There is a huge range of visitor attractions in Swaledale and the surrounding area. Here are a selection of ideas to help you plan your holiday:
The Dales Trail This is a great introduction to the highlights and beauty of Upper Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. Take a leisurely scenic drive through the pretty villages and off the beaten track – see the stunning scenery and learn about the history of the area. The Trail leaflet is available in all our cottages or you can download it from www.swaledale.net
The Swaledale Festival This fantastic festival takes place in the last week of May and the first week of June and is an annual celebration of music and arts in the beautiful landscape of the three northernmost Yorkshire Dales – Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale. It features a comprehensive programme of events including music featuring world class musicians, art exhibitions, theatre and walks. Venues are mostly charming churches, chapels, village halls, and heritage sites such as Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal, and Gayle Mill near Hawes. Further information at www.swaledale-festival.org.uk
Keld Countryside & Heritage Centre The Keld Countryside and Heritage Centre opened in 2011 and tells the story of the village, the landscape and the lives of people working and living in the upper dale. The centre is adjacent to the Chapel and the Manse and was formally used to stable the minister’s horse and trap. The original stalls, hayracks and cobbled floor have all been retained. Visitors can browse the wall displays, artefacts and listen to the auditory memoires of local people. A comprehensive range of information and walking leaflets are also available. The Centre organises an excellent events programme throughout the year. For more information visit keld.org.uk
Cote de Buttertubs! Drive or cycle over the magnificent Buttertubs Pass (or Cote de Buttertubs!) linking Swaledale and Wensleydale and follow in the wheels of the Tour de France competitors! Muker Village Visit the lovely village of Muker with its traditional pub The Farmers Arms (www.farmersarmsmuker.co.uk), Craft Shop and Gallery, Tea Rooms and Shop (www.mukervillage.co.uk) and Swaledale Woollens (www.swaledalewoollens.co.uk) The fabulous Muker Show takes place on the first Wednesday of September and is a great day out for all the family. The excellent Muker Silver Band plays throughout the show and rounds the day off by leading a sing a long outside the Farmers Arms.
Muker Hay Meadows
The famous hay meadows at Muker are the most beautiful sight to be enjoyed from May to July each year. Wild flowers in this concentration are a rarity in this country and are the result of years of sensitive management by local farmers. Encouraged by a number of local conservation groups such as the Yorkshire Dales National Park and specifically the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust who work closely with the farmers involved, these fields are becoming more and more spectacular each year. The 12 fields at Muker offer a wide range of wild flowers which include cat’s ear, wood crane’s bill, Lady’s mantle, pignut and the lovely melancholy thistle. Six of the fields have flagged paths, some are inaccessible but viewable whilst the first two are suitable for wheelchairs or pushchair visitors.
Hawes Visit the market town of Hawes (around 6 miles from our cottages), home of the Dales Countryside Museum (www.dalescountrysidemuseum.org.uk), the renowned Wensleydale Creamery (www.wensleydale.co.uk) and Outhwaites Ropemakers (www.ropemakers.com). Hawes is full of lovely independent shops and antique centres and has a market on Tuesdays. There are sheepdog demonstrations every Thursday in the Summer months. The Tourist Information Centre at the Dales Countryside Museum has a wide range of publications available and staff are always pleased to help visitors get the most from the stay. The museum itself is fascinating and caters for all age groups.
Gayle Mill Visit Gayle Mill (www.gaylemill.org.uk), a restored 19th century sawmill featured on BBC’s ‘Restoration’ programme. The Mill runs a comprehensive programme of tours and courses throughout the year.
Hardraw Force Visit the Green Dragon Inn at Hardraw (near Hawes) – www.greendragonhardraw.com – home of England’s highest single unbroken waterfall. In August each year, there is a wonderful Brass Band competition which makes full use of the excellent acoustics around the waterfall. Tan Hill Inn Visit Tan Hill Inn (www.tanhillinn.com), Britain’s highest pub at 528 metres above sea level and meet the menagerie! Tan Hill is one of the first five Dark Sky Discovery Sites to be designated in the North Pennines Area of Natural Beauty and is a great place for amateur and professional astronomers to stargaze.
Alpaca Trekking A very different way of seeing Swaledale! Join Larch, Apollo and Aramis on either a 30 minute stroll or 90 minute trek through the beautiful local countryside. More information and booking at www.hazelbrow.co.uk
Reeth The pretty village of Reeth with its lovely village green makes the perfect day out. Take a trip down memory lane at the excellent Swaledale Museum (www.swaledalemuseum.org), or treat yourself at the Ice Cream Parlour (www.reethicecreamparlour.co.uk). Visit the Scenic View Gallery (www.scenicview.co.uk) or the Dales Centre which houses a collective of designers/makers in working studios and galleries. Find out more about the village by walking the Reeth Trail – download a copy from www.swaledale.net The website www.reeth.org includes a diary of events and lots more information about Reeth. Market day in Reeth is Friday. There is a Tourist Information Centre at Hudson House, just off the village green.
Herriot Country Retrace the steps of James Herriott in Arkengarthdale by driving through the water splash near Langthwaite. This appeared in the title sequence of All Creatures Great and Small. Visit the pretty village of Askrigg – the fictional village of Darrowby in the series – and see where many of the programmes were filmed.
Ravenseat Farm Visit Ravenseat Farm (as seen on the ITV’s The Dales Programme) and enjoy a cream tea in the Summer months.
Richmond Spend a day at the traditional market town of Richmond (20 miles away), with its magnificent Castle (www.english-heritage.org.uk), the unique Georgian Theatre – where you can do a behind the scenes tour – (www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk), riverside walks, The Museum of Richmond (www.museumofrichmond.com), The Green Howards Military Museum (www.greenhowards.org.uk) and The Station – housed in the old station building (www.richmondstation.com), with its three cinemas, restaurant and artisan food and drink producers.
Red Squirrels The Yorkshire Dales are one of the few places in England where there are red squirrels. Take a walk to the Snaizeholme reserve near Hawes or if you are lucky, spot them in the wild in the remote Cotterdale valley. Details of the walks are in all our cottages.
Aysgarth Falls Visit the famous Aysgarth Falls and enjoy their magnificence, especially following periods of rain! Lovely walks along the upper, middle and lower falls make for a great day out.
Settle Carlisle Railway Travel on the famous Settle Carlisle Railway (www.settle-carlisle.co.uk/) and see the amazing Ribblehead Viaduct. Volunteers are often to be found on the train explaining the history of the line and the key sights. The stations are like stepping back in time and are all maintained by volunteers. A great day out.
Forbidden Corner If you want a day out with a difference, visit the quirky Forbidden Corner near Leyburn, a folly described as “the strangest place in the world!” – it takes you both in and outdoors, through waterfalls, hidden doors, beautiful gardens, deer park and woodland. Advance booking is essential at www.theforbiddencorner.co.uk
Bowes Museum Visit the Bowes Museum (www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk) with its acclaimed art and sculpture collections near Barnard Castle.
Castle Bolton As featured on ITV’s ‘The Dales’ programme, Castle Bolton lets you really get a feel for what life was really like during the Castle’s heyday through providing the sights, sounds, smells and experiences of life in the past! Highlights include the Falconry Experience, Wild Boar park, Bee Keeping through the ages and Archery. More information at www.boltoncastle.co.uk For plenty more ideas about things to do in Swaledale and the surrounding areas, check out: Welcome to Yorkshire – www.yorkshire.com Yorkshire Dales National Park –www.yorkshiredales.org.uk Swaledale and Arkengarthdale guide – www.swaledale.net Beautiful North Yorkshire.com – www.beautifulnorthyorkshire.com Events Guide – www.yorkshiredalesevents.org.uk