Day 3. Exploring Hawes, Wensleydale

Our stay at the  Wensleydale Hotel  had been lovely and before checking out we enjoyed another of their delicious breakfasts to set us up for the day.  We then packed up the car and headed off to explore more of this beautiful part of Yorkshire.

National Park Centre, Aysgarth Falls
National Park Centre, Aysgarth Falls

Our first stop was at Aysgarth Falls just a 25 minute drive from Middleham.  We parked at the National Park visitor centre (all day parking £3 and including access to the falls).  After exploring the visitor centre with its interesting displays about the geology of the area we picked up a leaflet and followed the footpath towards the middle and lower falls.

Following the footpath to Aysgarth Falls
Following the woodland footpath to the falls

Aysgarth Falls consists of a series of three waterfalls stretching over a mile long length with the visitor centre located midway between them.   This stretch of the River Ure passes over three rocky ledges with viewing platforms at each of the falls.

Aysgarth Falls
The scenic Aysgarth Falls

It was a pleasant stroll through woodland to reach the falls and as we had arrived soon after 10.00 a.m. it was quiet with few other people about.  Despite prolonged periods of dry weather it was surprising to see so much water cascading over the series of limestone rocks.

Upper Aysgarth Falls
Uoper Aysgarth Falls

We then retraced our steps back to the visitor centre and continued on to the upper falls which lie just upstream of the road bridge.  Surrounding the upper falls is open grassland making it a perfect place for a picnic on a sunny day.

Bainbridge, North Yorkshire
Bainbridge in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Continuing our tour of the area we hopped back in the car another few miles to the picturesque Dales village of Bainbridge.  Located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this idyllic village is home to The Bain, England’s shortest river.  We parked beside the large village green with its original set of stocks then wandered around passing several tea shops, a village shop, butchers and a traditional pub called the Rose and Crown.

The River Bain, Banbridge
River Bain, Bainbridge

After enjoying cups of coffee, we left Bainbridge behind and headed to our final destination of our trip which was to the market town of Hawes in Upper Wharfedale. Another popular beauty spot and base for touring the wider area, this small town has numerous traditional shops such as Elijah Allen & Som which is an absolute gem of a food emporium.

Elijah Allen Grocers, Hawes, Wensleydale
The Elijah Allen grocery store in Hawes

There’s also a good supply of pubs and tea shops and the local chippie serves up the local delicacy of deep fried Wensleydale cheese.   Personally, I prefer cheese in its natural form but everyone to their own as they say.

Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes
Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes

One of the reasons we’d come to Hawes was to find out more about its famous Wensleydale cheese so we strolled up a hill, half a mile out of town to visit the Wensleydale Creamery.

Cheese Experience, Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes
Cheese Experience at the Wensleydale Creamery

Cheese making in this area dates back to 1150 when French Cistercian monks first settled in Wensleydale bringing their cheese recipe with them.   The creamery offers a one hour Cheese Experience (standard tickets £5.95) with seven daily demonstrations taking place.  The experience started in the Demonstration Room where we watched an experienced cheese maker crafting Wensleydale cheese by hand detailing the process step-by-step.  Information boards documenting the history of cheese making line the walls and our guide expanded on these in an interesting manner.

Viewing cheese being produced at the Wensleydale Creamery
Viewing cheese being produced through a glass window

After the demo we were taken across to where the full scale operation takes place and from a viewing gallery window were able to watch the high tech automated process.

Tasting Experience, Wensleydale Creamery
Tasting Experience, Wensleydale Creamery

Next, we moved along to the tasting area, the part of the experience we had all been waiting for.  Here we enjoyed tasting numerous varieties of Wensleydale cheese from the traditional to ones flavoured with cranberries and ginger.  Not only that  we were offered pairings of cheese with rich fruit cake which is something that I often eat together at Christmas.

Wensleydale cheese varieties
Some of the Wensleydale cheese varieties available for tasting and to buy

Filled with cheese, we wandered through the children’s play area with its mini milk tanker, Wallace and Grommit figures and video clips.   In addition to all this, there’s a restaurant, cafe, cheese and gift shop on site with ample free parking available.

Hawes, Wensleydale
The picturesque town of Hawes

Leaving the Creamery behind, we sauntered back down into the bustling town centre exploring more of its charming narrow streets.  Our walk took us to the old station yard which is home to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre and the Dales Countryside Museum.(standard admission £4.80).

Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes
The Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes

This fascinating museum contains a vast collection of Dales artefacts some of which are displayed in old railway carriages standing in what was once the Wensleydale Railway.

Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes
This railway carriage forms part of the museum.

This brought to an end our splendid three day visit to Wensleydale.  We’d adored every minute of it from our base at the delightful Wensleydale Hotel in Middleham to our tours and tastings of local beer, ice cream and last but not least cheese.  We’d explored castles, waterfalls and picture perfect towns and villages receiving the warmest of Yorkshire welcomes all along the way.

During our stay we were guests of the Wensleydale Hotel and, as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

The Yorkshire Dales villages of Kilnsey and Kettlewell

Thorp Perrow Arboretum in the Yorkshire Dales

 

 

34 thoughts on “Day 3. Exploring Hawes, Wensleydale

  1. A visit to a national park with scenic views … that’s a great way of ending a visit! Oh, and all those delicious cheeses – we love cheese (especially when the cheese are paired with wine 😉). Thanks for a great introduction to Wensleydale Marion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hawes looks so beautiful, Marion and I am glad you had great sunny weather to explore it. With its quaint stone buildings, picturesque market square and stunning views of the surrounding countryside, it’s easy to see why Hawes is such a popular destination. It’s now on my travel wish list too. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely Friday 🙂 Aiva xx

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  3. Another great tour Marion. We have not yet made it to the Yorkshire Dales area, although our friends have often talked about. Maybe next time we visit. Will try to fit in the cheese shop, although Robert is not a fan of cheese. Happy Thursday. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hawes looks lovely Marion, all that stonework and greenery. Doing a bit of the Yorkshire Dales has always appealed, thanks for the tips. What I wouldn’t give for an hour in that food emporium, then teleport myself back to the hills of Georgia ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You had such nice weather during this visit! Hawes looks like something out of a painting– SO gorgeous! And to check out how cheese is made at the factory is always a fascinating process to observe– plus, free cheese at the end is a plus!

    Liked by 1 person

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