Start & Finish: Skipton
Make your own way to Skipton. Picture perfect and without a stone out of place, the literal meaning of the name is sheep-town.
Accommodation: Situated just a 5-minute stroll along the canal path to the centre of Skipton town
Introducing the moors, hills, rivers and dales of Yorkshire, your cycle ride gets underway from Skipton. You pass charming Appletreewick, essentially a medieval village with gorgeous stone cottages reflecting the limestone nature of the surrounding geology. Indeed some of the buildings seem to have grown out of the ground having been there since the 12th century. Perhaps pause at the pub, the beautiful ivy covered Craven Arms with a long trestle table terrace. Then, continue cycling along the river as it flows through Burnsall, a dramatic village with an imposing stone bridge, as well as a Grammar School built in 1601. Have a riverside break here before ascending Elberton Hill, your last major climb of the day before a gentle downhill to join the River Aire, and continue up through Kirkby Malham to reach the popular village of Malham.
Accommodation: Your small hotel is set in a quiet spot in the village. Parts of the building date back to the 1660s
A cycle ride deep into the Yorkshire Dales is scheduled for today. Prepare for about 15km (9.3 miles) of wild and remote riding before you reach the first village! Steeply ascend Malham Rakes to the rippling waters of the glacial Malham Tarn. You now have some quiet hilly moorland riding before descending into Stainforth - the ancient Stony Ford once a colliery town on the river Ribble. Following the river, your bike ride passes the old milling village of Langcliffe before you arrive in Settle.
Accommodation: The guesthouse has six delightfully individual en-suite rooms, which blend period features with contemporary decor.
A day of riding, passing limestone caves and waterfalls and a leg-testing amount of elevation gain! The cycle route follows gentle hills through peaceful countryside to the village of Clapham. You may be ready for a coffee before you continue riding into Ingleton, a pretty village which has a beautiful gorge and waterfall walk. To do this just lock up your bike and spend a couple of hours exploring. From here the route heads up into the glacially formed Kingsdale Valley. On your right, you have Yorkshire's highest peak of Whernside and there are wide and wild views which you can contemplate on the long ascents. At last you roll down into Dentdale and Dent village hidden between the Howgill Fells and Pennines.
Accommodation: Snug rooms above the village store. All rooms are finished to a high standard with new fixtures and fittings.
The day starts with a steep climb through following the river Dee. Enjoy great views from your saddle over rolling fells and the. You reach the high point of the day at 435m / 1,427 feet from where the route becomes much easier as you roll into Hawes.
Cycle to Gayle and visit The Wensleydale Creamery. They have been making this kind of cheese since around 1150, involving traditional recipes following those first created by French monks. After this break, you cross over the river Ure and follow a quiet road which runs parallel to it. A final relaxing stretch takes you cycling through Bainbridge, a village with extensive greens and cascading river, to finally arrive in Askrigg. This is a Viking settlement, which name means ‘The ridge where ash trees grow.’
Accommodation: Family-run early Victorian guesthouse offering comfortable light rooms with panoramic views over Wensleydale.
Today there are two big hills to take on with your bike. The first one is from Askrigg to Cross Top (495m / 1,624 feet) with up to a 15% gradient at times. Once over this, there is a gorgeous descent down into the valley of the river Swale. The old lead mining village of Gunnerside is a potential stop for a coffee and cake although it is slightly off the route. You continue cycling along the river until Grinton with a popular pub and historic church that is known as the ‘Cathedral of the Dales.’ A worthwhile short detour is the interesting village of Reeth, with it’s nice large green, shops and also the nearby Dales Bike Centre – with tasty food and drinks as well as equipment if you need stocking up. Then comes your next steep climb back up to 450m /1,476 feet to cross Grinton Moor. Now it's down into Redmire.
Accommodation: A friendly family-run pub in Redmire
Another hilly bike ride through postcard perfect landscapes and villages. The first place you cycle to is the historic village called Wensley, the place name for the Dale. Wensley comes from the Norse god Woden. This was a plague village in the 1560s, and took a long time to recover. After a look round, cross over the river Ure and climb along Gale Bank, which has beautiful woodlands and dry-stone lined roads. You cycle through glorious Coverdale now following the river Cover as it carves through the landscape threading its way through some tiny villages. Finally you ascend the Park Rash climb which averages 11% and climbs 230 metres. Be careful on the descent into Kettlewell, a gorgeous village by the river Wharfe with quaint tea shops and limestone terraces.
Accommodation: A traditional pub with newly renovated and individually styled rooms and a complimentary selection of homemade Yorkshire biscuits.
Your last stage of this Yorkshire cycling holiday, despite a bit of climbing, is a much easier day. You continue with the river along Wharfedale. Cycle via Conistone to Grassington passing by Grass Wood Nature Reserve brimming with limestone scars and thick woodland. The Old Hall here is reputedly the oldest house in Yorkshire and the village is an excellent place to stop for lunch with a range of tea rooms and cafes.
Next, cross over the river and wind your way cycling through the countryside, passing more villages and perhaps a final fantastic break-spot at Bolton Abbey. There is a final hill to Halton East, before you reach Embsay and then cycle back to the starting point in Skipton.
Accommodation: As per your arrival day
There is a variety of accommodation along the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway route ranging from bed & breakfasts, lodges, pubs and small hotels. They are run by cycling-friendly hosts offering en-suite or private facility rooms with a tasty breakfast to get you ready for the day ahead. Further facilities such as washing and drying facilities and packed lunches are available in some accommodations, you will be advised on your listing of what is available.
This cycling program in the Yorkshire Dales can be booked any day between March and October, subject to availability
The nearest Airport is Leeds/Bradford, approximately 20 miles away. It is possible to get to Skipton by bus or taxi from here.
Manchester Airport is approx. 2.5hrs away by train to/from Skipton.
Getting to/from Skipton
From London King's Cross there are up to two trains an hour to Skipton with a change at Leeds. It takes 3-3.45 hours.
From Manchester Airport there are also up to two trains an hour to Skipton, changing at Leeds. It takes around 2.30 hours.
Trains also run from Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh via Carlisle and sometimes Leeds taking 3.15-5.45hrs.
See nationalrail.co.uk for timetables and planning. We advise to book tickets and reserve a seat (and a bike) in advance. Tickets are usually cheaper if bought in advance.
Hull is only 60miles (100km) away and it takes approximately 90 minutes for a taxi to drive to/from Skipton. Daily services run between Hull - Rotterdam (NL) and Hull - Zeebrugge (BE).
Liverpool has ferry connections with Belfast (NI) and Dublin (IE) and it takes approximately 2 hours for a taxi to drive to/from Skipton.
Contact us about the option to hire an e-bike on this trip
GPS tracks are available on request