Guide to the Eastern Dales

Set in the heart of Yorkshire, the district around Harrogate is one of the most beautiful areas of England

Harrogate District

Surrounding the major centre of Harrogate, much of the Harrogate District is included within the Yorkshire Dales. More than 500 square miles of lush rolling countryside includes attractive towns, villages, imposing historic houses, castles, cathedrals, abbeys and many other natural and man-made attractions.

A few minutes east of Harrogate is Knaresborough, a market town perched high on the cliffs above the River Nidd. Georgian houses dominate narrow streets, and ginnels enhance its quaintness. Attractions include Mother Shipton's Cave and Petrifying Well, the castle ruins, boating and riverside walks.

Eleven miles north of Harrogate, its magnificent cathedral gives medieval Ripon the title of 'city'. The Ripon Hornblower maintains a 1,100 year old tradition by sounding his horn at the Market Place obelisk at 9pm every evening. Nearby Lightwater Valley is a day out for all the family, with a range of theme park rides.


The town of Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale is home to the 'oldest sweet shop in England', and the Nidderdale Show in September. Beside the River Ure to the north of Harrogate, Masham is the home of Theakstons and the Black Sheep breweries.

Sights and Attractions

Natural wonders of the eastern Dales include Brimham Rocks, ancient outcrops of weather-shaped millstone grit, and the subterranean splendours of Stump Cross Caverns. Great houses, parks and gardens of worldwide renown include Ripley Castle, Rudding House and Newby Hall. Founded by monks in the 12th century, Fountains Abbey owned extensive land in the Dales before dissolution by Henry VIII. Its ruins and the nearby Studley Royal water and deer park are major attractions.

Brimham Rocks Fountains Abbey Knaresborough
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