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The Yorkshire Dales National Park and Beyond….

Spectacular Scenery, Fabulous Food, Art, History and Culture

Beyond the beauty and tranquillity of Low House Manor, and the wild and rugged terrain of Swaledale, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is brimming with places to visit, food to be eaten, and experiences to be enjoyed. Whether you like long hikes in the hills, riding across moorland, a pint of craft ale, immersing yourself in history, laid back gastronomy, or just strolling around the gorgeous towns and villages that populate the
region, the Yorkshire Dales have so much to offer.

Beyond the Dales, North Yorkshire just keeps on giving. Visit the beautiful city of York, with its Roman roots and Viking past, or perhaps spend a day wandering the elegant and leafy boulevards of Harrogate, stopping for tea and cake at Betty’s Tea Rooms or an afternoon in Harrogate’s famous Turkish Baths. Farther afield the ethereal beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors awaits, and at their end, the coast offers beautiful and bracing cliff walks and quintessential coastal villages and towns.

I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list
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Food Scene

Although off the beaten track, the Yorkshire Dales has some fabulous eateries. Pop into one of the many quintessentially English tea shops for a cup of Earl Grey and a scone dripping with home made jam and clotted cream, or perhaps head for a laid back lunch in a fabulous gastro pub accompanied by a pint of locally brewed ale.

If you like to dress for dinner then head to one of the many fine dining restaurants. The Star Inn at Harome is a Michelin starred 14th century inn, with a menu firmly rooted in North Yorkshire. In the heart of Wensleydale, The Blue Lion won our hearts many years ago. Dine in the main bar (our favourite spot is in front of the huge fireplace) on beautiful food in an informal, cosy atmosphere. The Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton is known for its fish and seafood (a rarity in the Dales) and its slightly mad loos! In the Nidderdale Valley, the Michelin starred Yorke Arms is led by award winning head chef Frances Atkins. Dress to impress and indulge in their 8 course tasting menu. Back into Wensleydale The Queen’s Head in Finghall is a cosy pub with lots of character. The dining room overlooks “Wild Wood”, the inspiration for Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. The 3 AA rosette
Yorebridge House produces menus “excelling in design, flavour and innovation” and boasts a kitchen garden supplying Dan Shotton and his team with freshly picked cresses and herbs. In Coverdale (and next to The Forbidden Corner) The Saddle Room Restaurant serves “good honest food served to perfection” and boasts a fabulous wine cellar.

Do look out for our blogs which will be showcasing everything that is fabulous and scrumptious about the Dales and North Yorkshire.

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Art & Culture

Days out in the Dales are not all about hiking in the hills and the great outdoors, for art and culture lovers there is plenty to get your creative juices flowing. 

If the Swaledale Festival has left you wanting more then head down to Grassington. The two week festival in June offers a lively mix of music, dance, street theatre, workshops, and creative challenges. For literary buffs head down to Sedbergh “England’s book town”, famed for its array of bookshops and the literary festivals held there throughout the year. For foodies head out to The Dales Festival of Food and Drink, a weekend event showcasing some of the Dales’ very best artisan food and drink producers (yes there is beer tasting!). Held in Leyburn’s market square in June, it’s also a weekend of theatre and live music.

Whilst in Sedbergh visit Fairfield Mill, with resident artists ranging from printers to weavers and exhibitions held throughout the year. In Hawes tarry awhile at the Dales Countryside Museum and learn about the Dales and the people who shaped its landscape through the centuries. Events and exhibitions are held here too. To find out what inspires some of North Yorkshire’s finest artists get involved in North Yorkshire Open Studios (NYOS) which takes place over the first two weekends in June. We will be blogging about our favourite art and cultural events throughout the Dales and North Yorkshire, so if you’re a lover of art and culture look out for our updates.

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When you think of historical monuments the castle must be the most architecturally fascinating and the building most synonymous with medieval England. Bolton Castle, one of England’s best preserved medieval castles, incarcerated Mary Queen of Scots within its walls in 1568. Skipton Castle, withstood a three year siege during the Civil War and is also considered to be one of England’s best preserved and most complete castles. Now a ruin, Pendragon Castle must have the most evocative name of any fortification. According to legend Pendragon Castle was built in the 5th century by Uther Pendragon (father of King Arthur). Although there is no evidence to support this the legend of its heritage lives on. Closer to home the magnificent Middleham Castle, the childhood home of Richard III, towers over this beautiful Wensleydale town and the views over Wensleydale from the viewing platform are delightful.

If you want to mix up your history, spend a day at the beautiful Fountains Abbey. Known mainly for its vast Cistercian abbey ruins, it also has a medieval deer park, an Elizabethan hall, a Gothic church and an exquisite Georgian water garden. Near Skipton, Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale, is the Yorkshire seat of the 12th Duke of Devonshire and as well as the ruins of the Priory boasts over 30,000 acres of countryside and 80 miles of footpaths across the estate. If you’re visiting Middleham Castle then don’t miss the remains of Jervaulx Abbey in East Witton, once one of the great Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire. For something a little different, marvel at the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, an impressive feat of Victorian Engineering spanning 24 arches and 400 metres across Batty Moss.

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Call of the Wild

And call it does, with some of the country’s most beautiful and spectacular landscapes waiting to be explored, discovered and enjoyed. Hiking, cycling, fishing, abseiling, riding and kayaking are just some of the activities to get your heart pumping and endorphins flowing, and there is nowhere better to do this than at Howstean Gorge. If going underground appeals, but with a well trodden path underfoot, visit one of the Dales’ show caves at Ingleborough, White Scar Caves or Stump Cross Caverns.

You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy the wonderful wilderness that surrounds you. Take one of the many trails and walks along rivers and streams, to spectacular waterfalls or to take in the amazing views from the higher fells. The Ingleton Waterfall trail has it all and the drive over the Buttertubs Pass to get there is breathtaking. Combine a walk to Malham Tarn, at 377 metres above sea level the highest marl lake in the UK, with a stroll up to the top of Malham Cove. If all this fresh air has gone to your head and you’re up for pushing it to the max. then try Yorkshire’s own three peaks challenge (3 peaks, 24 miles in 12 hours) or for something as inspiring but without all the effort, spend a night star gazing at one of the Dark Sky Discovery Sites. For something truly spectacular discover some of the wildest water in Yorkshire. Hardraw Force near Hawes is the longest single drop waterfall in England. Stretching over a mile along the river Ure, Aysgarth Falls are a triple flight of falls with excellent paths and a visitor centre. Janet’s Foss near Malham, is named after the Queen of the Fairies, and does indeed look like it belongs in a fairytale. The wonderfully named Cauldron Falls just outside the Wensleydale village of West Burton were famously sketched by Turner; if you’re feeling inspired perhaps sit and paint your own masterpiece.

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Markets & Artisans

Whether it’s the smell of a freshly baked sourdough loaf, a long cool glass of ale, or the crumbly and creamy texture of Wensleydale cheese, the Yorkshire Dales has some fabulously delicious small artisan food producers to excite the senses. Visit the Wensleydale Creamery, the only place in the country to produce Yorkshire Wensleydale, or sample the fresh and delicate flavour of Ribblesdale Goat Cheese with its subtle hint of lemon in the palette. If you’re a lover of craft ale then you’re spoilt for choice in the Dales. For chocoholic beer drinkers try the choc & orange stout made by the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham or perhaps the raspberry and white chocolate milkshake IPA will curb that chocolate craving. How about a pint of Semer Water (don’t worry it’s a pale ale), or a Gamekeeper (it’s a bitter!) from the Wensleydale Brewery. Bursting with gorgeous fruity and light citrus flavours, a pint of the pale golden Butter Tubs, from the award winning Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company might be the perfect way to end the day.

If wandering amongst stalls filled with home made chutney, artisan bread,  cheeses, fruits and delicious local produce sounds like a fabulous way to stock up the pantry then one of the many markets and farmers markets held throughout the Dales will inspire your culinary choices. There are markets almost every day of  the week (except Sundays) and details of market days for each town can be  found on The Dales also has some fabulous farm shops including Town End Farm Shop in Malhamdale that played host to Tom Kerridge and the BBC’s “Top of the Shop” and Country Harvest at Ingleton with its award  winning food hall.

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Best of the Rest

If you have any time left and you’re not feeling too exhausted here are some other ideas to explore and discover in the National Park. Travel between Embsay Station and Bolton Abbey in style in beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages, pulled along by a vintage steam locomotive, perhaps enjoying a cream tea or a fish and chip supper along the way. With both a rolling stock of steam and diesel locomotives, the Wensleydale Railway is a 22 mile tourist and heritage line from Northallerton to Redmire and passing through the heart of the National Park.

For children, or the child within, visit The Forbidden Corner, a unique labyrinth of chambers, tunnels and follies created within a four acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park. At Hesketh Farm Park, feed and stroke the animals or get lost (and found) in the straw maze. In the heart of Wharfedale, Kilnsey Park Estate offers a great family day out with farm animals, children’s activities, pony trekking and fishing.

For thrill seekers eager for their roller coaster fix, head to Lightwater Valley to ride “The Ultimate”, Europe’s longest roller coaster. Junior thrill seekers can get wet and wild at Splash Falls or Wild River Rapids. If you love heights, then head over to Aerial Extreme near Bedale, and experience one of the world’s most awesome high ropes adventure courses. There is something for everyone in the Dales, the only problem you’ll have is finding time to fit it all in.

“A simply stunning house in the most beautiful location. Cherrie and Paul have thought of everything – from the generous welcome hamper with local produce to the luxurious beds, cosy blankets, wonderfully equipped kitchen and fabulously comfy outdoor seating area. A magical week  – we absolutely loved it. We hope we will be able to come back one day”

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At Low House Manor we are not just dog friendly, we’re full of puppy love, just ask Dinky our little rescue dog who especially loves splashing about in the river, the very cool and comfy Andy Warhol dog bed, and the special doggy treats that she leaves for our guests (of the doggy kind…..paws of humans!)