The Yorkshire Dales - TV star

Last updated: January 17, 2021

Crowd-free Britain: We spotlight a different area of the UK each time in this series. We’ll look at Covid-19 safety, what attractions are provided and what behaviour the locals expect from visitors

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Few destinations conjure the unadulterated, sentimental brilliance of the British countryside as well as the Yorkshire Dales. This quintessential cliche of patchwork farmlands, thousands of miles of dry stone walls, striking Abbey ruins and natural bucolic beauty has charmed the world for generations… and rightly so.

Coronavirus in the Yorkshire Dales?

If, when visiting the Yorkshire Dales you experience any trouble keeping up with social distancing measures, the local authorities have created a handy key to use in place of a tape measure. They ask that you keep the standard two metres away from other people, which is (apparently) as long as one Belted Galloway Cow, two otters, four brown hares, or the width of one Land Rover — each a common sight within the Dales National Park, therefore easy enough to use as a gauge should the opportunity arise.

Aside from these Yorkshire-specific measurements, general Covid-19 rules such as wearing a mask on public transport and in taxis, as well as in supermarkets and banks apply here. Additionally, barbecues and open fires are banned, and visitors are asked to exercise proper vigilance in terms of personal safety, travelling via rights of way, closing gates intended to keep cattle safely enclosed, and when disposing of litter. Travellers to the Yorkshire Dales would be prudent to book hotels ahead, particularly in light of the increased domestic travel, as the Dales are home to few large hotels.

While the UK is in lockdown, most attractions are closed, and you should follow guidelines and only visit areas in your locality to walk or cycle.

What to see in the Yorkshire Dales

The Dales is, at its most simplistic, a collection of glacier-carved valleys — indeed the word ‘Dales’ comes from the old Norse word ‘Dalr’ meaning valley — that sweep up, down and along the Pennines from North and West Yorkshire to Cumbria and the bottom of the Lake District.

The villages, such as Wensleydale — famed for the cheese and Creamery (a must for cheese lovers) of the same name — and surprisingly ornate Grassington, make brilliant little hubs to immerse oneself into the locales. And you’ll find yourself sleeping in brass-adorned rooms with countryside vistas, drinking a pint of the landlord’s finest in the local pub with lunch (or a modern vegetarian cafe if you prefer) and indulging in Michelin-starred cuisine by night.

The stunning Ribblehead Viaduct, just south of the Cumbrian border is a must-see, its 12 stone arches forming striking frames for the surrounding hills as a steam train speeds overhead. Walkers should take the route from here to Whernside to see the viaduct and the surrounding valleys from one of the Dales’ highest spots. Nearby Ingleborough Cave is worth a stop to see its stunning fossil gallery filled with striking stalagmitic formations, while forest lovers will likely prefer the calming surrounds of Hackfall Woods on the eastern edge of the Dales.

A delightfully equable way to see some of the Dales is to ride the steam train that runs between Embsay and Bolton Abbey, or jump aboard the Carlisle to Settle railway to zip along the Ribblehead Viaduct, and 20 more viaducts and numerous bridges and tunnels.

Escape the crowds in the Yorkshire Dales

Most of the Yorkshire Dales is made up of sweeping valleys and rustic walking paths, so it generally takes little effort to escape the crowds. Valleys such as Mallerstang and Eden Valley retain their remote, wild atmosphere — with 12th-century castle ruins crowning hilltops, dramatic limestone gorges topped with grassy hats, and plenty of space to maintain social distancing requirements.

Arkengarthdale, the northernmost of the Dales in the national park is a good spot for a mixed itinerary of brisk hilly walks between sparsely populated settlements, visits to pretty villages such as Langthwaite and remote Whaw, and to scout the remains of the lead mining industry that was once so prominent in the area.

Checklist for you trip to the Yorkshire Dales

  • Be prepared to change your destination if it's full
  • Only park in designated parking areas
  • Remember to take your litter with you
  • Download the What3Words App.

Useful links Find up-to-date guidance on travel, safety, Covid-19 research and more.

RightRooms believes all information to be correct at time of going to press. As guidance, research and facts around Covid-19 are changing constantly, the information provided here is for general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Please check with venues, locations and attractions before travelling.

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