Each part of the Yorkshire Dales has its own distinct character and history. To the east the Nidderdale area is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ripon, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Bedale all serve as charming East Dales bases. To the north more spectacular scenery awaits around Swaledale and Wensleydale.
Top Dales walking bases in this area include Reeth in the heart of Swaledale and Hawes the main hub for Wensleydale. The Pennine Way National Trail passes Hawes, making it particularly popular as a walker base. Malham and Settle in the South Dales are perfect as gateways into the Three Peaks whilst Skipton with its intact medieval castle serves as bustling main market town and gateway to the Dales. At beautiful Ingleton you'll find White Scar Cave, the spectacular massive ice-age cavern with underground waterfalls, streams and thousands of stalactites. Cyclists love the Dales and all the National Park Centres offer advice on marked cycle ways and cycle hire. Dotted within stunning scenery are bustling villages with specialist shops offering arts, crafts and some of the best outdoor clothing shops in the country. Historic spa towns such as Harrogate and Ilkley sit just on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Harrogate is famous for its spa, its shops, its many festivals and the Harrogate International Centre (HIC). It probably began to receive popular tourist attention after European royals started to frequent it in the early 20th century. It makes a great base for exploring the Dales.
As a result of all these facilities you are spoilt for choice with a huge range of hotels in Harrogate and other accommodation. But be warned that Harrogate hotels and other accommodation can be in short supply during large events at the International Centre.
If you love visiting ancient castles, ruined abbeys or old churches and priories you're in for a real treat in the Yorkshire Dales. At the southern gateway to the Dales you can discover Skipton Castle and Bolton Abbey. Skipton Castle during the War of the Roses was a Lancastrian stronghold and came under siege during the Civil War.
In Richmond in the North of the Dales you'll find Richmond Castle, built in 1071 by William the Conqueror. Richmond town centre also has a historic cobbled marketplace. The area around Richmond is 'James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small country - and a display of the original TV set is housed in the Richmondshire Museum.
The Yorkshire Dales covers the spectrum of history from the remains of an Iron Age stone rampart to the spectacular Medieval Skipton Castle to industrial mining features and remains on Grassington Moor.
Widely considered as one of the most scenic railway journeys in England, the historic Settle-Carlisle Railway line runs for 72 miles from Settle in the Yorkshire Dales upto Carlisle. First opened to the public in May 1876, the line takes in the famous 24 arched Ribblehead Viaduct and the longest tunnel on the line at Blea Moor. The route also pushes through stunning Dentdale, leaving the Dales at Garsdale then on through the Eden Valley to Carlisle. Both steam and diesel trains operate on the line, and you can hook into the route from Leeds, Blackpool, Preston and Blackburn. Checkout the daily timetable via the Settle Carlisle Railways webguide right. Stations along the 72 mile line include Settle, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ribblehead, Dent, Garsdale, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Langwathby, Lazonby, Armathwaite and Carlisle. Look to the Settle Carlisle webguide for attractions and ideas for days out at each stop. Choose from a variety of ticket options including Day Ranger Tickets and Rail Rover Tickets. Under fives travel free of charge.
The Southern Yorkshire Dales is a diverse landscape of peaks and towns. From the famous three peaks in the Ribblesdale area to beautiful Skipton Castle and the Leeds Liverpool Canal which runs through Skipton there's so much to do and see in this section of the Yorkshire Dales. Grassington and the Three Peaks are always firm favourites for a walker's base.
The Northern Yorkshire Dales has a profile of rolling hills and meadows and was once home to a thriving lead mining industry, the evidence of which marks the some of the scenery. Swaledale hosts many festivals in early June and Hawes makes a great base packed with accommodation and arts and crafts shops, and on the doorstep of 'James Herriot - All Creatures Great and Small Country'.
The Eastern Yorkshire Dales is another area of outstanding natural beauty. You'll find the home of some of the country's best real ale breweries in Masham. The Nidderdale region, with gorges and beautiful countryside is perfect for the walker, working out from Pateley Bridge as a base.
The Eastern Dales is also home to Ripon with its renowned cathedral and the amazing Fountains Abbey.
The Yorkshire Garden Centre is a family run business and is well established as one Yorkshire's leading gardening and lifestyle centres. The Yorkshire Garden Centre has a wide range of Water Features, Garden Furniture, Conservatory Furniture along with a vast selection of plants and other garden related products. Each year we host the largest Christmas Winter Wonderland in the region.
The Yorkshire Garden Centre provides an excellent day out with something for all ages including a coffee shop serving good value, traditional, home cooked snacks and lunches.
The gentle rolling pastures of the Western Dales, with perfect walking bases like Kirkby Lonsdale in the Lune Valley, Dent in Dentdale or Sedbergh at the base of the renowned Howgill Fells is the stunning area where the Cumbrian Fells meet the Yorkshire Dales.