Things to do in the Yorkshire Dales

Whilst visiting us at How Stean Gorge, here’s a few other exciting places to go and things to do in the Yorkshire Dales to consider

Natural Wonders

The Yorkshire Dales are brimming with natural wonders such as the unusual shapes of Brimham Rocks (30 mins away), the underground caverns of Stump Cross Caverns (26 min) and the limestone formation of Malham Cove (31 miles/about an hour) and Malham Tarn.

Stump Cross Caverns

Stump Cross Caverns is one of Britain’s premier show caves, located in Nidderdale on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. They are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to some amazing natural formations. Visit Stump Cross Caverns to find out more.

Coldstone Cut

4 mins from Stumpcross caverns is Coldstone Cut. Created by the artist Andrew Sabin, Cold Stone Cut is Nidderdale’s latest visitor attraction (24 minutes away from How Stean). A massive construction which visitors can freely walk through and explore, the sculpture overlooks the huge working Coldstones Quarry and offers spectacular views over the scenery of Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales.

Fabulous Food and Drink

Pateley Bridge and Masham are traditional Yorkshire market towns strewn with highly acclaimed shops selling award winning pork pies and sausages, groceries and ice cream.

Pateley Bridge is also home to England’s Oldest Sweet Shop, where you can recapture childhood memories. Glass jars fill the shop selling every sweet you can imagine. Mackenzies and Bleikers smokehouses are worth a visit if you love the flavour of smoked meat and fish. Taste real ale at Black Sheep or Theakston’s Brewery Visitor Centres in Masham.

Oldest Sweet Shop in England - Things to Do in Yorkshire
Oldest Sweet Shop in England

There’s more and more farm shops to see on your travels, as farmers sell their meats and produce direct to the customer! Meadow Dale Ice cream in Lofthouse, G and T ice cream parlour at Risplith on the way to Ripon. After dark, choose from a selection of award-winning restaurants, tasty tearooms or cosy, fire-lit pubs.

Heritage and Culture

Real gems are only minutes away. Admire 600 years of Ingilby family history at Ripley Castle and marvel at the National Trust’s World Heritage Site Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Gardens. Take a train on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway or visit RHS Harlow Carr and see gardens through time.

Train drivers with train on the Bolton to Embsay Railway
Bolton and Embsay Railway

Visit the award winning Nidderdale Museum to see life in the Dales over the centuries and pop in to see glassblowers at work in the King Street Workshops. Take in the breath-taking scenery of Coldstones Cut, Yorkshire’s biggest and highest public artwork.

For other great ideas and things to do in Yorkshire, please visit Welcome to Yorkshire.


Put on your walking boots and delve into the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or take your mountain bike and go off road! Dawdle, stroll or hike – go at your own pace. Follow old drover routes and green lanes across undulating moorland and lush green valleys. There’s miles of way marked footpaths and trails through some of the best scenery in Britain. Sypelands outdoor shop is situated in the Pateley Bridge High street should you need supplies.

How Stean Gorge lies next to the Nidderdale Way, a 53 mile circular route which leads you through the highlights of this spectacular landscape. Scar House, Angram and Gouthwaite Reservoirs as well as Great and Little Whernside are nearby landmarks and are a real test for ambitious walkers.

The Nidderdale Way

The Nidderdale Way is a circular long distance footpath of 53 Miles established in the early 1980.  A Guide Nidderdale Way (Sprial Bound)  – 6 March 2019 by Beth Rimmer is available at Amazon or Blackwells

Mountain Biking

Suitable in any weather a great ride with hardly any tarmac. It starts at the top of Nidderdale at the car park next to Scar House Bunk Barn, (operated by How Stean Gorge). The route takes you across stony tracks high above the dale, before descending down a rubble slope to Bouthwaite. You then pass through farmland back up the valley, which then takes you up a steep climb to Middlesmoor and the superb descent back to the reservoir. Route details on the Nidderdale AONB website

Wildlife Watching

Upper Nidderdale is home to red grouse, plovers, curlews, oyster catchers and lapwing. Raptors such as red kite may also be spotted soaring high. Gouthwaite Reservoir (SSSI) is a renowned bird sanctuary and recommended location to spot waders and wildfowl and has an excellent viewing area. The heather clad moorland is also a haven for redshank and snipe and good for spotting raptors.

Curlew wading into water in Nidderdale - Wildlife Watching

Retail therapy

Typical Yorkshire market towns such as Pateley Bridge, Masham, Grassington and Skipton are full of art galleries, craft shops and antiques. The elegant spa town of Harrogate has a healthy mix of high street and individual boutique shops.


Local stables at Bewerley and Masham organise hacks for visitors.

Bewerley Riding Centre
Telephone: 01423 712249


Masham Riding Centre
Telephone: 01423 712249


Nidderdale Leisure Centre has an indoor heated swimming pool. Open 7 days a week. See Nidderdale Pool for more information.