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The best Yorkshire mountains and peaks to climb holiday cottages

The best Yorkshire mountains and peaks to climb

Julie Smith 10 November 2022

Getting up high is the best way to look out over the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, and luckily there are plenty of Yorkshire mountains with fantastic views from the top. 

Tackling a Yorkshire hill or mountain is a great way to get some exercise while spending time in the great outdoors with family or friends. Whether you’re looking for a tricky challenge or something a little easier, we have compiled some of the best Yorkshire peaks to climb.  


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The Yorkshire Three Peaks

Yorkshire Three Peaks - Ingleborough

Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough are a trio of peaks that are all located close to each other on the western reaches of the Yorkshire Dales. These hills and mountains can either be tackled individually or as part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. The classic Three Peaks walk is 24 miles in total and, if you’re doing it as part of a challenge, you’ll typically aim to complete it within 12 hours. 

Pen-y-Ghent

Pen-y-Ghent - Yorkshire Three Peaks

Typically, the first of the peaks to be completed and the only hill of the trio is Pen-y-Ghent which stands at 694 metres tall. The circular 6-mile route to climb this Yorkshire Dales mountain starts at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, a stop on the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway, and follows the Pennine Way up to the summit. The climb up Pen-y-Ghent isn’t too challenging although there is a bit of scrambling in the final section to get to the trig point at the very top where you can enjoy panoramic views. 

Need to know:

  • Height: 694 metres
  • Parking: Yorkshire Dales National Car Park, Horton-in Ribblesdale, BD24 0HE 
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Whernside

Whernside - Yorkshire Three Peaks 

Not only is Whernside the tallest of the three peaks but the top of the mountain is also the highest point in the whole of North Yorkshire. There’s a fairly steep climb to the top on the usual 7.5-mile circular route from Ribblehead but once you reach the summit you can look out over the Lake District with views on a clear day to Morecambe Bay. You’ll finish off under the spectacular Ribblehead Viaduct on your descent down Whernside.

Need to know:

  • Height: 736 metres
  • Parking: Ribblehead, LA6 3AS 
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Ingleborough

Ingleborough - Yorkshire Three Peaks

Ingleborough is the final mountain in the Three Peaks Challenge and is known for its dramatic limestone landscape which you can explore during a scenic circular walk to the top. It’s often referred to as a hollow mountain due to a fascinating series of caves inside Ingleborough that includes White Scar Cave and Gaping Gill. There’s a fairly well-defined path to climb up the mountain although you will have to do some scrambling on the final ascent to the flat summit.

Need to know:

  • Height: 723 metres
  • Parking: Ingleton Car Park, LA6 3HX 
  • Difficulty: Moderate to tough  

Great Shunner Fell

Great Shunner Fell - Yorkshire mountain 

At 716 metres, Great Shunner Fell is the highest peak in Wensleydale and is located on the Pennine Way and close to the Buttertubs Pass mountain which runs between Keld and Hawes. The name of this Yorkshire Dales mountain means ‘Big Lookout Hill’ and you can see a vast landscape from the summit which is marked with a large stone shelter. Great Shunner Fell is usually walked to and climbed from nearby Hardraw which is home to Hardraw Force, England’s tallest single-drop waterfall. 

Need to know:

  • Height: 716 metres
  • Parking: Hardraw near Hawes, DL8 3LZ
  • Difficulty: Fairly easy

Lovely Seat

Lovely Seat - Yorkshire Dales mountain

On the other side of Buttertubs Pass is Lovely Seat, a hill that is either climbed in conjunction with the nearby Great Shunner Fell or tackled from the car park on Buttertubs Pass. The fell features a couple of steep limestone escarpments that can be scrambled up for an extra challenge. At the summit of the mountain is a stone-built chair where you can sit and enjoy the views across to the Yorkshire Three Peaks.    

Need to know:

  • Height: 675 metres
  • Parking: Hardraw near Hawes, DL8 3LZ
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Buckden Pike

Buckden Pike - Yorkshire Peak 

Located at the head of Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales, Buckden Pike towers above the small village of Buckden with much of the fell owned by the National Trust. A trig point marks the summit of the Marilyn and the view from the top is a good one where you can see nearly all of the surrounding fells. The recommended walking route is a 7-mile circular hike from Buckden which takes in the nearby village of Starbotton. After you’ve finished the climb, we recommend calling in The Buck Inn for a well-earned drink.    

Need to know:

  • Height: 702 metres 
  • Parking: Buckden Pike Car Park, BD23 5JA
  • Difficulty: Tough

Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping - Yorkshire peak

Known locally as the Yorkshire Matterhorn because of its distinctive ‘witch’s hat’ shape, Roseberry Topping is one of the most beautiful places in Yorkshire and a popular first climb for families in the North York Moors. There are various routes to the top depending on whether you fancy a steep ascent or a more gentle climb. One of the most scenic walks is through the wildlife-rich Newton Woods which is covered in bluebells during springtime. If you fancy taking your time getting to the top, you can follow a circular 7-mile route from Great Ayton and head along the Cleveland Way to nearby Captain Cook’s Monument.   

Need to know:

  • Height: 320 metres
  • Parking: Roseberry Topping Car Park, Newton-under-Roseberry, TS9 6QS 
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Penhill

Penhill - Yorkshire Dales peak

Although Penhill is by no means one of the highest hills in the Yorkshire Dales, its location above Leyburn and distinctive shape mean it can be easily spotted from much of Wensleydale. Penhill sits in the middle of pretty North Yorkshire villages such as Aysgarth, Middleham and West Burton with particularly fine views of the peak from the battlements of Middleham Castle. The most popular route to the top though is from nearby West Witton, a small village that’s best known for an excellent dog-friendly Yorkshire dining pub called The Wensleydale Heifer.

Need to know:

  • Height: 553 metres
  • Parking: West Witton parking layby, DL8 4LX 
  • Difficulty: Moderately challenging  

Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank - North York Moors

The view from the top of Sutton Bank was said to be the finest in England by famed All Creatures Great and Small vet James Herriot and, although you’ll typically drive or cycle up the escarpment to a visitor centre at the top, there are plenty of bracing walks to tackle from here. You can follow a path along the escarpment to look out over the Vale of York and enjoy views out across the glacial Gormire Lake and drop down onto some of the woodland paths below before climbing up to the top of the Kilburn White Horse.

Need to know:

  • Height: 298 metres
  • Parking: Sutton Bank National Park Centre, Thirsk, YO7 2EH 
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderately challenging

Urra Moor - Round Hill

Urra Moor - Wainstones Yorkshire

The highest point of the North York Moors National Park is the summit of Urra Moor, which is also known as Round Hill. The route to the top of Urra Moor follows the path of the Cleveland Way National Trail with the Round Hill summit marked by a trig point. Urra Moor is a remote and atmospheric part of the North York Moors with prehistoric remains and panoramic views from the top. It’s also well worth walking to the Wainstones, a set of large sandstone crags that are around 3 miles from Round Hill and are popular with rock climbers.

Need to know:

  • Height: 454 metres 
  • Parking: Clay Bank Car Park, TS9 7HX   
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Simon’s Seat

Simon's Seat peak in Bolton Abbey

Part of the sprawling Bolton Abbey estate in Wharfedale, Simon’s Seat is a large rocky outcrop of millstone grit on Barden Fell. The hill is accessed via the peaceful and nature-filled Valley of Desolation where you’ll pass a beautiful waterfall before climbing up through heather-clad grouse moorland to the top of the hill where you can scramble to the summit of Simon’s Seat and enjoy the view across Wharfedale.   

Need to know

  • Height: 485 metres
  • Parking: Cavendish Pavilion, Bolton Abbey, BD23 6AN 
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Tips for climbing a Yorkshire peak

Climb a Yorkshire peak

If you’ve been inspired to walk up some of these Yorkshire peaks, here are some tips to help keep you comfortable and safe during your climb. 

Get the right climbing shoes

Comfort is key so making sure you get a well-fitting pair of walking boots or shoes with cushioned hiking socks is very important. It’s also worth breaking in your boots with some shorter walks before tackling a longer climb.   

Plan ahead

Plan ahead by checking weather conditions and making sure your phone is fully charged when you set off. If you’re walking alone make sure you tell someone in advance of your planned route and your estimated time of return.

Equip yourself for success

Yorkshire climbing tips

Take the correct equipment with you on your climb which should include a map and compass to help you navigate the mountain in case you don’t have signal on your phone, a torch to light the way in case it gets dark and suitable windproof and waterproof clothing for your walk.  

Bring along some refreshments

It is easy to become dehydrated during a walk or climb so making sure that everyone in your group has enough drinks available is important. Energy levels can also drop during your climb so having quick snacks available like protein bars and fruit is a great idea.

Start small

It’s important that you recognise the fitness levels and capabilities of your group and plan your climb accordingly. You should walk at the pace of the slowest person in the group and start off with one of the smaller peaks such as Roseberry Topping before attempting to reach the summit of Ingleborough.   


Find your perfect base in Yorkshire

North Yorkshire getaway

After an outdoor adventure in the North York Moors or Yorkshire Dales National Parks, there are lots of lovely North Yorkshire cottages where you can relax and unwind. Whether you are looking for classic and characterful or cool and contemporary, browse our full range of luxury cottages in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors to find your perfect base.  


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.

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