Ditching your typical winter for a few months of exploration? After the year we’ve had, you deserve it – and where better to head out on an adventure than the stunning Yorkshire Dales? Here’s our guide to making the most of the Yorkshire Dales in Winter.
1. Take a winter walk through the countryside
Countryside walks don’t need to be reserved for the warmer months – in fact, there’s plenty of flat routes to try in the winter, too. From the stunning River Wharfe route from Burnsall, to the easy route to the unique Gordale Scar in Malham – there’s plenty of sights to see without having to embark on a difficult hike (especially in wet or frosty conditions!). Here’s just some of the routes you can enjoy in the winter:
- River Wharfe from Burnsall
- Gordale Scar from Malham (where you can also visit Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove for a longer route)
- Aysgarth Falls
- Cotter Falls
- River Wharfe from Grassington
For more inspiration, check out the national park’s ‘Miles Without Stiles’ routes – which are suitable for all abilities (including those with pushchairs and wheelchairs) – or check out our guide to the best river walks in Yorkshire.
2. Explore the gorgeous towns and villages
One of the real highlights of the Dales is the idyllic towns and villages that populate it. No matter what time of year you visit, they’re always charming – with lovely little traditional shops filled with local produce and gifts, cosy pubs and brilliant independent restaurants to try. Here’s some of the best spots to visit:
- Pateley Bridge
3. Enjoy a ride on the Polar Express in Wensleydale
The perfect Christmas trip with the kids – The Polar Express Train Ride starts at Wensleydale and combines the heritage railway experience with the magical story of the Polar Express – with a meet and greet with Santa at the end. Oh, and all guests are encouraged to attend in their PJs too, adding to the authenticity of the experience. Book it here.
4. See a piece of history
If there’s one thing Yorkshire has by the bucket load, it’s history. From the stunning Bolton Abbey, to Castle Bolton, Fountain’s Abbey and Jervaulx Abbey – there’s plenty of places to visit. And if you prefer your history a little more on the cheesy side, there’s even the iconic Wensleydale Creamery to explore.
5. Stay in a cosy cottage with a hot tub
It goes without saying that if you’re visiting the Dales, you may as well do it in style. The national park is filled with stunning places to stay – from cosy cottages and glamping pods to five star hotels and those of the dog-friendly variety. There’s a ton of brilliant bases to choose from, too, so depending on what you’d like to see most, we’d recommend one of the following locations:
6. Enjoy a meal at one of the Dales’ most acclaimed restaurants
From Michelin Stars to AA Rosettes – restaurants in the Yorkshire Dales have been showered with all sorts of acclaim, and with local produce literally as good as it gets, it’s easy to see why. But not only does the Dales have a number of special restaurants that are great for occasions – the whole national park is dotted with cosy pubs that serve up delicious homemade food, perfect for the winter. Here’s some of the highest rated restaurants in the Dales:
- The Angel Inn at Hetton (Michelin Star)
- Beck Hall, Malham
- Yorebridge House, Leyburn
- The Devonshire Arms Hotel, Skipton
- The Wensleydale Heifer, Leyburn
- The Yorke Arms, Pateley Bridge
7. Take a stroll through Strid Wood
If you decide to head out on a day trip to Bolton Abbey (which you absolutely should), we recommend taking a winter stroll around the gorgeous Strid Wood. The peaceful spot is one of few woodland areas in the Dales, and is perfect for escaping from city life. There’s even a gorgeous waterfall hiding away to stumble upon, too – before heading to the other side of the Estate and checking out the historic Abbey (and tackling those pesky famous Stepping Stones!).
[Featured image: Andrew Ward – stock.adobe.com]