There are a host of attractions in Nidderdale including caving, llama trails, horse riding, artist’s workshops, England’s oldest sweet shop, the famous rock formations of Brimham Rocks and nearby heritage sites such as Fountain’s Abbey, Jervaulx Abbey, Ripon Cathedral. Here are some of our favourites
Brimham Rocks is an amazing collection of fantastically shaped rocks, managed by the National Trust. These balancing rock formations are at a height of nearly 300m and enjoy spectacular views over the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This World Heritage Site offers a great day out for all the family. The dramatic abbey ruins are the largest monastic ruins in the country. The breathtaking landscape is also home to one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens and a medieval deer park where Red, Fallow and Sika deer can be seen alongside ancient lime, oak and sweet chestnut trees.
Yorkshire’s biggest and highest public artwork, Coldstones Cut is a monumental sculpture from which visitors can view both the huge working Coldstones Quarry and the spectacular scenery of Nidderdale.
Jervaulx Abbey is a 12th century Cistercian Monastery. This atmospheric ruin has over 200 wildflowers adorning its walls and is set within 125 acres of beautiful parkland. There is also a Tearoom and Visitor Centre, which holds a scale model of how the Abbey would have looked in its day.
Studfold’s Explore, Discover and Learn Trail has been designed specifically for family days out aimed at primary and pre-school aged children. Along the trail children will find the giant storytelling chair, interactive information points, a wildflower meadow maze, a bird hide and treasure boxes among many other surprises. It offers fresh air, fun and adventure in a truly unique setting and an exciting insight into the hidden delights of the ‘Great Outdoors’ in Upper Nidderdale.
How Stean Gorge is a dramatic limestone ravine located in Upper Nidderdale. This steep sided chasm is almost one kilometre in length and 20 metres (80 feet) deep in places. Visitors can enjoy a woodland walk along the ravine, following winding paths and aerial footbridges, stopping to explore caves and spot wildlife on the way. For the more adventurous, there are instructor-led activities, including Via Ferrata, Abseiling, Gorge Scrambling, Caving, Canoeing and Climbing. Open all year round.
Stump Cross Caverns
Stump Cross Caverns is one of Britain’s premier show caves. It is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is home to some unusual natural rock formations and a superb range of stalactites and stalagmites. In addition, a twenty minute film presentation, in a comfortable lecture theatre, informs visitors of the history and development of the caverns within the local area. Facilities include a gift shop with a large selection of crystals and fossils and a tea room.
The caves are open every day from 10am – 6pm (last admission into the caves is 4.45pm), from 13th February to 1st December.
Hackfall is listed as a Grade 1 Garden in English Heritage’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It was bought by John Aislabie in 1731 who was famous for his landscaping work at nearby Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. It is an ancient woodland garden dominated by oak, beech, sycamore and ash trees, plus limes originating from the 18th century. There are also many man-made period features including follies, cascades and a fountain. It is possible to see nuthatches, great and lesser spotted woodpeckers, blue tits and great tits nesting in some of the 58 bird boxes located across the site.
Nidderdale Llamas offers llama trekking through the beautiful Nidderdale countryside. These animals make wonderful walking companions and llama trekking is a unique and personal experience. Available all year round.
Toft Gate Lime Kiln is a largely intact piece of Nidderdale’s industrial heritage which sits two miles out of Pateley Bridge on Greenhow Hill. The long flue is still standing, and much of the Toft Gate Lime Kiln itself has been uncovered to show the scale of work carried out here. This small local kiln remains as a reminder of the local industry in the Dale. The Kiln can be explored via a short trail with a series of information boards which explain how the kiln would have worked.
Open daily with free entry.
The Nidderdale Museum has a large collection illustrating all aspects of life in Nidderdale. It reflects the life of people in imaginative and realistic settings. There are rooms devoted to Leisure, Agriculture, Industry, Religion, Transport, Costume, an original Cobblers Shop, Victorian Parlour, General Store and Schoolroom and much more.
The Nidderdale Museum gift shop has a variety of publications for sale relating to the local area.
Ripley Castle is 700 years old and has been owned by the same family throughout its history. Visitors can take a tour of the castle and enjoy the magnificent gardens and grounds. The Walled Gardens contain some of Britain’s largest herbaceous borders and within the large pleasure grounds there is a collection of specimen trees from around the world, a large ornamental lake and a waterfall. The deer park is home to one thousand year old oak trees and offers ample opportunity for wildlife spotting including fallow deer, canada and greylag geese, teal and wigeon among others. There is also a gift shop, tea room and children’s play area.
Ripon Cathedral has a history stretching back almost fourteen centuries. It has many interesting features, including the medieval woodcarvings that decorate the choir stalls, which are believed to have inspired Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. Another literary figure associated with the Cathedral is war poet, Wilfrid Owen, who following a period of convalescence from shell-shock, spent his 25th birthday quietly in the cathedral.
Ripon Cathedral is open to visitors every day from 8:30am to 6pm with visitors welcome to explore, except during services.
Bewerley Riding Centre
Situated just outside Pateley Bridge, the riding centre has been providing equestrian tuition and guidance since 1967. With lessons, hacking and riding for all ages and abilities.
England’s Oldest Sweet Shop
Based on Pateley Bridge High Street, the famous Oldest Sweet Shop in the World has been trading continuously since 1827. It is an official World Guinness record holder (Guinness book of records 2014 – The Oldest Sweet Shop in The World) and has appeared on national TV and in the world wide media. It sells chocolates, ice cream and old fashioned sweets still made to the original recipes dating to the 19th century.
King Street Workshops
Part of The Old Workhouse complex in Pateley Bridge, King Street Workshops bring together a small group of highly talented and skilled craftspeople who are masters of their art. Collectively, they design and make their beautiful and exclusive pieces in a variety of materials including: fine wood, clay, hand-blown glass, precious metals and gemstones.