What to Do in the Yorkshire Dales for 4 Days

The Yorkshire Dales is a stunning slice of English countryside waiting to be explored. Nestled in the heart of Northern England, the Yorkshire Dales offers a perfect getaway for those seeking outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, and relaxation. 

Whether you’re planning a four-day escape or a long weekend retreat, this article is your ultimate guide to making the most of your time in this picturesque region. From scenic hikes and charming villages to historic landmarks and culinary delights, we’ve created an itinerary uncovering the best of what to do in the Yorkshire Dales. So, pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of England’s most beloved destinations.

Day 1: Explore the Natural Wonders

On the first day of your adventure, you’ll want to dive headfirst into the natural wonders that define this beautiful landscape. You may not be able to fit all of these in on the first day, but we’ve rounded up the best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales that you’ll definitely want to consider exploring. 

The awe-inspiring Malham Cove is a great first stop. It’s a huge limestone amphitheatre, standing proudly at 260 feet tall, carved over centuries by the forces of nature. Here, you can embark on scenic walks along the limestone pavement, marvelling at the intricate patterns etched into the rock. Don’t forget to peer over the edge for a breathtaking view down into the valley below.

Next up is the mesmerising Aysgarth Falls. Follow the melodious sound of rushing water to discover a series of waterfalls cascading over limestone steps, creating a scene straight out of a postcard. Take a leisurely stroll along the pathways and soak up the tranquillity of one of the best things to see in the Yorkshire Dales.

No visit to the Yorkshire Dales would be complete without a glimpse of the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct. Situated in the middle of the Three Peaks, this architectural marvel spans the Ribble Valley, its towering arches standing as a testament to the skills of Victorian engineers. 

Following a huge restoration project that finished in 2020, there are still a couple of train services that pass over the viaduct frequently for a scenic travel experience. Whether you’re a history buff or a railway enthusiast, a visit to Ribblehead Viaduct is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Last but certainly not least, visitors should venture into the depths of Gordale Scar. Regarded as one the jewels in the crown of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this rugged limestone ravine, carved by ancient glaciers, offers a thrilling playground for the adventurers amongst us. Embark on a challenging hike through the rocky gorge to reach the hidden waterfall at its heart.

Day 2: Immerse Yourself in the Culture 

If you’re wondering what to do in the Yorkshire Dales for an insight into the history and culture of this beautiful region, then exploring the castles and abbeys is a great place to start. First up on the cultural itinerary is a visit to the picturesque Bolton Abbey

Nestled in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, this ancient monastery-turned-estate offers a glimpse into centuries of history. Explore the serene ruins of the abbey, walk along the tranquil riverside paths, or simply find a quiet spot to soak up the peaceful atmosphere.

Another must-visit spot is the majestic Richmond Castle, perched high above the charming market town of Richmond. Step back in time as you wander through the imposing stone walls of this Norman fortress, imagining the battles and scandals that once unfolded within its walls. Don’t forget to climb to the top of the keep for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

No cultural excursion would be complete without a taste of local flavour, and where better to indulge than the Wensleydale Creamery? Discover the secrets behind Yorkshire’s most famous cheese as you tour the creamery, sampling delicious bites along the way. 

Fun fact: Wensleydale cheese gained international fame when it was featured in the beloved Wallace and Gromit films, where the quirky duo famously expressed their love for this creamy delight. Be sure to browse the gift shop for tasty souvenirs to savour on your way home as you reminisce about one of the best places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales. 

Another way to gain cultural insight is by simply visiting the towns in the Yorkshire Dales. Skipton, often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Dales’, is a charming market town located at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It boasts a mediaeval castle, bustling market days, and a picturesque canal. Visitors can explore the historic streets, browse the shops and cafes, and take a leisurely boat trip along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Settle is another one of the vibrant market towns in the Yorkshire Dales and is surrounded by stunning countryside. It’s known for its bustling market square, historic buildings, and scenic railway. Visitors can explore the town’s independent shops and galleries, hike along the nearby Yorkshire Three Peaks, or take a ride on the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway.

Day 3: Embark on an Outdoor Adventure 

If you’re ready to swap city streets for rugged trails and dive into a world of adrenaline-pumping activities, you’re in the right place. We know just what to do in the Yorkshire Dales if you’re looking for something to get your heart rate going amidst breathtaking landscapes.

For those with a penchant for pedalling, the Yorkshire Dales offers a plethora of scenic cycling routes to explore. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a leisurely rider, there’s something for everyone. Cycle along the winding lanes and rolling hillsides, soaking in panoramic views of the dales as you go. 

The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway is a popular circular route that loops around the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, approximately 130 miles of stunning scenery. The route can be tackled in sections, with highlights including the picturesque villages of Grassington, Hawes, and Settle.

Looking to take your adventure to new heights? Look no further than the region’s rock climbing spots, where sheer cliffs and craggy outcrops beckon climbers of all skill levels. Test your mettle on classic routes like Kilnsey Crag and feel the rush of adrenaline as you conquer one of the most exhilarating things to do in the Yorkshire Dales.

For those craving a more immersive experience, why not venture underground into the hidden world of cave systems? Seasonal activities like caving offer a thrilling glimpse into the twisting chambers and passages that lie beneath the surface. Don’t miss the chance to explore iconic caves like Gaping Gill, which is one of the largest underground chambers in Britain.

If water is more your element, why not try your hand at kayaking along the tranquil rivers and streams of the Yorkshire Dales? Paddle your way through breathtaking gorges and lush countryside, immersing yourself in the beauty of the landscape as you navigate the gentle currents.

Day 4: Wind Down and Relax

Day 4 of your Yorkshire Dales retreat is all about kicking back and savouring the tranquillity of this stunning landscape before heading back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. After days filled with adventure and exploration, we’ve got the perfect things to do in the Yorkshire Dales for you to take a breather and indulge in some well-deserved relaxation.

For those in need of some pampering, why not treat yourself to a blissful spa retreat nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales? These tranquil havens offer a range of rejuvenating treatments guaranteed to melt away any lingering tension.

Located within a picturesque country estate near Skipton, The Coniston Spa offers a luxurious retreat amidst stunning surroundings. This award-winning spa features an array of indulgent treatments, including massages, facials, and holistic therapies. Guests can also enjoy the spa’s outdoor infinity edge pool overlooking the tranquil Coniston Lake.

Swinton Country Club & Spa is another favourite, situated within the elegant Swinton Park Estate near Masham. Set within a converted Georgian stable block, the spa boasts an impressive range of facilities, including an indoor pool, jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna. Guests can choose from an extensive menu of treatments inspired by nature, featuring organic products sourced from the estate’s gardens. 

To experience a spa-like environment on your doorstep, the luxury lodges at Aysgarth Lodge Park, situated in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, are all equipped with a hot tub on their private decking. Without leaving the comfort of your holiday home in the Dales, you can indulge in the perfect relaxing evening. 

In 2020, the Yorkshire Dales National Park was awarded Dark Sky Reserve status by the International Dark-Sky Association. This means our lodges are privy to some of the darkest skies in the country, where it’s possible to see the Milky Way, planets, meteors and even the Northern Lights. What better way to unwind than dining al fresco before popping a bottle of fizz, soaking in the hot bubbles, and gazing into the starry night sky? 

If you prefer to unwind actively, lace up your walking boots and embark on a leisurely stroll along one of the Yorkshire Dales’ scenic trails. The Ingleton Waterfalls walk promises a captivating journey through lush woodlands and cascading waterfalls, allowing you to enjoy one of the prettiest things to see in the Yorkshire Dales. 

Alternatively, take a scenic drive along the breathtaking Buttertubs Pass, winding your way through dramatic limestone landscapes and panoramic views. With each twist and turn of the road, you’ll find yourself immersed in the serenity of the Yorkshire Dales’ unspoiled countryside.

Tips for Visiting the Yorkshire Dales 

When to Visit

When planning your visit to the Yorkshire Dales, timing is key. The region experiences distinct seasons, each offering its own unique charm. Spring brings blooming wildflowers and newborn lambs dotting the countryside, making it an ideal time for scenic walks and outdoor adventures. Summer sees the Dales come alive with bustling markets, outdoor festivals, and long days perfect for exploring the many attractions on offer. 

Autumn paints the landscape in vibrant hues of gold and orange, creating a stunning backdrop for leisurely drives and cosy pub lunches. Come November, the Dales are transformed into a winter wonderland, with frosty landscapes and the possibility of snow adding an extra layer of magic. 

What to Pack 

When packing for your trip, be sure to come prepared for changing weather conditions. Regardless of the season, it’s wise to pack layered clothing to accommodate temperature fluctuations throughout the day. 

Think t-shirts, long-sleeved tops and sweaters. A waterproof jacket is also a good addition just in case. 

Sturdy footwear is a must-have, especially if you plan on hiking or exploring the countryside. Choose hiking boots with good ankle support and sturdy soles to navigate the uneven terrain. 

Given that the stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife are the best things to see in the Yorkshire Dales, don’t forget to pack a camera to capture those memorable moments. Binoculars are another handy item to include in your packing list, particularly if you’re keen on wildlife spotting. From soaring birds of prey to grazing deer, the Yorkshire Dales is home to a diverse array of fauna waiting to be discovered. 


From exploring iconic natural wonders like Malham Cove and Aysgarth Falls to immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of historic sites such as Bolton Abbey and Richmond Castle, there are so many things to do in the Yorkshire Dales. The best part of this picturesque corner of England is that there are always more things to see in the Yorkshire Dales.

Looking for somewhere to stay during your retreat to the Yorkshire Dales? Leisure Resorts has plenty of luxury holiday homes in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales at our award-winning Aysgarth Lodge Park

Not only are our holiday homes a great base for exploring what Yorkshire has to offer, but Aysgarth Lodges also has a farm shop, bar and restaurant, and plenty of activities on-site for you to enjoy.

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