Yorkshire Dales, United Kingdom

It’s easy to see why God nabbed these verdant uplands as his ‘own country’. Historic churches dot the Dales; St Michael and All Angels church in Hubberholme is one of the most charming; hunt for Robert Thompson’s signature hand-carved mice on the oaken pews. World Heritage Site Fountains Abbey has monastic ruins by beautiful water gardens, and history lovers can flit from castle to castle. Skipton, a 900-year-old castle is one of the best-preserved in England, Norman fortress Richmond Castle has panoramic views from its ramparts, and Bolton Castle has an array of medieval pursuits: bird-of-prey displays, wild-boar feeding and other antique animal capers. The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, in the centre of the Three Peaks, looks dramatic during the sunset; and for some local flavour, rest your hike-heavy feet at the Wensleydale Creamery to learn the art of cheese-making and taste Yorkshire’s finest fromage.

When to go

The Yorkshire Dales are beautiful (if unpredictable) year-round; expect freezing temperatures and snow showers in winter months, breezy autumns and sun-dappled summers. In springtime the woodland’s sprayed with daffodils and newborn lambs frolic in the fields.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Leeds Bradford International Airport is closest, around a half-hour drive from the Dales. British Airways fly direct from London Heathrow, around an hour’s journey.
  • Trains

    The National Express East Coast train from London King's Cross to Leeds takes a little over two hours. From Leeds, Northern Rail Lines can take you to Skipton, just south of the Dales, in around 45 minutes.
  • Automobiles

    A car is a must if you want to explore the Dales properly; the remoteness of its beauty spots are the area’s main draw; they’re largely unreachable by public transport. International hire companies Hertz and Avis both operate from Leeds Bradford International Airport. Expect winding country roads and tractors going at a leisurely pace.