Family Self-Catering Accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales
High Rylands House, a traditional 5 bedroom farmhouse sleeping up to 15, sits in the middle of Arncliffe, an unspoilt village in the heart of Yorkshire Dales. Solid, robust and plain, both inside and out, this house is absolutely ideal for large groups and shared holidays. Our three families of old friends combined to make a party of 13.
With our gang of young children running free, High Rylands felt bomb proof which makes a for a much more relaxing time for the grown ups. The large sitting room is filled with sofas and an open fire plus music, films etc. A games room opposite with ping pong and games, helps keep noise contained! We visited on a cool October weekend but could see that the lovely walled garden would make for good times outdoors come summer. Incidentally, there’s a brilliant drying room too for wet weather gear which we found indispensable after a paddling session in the local river ended with lots of drenched trousers and immersed wellies.
Arncliffe itself is pretty and clearly popular with walkers, with a church, stream and a traditional family run pub, the rustic Falcon Inn (once used as the original Woolpack from TV’s Emmerdale Farm) where we enjoyed a few lovingly hand-pumped ales by the enthusiastic landlord who curates a fine collection of gins also. Although I’m sure some folk might not appreciate the old wet trainers drying by the fire, we didn’t mind!
The village is surrounded by spectacular scenery of rugged crags, fields of sheep and heather moorland and miles and miles and miles of beautiful dry stone walls. Our eldest son is currently studying Glaciers at school and this area is awash with every glacial feature you can think of!
The single track road from/to Settle is so spectacular we had to stop at sunset to absorb the view. Its seriously fun cycling country around here with challenging climbs and stunning views as reward. (Check out the nearby Strava segments with 5000+ attempts)
Things to Do for families in the Yorkshire Dales
Whitescar Cave, Yorkshire Dales
After leisurely breakfast in the comfortable kitchen at our farmhouse, we headed off to Whitescar Caves, which some of our party had passed on the drive to the house. Whitescar caves are promoted as the longest show cave in Britain. You are kitted up with helmet (which you really do need) and must listen to a short safety briefing.
The tour takes over an hour and there is only one way in and out so you need to be sure you are up for it! Our tour guide was an older true Yorkshire lass with a very brusque but very friendly manner. ( A story she told us about a previous visitor who collapsed and had to call the helicopter rescue team ended with a punchline that the helicopter pilot was ‘a woman’!).
We saw rock formations with names such as Witch’s Fingers. Devils’ Tongue, Arum Lily, The Face Some passes in the caves including the Squeeze which was, as it’s name suggests, only passable by walking through sideways and the Gorilla Walk where adults couldn’t stand up so we were forced to walk errr… rather like gorillas.
The children loved it and they, at least, enjoyed banging their helmets on the ceiling. This is a great way to spend a couple of hours for all of us, kids and adults alike.
Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales
Malham Cove is a fantastic, atmospheric cliff formation of eroded limestone rock which is a magnet for walkers and rock climbers. For us, it turned out to be fantastic, beautiful clear autumn day. Initially we were worried that our party including 5 and 6 year olds would struggle to the summit.
So we were amazed the kids walked so far and up so many steps to get the top but a pack mentality seemed to kick in to get them all the way up as quickly as possible, leaving many of the adults far behind. One of whom, on realising what they’d done, turned into Ranulph Ffienes and marched for the top in double time.
The vertical face of the cliff is about 260 feet high and the top of the cove is a large area of deeply eroded limestone pavement in a really striking pattern. The kids loved jumping across the rocks along the top despite one mum’s despair every time they approached the cliff edge. (But there’s a false ledge so it only looks close…). The walk up to the summit has a brilliant view and is a wonderful way to encourage some fresh air into the kids and to work up a great appetite.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Park. A National Trust property
This beautiful Cistercian abbey is truly one of England’s greatest ruins. A complicated history of ownership since its destruction during Henry VII’s Reformation has resulted in some elegant additions including a Georgian water garden and medieval deer park which make for a stunning walk. There’s something for everyone of all ages here; beauty, history and a brilliant play park for the kids with zip lines and climbing frames. Our kids enjoyed some imaginative and noisy games in the abbey ruins, running wild (sorry about that!) but they especially enjoyed walking through the deer park seeing the Stags displaying and bellowing to the other males.
Lunch in Settle
We ate lunch in The Singing Kettle where we took over the top floor and enjoyed a mix of baked potatoes, toasties and a large Yorkshire pudding meal with your choice of meat in the centre covered with gravy which everyone ended up wanting once they saw it. The staff were friendly and helpful and the food was excellent and very good value.
In Settle, we rented bikes from 3 Peaks Cycles here. where you can also get your own bike serviced and source any necessary spares.
The kids really enjoyed the Tuck Shop, an old fashioned sweet shop in the town square: https://www.facebook.com/The-Tuck-Shop-Settle-and-Giggleswick-275424015955764/
There was so many places we didn’t have time to see. So we’ll be back next year.The Yorkshire Dales: what a fantastic area to hang out with family and friends!