Days out in the Yorkshire Dales this summer

22nd May 2024
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The world comes abloom with brightly coloured flowers, followed by the humming of busy bees dancing around. The longer days stretch out and warm summer evenings loom in, it is simply a feeling unlike any other.

If you are considering staying in the Yorkshire Dales for a summer break, we have pulled together a few of our top Yorkshire Dales days out just for you. For adventure lovers there are walks and hidden waterfalls to discover, for history lovers, there are many ruins and stately homes nearby to explore, and for those looking for retail therapy, there are local towns packed with bustling streets. Read on to see our top days out this summer in the Yorkshire Dales.

Bolton Abbey Estate

Packed with history, from the abbey to the famous stepping stones, Bolton Abbey is a pivotal example of the beauty that the Yorkshire Dales holds. Even if you are just here for the phenomenal abbey ruins you will always find yourself hooked into exploring what the rest of the estate has to offer, whether that is wandering beside the river or through the moorland and along the woodland trails. It is truly a magical place and a perfect family day out in the Yorkshire Dales.

Afterwards, why not stop off at The Cavendish Pavilion for a refreshing drink and a delicious piece of cake, or call at The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa for a spot of lunch. If you fancy something a little unique, head over to Billy Bob's Parlour for an American dining experience with incredible milkshakes and every kind of ice cream flavour you can imagine.

Plan your visit to Bolton Abbey: Bolton Abbey

Harewood House

As one of the Treasure Houses of England, Harewood House does not disappoint. Built in the 18th Century, the House bursts with history in every room. It features thousands of artefacts from around the world, staggeringly beautiful ceilings that have been intricately painted and embellished with gold, and an art collection that could easily rival the finest in Britain. Once you have made your way around the House there is still so much more to see, you can explore the vast 100-acre gardens and grounds surrounding the house. Boasting a serene lake, a walled garden and various plants from around the world, a stroll around the gardens is the perfect way to enjoy the warmer weather in beautiful surroundings. To top it all off, the grounds also house a Bird Garden, with over 170 birds from 40 different special and endangered species from around the world, they even have Penguins!

Plan your visit to Harewood House and Gardens: Harewood House

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Hidden in a secluded valley lies a Cistercian Abbey ruin, a Georgian water garden, an Elizabethan Hall, a Gothic Church and a parkland full of roaming deer. There are tours available around the Abbey to help you learn about its history and discover the stories of the monks who had found a simple life here in this impressive Abbey. The Studley Royal Water Garden is what makes this estate a World Heritage Site. Magical moon ponds and cascades intertwine with plants and shrubs from around the world, and hidden bridges, temples and ethereal statues can be found throughout adding to its magical feeling. With walks all over the 600-acre Estate including, there is plenty to explore. Make a day of it with a picnic, or if alternatively, the onsite cafe offers a range of hot and cold lunch options.

Learn more: National Trust, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden


A Victorian spa and historic market town, Harrogate provides the perfect base for a varied holiday.

Indulge in some retail therapy, take a look in the designer shops and independent boutiques. The nearby Valley Gardens and RHS Harlow Carr are ideal for those who love exploring the outdoors. Discover trails through colourful plants and shrubs from around the world, unearth hidden treasures throughout the woodland and enjoy a picnic in one of the many grassy areas. Harrogate also has many cafes, restaurants and tea rooms to provide the perfect respite during a summer day, including the famous Betty's Tearooms which can be the perfect place to watch the world go by.

Learn more about Harrogate and plan your visit: Visit Harrogate

Ripley Castle

Located only 3 miles from Harrogate at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this 700-year-old castle has plenty of history, grounds, gardens and parks to explore. Guided tours follow the lives and history of the Ingilby family who have owned Ripley Castle from the beginning and which has been passed through generations. Browse the family's collection of paintings, décor and more that's been collected over the centuries. The hot houses are filled with impressive collections of tropical plants, ferns and cacti. The Walled Gardens are bursting with trails to follow that incorporate the grounds and deer park, leading into woodland and intertwining around the waterfall and lake. Ripley Village is on the Castle's doorstep and is full of charming shops, art galleries, farmyard museums, cafes and restaurants.

Book your ticket: Ripley Castle

Skipton and Skipton Castle

Skipton is a small, friendly town with nostalgic cobbled side streets and a historic medieval Castle in its centre. With plenty of shops to browse from fashion brands to independent boutiques and antique shops along the streets. Skipton Castle is over 900 years old, and visitors can explore every corner of the history-rich castle including its grounds and church. Hidden behind the castle is Skipton Woods, a delightful woodland full of walks and trails just off the high street. Skipton's infamous market takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 10am to 4pm which turns the town into a bustling place full of independent businesses providing people with local goods, handcrafted items, antiques and so much more. With delicious cafes, restaurants and plenty of pie shops dotted around the town it's the perfect place to explore.

Discover more: Welcome to Skipton

Valley of Desolation and Simon's Seat

The Valley of Desolation is named after a great storm over Barden Fell in 1826, that left as much damage in its wake as possible. Since then, nature has long repaired the damage that was left and now in place is an incredible walk that takes you through a tranquil valley and up to a beautiful waterfall that looks like it's straight from a fairytale. The walk itself continues past the waterfall and up to Simon's Seat, a rocky outcrop 485 meters above sea level. We'd recommend visiting on a clear to day to take in the breathtaking views.

Please note, dogs are not permitted on this trail.

Plan your walk: Bolton Abbey, Valley of Desolation and Simon's Seat

Malham Cove

This four-mile walk from Malham village offers spectacular landscapes with views from around Malham Cove. Formed after the last ice age, this historic spectacle has attracted many visitors over the years, including film sets and crews as it features in a famous scene in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.

At the beginning of the walk, you will come across Malham Beck passing through a lovely woodland to the magical Janet's Foss waterfall which leads to Gordale Scar, a gore of majestic limestone cliffs. The trail then continues to take you to the heart of the vast amphitheatre-shaped structure of Malham Cove, and if you are lucky in the middle of the structure you may be able to see the cove's magical waterfall. If you are feeling energetic enough you can continue to climb the 400 uneven steps to the top of the cove and meet its famous rugged limestone pavement which opens up to never never-ending view of the incredible Yorkshire Dales landscape.

Plan your visit: Yorkshire Dales National Park, Malham Cove

Other Walks

With so many incredible walks throughout the Yorkshire Dales and much to explore it can be hard to choose which walk to go for, so we've put together a list of all our favourite walks throughout the Yorkshire Dales. Check out our journal: Top 8 Yorkshire Dales Walks here.

Yorkshire Dales Holidays - Where To Stay?

Whether it is stepping out into the countryside to discover sensational views, exploring historical sites, or strolling around the streets of bustling towns, The Yorkshire Dales has it all.

If you would like to extend your adventures and find somewhere to stay, we have a number of hotels and holiday cottages in the Yorkshire area that are perfect for a countryside break. View our collection here.

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