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North England – Yorkshire Dales #adeoontheroad

Continuing with our adventures in North England (blog post here), we departed the breath-taking Lake District after spending a relaxing night at Lindeth Howe Hotel, and travelled south to Yorkshire Dales.

YORKSHIRE DALES

Our journey took us in to yet another remarkable National Park – the “Dales” are located mainly in North English county of Yorkshire. Neighbouring with the magnificent Lake District National Park from north-west and the gorgeous city of York from south-east, this nature reserve is home to spectacular waterfalls, stone-built houses and species-rich hay meadows.

The scenery of the park is diverse and stretches from picturesque, less remote south, through charming villages and small towns of the west, to the wild and remote moorlands and grasslands of the north. Landscapes are unspoilt, both dramatic and peaceful at once, brimming with hidden gems and open landscapes, criss-crossed with the familiar dry-stone walls and the renowned cow houses typical of the region, remaining from the traditional farming techniques of the past.

Wallace and Gromit

We stopped in the village of Hawes to visit the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre to take in the gift shop and, of course, taste some of the great artisan cheeses they offer. Award-winning with over a 1000 years of experience and heritage, we tried many classic and unique flavours, including blue cheese, cheddar, oak smoked, cranberry and even a pineapple and ginger cheeses! Some even twice, but shhh… The gift shop has many kitchen and home merchandise with a full section of famous “Wallace and Gromit” themed goods and objects. Buying cheese and few gifts home, we left very pleased and happy!

Mark squeezing between rocks

Afterwards, we ventured to the Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden (photo on top). This hidden gem is one of the most unusual Grade II listed buildings of Historic England. Built in 1906 for Frank Sayer-Graham, the garden was originally designed as a walk-through grotto and looks very inconspicuous from outside – we certainly would never have found it without the guidance of our driver! Once you enter the little gate with the original “Private Rock Garden” sign however, you’ll find yourself lost in a magical world of rocks, mosses, flowers and plants, mainly alpine, and even a tiny waterfall! Beautifully maintained, the garden is a little adventure with its narrow paths and steep steps. Squeezing through and bending down by the rock formations, we listened to the birds, admired variety of plants and definitely minded our heads!

Mark and Duncan also took us past the cascading waterfalls of Aysgarth Falls, which are within 5 minute-drive from the rock garden, before they took us to one of the main attractions of the day – the imposing Fountains Abbey.

 

FOUNTAINS ABBEY

A highlight of our day crossing the Dales was our stop at the 800 year-old Fountains Abbey; the imposing riverside ruins of a medieval Cistercian monastery listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. This magnificent abbey was established by devout monks seeking a simpler existence and nowadays the remaining ruins stand proudly with the museum dedicated to the history of life in and around the monastery. At the adjacent Studley Royal, we walked to the Water Garden, one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England, with elegant ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades, as well as the Studley Royal Deer Park with over 300 red, sika and fallow deer and a visit St Mary’s Church, one of the finest examples of high Victorian gothic revival architecture in England, designed by William Burges, we were truly impressed by this destination and would recommend any history-buff to go there.

AFTERNOON TEA

Our day wouldn’t be complete, after all our sightseeing, without stopping for a traditional Afternoon Tea to recharge our batteries, in the spa town of Harrogate.

happy Steffi & our Afternoon Tea

The very British tradition of taking afternoon tea began with Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford and a close friend of Queen Victoria, who popularised the concept of late afternoon snack in 1840. The Duchess got hungry around 4pm and as the evening’s meal wasn’t served until 8pm, she asked for a tray of tea, bread, butter, and cake during the late afternoon. It became such a habit, she began inviting friends to join her in her room to enjoy it. This pause for tea and food soon became a fashionable social event and during the 1880’s upper-class and society women would wear long gowns, gloves and hats to Afternoon Tea. We’ve dropped the Victorian attire, but nowadays, an Afternoon Tea still typically consists of several types of fresh finger sandwiches, fresh scones with clotted cream and preserves, various homemade cakes and pastries, and is accompanied by a tea or coffee. After a whole day of exploring, we truly enjoyed ourselves over this delicious treat and were ready to spend our evening in a walled English city of York, located in country’s North part nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park and around 100 miles from sound Liverpool and spectacular Lake District.

If you want to experience it yourself, this journey across the Dales is one which features on our England’s Rustic Charm tour or can be included on any of our tailored self-drive tours encompassing the North of England. Please get in touch with one of our friendly travel consultants for more information.

More to come from our trip as we travelled from York to Chester next week!

Magdalena Glen

February 16, 2024

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