I’m not against holidays abroad. If you’re happy to put up with the long airport queues, possibility of strikes and the application of copious amounts of sun cream then it’s all good. Now my boys are grown up, we find ourselves free to travel to the parts of the world that were more inhibiting when they were young. As my wife’s a teacher, we’re still restricted to taking holidays during the peak periods, and so interspersing trips abroad with the UK seem a good option.
Of course we can’t predict the good old British weather, but if you’re prepared to pack your walking boots, waterproofs and even a bottle of sun cream, there is nowhere better in the world. Choosing the right time of day to travel also makes a big difference. We left home at 6.00 in the morning, missing the bulk of holiday and rush hour traffic, and arrived in Ilkley just over 3 hours later and in time for an amazing breakfast at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms. Not cheap but an absolute treat, worth every penny and one not to be missed if ever you find yourself in Ilkley.
Ilkley Moor comes right down to the town and is easily accessible by foot. In August it’s covered in beautiful heather. The views and walks are stunning. This was our short stopover on the way to the Dales which turned into a full day, such was the beauty of this lovely floral town and it’s surrounding countryside.
We stayed just off the South Western edge of the Dales and about 9 miles west of Skipton at the Plough Inn in Wigglesworth. Booking a premium double room paid off as our bedroom was on the side of the building away from the road and any possible noise from traffic passing through the village could not be heard. The room was lovely, well appointed and was furnished with quality drapes and fittings. The food in the evening and at breakfast was second to none as were the ambience and decor. We were a short drive away form the spectacular area of Malhamdale. A 4.5 mile walk from the village of Malham took in the spectacular sights of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. Suggested walkiing routes were obtainable from the visitors centre in the main car park.
We did go a little crazy with our touring taking in much of the Dales and travelling as far as Richmond, just off the North Eastern side of the Dales National Park. A beautiful Georgian town built on hills so plenty of steep streets lined with pretty cottages and town houses. Spectacular views of the river Swale could be seen from the Castle Walk.
If quaint and touristy is your thing then Grassington has plenty to offer with a wide array of gift and craft shops, pubs and eateries. Armed with our OS map, we embarked on another 5 mile circular walk takng in the river Wharfe and Grass Woods. A final stop in Grassington Village for an early bite before headiing home in the evening once again meant missing the bulk of the daytime traffic.
An area that seems to be less explored by visitors from the south, the Yorkshire Dales has plenty to offer in terms of picturesque villages, towns and spectacular countryside with many wide panoramic views across the low stone-built walled fields and higher moors.
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