Nestled amongst Yorkshire’s cinematic landscape are some of the most impressive waterfalls in the country. From picturesque stepped falls to roaring 100-foot cascades, Yorkshire is awash with these natural wonders where you can admire nature’s power in action.
Whether it’s a scenic family walk you’re looking for or something a bit more challenging, a perfect picnic spot or somewhere you can have a paddle or a swim, there’s a waterfall to suit every occasion. And the best thing about waterfalls? They’re even more dramatic in the rain – so don’t let the Great British weather hold you back!
Our guide to the prettiest Yorkshire waterfalls highlights some of the most alluring falls in the land as they trickle, tumble and crash their way through the countryside. And if you’re thinking of visiting but haven’t yet found somewhere to stay, click the button below to browse our gorgeous collection of Yorkshire holiday cottages.
Hardraw Force, Hawes
Postcode: DL8 3LZ
The highest single-drop waterfall in England at an estimated 100 feet, Hardraw Force plunges water from Hardraw Beck over a rocky overhang and is a sight to behold. This Yorkshire beauty spot has had some illustrious admirers including J.M.W. Turner, Britain’s greatest watercolour painter, who sketched the falls in 1816, and William Wordsworth who visited the cascade after seeing the exquisite painting. And for any film buffs visiting, you might recognise this Yorkshire Dales waterfall from Kevin Costner’s bathing scene in Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves.
Tucked away in a copse behind the 13th-century Green Dragon Inn near, Hawes, you’ll have to pay a modest entrance fee to visit Hardraw Force, but it is more than worth it. Visit in winter for a chance to discover the waterfall completely frozen into a gigantic icicle, and in full spate it’s an awe-inspiring vision of the power of nature. We can't promise Kevin Costner, but the water alone is winsome enough.
Stay nearby: The Old Sorting Office | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs
Aysgarth Falls, Leyburn
Postcode: DL8 3TH
One of the best-known waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, Aysgarth Falls is a series of three roaring cascades in a wooded valley on the River Ure in Wensleydale. This triple flight of falls, a product of the Ice Age, is not so much high and dramatic as wide and picturesque, comprising of Upper Force, Middle Force and Lower Force. Upper Force is the most vivacious of the group, Middle Force has the largest single drop of around 2 metres, and Lower Force is the most serene - all are a short walk away from one another.
Follow in the footsteps of celebrated writer Wordsworth, and acclaimed artists Ruskin and Turner, strolling along the succession of tiered falls for around a mile, as water rushes over broad limestone steps. This is also another backdrop for the Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves film, with the renowned fight scene between Robin and Little John. After a spell of heavy rain when gallons of water tumbles over the falls, this is a great spot for kayak enthusiasts looking for a white-knuckle, white-water challenge.
Stay nearby: Riversong | Sleeps 4
Janet’s Foss, Skipton
Postcode: BD23 4DL
Nestled within enchanting woodland, this National Trust waterfall in Yorkshire looks like it belongs in a storybook. Just a short walk from Malham village, this small yet powerful cascade carries Gordale Beck over a limestone lip before plummeting 16 feet into the deep pool below. The lime-rich water has deposited a screen of spongy moss-covered tufa underneath the waterfall which adds to the pretty effect of the scene.
Spring is a particularly breathtaking time to visit as the surrounding woodland of Janet's Foss is alive with birdsong, and the swathes of bluebells and aromatic wild garlic carpeting the forest floor is a delight. According to legend, the idyllic waterfall is named after Janet, the Queen of the Fairies, who supposedly dwells in the little cave tucked behind the sheet of water. Whether you believe in the magic of the place or not, there’s lots of fun to be had enjoying the scenery and dipping your toes in the cool pool.
Stay nearby: Ripley's Rest | Sleeps 4
Ingleton Waterfalls, Ingleton
Postcode: LA6 3ET
Boasting no less than six impressive falls, the 5-mile Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is one of the best waterfall walks in the UK. The circular route follows the winding rivers, Twiss and Doe, beneath the dappled canopies of ancient oak woodland. Highlights include Pecca Falls with its five waterfalls dropping an overall 30 metres, Beezley Falls with its three side-by-side cascades and Rival Falls where the river drops into a dark and foreboding pool, intriguingly named the ‘Black Hole' and reputed to be more than 80ft deep.
The star of the trail is the magnificent Thornton Force, a 14-metre cascade over a limestone cliff which is 300 million years old. Immortalised by artist J.M.W. Turner, this giant and its cacophony of noise must be seen to be believed! A viewing area nearby makes a great spot for a picnic. Along the route, also look out for crowd-pleasing performances from leaping brown trout, and dippers bobbing along the water's edge.
Stay nearby: Three Roods | Sleeps 4
Catrigg Force, Settle
Postcode: BD24 9QB
If you want to get a little more off the beaten track and discover a North Yorkshire waterfall that you might just have all to yourself, head to Catrigg Force in the quaint village of Stainforth. Hidden in a secluded copse within a deep gorge, this hidden gem of a cascade drops 20 feet into a beautiful step pool. There are also a series of smaller falls in the copse further down.
The falls are said to have been a personal favourite of composer Edward Elgar, who made a point of visiting regularly. To replicate his walk, just follow Stainforth Beck from the village along Goat Scar Lane – during the salmon run, you can catch the spectacular sight of these fish leaping up the falls on their way to the spawning grounds.
Stay nearby: Underbargh Cottage | Sleeps 2
Lumb Hole Falls, Hebden Bridge
Postcode: HX7 8RG
Split into a series of small cascades overhanging a picturesque semi-circular pool, Lumb Hole Falls resembles a watercolour painting at the height of the season. Draped with green ferns and ivy, this moss-covered waterfall in West Yorkshire is a remote spot for wild swimming, paddling and picnicking in the summer months.
Park up at the top of the path, wander down to the falls and treat yourself to a bracing dip in the natural crescent plunge pool or an au-naturel power shower from the massaging waterfall. Bring the family, a bunch of towels and you’ll be all set for one of the most unique and relaxing days out in Yorkshire!
Stay nearby: Daisy Lee Barn | Sleeps 11
Falling Foss, Whitby
Postcode: YO22 5JD
A dazzling cascade hidden just to the south of Whitby; Falling Foss is one of the best waterfalls in Yorkshire for families to visit. To get the perfect view of the deafening drop, follow the easy 2-mile circular Falling Foss Forest Trail in Sneaton Forest. After a heavy downpour, this 30-foot waterfall in the North York Moors National Park is in its full glory and is simply spectacular.
In the summer, the waters are lovely for kicking off your shoes and enjoying a paddle and there’s a great bridge en-route for playing Poohsticks. After you’ve worked up an appetite, take a short stroll to Falling Foss Tea Garden which resides just above the magical falls and tuck into a light lunch, scrumptious cream tea or an ice cream.
Stay nearby: Crag Cottage | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs
Mallyan Spout, Goathland
Postcode: YO22 5AW
At nearly 60ft tall, Mallyan Spout is the highest waterfall in the North York Moors National Park. The water cascading from this impressive waterfall rises from springs in the moorland above Goathland until it flows into New Wath Scar. This deep ravine was cut by the flowing water of West Beck, which over thousands of years has eroded a path through the sandstone.
To experience this beautiful spectacle, follow a 2-mile circular walking trail from the pretty village of Goathland (made famous as the set of TV drama ‘Heartbeat’). Descending into an enchanting wooded valley, the path winds along the tranquil waters of West Beck before eventually returning along part of the track bed of the original Whitby-to-Pickering railway line.
Stay nearby: Curlew Cottage – Goathland | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs
With so many beautiful waterfalls in Yorkshire to visit, you’ll be needing somewhere warm and cosy to relax after your watery adventures. Have a browse of our gorgeous cottages in Yorkshire and look forward to a memorable holiday – you can choose from chic cottages for two, big boltholes for the whole family and dog-friendly retreats where four legs are as welcome as two.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.