (45 mins)

Founded in 1156, Jervaulx Abbey was once a great Cistercian monastery.
Plundered and pillaged during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, the Abbey now stands as an enchanting, charming and atmospheric ruin, allowed to flourish by its private owners with wild flowers and plants freely exploring its many nooks and crannies.

Set in the midst of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, Jervaulx Abbey’s dramatic and yet tranquil ambience has won the hearts of many of its visitors. The Abbey also benefits from having its own tea room. It is close to Middleham so visitors can easily combine Middleham Castle with the Abbey.

Fountains Abbey – Ripon – 35 Miles (An hour and a quarter)

A world heritage site. UNESCO describes it as “ being a masterpiece of human creative genius, and an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history”.

This is a unique place as set in the grounds is the Studley Royal Water Garden, 300 acres of lakes and parkland, Fountains Hall, St Marys Church and a deer park. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for over 400 years,

Bolton Abbey – Nr Skipton –  46 Miles (An hour and 45 mins)

Bolton Abbey is a 12th Century Augustian Priory on the banks of the River Wharfe. The land at Bolton, as well as other resources, were given to the order by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle in 1154. There is still a functioning church on the site.


What better place to explore than underground on a wet and miserable day! There are plenty of wonderful caves nearby to entertain young and old. They are often more spectacular on a really soaking day. Caves are a constant temperature- around 7 or 8 degrees, so you won’t be cold. You shouldn’t get wet. Wear sensible shoes! Helmets are provided.

Show caves in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Ingleborough Cave – Clapham – 33 Miles (An hour and a quarter)

There are concrete paths and no steps, so this is buggy friendly. Dogs are also welcome on a lead and there are nice walks nearby, Gaping Gill pothole and a nature trail as well.

The cave is open every day from the beginning of the February half-term to the end of October. Tours commence on the hour, every hour (during the peak season tours may also depart half hourly), beginning at 10:00 am with the last tour leaving at 4:00 pm.

During holiday periods the last tour is at 5.00 pm, and during the winter months the last tour is 3pm. It is advised that you check the sign at the start of the Nature Trail on the day. In the winter, group visits may be made mid-week by appointment. The tour takes about 45-50 minutes.

At Christmas, they make a Santa’s grotto.

White Scar Caves – Ingleton – 23 Miles (An hour)

This is the longest show cave in England filled with exciting features such as an underground waterfall, a natural formation in the shape of carrots, the devil’s tongue, witch’s fingers and a judge’s head. There are 97 steps so it is not suitable for everyone!

All visits into the cave are with a guide. The tour takes about 80 minutes. The caves are open at weekends in November, December and January, and every day from 10 the rest of the year.

The first tour is at 10.20am. There are then tours at frequent intervals. Last tour 4pm.

Stump Cross Caverns – Near Pately Bridge – Nidderdale 52 Miles (An hour and a half)

Only part of the 6km caverns are accessible to the public. The deeper caverns are only accessible by experienced cavers.

The caves are open every day from 10am – 6pm (last admission into the caves is 4.45pm), from 13th February to 1st December.

In the winter months (December to February), viewing is at weekends only and also during the school holidays at Christmas and February half term.

Wander un-guided, and enjoy exploring on your own. You will walk half a mile underground. There are 65 steps down, but no sudden drops. You may have to stoop in places. You could be lucky and have the cave to yourself. Appeals to all ages- children enjoy the freedom of not being in a guided tour, and 90 year olds have visited with no problem. There is a lecture theatre with a 20 minute video which runs throughout the day.

For experienced cavers only!

Famous potholes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park include:
Gaping Gill, Ingleborough and Alun Pot, Selside, near Horton in Ribblesdale.

Swaledale and surrounding Dales have many limestone caves, and potholes waiting to be explored by experienced cavers, the nearest cave is at Crackpot. There is potholing all around the area. Buttertubs Pass offers some interesting adventures. All of the show caves also offer guided trips to their more difficult or underground passages. If you aspire to learning to cave or pothole, contact

Mine exploration in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale

There are numerous lead mining levels and shafts which can be explored. The moors are literally riddled like a honeycomb underground. We can put you in touch with people who can guide you and provide equipment for your adventure if you let us know in advance. We don’t advise you to wander about into disused mine shafts unless accompanied! If lead mining is your interest, don’t miss a visit to the Reeth Museum!

Read our History of Mining in the Dales in PDF format.


Farm to visit

Berry’s Farm Shop and Café

There are few other farms in the area, but we think Berry’s Farm shop and café is a great place to visit. They have a selection of rare breeds such as Kunekune pigs and llamas, Manx Loaghtan sheep with extraordinary horns, lambs to feed and a Shetland pony.

The farm shop has an excellent selection of produce and sells fruit and vegetables and a butchery counter with meat as well as deli foods and some nice giftware.

The café/restaurant is always busy and has Wi-Fi. The food is freshly cooked and the coffee and cakes have many regular devotees. The café/ restaurant is really spacious and there is a wonderful courtyard for sunny days.

You could make a day of it, and enjoy some lovely walks by the river Ure. The Redmire Falls are on the farm and really spectacular.

01969 663377

Farming in Upper Swaledale

Farming is still the most important industry in this part of the dale, and is responsible for the patchwork of small fields, stone walls and barns that make the dale so attractive

The soil and climate of upper Swaledale restricts farmers to producing livestock only. Until recently all the farms would have had a dairy herd, a sheep flock and a few pigs. However the fall in the milk price and the cost of collecting the milk has seen all the farmers giving up dairy farming.

Today sheep farming and the rearing of cattle for beef are the two main livestock enterprises in the dale.

Most farms keep a mixture of lowland sheep breeds usually Texel/Suffolk crosses which graze in the fields on the lower slopes and valley floor and the very hardy Swaledale which live and graze on the heather moorland most of the year round.  Swaledale ewes and tups (males) have horns and are extremely hardy animals.  They generally only have one lamb each, whereas the lowland sheep usually have twins.  Swaledale sheep are territorial, and heft to a certain part of the moor, which they do not stray from.  There is therefore no need for fencing or boundaries.  They always return to the part of the moor they are accustomed to.  Farmers mark their sheep on the moor with different coloured spray so that they can tell which ones belong to them!

Lambing starts in mid-April to coincide with the spring growth of grass, as the days get warmer the grass starts to grow more quickly allowing farmers to concentrate their sheep and leave fields un-grazed so that they can be cut for hay in late July and early August. These fields in summer are a riot of colour as the wild flowers come into bloom.
In the late summer many villages have their annual show. Arts and crafts and local produce are on display, but for the farmers the most important thing is showing their sheep especially the rams in preparation for the sheep sales in the Autumn.  Some tups fetch very high prices:

The ewes and lambs graze on grass throughout the summer, as the lambs reach the right size they are sold for meat. The ewes are shorn of their wool during the summer as well.

The patchwork of fields through the dale are owned by many different farmers, however the heather moorland and open grass land on the fringes of the moor is usually owned by the local estates. This land is classed as common grazing which means that local farmers have the right to graze a certain number of animals in any one area. These rights are known as gaits, a gait being one bullock or 4 sheep. Many road side areas are common grazing land, even the grass within some villages are common grazing and cattle and sheep are left free to roam these areas. If you find cattle or sheep on the road around Low Row, leave them there please.

The Swaledale Breed Type


Nearest waterfall to Laykin, as yet unnamed.

This photo shows it in full flood. The waterfall is the one you pass as you drive through the ford on your way to Laykin.

Crackpot Falls

This impressive waterfall and smaller falls are within a 10 minute walk from Laykin, over Isles Bridge on the way to Crackpot.

If you walk along the road, you will come to a wooden five bar gate with a bridleway sign. They are well worth going to have a look at.

Keld Waterfalls – 8 Miles (20 mins)

The nearest waterfalls to Laykin are a series of four close to Keld at a limestone gorge on the River Swale. These are Kisdon Force, East Gill Force, Catrake Force and Wain Wath Force.

They are more dynamic than Aysgarth Falls and not as accessible which is good for walkers seeking peace and quiet when seeking out the dramatic views of the waters as they tumbling down the young River Swale. They are particularly dramatic after heavy rain.

Hardraw Force- Hawes – 16 Miles (40 mins)

Close to Hawes is Hardraw Force, England’s highest single-drop waterfall, with an impressive 100 ft drop.  To get there, drive to Hardraw and walk through the Dragon Inn!  It’s only one mile from Hawes at the foot of the Buttertubs Pass. Hardraw Force is the setting for a brass band competition held annually on the second Sunday in September. The competition was first held in the falls’ natural amphitheatre in 1884 when six bands took part; the competition lapsed in 1927 but was revived in 1976 and has gone from strength to strength since. In recent years two other musical events have started up at the falls: the Hawdraw Bash is a Folk Rock concert in early July and the Hardraw Gathering is a three-day festival of traditional music at the end of July.

Aysgarth Falls – 13 Miles (30 mins)

Aysgarth Falls is a spectacular stretch of water in Lower Wensleydale.  It is best known for its triple flight of waterfalls, carved out by the River Ure.
The river stretches out along the valley and dramatically drops 30 metres.
The falls are a product of the Ice Age. Several thousand years ago, great rivers of ice ground down inside the valleys.Nearby Bishopdale was ground deeper than Wensleydale and the River Ure had to drop a good distance to meet up with it, so the falls were formed

Ingleton – 23 Miles (One hour and 10 minutes)

The famous Ingleton Waterfalls Trail in Yorkshire offers some of the most spectacular waterfall and woodland scenery in the North of England.

The trail is 4.5 miles long (8 km) and leads you through ancient oak woodland and magnificent Yorkshire Dales scenery via a series of stunning waterfalls and geological features.

High Force – Teesdale, County Durham – 30 Miles (One hour and a quarter)

A spectacular waterfall.  One of the finest in the country.  The water thunders down.  Go after it has rained or the river is in flood to see it at its best.

For more information on waterfalls see


Groceries can be ordered online and delivered to Laykin. Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury are the choices. Tesco have been a few times for guests and know the way. However, by shopping online you are not spending money in the Dale, and you are missing out on seeing the wonderful local shops.

Reeth (10 mins)

2 well stocked mini supermarkets- one next to the Post Office and the Bottom Shop. All the basics and fresh produce.
Garage and petrol station for logs.
The Fat Sheep gift shop
The Outdoors Shop
Furniture and cabinet maker shops and craft shops
Market on Friday morning

Leyburn (30 mins) We do our weekly shop here!

Medium sized Co-op- Post office at the back!
Campbells- a wonderful supermarket/deli wine shop (our favourite!)
Pie shops and butcher and bakeries
Fantastic choice of shops
We like the Walking shop and Gilsan for outdoor clothing
Victoria’s lingerie is amazing
So is the old fashioned sweet shop Wobbly Dog
The little chocolate shop/factory is just outside the town
There are gift shops
A florist
Clothes shops
Household shop
Serendipity – a massive gift shop with stylish home furnishings
Pet shop
Toy shop
Just outside the town is a candlemakers – click here for more information
In short you could shop here all day, and if you do, have lunch in Penley’s!
You may then need the bank- HSBC, Barclays and Nat West have branches…

Leyburn Market is every Friday in Leyburn Market Place
Farmers’ Market every 4th Thursday of the month in Leyburn Market Place


Richmond (30 mins)

Co-op, large supermarket
WHSmith and Boots
Many other lovely shops including
Bakeries and Butchers and Greengrocers
Altberg boot makers
Clothes shops
Gift shops
Yeomans outdoor leisure shop
Bijou jewellery
Pet shop

Catterick Garrison (45 mins)

Massive Sainsburys
Tesco megastore
Lidl and Aldi
Not terribly inspiring place to shop, but if you want cheap and cheerful,
this is where to visit.

Hawes (45 mins)

A delightful bustling market town with shops on either side of the market place.
A massive delicatessan
Sweet shop
Outdoors shop
Clothes shops
Wensleydale cheese factory and shop/deli/gift shop
Craft shops
A row of antique shops
Post Office
Several Banks

Market day is Tuesday indoor and outdoor market

Barnard Castle (45 mins)

Nice market town with Buttermarket at one end.
Large Morrisons
Costa coffee
Zara countrywear
Antiques near the Buttermarket
DIY shops
Holland and Barrett
Boyes- we love this shop (like Woolworths) It’s a 3 storey Alladin’s cave!
M &Co
Co-operative Food
Heron Foods
Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Farmer’s market on the 1st Saturday of the month

Annual Events


The Dales Festival of Food and Drink

Takes place in early May each year in the lovely market town of Leyburn, Wensleydale.  It is a great three day event which attracts around 12,000 visitors and is very popular with locals and tourists alike.  Some people travel quite a distance to sample some of Yorkshire’s finest foods and drinks all produced locally in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  There are marquees, tastings, a cookery demonstration theatre, beer sampling from all the local breweries, so there is something for everyone!

Swaledale Festival

Takes place over two weeks in the last week of May and first week in June.  2013 dates are 25th May 2013 – 8th June.  Events are spread throughout Swaledale and Wensleydale, in many venues such as churches, pubs, as well as outdoors.  The final night is at Richmond Castle.

Events include music, poetry, theatre and instructive walks such as foraging or archaeology and always includes the brass bands.

Boot and Beer Walking Festival  

Held in early September centred around Hawes, Aysgarth and Askrigg.  It is organised by the Black Sheep Brewery. Tickets are needed and on arrival, you are issued with a walker number.  You can also register and buy tickets on the day.  Walks are graded and carefully prepared by the author of the Inn Way books, Mark Reid.  You can choose to follow the routes alone or join a group.  Free shuttle buses operate during the weekend.  There are of course, a number of thirst quenching ales brewed by the Black Sheep Brewery which is based in Masham.  A pub quiz night is organised on the Saturday night, for which you need more tickets.

Richmond live

Annual music festival at the beginning of August featuring 30 bands and 18 hours of live music.  It advertises itself as a “not for profit” organisation dedicated to music and run by music lovers and volunteers.  3000 people visit from far and wide.  It takes place on the Batts, near the castle in Richmond.


Shows in the Dales are wonderful events and feature livestock of all sizes from cattle to poultry and pets, horse and pony classes from fell ponies to children in fancy dress.   The fell races are incredible.  We love the horticulture and produce tents as well as walking sticks, handicrafts, handwriting, paintings and photography competitions. Other marquees hold an array of gifts and craft stalls.   There are food stands, bouncy castles, brass band, dry stone walling and vintage tractors.  In the main arena there will usually be a crowd pulling display- look out for the trial bikes

Reeth Show

August bank holiday monday.

Muker show

On the first Wednesday in September

Wensley show

On last Saturday in August

Kilnsey Show

Masham Steam Rally

Masham Sheep Fair

Hardraw Brass Band Festival

The second oldest brass band festival in the world.
Wensleydale hosts Hardraw Scar Brass Band Festival which takes place on the second Sunday in September. The Festival is held in the open air against the backdrop of Hardraw Force, England’s highest waterfall, in the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn.


Richmond Motor ClubThe Scott Trial- end of October

The Scott Trial is a trial bike marathon which takes place around Reeth and upper Swaledale and is organized by the Richmond Motor Club, Yorkshire.  It takes place at the end of October annually.  It is still the longest one day trial in the world, and probably the biggest physical and mental challenge of a competitor’s life.

Competitors come from far and wide –  and both men and women compete.  It has been described as the greatest test of man and machine and is an event in which the club riders can still compete on the same course as top international stars.  The course is so tough that as many as 2/3 of competitors fail to finish.

The Current Scott trial is a time and observation event run over an off road course of approximately 84 miles, divided into approximately 75 sections. The riders lose marks for “footing” (or putting a foot down) in the observed sections and for finishing behind the fastest rider who sets standard time. Marks used to be lost at the rate of 1 mark per minute but this has been relaxed to 1 mark every 2 minutes.

Over the years a huge range of special awards and memorial trophies have become associated with the Scott, including best Yorkshireman (or woman!), oldest finisher, and various club and special awards.

It’s tremendous spectator sport and must be seen once in a lifetime at least!

Scott Trials

1st August Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire Day is celebrated on 1st August to promote the historic English county of Yorkshire. It was first in celebrated in 1975.  Despite the serious underlying purpose and money-raising activities for charity, some Yorkshire people worry that it has become a media and marketing jamboree, perpetuating stereotypes of whippets, black puddings and flat caps!

British Yorkshire Pudding Day

Each February, the 1st Sunday of the month is designated British Yorkshire Pudding Day.

Yorkshire Pudding Day


Cathedrals, Churches, Chapels and Abbeys

From Laykin you are within striking distance of two of the finest cathedrals in the country, numerous old ruined Abbeys, some very fine churches and chapels. The Methodists were very active in the Dales, the preacher John Wesley came to Low Row in 1761, there are chapels in many of the villages nearby.

The history associated with these places of worship is every bit as interesting as that which you can glean from a museum. Don’t overlook churches in your exploration of the Dales, even if you are not a religious person!

You will hear people talking about the Old Corpse Way. Click here to read more.

Churches of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale

Low Row United Reformed Church is just below Laykin.

In approximately 1690, Philip, Lord Wharton, built a Dissenters’ meeting house near to Smarber Hall in Swaledale. The ruin of this old church still remains on the Old Corpse Way. The replacement chapel was built in 1809, the building was extensively enlarged and renovated in 1874. In 1867 Low Row Church was declared to be Congregational as previously it had tended to be Presbyterian.

Holy Trinity Church – Melbecks – Low Row

This is a large Victorian chapel in the Early English style with plain leaded glass windows
and little decoration. The foundation stone was laid on 19th August 1840 and just less than a year later the building was consecrated.

During renovations in 2006 a new altar was commissioned from Philip Bastow, a local cabinet maker whose workshop is in Reeth. In 2001 a beech tree had to be felled in the churchyard. Philip dried and stored the timber and following a generous bequest to the church it was possible to commission him to design and make an altar. There was also sufficient timber to make a new communion rail to replace the one installed in 1841, which was more than a little unstable. Philip’s superb craftsmanship has created, from the beech tree, new rails and a new altar that are both modern and yet reflect the style and architecture of the building.

Reeth Methodist Chapel (The Wesleyan Chapel)

Methodists have been worshipping in Reeth since at least 1766. The first Methodist chapel in Reeth was opened in 1797, as the upper floor of John Stubbs’ house. In 1822, John Stubbs moved to a different house and the building was renovated at a cost of £1000 to provide a ground-floor chapel. The present new front was added to the Chapel in 1840. This is a very fine building with an amazing interior.

Reeth Evangelical Congregational Church

Reeth Evangelical Congregational Church, Swaledale, 1866. Constructed of hammer-dressed stone, the church has a steeply pitched Welsh slate roof (a fashionable choice for the period, uncommon in this area), clock and bellcote. It stands in a beautiful and prominent setting looking across at the large sloping green opposite, probably on the site not only of an older Congregational church, but of a medieval church. The Congregationalists like the Methodists had a strong presence in the Dales. They had been established in Reeth since 1787, and were celebrating their centenary in 1897. This Victorian church was paid for by public subscription.

St Andrew’s Church –  Grinton (Also known as the Cathedral in the Dales)

The oldest part of the Church is Norman, though there may well have been a previous Saxon Church here. It was for centuries the main church for the whole of upper Swaledale. This meant that if someone died in Keld, Muker or any of the villages up the Dale, their body would have to be carried for burial to Grinton. Pallbearers would walk along the Corpse Way carrying the wicker coffins. St Andrew’s is often used as a venue during the Swaledale Festival.

St Mary’s – Langthwaite, Arkengarthdale

This is the 2nd church to be built in Arkengarthdale. Nothing remains of the first one except a few tombstones. The present Church was erected through the benefaction of the late George Brown, Esq. the foundation stone of which was laid September 24, 1817, and an inscription to that effect is upon the Church. The school children of the Church of England primary school nearby still participate in the life of the Church and have done so for over 350 years.

St Mary’s – Muker

This is one of the few churches to be built in the reign of Elizabeth I. A chapel of ease had stood on this site previously but in 1580 it was substantially rebuilt and a graveyard consecrated so that residents of Upper Swaledale no longer had to transport their dead all the way to the parish church of St Andrew’s in Grinton.

For more information on Methodist chapels

If you are interested in attending services- check the times below:

For more information on Methodism, buy this booklet from Reeth Museum:
The Methodists of Swaledale & Arkengarthdale and their Chapels
By John Hardy, 2007

High House Chapel – Ireshopeburn- 40 miles (One hour and a half)

High House Chapel is now the oldest Methodist chapel in continuous weekly use since its foundation in 1760 and is one of only 4 chapels listed by Simon Jenkins in his book ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches’, 1999. Wesley first preached outside, beneath the nearby thorn tree and later in the chapel. He visited 13 times and the small folk museum next door includes a dedicated Wesley room. The museum tells the story of John Wesley and the Methodists and holds a fine collection of Methodist memorabilia from chapels and homes in the valley. It is probably the largest collection in the whole of the North East.

The Quakers were also very active in the area with their base in Richmond, behing the Theatre. They attended gatherings in cottages around the Dales. Low Row meeting house was built in 1727. It is now demolished but the field above the site is still known as Quaker Garth. The outstanding contribution of Quakers in Swaledale was the founding of Reeth Friends School. It is now the county primary school but friends still make up a proportion of the Trustees.

In 1880 Middleton in Teesdale became the headquarters of the benevolent Quaker owned, London Lead Company which built houses, schools and libraries for its workers and became the first British company to introduce the five day week.


Jervaulx Abbey – 20 Miles  (45 mins)

Jervaulx was one of the great Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire, founded in 1156. Initially a Savigniac foundation, the abbey was later taken over by the Cistercian order and responsibility for it was taken by Byland Abbey. Originally founded in 1145 at Fors in Wensleydale, it was moved ten years later to a site a few miles away on the banks of the River Ure. It was dissolved in 1537, and its last abbot Adam Sedbar was hanged for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace. The ruins of the abbey are open to the public and are privately owned.

Fountains Abbey  – Ripon – 35 Miles (An hour and a quarter)  National Trust.

A world heritage site. UNESCO describes it as “ being a masterpiece of human creative genius, and an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history”.

This is a unique place as set in the grounds is the Studley Royal Water Garden, 300 acres of lakes and parkland, Fountains Hall, St Marys Church and a deer park. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for over 400 years,

Bolton Abbey – Nr Skipton –  46 Miles (An hour and 45 mins)

Bolton Abbey is a 12th Century Augustian Priory on the banks of the River Wharfe. The land at Bolton, as well as other resources, were given to the order by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle in 1154. There is still a functioning church on the site.


York Minster  62 Miles (An hour and a quarter)

York Minster is a cathedral in York and is one of the largest Gothic buildings in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England and is the cathedral for the Diocese of York.

Durham Cathedral  48 Miles (An hour and a quarter)

Durham Cathedral is the greatest Norman building in England, perhaps even in Europe. It is cherished not only for its architecture but also for its incomparable setting. For this reason it was inscribed together with the Castle as one of Britain’s first World Heritage Sites. In a nationwide BBC poll held in 2001 it was voted the nation’s best-loved building. Like Hadrian’s Wall and the Angel of the North, it is an icon of north-east England, its image is instantly recognisable to people who love this part of Britain.


For railway enthusiasts, do visit:

National Railway Museum – York – 60 Miles (An hour and 45 mins)

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is a museum in York forming part of the British National Museum of Science and Industry and telling the story of rail transport in Britain and its impact on society. It has won many awards, including the European Museum of the Year Award in 2001. It is the home of the national collection of historically significant railway vehicles, as well as a collection of other artefacts and both written and pictorial records.  You will see over 300 trains including Mallard and The Flying Scotsman and the red steam train from Harry Potter fame.  A mecca for train enthusiasts, young and old.

The Wensleydale Railway – Leyburn  14 Miles (30 mins)

Leyburn station first opened to passengers on 19 May 1856, just over 150 years ago.  Leyburn station was one of the last along the line to lose its local goods service. On the front of the station building you can still see the old timber crane which was used to transfer goods from railway wagons to lorries.

Leyburn station carried many race horses from the stables at Middleham to and from major race meetings.  The first floor rooms above the station offices used to house the board room of the Bedale & Leyburn Railway Company.  What would the directors of that company have thought of the decline and rebirth of their railway!

The Wensleydale Railway is an authentic heritage railway serving the local community, offering tourists, families and transport enthusiasts a great value
day out in the Yorkshire Dales, with lots to see and do along the way.  During the summer months it is served by at least three trains per day; at other times of the year the service is mainly at weekends and public holidays.

The Leyburn branch of the Wensleydale Railway Association (which incorporates the Friends of Leyburn Station-FOLS) which meets monthly at the station.  They have preserved 22 miles of the former line from Northallerton to Garsdale.  Timetabled services currently run over the 16 miles from Leeming Bar to Redmire – one of the longest operational heritage lines in the UK.

The company plans to relay/re-instate a run-round loop trackbed (for heritage locos to run-round), but hopes to one day eventually rebuild and reopen the abandoned line westwards to Hawes and eventually to Garsdale and run trains along the full length of the entire Yorkshire dale from Northallerton to Garsdale — a trip of almost 40 miles (64 km) in length (nearly making the railway itself the longest heritage line in the UK).

Regular local bus services operate between Leyburn and all Upper Wensleydale destinations, Ripon and Richmond.  All buses call at the main bus stop in the market place.

Locations of stations on the Wensleydale Railway.

Leeming Bar  DL7 9AR
Bedale  DL8 1AW
Finghall Lane
Leyburn  DL8 5ET
Redmire  DL8 4ES

For maps showing the location of stations, click here

Ribblehead Viaduct – Horton in Ribblesdale – 23 Miles (One hour)

Ribblehead Viaduct runs across the valley of the River Ribble at Ribblehead in North Yorkshire. The viaduct is a Grade II listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Ribblehead viaduct is 440 yards (400 m) long, and 104 feet (32 m) above the valley floor at its highest point. It is made up of twenty-four arches of 45 feet (14 m) span, with foundations 25 feet (7.6 m) deep. The north end of the viaduct is 13 feet (4.0 m) higher in elevation than the south end. 1.5 million bricks were used in the construction and some of the limestone blocks weighed 8 tons each.

It was designed by the engineer John Sydney Crossley. The first stone was laid on 12 October 1870 and the last in 1874. One thousand Navvies building the viaduct established shanty towns on the moors for themselves and their families. They named the towns after victories of the Crimean War, sarcastically for posh districts of London, and Biblical names. There were smallpox epidemics and deaths from industrial accidents; meaning that the church graveyard at Chapel-le-Dale had to be extended.  One hundred navvies were killed during the construction of the viaduct.

In 1964, several brand new cars being carried on a freight train that was crossing the viaduct were blown off the wagons they were being carried upon and landed on the ground by the viaduct.

The viaduct is the the longest and most famous on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. Ribblehead railway station is located less than half a mile to the south of the viaduct. Just to the north of it is the Blea Moor Tunnel, the longest tunnel on the Settle-Carlisle Line. It is located near the foot of the mountain of Whernside. The viaduct is curved, and so may be seen by passengers on the train.

The Settle-Carlisle line is one of three north-south main lines; along with the West Coast Main Line through Penrith and the East Coast Main Line via Newcastle. British Rail attempted to close the line in the 1980s, citing the reason that the viaduct was unsafe and would be expensive to repair. A partial solution was to single the line across the viaduct in 1985, preventing two trains from crossing simultaneously. The closure proposals generated tremendous protest and were eventually retracted. The viaduct, along with the rest of the line, was repaired and maintained and there are no longer any plans to close it.


Breweries in the Dales

Yorkshire has a wealth of beer to sample and many breweries to visit.  A good rainy day activity and perfect for beer lovers!

Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company – Askrigg.

Look out for Malham Cove, Bolton Abbey and the Strid.

Wensleydale Brewery -Bellerby.

Produces a range of real ales in both cask and bottles and can be found throughout the Dales.

Copper Dragon Brewery – Skipton.

Delicious range of beers brewed near Skipton and has a visitor centre, shop and café.

Dent  Brewery – Dentdale.

One of the most remote breweries and England!   Look out for Aviator ale and Ramsbottom.

Black Sheep Brewery- Masham

You can visit the Black Sheep Brewery throughout the year to take part in their guided tours or eat at their onsite bistro. The Tours are extremely popular so you are advised to book in advance. To find out more please visit their website:

Theakstons Brewery- Masham

Theakstons Brewery is a family run business that started in 1827.  It is still run by descendents of the original family that set it up.

There are daily brewery tours, where you can taste the ales straight from the keg.   To find out more:

The Richmond Brewing Company- Richmond.

Richmond Brewing company is a new 6 barrel microbrewery situated in the old station in Richmond.

Timothy Taylor- Keighley.

Sadly no visitor centre, but they do mail order beer and do try their Landlord beer when you stay.  It’s very popular.

The business started in 1858.  The main brands are Boltmaker, Golden Best and Landlord – all award winning cask ales and also Landlord in a bottle. Landlord has won the Brewing Industry’s Gold Medal in the Keg, Cask and Bottled Ale competitions. It has also won first prize at the Great British Beer Festival on numerous occasions. Timothy Taylor’s Brewery is the last family brewery of its kind in West Yorkshire producing prize winning traditional ales and beers.


York Dungeon

With a brilliant cast of professional actors, 11 shows, authentic sets and costumes and amazing special effects, you will be taken on a unique thrill-filled journey through 2000 years of York’s murky history.

Meet York’s most infamous villains, rogues and rascals, including highwayman Dick Turpin, the infamous Guy Fawkes and Viking King Eric Bloodaxe. Discover the Labyrinth of the Lost Roman Legion and the fate of the Yorkshire Witches.

See the back-breaking work that goes on in the torture chamber, be judged in the courtroom and feel the effects of the plague. Literally!

It is exciting, scary and funny.

Warning: Due to the nature of the York Dungeon is not recommended for children under the age of 10yrs and for those of a nervous disposition. Children under 16yrs must be accompanied by an adult.

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