UM4
Family-friendly walks in the Yorkshire Dales holiday cottages

Family-friendly walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales.

Exclusively for Gorgeous Cottages he’s listed his top five family-friendly walks in the Yorkshire Dales below….

The Yorkshire Dales is a wonderful area for walking, I have spent the past 15 years discovering its hidden gems, many long walks, but also shorter ones as well. Having a young family has meant that ‘gentle walks that are full of interest’ is the requirement. Here are a few of my favourite family-friendly walks in the Yorkshire Dales, many of which are also pushchair friendly:

Exploring the lands of Bolton Abbey – 2.5 miles

Bolton Abbey - family-friendly walk

I have visited Bolton Abbey, a 12th-century Cistercian abbey, many times and it is excellent for a young family. The River Wharfe flows next to the abbey and some excellent paths lead up into the woods on the far side. Just follow the path up to the bridge at the Cavendish Pavilion and then return back along the river bank. I have seen many families with pushchairs as well as older children on the walk.

Full walk details 

What else can you do there?

Known as the jewel in the crown of Yorkshire, the estate has more than 30,000 acres of breathtaking countryside with over 80 miles of footpath to wander. It makes a great family day out for those who like to get out and about in the fresh air, and there is also an ever-changing events programme for children. While you are there you should also explore the ruins of the Priory, where you will uncover some fascinating history - sure to go down well at school! When it's time to refuel, head to the restaurant, cafes or tearooms and then treat yourself to a souvenir from the gift shop. who doesn't remember those bookmarks and pencils tempting you to part with your pocket money on family days out?

Stay nearby

A walk under Kilnsey Crag – 2 miles

Kilnsey Crag

The spectacular overhanging rock at Kilnsey is a great setting for a short walk into the limestone scenery nearby. The walk is over some fields and then joins the famous Mastiles Lane before turning back towards the crag. There may well be climbers on the rock itself to watch, and there is also an excellent café to finish the walk.

Full walk details

What else can you do there?

There's lots for children to do on the Kilnsey Park Estate. As well as the wonderful walking and getting the kids out in the fresh air, there are lots of events and activities on offer including fun fishing and cycling. Horsey children (and those keen to learn) can try out some pony trekking - the estate's trekking and riding centre is just a mile from Kilnsey Park, in the village of Conistone. All levels are welcome and for those who are used to being onboard, long trails up onto the moors are available. For animal-loving little ones, the estate is home to friendly farm animals as well as some interesting wildlife including cheeky red squirrels, butterflies and yucky bugs! 

Stay nearby

The waterfalls of Askrigg – 3.5 miles

Askrigg Falls

The pretty village of Askrigg in Wensleydale was used for the filming of All Creatures Great and Small although for the younger visitors, it is the triple flight of waterfalls that come off the hillside behind the village which will be the main attraction. Discover exciting and safe places to play in, eat picnics and enjoy the spectacular views across the Yorkshire Dales. The youngest of children (if able to walk) will have enough to distract them from any climbing they need to do. 

Full walk details

What else can you do there?

Take the public footpaths through the wooded valleys, with stunning views of the river and falls. Hunt for fairies and play hide and seek and then return to the café where children will be thrilled with a slice of sticky cake and a drink. Stop by the visitors' centre to find out more about the falls and surrounding areas, and empty little pockets with some of the items for sale. Later, pop into the village of Askrigg where adults can see if they recognise anything James Herriot related, and smaller members will be thrilled with a foray into the old-fashioned sweet shop, open in the summer months.  

Stay nearby

Fountains Abbey & Studley Park – 3 miles

Fountains Abbey

Situated close to Ripon is the best and most complete example of an abbey in the north of England. It is easy to get lost wandering around its ruins whilst the walk itself carries on through the grounds and on to the deer sanctuary of Studley Park. It is perfect for pushchairs but my children enjoyed the grounds, sense of history (Anne Boleyn stayed here) and ice cream in the tea shop with surely one of the best views in England!

Full walk details

What else can you do there?

The woodland play area is a definite favourite for the smallest members of the family. With wooden swings and slides and little castle towers to climb, they will love to burn off any excess energy here. Made from sustainable timber and hand-spliced ropes, this natural playscape has been designed to blend in with the surrounding woods. The scramble nets are always popular, especially as you can swing with a sibling or perhaps even make a new friend! Also check out the firemen's' poles, the huge rope bridge and a zip wire for the most adventurous members of the family.

Stay nearby

A walk along to Malham Cove – 2 miles

Malham Cove

An easy, pushchair-friendly walk to one of the most popular sites in the Yorkshire Dales. Malham Cove is a spectacular amphitheatre of rock which you can walk right up to, whilst the more energetic can climb up the steep stone steps to its summit. Here lies a wonderful limestone pavement where amongst others Hermione and Harry pondered the difficulties of a slightly abnormal childhood. Malham village has tea shops and 2 excellent pubs.

Full Walk details

What else can you do there?

Malham Cove is a beautiful picnic spot - get the whole family involved in making a yummy picnic and look for a spot below the limestone rocks. Older children with a taste for adventure can climb the steep pathway to the top to discover Malham Tarn and the limestone pavement at the top of the Cove. Younger members can take first dibs on desserts as they watch elegant peregrine falcons soaring above. If you are not lucky enough to see them, head over to the RSPB viewpoint to see if you have more luck there! 

Stay nearby

Thanks to Jonathan for sharing his favourite family-friendly walks in the Yorkshire Dales with us. 

There are so many family-friendly walks in the Yorkshire Dales, you can discover something new every week, so come take a look!  And if we’ve missed one of your favourites, tell us – we would love to hear about it….

And after exploring the Dales on foot, take some time to relax at one of our beautiful luxury Yorkshire Dales holiday cottages.

Like it? Share it...

Read more like this

The best Easter events in Yorkshire

Enjoy a fun-filled family holiday to Yorkshire this spring with our round up of of the best events taking place in the Easter holidays.

10 things to do in Yorkshire during 2020

Have you made any plans for 2020 yet? If you’re stuck for ideas and need a little inspiration we have compiled some things you can try in Yorkshire during the year. Our useful guide will help you coincide your trip with some of the most interesting events in the region from food fairs and art festivals. Yorkshire is a vast area with contrasting landscapes and a distinct culture. What will you find here that will inspire you and make you return again and again? Why not...

Insider's guide to Pickering

Welcome to Pickering, the gateway to the North York Moors. This quaint town is a popular holiday destination for everybody that loves the great outdoors and all the activities you could ever get up to on a jaunt to this part of North Yorkshire. From walking on the moors, exploring ancient castles, to cycling through forests, Pickering offers all those who com...
The Travel Chapter Limited, trading as holidaycottages.co.uk | The Travel Chapter Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered office Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF Company No. 02431506 | VAT reg: 143053210