Yorkshire Dales Wildlife Visitor’s Guide

Yorkshire Dales Wildlife: Visitor’s Guide

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When it comes to the most beautiful parts of England, the Yorkshire Dales almost always get a mention. More than 8 million tourists flock to the national park every year and while there’s loads to discover here, the wildlife is what really stands out from the crowd. 

Yorkshire Dales National Park Overview

The Yorkshire Dales is a national park in the north of England that sits across the counties of Yorkshire and Cumbria. The national park spans a huge area of more than 841 square miles (2,178 square kilometers) and was designated a National Park back in 1954.

Diverse Landscapes & Habitats

The beauty of the Yorkshire Dales can be largely attributed to the diverse array of landscapes which include hills and valleys as well as moorlands and grasslands. There is around 4% of the Yorkshire Dales that are covered in woodlands. While this is considered a low percentage for a national park, it’s a welcome addition as it gives wildlife lovers and bird watchers an excellent opportunity to observe woodland creatures in their natural habitat. 

Biodiversity of Flora & Fauna

Another notable feature of the Yorkshire Dales is the limestone pavements and walls. Not only do these add to the beauty of the area but they’re also the perfect home for an abundance of rare plant species such as the green spleenwort and the holly fern.

And it’s not just plants that make up the unique biodiversity in the Yorkshire Dales, there are a wide range of animal species as well such as the red and roe deer. Where avian species are concerned, you’ll find soaring raptors like the peregrine falcon as well as waterfowl, songbirds, and several migratory species, including the swallow.

In the rivers and streams, you’ll find fish species such as the brown trout and, at the right time of year, the salmon as well as other aquatic life like the grayling. The biodiversity here can be attributed to the selection of habitat types that the Yorkshire Dales houses.

Conservation Efforts

In order to protect the wildlife here, the national park aims to deliver advice to farmers on how to manage wildlife as well as programs to protect habitats in their extensive conservation projects. This is important since around 95% of the Yorkshire Dales is privately owned. For the public, there are also several centers and educational programs on offer that provide more information on the conservation efforts within the national park.

Visitor Information & Sustainable Tourism

If you’re coming to the Yorkshire Dales, it isn’t just the conservation programs that will provide you with a wealth of information. There are visitor centers located at Aysgarth Falls, Grassington, Hawes, and Malham that hold a wealth of interesting information about the local area. With plenty of accommodation and things to keep all members of the family busy, the Yorkshire Dales is the perfect UK holiday location. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about your impact on the natural areas since the national park aims to support sustainable tourism practices in order to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of this part of the world.

Outdoor Activities & Exploration

Exploring wildlife and nature in the Yorkshire Dales is easy thanks to the hundreds of hiking trails. The trail network is one of the most well maintained in England, making it accessible to a range of people with varying needs. I’ll go into more detail on walking and hiking trails later in this guide but some noteworthy examples include the Malham Landscape Trail, the Three Peaks Circular, and the Ribble Head Circular.

Continue your time outdoors in the Yorkshire Dales even after the sun goes down. This is a hotspot for stargazing thanks to the lack of light pollution which makes the night sky super visible in all its glory. What’s more, if you’re here for the wildlife then night time provides you with an opportunity to spot nocturnal creatures like the barn owl and tawny owl.

Cultural Heritage & Agriculture

I couldn’t write a guide to the Yorkshire Dales without including the rich culture of the area. For hundreds of years, this part of England was an agricultural hub and this industry remains strong here today. In fact, if it weren’t for agriculture, the Yorkshire Dales would look completely different, it is these practices that have shaped the landscape to how we see it today.

And the culture and history of the area extend far beyond farming. The Yorkshire Dales is home to traditional villages, historic sites, and ancient monuments, many of which are one of the biggest attractions to tourists. Why not get involved in some of the local festivals and events that take place throughout the year to learn more about the heritage of the Yorkshire Dales?

Types of Wildlife & Flora to See

As I have mentioned already, the diverse wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales is what makes this area so unique. For wildlife enthusiasts, this part of the UK provides ample opportunities to spot everything from birds and mammals to fish, reptiles, and stunning butterflies.


But before I get started on the animals of the Yorkshire Dales, I think it’s well worth mentioning that one of the most spectacular things about this area is the plant life. Many species of orchids can be found growing wild in the Yorkshire Dales and this is largely because of the high limestone content of the soil. Species like the lesser butterfly orchid, the lady’s slipper, and the frog orchid can all be found here. Although, if you’re looking for the latter then keep in mind that these plants are often well camouflaged.

As well as orchids, the Yorkshire Dales provide the perfect conditions for several species of fern. Again, these can be found growing in limestone areas and you may see holly fern, hart’s tongue fern, and rigid-buckler’s fern, among others. 

What’s really interesting about the flora in the Yorkshire Dales is the selection of rare mosses that grow here. There’s one; the Yorkshire feather moss, that can’t be found anywhere else in the world!


One of the main attractions of the Yorkshire Dales is autumn, when roe deer and red deer can be observed engaging in dominance displays during the rutting season. However, these stunning mammals are active throughout the year and are considered to be one of the main wildlife highlights.

The brown hare can also be spotted along with the hedgehog and iconic red squirrel. Now, otter populations were once all but depleted in the UK and there are still only a few areas where they can be seen in the wild. The Yorkshire Dales isn’t one of the stand-out areas for otter spotting but just over a decade ago, photographic evidence of these aquatic mammals thriving in the Yorkshire Dales was taken. While otters remain one of the more elusive creatures in the Yorkshire Dales, they are now found in all of the rivers here so keep your eyes peeled when you’re by the water.

Aquatic Life & Reptiles

But even if you spot an otter, don’t leave the water’s edge just yet as there is plenty more wildlife to see here. The rivers of the Yorkshire Dales are a hotspot for fish species like brown trout and grayling and there are several spots where anglers can enjoy a catch. Other aquatic species include the great crested newt and the common toad. And, if it’s reptiles and amphibians you’re interested in, be sure to keep an eye out for the adder, the only venomous snake in the UK. These beautiful creatures are pretty elusive but may be spotted in grasslands and moorlands.

Bird Species

Turning to the skies, we find an array of beautiful bird species in the Yorkshire Dales. For those fascinated by birds of prey, you’ll have the chance to spot the peregrine falcon and the hen harrier as well as species like the red kite. What’s interesting about the red kite is that it was once extinct in the Yorkshire Dales but, having been reintroduced in 1999 and through the aid of various conservation programs, populations are now thriving.

Around the waterways of the Yorkshire Dales, look out for the curlew; the largest wading bird found in Europe. The common redshank can be found around marshlands in the summer months and you may also spot the distinct and beautiful looking lapwing in various damp habitats where males can be heard making peewit calls during the breeding season.

And the bird-watching opportunities don’t end there. The Yorkshire Dales is home to a vast array of other avian species, including the skylark, the ring ouzel, and the yellow wagtail. But perhaps one of the most interesting bird species here is the black grouse, a stunning game bird that’s often found in the moorlands. However, populations here are not strong, as is the case in most of the UK, and while it is listed as being of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, numbers are decreasing.

During summer, several birds head to the Yorkshire Dales to breed. The diverse landscapes here provide excellent breeding grounds for many different types of birds and heading here in spring allows you a glimpse into their arrival and mating behaviors.

Wildlife Habitat Diversity

What really fascinates me about the wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales is that there is no limit to its habitat. As you make your way through the area, you won’t be able to miss the miles and miles of dry stone walls. These walls were built as field boundaries but, over time, they’ve become a growing ground for plant species and a home for animals like the whorl snail, wrens, voles, and weasels.

Rare Butterfly Species

You might think that there couldn’t possibly be any more wildlife spotting opportunities after learning about the abundance of animals found in the Yorkshire Dales, but you’d be wrong. This is a haven for those looking to see rare species of butterfly including the dark green fritillary and the northern brown argus. You might also be lucky enough to spot the small pearl-bordered fritillary or the beautiful rare forester moth.

The wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales is active throughout the year with different species being more prominent in different seasons. No matter when you come, you’re sure to experience something new and exciting every time.

During the Seasons

Whenever you visit the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll be astounded by the amount of wildlife you’re able to spot. Of course, which creatures can be spotted highly depends on the season, and it’s also worth considering that the weather here can be unpredictable at any time of the year. Here’s my season-by-season guide on what to expect.


Visiting the Yorkshire Dales in spring provides you with one of the best bird-watching opportunities of the year. That’s because many migratory species like the swallow and curlew are returning from their winter in the south, ready for breeding season. You may be lucky enough to see flocks of birds across the skies or witness some of their intriguing courtship songs. 

And it’s not just the birds that are preparing to mate in the spring. Much of the wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales is in the breeding season, which gives you a chance to observe their nesting behaviors as well as some of the offspring, such as young lambs and chicks. Since Yorkshire is known for its farming heritage, the arrival of spring lambs gives you a glimpse into the rural culture of this part of the UK.

Aside from wildlife, there’s tons to do in spring. Arrive in March for the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Gala which is a must-see for train enthusiasts.

Moving into April, there’s the Harrogate Spring Flower Show which provides you with garden inspiration, flower ideas, and tons of outdoor tips for the coming season. Get out into the wild to see the beginning of the spring blooms including primroses, fly orchids, and the fen violet, among others.

Since the wildflowers are blooming, it’ll come as no surprise that insects and pollinators are attracted. If you’re keen to get up close and personal with the creepy crawlies of the Yorkshire Dales, spring is the prime time to do it. But these aren’t just interesting species, many of the insects serve as an important food source for nesting birds.


Moving into the summer months, the weather begins to significantly warm up in the Yorkshire Dales, with temperatures sitting around 61-64°F (16-18°C). That said, statistics show that there are still around 12 days of rain each month (typical of the UK), so be sure to come prepared. 

A little rain won’t spoil your fun when you realize that summer is the height of avian activity in the dales. See raptors like red kites and the peregrine falcon as well as beautiful songbirds such as the wood warbler and the bullfinch. In the woodlands, you may be able to spot the common woodpecker and the cuckoo and by the waters, keep an eye out for the long-tailed duck and the Egyptian goose.

Summertime is also brimming with butterflies in the Yorkshire Dales. Spot rare species like the dark green fritillary in the meadows or look for the scotch argus, large blue, or duke of burgundy, among other species. While you’re in the meadows, you may be able to catch a glimpse of mammals, including the beautiful roe deer or the iconic brown hare.

There are plenty of family activities going on in summer, such as the Ilkley Food Festival in June or the Great Yorkshire Show, held annually in July. This is one of the most significant agricultural shows in the UK, with activities for people of all ages. 

In summer, the rivers of the Yorkshire Dales come alive for anglers, offering opportunities to fish for brown trout. Additionally, you may spot other species such as salmon and grayling, although they are most active in autumn, especially during their spawning season.


Moving into autumn, as I have just mentioned, fish species like salmon return to the rivers to spawn. They come in their droves, so there’s plenty of opportunities to spot aquatic life. But probably the most exciting wildlife event in fall is the deer rutting season. 

At this time of year, male roe and red deer put on displays of dominance to impress the females and warn off competition resulting in a spectacular show for wildlife enthusiasts. All of this is set against the backdrop of trees that are beginning to change color, giving a whole new character to the dales.

Look a little more closely, especially in wooded areas, and you’ll be able to see the growth of new fungi. You can enjoy these sights on walks and hikes as autumn is one of the best times to explore the dale on foot thanks to the cooler temperatures but lack of rainfall. One of the best spots for hiking and cycling in autumn is Malham Tarn, which has a number of family-friendly routes.


In winter, the Yorkshire Dales takes on another completely new character as snow begins to fall and alters the look of the landscape. But this cold weather doesn’t mean a lack of wildlife, in fact, this is the prime time to spot birds of prey such as red kites and buzzards hunting for prey without the cover of trees.

What’s more, some of the nocturnal raptors, like the short-eared owl, the little owl, and the tawny owl become more visible during the winter. While you’re outside at night, take the opportunity to enjoy some stargazing. Winter usually sees clear skies in this part of the UK and gives you the chance to explore the night sky in a way you never have before.

If you’re keen to track animals through the woods and across the moorlands and heathlands, then the abundance of snow makes this much easier. While some of the wildlife will have gone into hibernation by this point, you’ll still have a chance to spot critters like hares and foxes.

For a festive experience in December, head to Grassington which is transformed into a Victorian Christmas wonderland, inspired by the works of Charles Dickens (despite this literary legend being born hundreds of miles away in Portsmouth!)

But one of the best things about winter in the Yorkshire Dales is that it’s much quieter. The tourists of summer have packed up and gone home so if you’re looking for utter peace and tranquility to enjoy nature, don’t let the cold weather deter you.

What to Explore & Do?

Covering such a vast area, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever run out of things to see and do in the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you’re here for a day trip, a long weekend, or a full vacation, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to activities.


Being a remote and rural landscape, it’ll come as no surprise that one of the highlights of the Yorkshire Dales is the hiking trails, and there are hundreds to choose from. Walking or cycling, you’ll be able to get up close to nature and enjoy sweeping views of the local landscape. 

  • Perhaps the most famous trail in the Yorkshire Dales, the Three Peaks Challenge, not to be confused with the National Three Peaks Challenge, gets a lot of attention, and for good reason. Around the head of the River Ribble, you’ll find the three highest peaks in the dales; Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough, and Whernside. While this route does provide a significant challenge, the views you’ll experience will stay etched on your mind for a lifetime. It can take, on average, around 12 hours to complete this challenge, so be prepared to make a long weekend of it.
  • The trail between Aysgarth Falls and Castle Bolton provides a great opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife since the trail runs through several different habitats including woodlands and meadows. This makes it popular with bird watchers as well as those keen to spot some of the dales’ famed mammal species, like the red deer. However note that this species, as well as the roe deer are more likely to be active at dusk and dawn.
  • If you’re exploring by bicycle then I’d recommend the Swale Trail which runs along the banks of the River Swale but also takes riders through pretty woodlands, making this another excellent opportunity for wildlife lovers.
  • The Pennine Bridleway spans for a whopping 205 miles (330 km) and is ideal for cyclists and hikers looking to see the diverse landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales. Running through the dales from Derbyshire into Cumbria, this is the only national trail that was originally designed for horses.
  • Hike around Malham Cove and Gordale Scar using the 7.6 miles (12.2 km) circular route which gives you breathtaking views of the moorlands as well as taking you past some interesting rock formations; the perfect walk for geology enthusiasts. What’s more, if you’re out in the Yorkshire Dales to spot birds then this is one of the best routes for catching a glimpse of the glorious peregrine falcon since the rocky areas provide the ideal nesting spot.
  • The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail runs for 4.2 miles (6.8 km) and offers an unforgettable experience for geology lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. During spring, the trail is littered with patches of wildflowers and this is known as one of the best places for bird watching in the Yorkshire Dales.


When you think of Lakes, you probably imagine the Lake District but the Yorkshire Dales has some beautiful lakes to discover and it would be a crime not to check them out. Note that, while there are several reservoirs and other bodies of water, there are only two natural lakes left in the Yorkshire Dales.

  • Malham Tarn is perhaps one of the most well-known lakes in the Yorkshire Dales and it’s an excellent spot if you’re looking to observe bird species. You’ll see several species of wagtail, the redwing, the sandpiper, and, in the fall, you may be lucky enough to spot the dotterel. This glacial lake provides an interesting outing for geology lovers and is surrounded by grasslands and peat bogs which provide an array of habitats for many creatures.
  • Semerwater, located opposite the River Bain, near Wensleydale, is the second largest lake in North Yorkshire, after Malham Tarn. The lake spans more than half a mile (0.8 kilometers) so provides the perfect place for a family walk. On your way, look forward to spotting several bird species and other wildlife including the lapwing, oystercatcher, and curlew.

Nature & Wildlife Spotting

Since this is a guide to the Yorkshire Dales for wildlife enthusiasts, I had to include a section on the best places to spot local wildlife. I’ve also included some interesting wildlife attractions that are perfect for families or those looking to learn more about animals from all over the world.

  • Just near Pateley Bridge, you’ll find Nidderdale Llamas which is an excellent educational day out that allows you to learn more about these fascinating creatures. Take part in a llama trek or enjoy one of the llama and alpaca therapy sessions. It is important to note that this activity is primarily aimed at adults but children over the age of 7 are welcome to take part.
  • If you’re in the Yorkshire Dales for bird watching then there’s nowhere I’d recommend more than Grassington and Linton Falls. Along the river here, you’ll have the chance to tick species off your bucket list such as the gray wagtail and dippers as well as the green woodpecker, curlew, and the waxwing.
  • Another prime location for bird watching is in Nidderdale. This AONB is home to the amazing peregrine falcon and the red kite. You’ll also be able to spot water birds like the Eurasian curlew. In the open moors, birds like the skylark can be observed nesting and you may also spot the meadow pipit and the wheateater.
  • Head to Yoredale Nature Reserve which is home to an abundance of rare plant species, including orchids. Located in Wensleydale, Yoredale has a range of events throughout the year from guided walks to guest speakers and much more. What a great way to learn about nature!
  • If you’re keen to capture some unique wildlife photographs then there’s nowhere I’d recommend more highly than Aisgill Moor and Tarns. Not only are there some brilliant wildlife species here but the panoramic views are an attraction all of their own.

Other Things to See & Do

It’s not just wildlife encounters that make the Yorkshire Dales so popular with tourists. This expansive area has a whole host of other things to see and do so why not take the opportunity and make the most of your trip? Whether you’re a history buff, a geology lover, a family with kids, or simply someone looking to learn more about the area, there’s an array of things to choose from.

  • Bolton Castle is, without a doubt, one of the most well-loved attractions in the Yorkshire Dales. This beautiful 14th-century castle, located in Wensleydale, provides people of all ages with the chance to step back in time and discover what life was like all those years ago. With a tea room, falconry displays, and many special events, this is a place you’ll return to time and time again. 
  • You might also wish to check out Bolton Abbey which is now in ruins but still a beautiful site to explore. Here, you will also find a massive range of activities, including walks, the money tree, the aqueduct, and plenty of seasonal events.
  • Want to see how nature can carve out the landscape and how wildlife thrives? Going to Hardraw Force is a must! This is the highest unbroken waterfall in England and is surrounded by stunning greenery that is home to a wealth of species. There’s a 4 mile (6.4 km) circular walk from the car park to the 100 ft (30 meters) drop waterfall where scenes from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves were filmed.
  • Underneath the Yorkshire Dales lies an entirely different world with a vast network of caves and tunnels. The longest show cave in Britain is White Scar Cave and is well worth a visit if you’re in Ingleton.
  • Located to the north of the Yorkshire Dales, just on the border of Cumbria, you will find the Ribblehead Viaduct. Not only is the architecture something to marvel at but there’s a lot of history to this site with hundreds of people having lost their lives during its construction.
  • Kinsley Park in Grassington offers plenty of activities to keep every member of the family happy. From fishing experiences to farmyard animals and wildlife walks to meals in the cafe, you could easily spend a whole day here and not run out of things to do.
  • Brimham Rocks are a weird and wonderful formation of rocks that have formed over the course of 100 million years. From this vantage point, you’ll be treated to views across the Yorkshire Dales and there are also several unique species of heather on the moorlands here. This is a National Trust owned site so, if you’re a member, entry is included in your annual fee.

Villages of the Yorkshire Dales

One of the best highlights of the Yorkshire Dales is the array of pretty villages where you’ll receive a warm northern welcome from the locals. In fact, tourism is one of the most important industries in the Yorkshire Dales, bringing more than £427 million into the local economy each year.

  • Wharfedale boasts picturesque landscapes and beautiful walks along the Wharfe River, making it one of the most popular parts of the Yorkshire Dales. Here, you’ll find Bolton Abbey, which I discussed earlier as well as easy access to the iconic Malham Cove.
  • As I have mentioned, Malham Cove, an 262 feet (80 meter) cliff forged from a waterfall, is accessible from Wharfedale but if you want immediate access then staying in Malhamdale gives you the best opportunity. This stunning part of the Yorkshire Dales is also home to Malham Tarn, the highest freshwater lake in the country and a perfect place to take a scenic walk. You’ll also find Gordale Scar which is an ideal spot for geology lovers. This limestone gorge is surrounded by towering cliffs and boasts one of the most dramatic landscapes in all of the Dales. It’s also the perfect place to try your hand at climbing but there’s also an accessible route so that everyone can enjoy the view!
  • Niddersdale is designated as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and boasts a range of landscapes, such as rivers and rolling hills. Dotted around the area are several quaint villages, such as Kirkby Malzeard and Timble. One of the highlights of this part of the Yorkshire Dales is Pateley Bridge. This market town is well known for hosting the annual Nidderdale Show, celebrating local agricultural traditions and events for all the family. Here, you’ll also find a high street with a ton of traditional shops, including the oldest sweet shop in England!
  • For foodies, there is no better place in the Yorkshire Dales than Wensleydale, which is world-famous for its cheese (thanks Wallace and Gromit!) Check out the Wensleydale Creamery, where you can observe how cheese is made and get your teeth around some delightful samples. But cheese isn’t the only thing that’s sure to capture your heart in this part of the dales. You’ll be treated to aquatic wildlife along the River Ure and views of meadows and rolling hills as far as the eye can see. This is also the best place to stay if you’re looking to visit Aysgarth Falls, a series of waterfalls along the river that was made famous by the movie Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.
  • Head to Swaledale if you want to experience one of the most remote parts of the Yorkshire Dales. With a majestic, rugged landscape and a rich agricultural history, Swaledale is home to charming villages such as Reeth and Muker. What’s more, these villages also provide the perfect place to set out on a hike along some of the most popular trails in the Yorkshire Dales. The landscape is dotted with stone-built barns and dry stone walls so it really feels as though you’ve gone back in time. What’s more, the meadows come alive with wildflowers during the spring, providing the perfect opportunity for wildlife photographers to capture pollinators in full swing.
  • Littondale is one of the more peaceful areas of the Yorkshire Dales and not as touristy as places like Malhamdale and Wensleydale. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a lot to offer. If you’re looking for somewhere to take a tranquil walk and explore nature then I’d highly recommend Littondale. It’s actually locally known as ‘the real Emmerdale’ and the local village of Arncliffe was the original filming location for this well-loved British soap opera.
  • Finally, I would recommend that you check out Coverdale where you’ll find the ruins of Coverham Abbey, originally built in the 1100s. As well as a rich history, you’ll also find plenty of peaceful walks that allow you to get up close and personal with nature without the hubbub of the more touristy spots. Walk along the River Cover, a tributary of the River Ure, or head to the Forbidden Corner to explore the labyrinth of chambers and tunnels.

Information For Visitors to The Yorkshire Dales

If you have never visited the Yorkshire Dales before then I would strongly recommend that you make a stop at one of the four visitor centers. You can find these in Grassington, Hawes, Aysgarth Falls, and Malham and here, you’ll get a wealth of information on everything including national park conservation programs, safety, wildlife, things to do, and much more.

If you’re not quite sure where to start then don’t worry, you don’t have to head off on a wildlife adventure without help. Throughout the Yorkshire Dales, there are many guided wildlife walks led by local experts that really give you an insight into the creatures that call this place home.

It doesn’t matter what time of the year you come to the Yorkshire Dales, there will always be plenty to keep you entertained. However, I would recommend checking out what seasonal events are taking place as this will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the culture of the Dales.

Where to Stay?

While the Yorkshire Dales are perfect for a day trip, you’ll need a few days to a week to fully explore the beauty of this area. But then comes the question of where to stay. It’s important to think about what attractions you’re keen to see, as this will determine the best location.

Also keep in mind that many parts of the Yorkshire Dales are designated as Dark Sky zones. If you’re keen to explore the night sky in all its glory then find an accommodation in one of these locations and sit outdoors after the sun goes down with a glass of wine and a cozy blanket.

I have already discussed some of the towns and villages found in the Yorkshire Dales, but I’d first like to take a closer look at which ones are well placed for exploring certain parts of the Yorkshire Dales.

Let’s start with Skipton. If you’re keen to explore as much of the Yorkshire Dales National Park as possible then Skipton’s central location will allow for this. Skipton is a market town with charming shops, cobbled streets, and a warm welcome to the many visitors that come here every year.

If you’re looking to discover the sounds and sights of Wensleydale then I’d recommend checking out the accommodation in Hawes. Another market town, it’s famous for its chip shop that serves deep-fried Wensleydale cheese!

Grassington is the perfect location for those looking for a quieter, more relaxed stay in the Yorkshire dales. Cobbled streets take you through to a bustling marketplace and the views of the river are spectacular. This is a great spot if you’re looking to explore Grass Woods or Kinsley Park.

One of the most popular places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales is Malham as it is in very close proximity to many of the natural attractions such as Gordale Scar and Malham Cove. The village itself provides plenty of places to dine and drink as well as easy access to wildlife walks and nature.


If you like the creature comforts of a hotel then you won’t be disappointed when you visit the Yorkshire Dales. From quaint, family-owned hotels to luxury spa hotels and everything in between, there’s something for every taste.

  • The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa offers the perfect countryside getaway and is situated on the Bolton Abbey Estate. Luxury dining, beautifully designed rooms, wine tasting, a choice of restaurants and bars, and spa treatments make this hotel the ideal place to relax and unwind.
  • If you’re looking to sleep in complete comfort and style then the Traddock might be the right hotel for you. This luxury accommodation offers Victorian and Georgian inspired rooms along with options for afternoon tea and tasting menus in the restaurant. It’s a foodie’s paradise.
  • For discovering Malham and the surrounding areas, the Beck Hall Hotel provides the perfect base. Set in breathtaking surroundings, you’ll stay in comfort but be right on nature’s doorstep.
  • Hostels are also a popular accommodation type in the Yorkshire Dales with a great selection to choose from. You can source a hostel through the YHA who have locations in all of the main tourist spots.
  • The Yorkshire Dales is dotted with historic inns which offer the perfect and most welcoming place to stay. Check out the Buck Inn in Malham which is a perfect place for discovering attractions like Malham Cove.

Holiday Cottages

There’s nothing better when on vacation than having your own private space to relax after a long day in nature. Fortunately, there are hundreds of holiday cottages dotted all over the Yorkshire Dales, offering you an idyllic home from home during your stay.

  • Skipton is one of the most popular places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales and the Old School House is a beautiful holiday let with a stunning interior, a hot tub, and you can bring your furry friends along.
  • If you’re looking for a totally unique experience from your stay in the Yorkshire Dales then I’d have to recommend the Old Post Office in Giggleswick. This charming accommodation offers everything you need for a comfortable stay and is perfectly placed to explore attractions like Skipton Castle.
  • The Malham Well-Being One Bed Retreat comes with a hot tub and is in an ideal location for exploring Malham Cove and the surrounding attractions. With a beautiful fireplace and a modern interior, you’ll be staying in the lap of luxury.

Camping, Caravanning, & Glamping

For people who are keen to get up close and personal with nature, there’s no better choice of accommodation than camping, caravanning, or glamping. With hundreds of campsites around the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot to pitch. 

For a more wild experience, look for remote campsites in areas like Settle and Ingelton or, if you prefer that luxurious touch, you’ll find many glamping pods in places like Malham and Wensleydale.

  • Dentdale Pods is located in South-East Cumbria and offers the perfect opportunity to stay in nature with a touch of luxury. Each pod comes with a bath, a hot tub, and scenic views of the local landscape. What more could you ask for?
  • Thornbrook Barn in Ingleton is a basic yet well-maintained site for camping and caravanning. There are also several glamping pods here and the site is located in some of the most peaceful surroundings in the Yorkshire Dales.
  • For exploring Malham Cove and the surrounding area, why not choose one of the glamping pods at Malhamdale Glamping? These pods, on Town End Farm, come with all the creature comforts you need including an on-site mini-mart and access to a BBQ.
  • Low Greenside Farm Campsite is a family-friendly campsite set in green surroundings with easy access not only to the Yorkshire Dales but also the Lake District. If you’re looking to explore both national parks, it’ll provide you with the perfect base.
  • Within a 15-minute drive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, you’ll find Riverside Caravan Park. This small park is family-run and offers facilities such as golf and fishing. What’s more, it’s a pet-friendly site, so all members of the family are welcome, four-legged or two!

How to Get There?

The Yorkshire Dales is located in the north of England but it’s easily accessible from almost anywhere in the UK. Whether you’re traveling by car, air, or public transport, the Yorkshire Dales is never more than a few hours away.


Getting to the Yorkshire Dales by Car is one of the easiest options and there are several roads that lead directly into the national park. These include the A65, A684, and the A59 so, no matter which direction you’re coming from, it’s a pretty straight route.

One of the reasons that driving to the Yorkshire Dales is so popular is because of the beautiful scenery along the way. Even once you arrive, getting around by car allows you to take in the magnificent landscapes between attractions.

In fact, I’d highly recommend planning extra time as there are likely to be lots of places you want to stop at on the way to your destination.

Most of the popular attractions around the Yorkshire Dales have car parks although it is worth noting that some of these require a fee so be sure to check this before you travel.


The closest airport to the Yorkshire Dales is Leeds-Bradford and there are public transport services and taxis that take you directly from the airport into the heart of the dales. The journey from the airport takes between 60 and 90 minutes depending on traffic and your chosen method of transport.

Once you arrive, why not take back to the skies with a chartered helicopter ride that will allow you to see this majestic landscape from a whole new perspective?


There are train services running from all over the country directly into Skipton Station. For example, direct trains from Birmingham New Street leave several times a day and there are also services from all of the major London stations. However, it is worth keeping in mind that many trains from London will require at least one change.

From Manchester Victoria, there are several direct trains every day and you can also use the service from Liverpool Lime Street to Skipton that requires one change.

You might also catch the train to Settle from most UK train stations, although many of these require at least one change.

The length of your train journey will naturally depend on where you’re traveling from and how many stops you need to make. On average, you can expect the journey to take between four and five hours from London and around an hour from Leeds.

Even after you’ve arrived in the Yorkshire Dales, you can still make the most of the railways. Check out the Settle-Carlisle Railway which runs through the National Park and gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty of the park from a whole new viewpoint.

Interestingly, there are several hiking routes that start at the Yorkshire Dales train stations, allowing you to begin your exploration of the great outdoors from the moment you arrive.


There are several bus routes in operation around the Yorkshire Dales, allowing you the freedom to explore everything this area has to offer. Using the Dales Bus Service is the most affordable option with tickets costing as little as £2. What’s more, the service operates more frequently in the summer to account for the tourists in the area.


Hiring a bicycle is a great way to explore the Yorkshire Dales and make the most of your time outdoors. There are many options for cycle hire including the Dales Bike Center in Richmond. Not only can you hire a bike here but there’s also a ton of information on local cycle routes and what to expect from the area.

Some cycling trails that may be of particular interest include the Pennine Bridleway and the Way of The Roses.

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