13 Best Villages & Towns to Visit in the Yorkshire Dales

Being from Wakefield, I spend a lot of time in the Yorkshire Dales, especially in the summer. The third largest National Park in the UK is home to many charming towns and villages. But which ones are best?

1. Burnsall

For over ten years now, I’ve spent Easter Monday with my family in the village of Burnsall. This village has 100 residents and is overlooked by Burnsall Fell, host of the oldest fell race in England.

The Rive Wharf runs through the centre of the village and is the perfect spot for paddling on a hot, sunny day.

2. Grassington

Grassington is one of the largest and most popular villages in the Yorkshire Dales.

The village is well connected and offers several accommodation options. This makes Grassington an excellent choice for those looking to stay overnight in the Dales.

3. Pateley Bridge

Pateley Bridge is home to the oldest sweet shop in the world and well-connected. Although the village isn’t as big as Grassington, it’s still a fantastic place from which to explore the Yorkshire Dales.

Pateley Bridge has inspired writers and artists alike, and after a visit here, you’ll soon see why.

4. Kettlewell

Located in Upper Wharfedale, Kettlewell is one of my favourite villages in the Yorkshire Dales. Featured in the film Calendar Girls’, Kettlewell epitomises Yorkshire charm.

The village is home to 17th- and 18th-century stone brick cottages. It has three pubs, a village shop, two cafes, and a small petrol station.

5. Malham

Malham is one of the villages in the Yorkshire Dales that I visited most often as a child. I’ve had many picnics at the top of Malham Cove, in the sunshine and the rain.

White-painted stone houses line this village’s winding roads, making it the perfect picture postcard for your trip to the Dales.

6. West Burton

West Burton is one of the larger villages in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s home to several local stores, cafes, and family-run bed and breakfasts.

A 300m walk from the centre of the village is Cauldron Falls, a picturesque waterfall on the Walden Beck.

7. Buckden

You’ll find the village of Buckden on the bank of the River Wharfe. This charming village will not be missed, with a population of less than 200.

Buckden is popular with hikers taking on the Dales Way. This 85-mile hike goes from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria.

8. Appletreewick

Five miles north of Bolton Abbey, you’ll find the charming village of Appletreewick.

Picturesque houses here date back to the 12 century. Meanwhile, The New Inn pub is a popular rest point for those exploring the area.

9. Leyburn

Known as “The Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales”, Leyburn boasts some of the National Park’s best views.

If you’re looking to stay overnight in the Dales or go hiking, Leyburn is an excellent choice. There are plenty of accommodation options here, as well as several shops, cafes, and pubs.

10. Richmond

The town of Richmond in North Yorkshire has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries, which only adds to its beauty and charm.

This lively market town has plenty to keep you busy, including ghost walks, a castle keep, and the oldest working Georgian playhouse.

11. Muker

Muker is set on the hillside above the River Swale. Home to the highest inn in England, this Yorkshire Dales village dates back hundreds of years.

Muker is popular with hikers on local walks alongside the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast. It’s also home to several bed and breakfasts, two pubs, a village store, a gallery, and a craft store.

12. Long Preston

The village of Long Preston is located on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, 12 miles from Skipton.

The village pub, The Boars Head, is popular with both locals and tourists. Meanwhile, the Rohan store is popular with hikers who want to pick up last-minute supplies.

13. Clapham

The small village of Clapham is situated on the border of the Yorkshire Dales. It is home to an award-winning community shop and two small cafes.

The village is very popular with walking groups who set off from here to take on the three peaks. Meanwhile cycles also pass through Clapham at the end of the Way of the Roses coastal route.


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  1. Ron Lindsay says:

    Lived in Wentworth Yorkshire for 14 months back in the 1990s. During that time we spent as much time as possible exploring the back roads and little villages of the Dales. We visited almost every town mentioned and agree heartily with the claim of their charm and beauty.