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Days out in the Yorkshire Dales this summer

1st August 2023
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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 the history lovers there are many ruins and stately homes nearby to explore, and for those looking for retails 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 besides 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.

This summer the Bolton Abbey Estate is jam packed with activities for all the family. Ukrainian band Dvi Doli are playing the countries traditional music in aid of Ukraine, there is a family cycling zone available May through to September, a pop-up pirate ship and beach from July to September, and an outdoor theatre from the 16th July to 6th August. Or enjoy the open-air cinema on the 23rd and 24th August showing James Bonds' No Time To Die, and West Side Story (2021).

Harewood House

As one of the Treasure House of England, Harewood House does truly not disappoint. Built in the 18th Century, the House is bursting with history in every room with 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 that surround the house, boasting a serene lake, a walled garden and a variety of plants from all around the world. 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! It is an enchanting place to walk and explore on a summers day.

Harewood will be bringing us evenings of music, workshops for all ages and so much more this summer.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Hidden in a secluded valley lies a Cistercian Abbey ruin, Georgian water garden, an Elizabethan Hall, Gothic Church and a park land full of roaming deer. There are tours available around the Abbey to help you learn of 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, hidden bridges, temples and ethereal statues can be found throughout adding to its magical feeling. With walks all over the 600-acre Estate including all of its impressive features and the dear park, there is plenty to explore. Make a day of it with a picnic, or if preferred dine at the onsite café.

Fountains Abbey will be holding events throughout the summer, from river dipping to deer walks.


A Victorian spa and historic market town, Harrogate provides the perfect base for a varied holiday. Whether you love the great outdoors or prefer shopping and good food, or your passion is for gardens, history, art, culture or even theatre and music, Harrogate has it all.

Indulge in some retail therapy, take a look in the designer shops and independent boutiques. The nearby Valley Gardens or RHS Harlow Carr are both a wonder to behold, with trails through colourful plants and shrubs from around the world mapped out into otherworldly gardens. Harrogate also has many cafes, restaurants and tea rooms to provide the prefect respire during a summers day, including the famous Betty's Tearoom, they can be the perfect places to watch the world go by.

This summer Harrogate will be hosting 'Summer Music In The Park', as well as music and exhibitions at Harlow Carr like the Harlow Carr Flower Show. There will also be a Rio de Janerio-themed Carnival that will be taking to Harrogate and traveling down the highstreets full of colour, music and feel good energy into Valley Gardens where there will be food, drinks, music and entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

Ripley Castle

Located only 3 miles from Harrogate at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this 700-year-old castle is brimming with history, with 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 families collection of paintings, décor and more that has 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 colour, with trails to follow that incorporate the grounds and deer park, lead into woodland and intertwine 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.

Ripley Castle has as summer of actives lined up, the Castle will be hosting Harrogate's Food & Drinks Festival, antiques and agricultural shows, and guided tours.

Skipton and Skipton Castle

A small friendly town with nostalgic cobbled side streets and with 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 it's ground and Church. Hidden behind the castle in Skipton Woods, a delightful woodland full of walks and trails all just off the highstreets, some of the trails also include a walk down the vast canal that winds throughout the town. 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 business 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.

This summer Skipton will be hosting The Yorkshire Dales Food & Drinks festival, a delightful combination of delicacies, thirst quenchers and businesses both in the hospitality industry and independently owned restaurants or cafes wanting to show off their culinary skills. As well, Skipton will be keeping up the tradition of hosting Gateways Festival, a tough mudder and so much more.

Valley of Desolation and Simon's Seat

Named after a great storm that occurred over Barden Fell in 1826 leaving as much damaged 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 the main event, a beautiful waterfall that looks like it has been plucked straight from a fairy-tale. The walk itself continues past the waterfall and up to Simon's Seat, a rocky outcrop 485 meters above sea level, here on a clear day the views are breath-taking.

A hidden gem just a stone's throw from the Cavendish Pavilion Car Park, or you can walk along the riverside past the Bolton Abbey Priory ruins from The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, so you can stop off on the way back from your walk to grab a much deserved bite to eat in the sunshine.

Please note, dogs are not permitted on this trail.

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, include film sets and crews as it is has backdrop of a famous scene in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and also TV series The Witcher.

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 the 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 coves 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 ending view of the incredible Yorkshire Dales landscape.

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 put together a list of all our favourite walks throughout the Yorkshire Dales to help give you an idea. Check out our 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. We also offer a Walk The Dales Package.

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