The Yorkshire Dales and attractions near Leeds

There is some very pleasant countryside close to Leeds, especially the Yorkshire Dales, to the north of Leeds.

There are some fine ruined abbeys, especially Fountains Abbey, Rievaulx Abbey, Bolton Abbey. Perhaps less impressive, but in Leeds itself, is Kirkstall Abbey.

A trip to Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters is recommended; this can be combined with a trip on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The best seaside resort near Leeds is Whitby, although this is some distance from Leeds. The tourist city of York is easily accessible by train from Leeds, and has a wealth of interesting historical sites.

There are many attractive and interesting houses, abbeys, old churches, and other architectural joys in Yorkshire. A very nice architectural guide book, good for exploring the county, is "North Yorkshire, A Guide", by Peter Burton (conveniently out of print). Many stately homes and abbeys are open to the public - for this, consult the literature of the National Trust (although you really need a car to get to many of the places).

The countryside is very suitable for walking trips, and should be lovely in May and June. These trips can vary through:

  1. gentle walks in the countryside;
  2. reasonable walks of 10 or 12 miles for a day;
  3. substantial walks, such as the "Three Peaks walk" of about 26 miles - quite a challenge;
  4. both easy and very challenging rock climbing on both sandstone and limestone cliffs.

The closest walking to Leeds is probably Ilkley Moor, which can be reached by train. Haworth, mentioned above, also features some fine moorland walks, and gives access to the Pennine Way.

Local people are likely to offer to lead one-day walks in the countryside at weekends, and we can probably arrange transport. If you are interested in any of these, please bring suitable footwear and clothing.

Cultural attractions

During May, Opera North will be performing Puccini’s La Boheme in a fine production and Dvorak’s Rusalka in a modern production. These will be joined in June by Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in a new production. There is a programme of music (of various kinds) and films in the Howard Assembly Rooms, including a performance of Schumann’s Dichterliebe. See The Opera North website for further details.

The Endellion String Quartet will be performing on 18th May, 8th June and 29th June. It may be difficult to get tickets for the string quartet concerts. There will be orchestral concerts on 8th (Moscow Symphony Orchestra) 9th (Leeds Symphony Orchestra) and 15th May (Leeds Festival and Philharmonic Choruses: Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius). See Leeds International Concert Season for further details.

Leeds has a number of cinemas:

  • A multiplex cinema in the centre of town: Vue Cinema, The Light. Shows Hollywood films.
  • The Hyde Park Picturehouse-- An original cinema dating from 1914, which is just North of the university campus. Shows "mainstream" arthouse films.
  • Cottage Road Cinema-- A small independent cinema in North Headingley; tends to show mainstream Hollywood films, often after their initial run.

Art galleries and Museums:

Further suggestions can be found on the Leeds: Live it, Love it website (not my marketing slogan!) or the Visit Yorkshire website.

Oxfam walk

Date: Saturday June 5 2010.

Meeting Place: Yorkshire Dales National Park Car Park in the village of Clapham, just to the right of the A65 (a bit west of Settle). [Google Maps link]

Meeting Time: 10.00am

Access: By car, allow one and a half hours from Leeds. It is also possible to go by train. There is a train from Leeds at 8.19, arriving at Clapham station at 9.33. It is a half hour walk from Clapham station to the village of Clapham, and we hope to arrange for cars to meet the 9.33 train at Clapham. Trains back to Leeds at 14.25, 17.16. 20.01.

There will be three led walks on footpaths and lanes, one of 14 miles (including ascent of Ingleborough), one of 10 miles, and one of 5 miles. There is no rock-climbing involved, just walking mostly on paths.

We very much hope that you will come, and will bring friends.


  1. Please let Garth Dales know if you plan to come, and with how many people.
  2. If you are coming by car, let us know if you are able to offer lifts.
  3. Let us know if you plan to come by train so we can arrange to meet you.
  4. Bring your own packed lunch and some water.
  5. Wear suitable footware, and bring protection against rain.

The purpose of the walk is to raise money for Oxfam's development work. If you come, we'd ask that you either raise some sponsorship money (and we will provide sponsorship forms) or make a donation on the day. Last year the walk raised over 2000 pounds for Oxfam.