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48 hours in the Yorkshire Dales – what to do on a weekend in the Yorkshire Dales

Here is a whistle stop tour of a weekend in Skipton, named the ‘Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’ for good reason! Basing yourself around this historic market town means you can easily access the Yorkshire Dales yet have all the amenities and attractions of the town right at your fingertips. Voted the ‘The Best National Park in Europe 2021’ the Yorkshire Dales National Park is nothing short of impressive. A weekend in the Yorkshire Dales is not enough to see everything that is on offer so I know you will be wanting to come back to sample more!

October 24, 2021


Friday afternoon in Skipton

Arriving in Skipton midday is an ideal time to experience the hustle and bustle of this thriving market town which still has its famous open-air market on the High Street 4 days a week.

For lunch head to Bizzie Lizzie’s for their award-winning fish and chips. You can eat in, but we always favour takeaway so that we can eat them sat on the canal basin benches watching the barges and swans. If fish and chips aren’t your thing then try Elsworth’s Kitchen on Coach Street for a spectacular lunch.

After lunch take a short canal boat trip with Pennine Boats (£4pp for 25 minutes) from the canal basin to see a little more of the town. The Leeds Liverpool Canal plays an important part in the town’s history and this section was the first to open in 1773. The canal runs through the heart of the town and is strewn with historical features. After your barge trip follow the canal towpath walking up towards Skipton Castle – my favourite section. If you are lucky enough you may even spot Rosie and Jim.

Once you reach the arched Mill Bridge you can continue on following the path behind Skipton Castle and up into Skipton Woods if you aren’t drawn in by the smell of the famous Stanforth’s pork pies! There are various routes through the wood so check out the handy links section for details of the walk. Skipton Woods is a lovely short accessible walk that can be made longer at various points. You could also visit the Castle itself. Skipton Castle is over 900 years old and one of the best-preserved castles in England. You can easily spend an hour or so exploring all the little rooms and grounds, just don’t get locked in the dungeon with the dragon.

After a taste of history walk through the church yard of Holy Trinity taking in the view down the High Street then immerse yourself in the market, browse the independent shops in Craven Court or even stop off at a couple of the microbreweries.

Friday evening in Skipton

Once you have checked in at your accommodation you will be ready for your next feed! There are so many different cuisines in the town that every taste can be met; from tapas to Indian to Thai to English. Families can go to Calico Jacks, a pirate themed restaurant which specialises in tex mex food with generous helpings. Couples can try the sophisticated La Caveau for fine dining which is set in the old town prison, Two Sisters for a quirky quick bite with a pint or if steak is more your thing book Napier’s Steakhouse. If you want a few drinks after then we would recommend The Railway (opposite Tesco’s), Woolly Sheep (bottom of the High Street) or Cock and Bottle which also do live music on weekends.

Saturday morning in Malham

After breakfast make a pit stop at Keelham Farm Shop to pick up supplies for a picnic. Then drive up the windy country roads towards Malham into the Yorkshire Dales National Park which is about 20 minutes drive. No weekend in the Yorkshire Dales is complete without a trip up here. Malham is incredibly popular so head up early as possible ideally getting parked before 10am as parking can be limited.

Malham consists of the magnificent limestone cove, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss waterfall. All these can be done in one walk which is 8km long and will take about 4 hours with kids (hence packing a picnic!). The scenery is unbelievable though. The limestone features are not to be missed. Be warned as sections of this route can be difficult especially the top of the cove – you need a good head for heights and firm grip on little one’s hands.

Saturday afternoon in Settle

After your walk head on a scenic drive over the tops past Malham Tarn towards Settle spotting the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in the distance. Settle is another historic market town in the Yorkshire Dales which offers an abundance of waterfalls, limestone scenery and quaint shops and cafes. If you have time to stop off then try one of the wonderful waterfalls in the area; Scaleber Force or Stainforth Foss being our favourites or head up to view the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct with Whernside in the background. Have a wander round here taking in the vast impressive feat of engineering that is the viaduct standing 32m tall.

Saturday evening in Settle

For your evening meal I would recommend trying one of the Dales pubs around Settle whilst you are there such as the Golden Lion in Settle or The Craven Arms in Giggleswick.

Sunday morning in Bolton Abbey

For families a stay in the Yorkshire Dales cannot be complete without a trip to Billy Bob’s Parlour. This American diner by Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream is brilliant for food as well as for play, with a large outdoor play area and barns. Have a hearty breakfast of pancakes, waffles or bacon & eggs but make sure you leave plenty of room for ice cream! Once you have worked it off on the rope swings head down to Bolton Abbey for a walk. Bolton Abbey Estate has lots of walks to choose from to suit all abilities. If you still have time in the day then Hesketh Farm Park is always a winner with little ones (and the last few hours of the day are always the quietest!).

For couples try breakfast/brunch at Bean Loved in the centre of Skipton. Again, head down to Bolton Abbey for a walk. Depending on the length of walk you choose I would also squeeze in a walk around Linton Falls, which is a approx. 15 minutes drive up the River Wharfe. This waterfall is breath-taking. In fact, the whole section of river from Bolton Abbey up to Grassington is a beautiful walk so whichever section you choose you will not be disappointed.

No trip to the Dales would be complete without a traditional Sunday Roast with Yorkshire puddings and lashings of gravy! Try the Gamekeeper’s Inn at Threshfield or the Fountaine Inn at Linton.

After your weekend in the Yorkshire Dales experiencing some of what Skipton and the surrounding area has to offer, I know you will be back!



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