Aysgarth Falls are triple drop waterfalls located on the River Ure. The waterfalls stretch over a mile long, working their way down to mid-Wensleydale.
Aysgarth Falls has been attracting the public for over 200 years, including painters John Ruskin and poet William Wordsworth.
Though there are many waterfalls to choose from in the Yorkshire Dales, we would definitely say this is one of the best.
Aysgarth Falls is featured in the film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. We really enjoyed having plenty of time and space to explore the vast woodland and forest along with the falls.
Aysgarth Falls Parking
Located near the village of Aysgarth, the falls are highly popular for families, walkers and cyclists to visit. Situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the falls have many other things to see and do along with visiting the falls.
There are two main places for parking when visiting the falls, one is roughly a 10-15 minutes walk up the hill, and the other is at the Information Centre.
The first area of parking is next to St. Andrews Church. There are no definitive bays within this car park, so parking can be a little more unorganised but great if you don’t mind the walk or cheaper parking. There is a cafe and shop in the car park.
We found the access to the car park easy, and it was easy to find on our route to Aysgarth Falls. Here we found many campers, vans and motorhomes parking due to the size of the vehicle and space they require.
The second is the main car park for Aysgarth Falls, which is closer to the falls and have easy access paths leading in and out of the forest and to the falls themselves.
It is more expensive to park here, but if you want to be closer for children, the disabled or don’t want to walk far, this is the car park for you.
There is also direct access to electric charging ports for electric cars and closer to the toilets, information centre and shop. The car park is a great place to park if you think you might need to nip back to the car for anything such as a picnic, towels etc.
Aysgarth Falls Camping
Aysgarth is a great place to head if you are looking to camp in the Yorkshire Dales. There is a dedicated campsite located opposite St Andrews Church, owned by Aysgarth Hotel and Pub. The site itself has both spaces for caravans and motorhomes along with fields for tents.
You can book via the website, going into the pub/hotel itself or by phone. The campsite is in a great location and perfect if you plan to spend much of your time wandering down by the riverside and watching the fantastic falls.
As one of the more well known and visited waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, Aysgarth Falls are well looked after and laid out for visitors. With specialised parking nearer the falls along with a National Park information centre and public toilets, it was easy to see it was a major attraction for the area.
Aysgarth Falls is a collection of 3 tiers, the lower falls, middle falls and upper falls. When visiting the falls, you can head upstream to the upper falls where the water was calmer, or you can go to the middle and lower falls where the falls were more prominent, and the water was faster.
We found we started off going to the upper falls first, which was a short walk from the main road, where we walked down from the alternative car park.
The upper falls were much more relaxing and had many visitors sit down, enjoying picnics and making the most of the pebble beach area. Before the waterfall, the river created a large pool area where many could paddle and enjoy skipping rocks and watching the ducks play.
Behind the main path into the upper falls, there was an area of grass where many found a nice sunny spot to sit and enjoy the scenery. Here is a great place to set up a chair or blanket to enjoy the afternoon and a sandwich.
There were also other areas around on the pebble beach with trees creating shelter and shade from the sun.
We found this area the most popular and where we saw many families looking to sit down and spend much of their time as it was the most relaxing space and open area. Many had brought food and baskets to have a picnic and enjoy the waterfalls.
To get to the middle and lower falls, you have to walk back out the way you came in for the upper falls. You would then need to head back down to the main road and follow the signs for the next set of falls.
The slight ramp upwards takes you towards the car park and National Park information centre. You will see toilets, shops, and an information centre open for visitors at the central car park.
Keep following the path through the car park, and you will see more signs pointing to the middle and lower falls. We found the walk to the middle and lower falls was much more interesting as it is surrounded by woodland and forest with easy to follow and clear paths to make it easy for anyone to walk on.
We found an alternative route just off the main path to the side closer to the riverside to follow. We enjoyed the walk seeing flowers and wildlife along the way.
While walking the path to the lower falls, you will see a signpost for a viewing platform for the middle falls, and this takes you down 15 stairs to a wooden structure that allows you fantastic views over the middle falls.
When you walk back up, one thing to look at is the railings and the carvings into the wood. We found the small touches of carvings and use of wood in the woodland quite enchanting.
Here you could stand on the platform and look out over the middle falls, the bushes had been cut back to allow a good view, but it was still a little tricky, especially for children. The platform wasn’t too large and would roughly fit six people standing on the platform comfortably with a good view of the waterfall.
As we walked on towards the lower falls, we found the walk much longer than the previous ones, though this shouldn’t stop you as it is well worth the walk. We also enjoyed spending much more time here and exploring what else the national park offered.
We found many carvings and benches on our route down to the final falls, which were fun to see. The carvings were a great added touch to the walk and something to look out for on your route.
As we got closer to the lower falls, we noticed a set of steps going down towards the riverside; it was signposted as the “return path from riverside”, this was for people who wanted to walk along the riverside back up to the main path and would be the place to come out.
Carry on the main path going further down towards the lower falls; there is a gate and some steps down. If you are with children or are using a pushchair, you may need to carry these.
The gate is a barrier to stop any children from going too far without a parent or guardian. In addition, the gate reads some safety information that is wise to read before going through.
Be careful when going to the riverside and by the waterfall as it can be slippy, very dangerous and children should be supervised at all times.
We found it much quieter at the lower falls as fewer people were sitting in groups and relaxing as there were little space or grass areas to do so.
As the water is flowing faster and there isn’t a calm pocket of water which makes the lower falls unsafe to enter the water. If you wish to paddle, I would go to the upper falls, where the water is shallower and calmer with much less risk.
Plenty of people looked in the small holes in the rock face that caught water and sometimes marine life such as small fish and frogs. A great activity is to walk further up from the falls to find these holes and use a net to catch frogs and fish to explore more wildlife.
Walking back, you can either walk along the riverside to meet the steps I mentioned earlier, or you can turn around and join the path you came down on. We opted to walk along back on the riverside as it was nice to see more of the river and the waterfalls.
If you are looking for local places to eat, Aysgarth Falls Hotel & Pub is a 1-minute drive away or a 5-minute walk uphill. They have great seating inside and outside and a great menu to choose from. Dogs are allowed in the pub too, so they don’t have to miss out.
Alternatively, you can find a small ice cream shop that sells sandwiches, scones, drinks and sausage rolls. There is limited seating, but you can pick up your food and take it to the grassy banks of the upper falls to enjoy lunch by the waterfall.
The waterfalls are popular and can get quite busy; we found that it became quieter once we started walking around and exploring the different paths and trails. Due to the amount of space given for visitors to explore, there were plenty of peaceful areas.
We feel Aysgarth Falls would be a great place to spend the day, exploring the trails towards the middle and lower falls, along with seeing the waterfalls and paddling in the upper falls. It is a great place to sit and have a picnic and walk down to the quaint shop for ice cream.
There is also a small craft shop to the side that has plenty of lovely home crafted items and tokens to buy to take home as gifts and souvenirs of your trip.
If you want to visit an area that is more well documented, has facilities to use and is a place you can easily spend the day, you will want to consider going to Aysgarth Falls. It has excellent parking both by the main falls and up the road, it has plenty of space to roam around and explore, and it has a spot for one of the best places I have had a raspberry ripple ice cream!