Right at the top of the Yorkshire Dales is the lovely region of Swaledale. It’s home to the market town of Richmond along with a selection of pretty villages. All of which make Swaledale is a great choice for a short break or holiday. You’ll find plenty of walks and cycle rides to try, not to mention country pubs, museums and even Alpaca trekking!
Here are our Top 10 things to do in Swaledale:
#01. Explore Richmond Castle
This Norman castle is located high on a hill above Richmond so it’s a great spot to drink in some stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales. We recommend a stroll through the pretty cockpit garden (just outside the castle walls) before heading to one of the picnic benches for some refreshments.
If you want to learn more about the castle’s fascinating history there’s an interactive exhibition in the visitor’s centre.
#02. Walk along the River Swale to Easby Abbey
One of the nicest things about Richmond is its proximity to the River Swale and you can take a very pleasant riverside walk from the town along to Easby Abbey. It’s free to explore the well-preserved 12th century remains, and you can then enjoy a stroll back to Richmond.
#03. Enjoy the view from Reeth Village Green
There’s lots to love about the pretty Swaledale village of Reeth – you’ll find an array of tearooms, shops, pubs and a market selling local produce every Friday. One of our favourite things to do though is get an ice cream from the local parlour, sit on a bench and enjoy 360 degree views of the Dales. Sometimes the best things in life are free!
#04. Treat yourself to lunch at The Punch Bowl in Low Row
Another lovely Swaledale village, just along from Reeth, is Low Row which is home to The Punch Bow Inn. This well-loved gastro pub is a great choice for a bite to eat with lots of local produce on the menu. You also can’t beat the scenic position of this traditional 17th century inn.
#05. Go on an Alpaca trek!
Make walking in Swaledale even more special by going on an Alpaca Trek with Reeth based firm Alfresco Adventures. The Alpacas are called Larch, Aramis and Apollo and in the summer months you can see them grazing in the fields around Low Row.
#06. See a traditional Blacksmith at work
Located in the village of Gunnerside is the Old Working Mill and Smithy, a museum showcasing lead mining in the area and items made by the working Blacksmith’s over the years.
You’ll still find a Blacksmith at work today. Stephen Calvert is the sixth generation of Blacksmith’s in his family to work at the Smithy and crafts items for sale in the on-site shop.
#07. Enjoy a challenging bike ride
Swaledale is well-known for its cycling (having played host to the Tour de France in 2014). You’ll also find the Dales Bike Centre where you can hire a cycle and get some refreshments.
There’s lots of tough climbs to try and the annual Ard Rock bike challenge takes place in Swaledale each August. If you want something a little gentler a more easy going cycle route opens April 2018 between Reeth and Keld.
08. Visit a Georgian Theatre and a Victorian Station
There’s plenty of historic buildings in the market town of Richmond and among our favourites to visit is the Georgian Theatre where you can watch a show or go on a tour where you can see The Woodland Scene (the oldest surviving stage scene in Britian).
It’s also well worth heading to The Station – a restored Victorian railway building that’s home to an art gallery, cinema and micro-brewery amongst other things.
#09. Warm up in a hand-crafted Swaledale woollen jumper
You’ll find Swaledale Woolens in the village of Muker and the shop was originally founded by locals in the 1970s to revive the traditional knitting industry. The wool used comes from local Swaledale sheep and is hand-crafted by over 30 people knitting in their homes.
#10. Step back in time at the Swaledale Museum
This charming little museum in Reeth has lots of artefacts and information about Swaledale and neighbouring Arkengarthdale from pre-historic fossils to lead mining, farming and local crafts. Friendly staff will be more than happy to help you discover some local history.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Swaledale, Gorgeous Cottages have holiday homes in Richmond, Reeth, Low Row and Muker. For help and advice planning your holiday to Swaledale call the team on 01642 263 249.