Wandering around Wharfedale

Published: Wednesday 8th Sep 2021

The Top 5 Places to Visit in this part of the Dales

Eliza Duckworth

I’m Eliza and I am the website copywriter at Original Cottages. Although I live in Norwich now, I grew up in West Yorkshire, and wanted to share my favourite parts of my home county.

Wharfedale, just a few miles north of Bradford and Leeds, and on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, is my favourite place in Yorkshire. It always has been, ever since I was a kid and would spend my weekends and school holidays playing in the river at Burnsall, and running through the ruins of Bolton Abbey. The River Wharfe meanders through a series of small villages, landmarks, and fields, where green hills, rocky riverbanks and creatures great and small decorate the landscape. It is a part of Yorkshire that is popular with locals and tourists alike, and although it is always hard to pick the best parts of ‘God’s Own County’, these are my personal Wharfedale favourites. 


Bridge over water with the hills and blue sky background

Burnsall is an idyllic little village situated midway between Bolton Abbey and Appletreewick. It is also where the Wharfe loops round across two grass fields, making it the prime location for a bit of summertime paddling. The main bridge in the village is a crossway from one side, which is home to a couple of shops and cafes, to a large open field, where it is possible to park your car and set up camp for the day. Although Burnsall tends to be heaving on sunny days, with people desperate to dip their toes in the water, it also has a series of popular countryside walking routes, and for those wanting to go further, it is the perfect place to start a longer walk towards Linton and Grassington. 

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey is the site of the ruins of a 12th century monastery known as Bolton Priory. Deconsecrated during the Tudor period, most of the Abbey has been in ruins since, but there is still a church on the site that was repaired during the Victorian era. Set right on the banks of the Wharfe, Bolton Abbey stands truly splendid against the backdrop of the Dales. You can attempt to cross the river via its infamous stepping stones, explore the ruins of the Abbey, or enjoy a relaxing picnic in the fields. Whatever you choose to do here, it will surely be memorable. 


sheep and heather on the rocky moor

Ilkley is a town best known as being home to the famous Ilkley Moor. Ilkley Moor itself is a beautiful walk, and visitors there can climb up the iconic Cow and Calf Rocks that overlook the town. But the centre itself has plenty to offer too. Home to a branch of Bettys Tea Rooms, a household name in Yorkshire and home of the delicious ‘Fat Rascal’ cakes, Ilkley is bustling with a range of independent shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and more. It is a place that I would describe as ‘a bit posh’ (in the best way), and is definitely the perfect place to enjoy a day out of retail therapy, and good food and drink.  

The Strid

Known as the most dangerous stretch of river in the world, it might seem strange that I’m including such an infamous location in this list, but I promise you The Strid is not as scary as it sounds. Instead, The Strid is a fascinating section of the Wharfe, where its waters crash through at speed, and as long as you keep your distance, it is quite the spectacle. The Strid is also on one of Bolton Abbey’s most popular walking routes, and the Strid Wood Tea Rooms provide ramblers with refreshment and glorious views before you head back to the Abbey. The Strid is surrounded by magical woodland, and there are often lots of trails, treasure hunts and other kids’ events that take place there throughout the year. 


River winding through the sheep filled fields

Accessible via car, or on a walk from Burnsall or Grassington, Linton is a small village that looks like it has been lifted straight from a postcard. The village green is the perfect spot for a picnic on the stream’s edge, or if you fancy stopping off for some local pub grub, The Fountaine Inn is right in the centre. Granted, Linton is not a hive of activity, but that is part of its charm, and definitely showcases the best of the Yorkshire countryside. 

Visiting the Yorkshire Dales

We have a number of cottages located in the Dales, and the surrounding areas, which would place you in the prime location for exploring this part of the county. Prospect Farm in Appletreewick is right in the heart of Wharfedale, and is within walking distance of Burnsall. Middleton View is one of our larger properties and sleeps up to 7 guests and is located in Ilkley. Our range of properties in Skipton are also a great option, as it is right on the border of Wharfedale and is within driving distance of all these places. Whether you are an experienced hiker, a family with kids who want ice creams in the sun, or simply someone who wants to take in breathtaking scenery, Wharfedale is the place to be.