The market town of Leyburn forms a natural division for beautiful Wensleydale. The towns and villages of this prettiest of dales are classed as either Upper or Lower Wensleydale, dependent on whether they lie up or downstream respectively of the town. Leyburn is also an important trading centre, and a good hub for shops and services for those cottage holidaying in the Wensleydale area. There are a variety of independent shops, a cinema, pubs, cafes and restaurants, as well as the weekly market and auction, ideal for stocking up on a self-catering cottage holiday.
There are many local galleries and craft shops, including one dedicated to teapots! Tennant’s Auction is a large antique dealership based in the town. Beyond the town, there is good walking and cycling; many visitors enjoy the short stroll to the limestone outcrop of Leyburn Shawl, or the pounding beauty of natural waterfalls at nearby Aysgarth and West Burton. Four miles beyond town, visit Bolton Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned, and nearby Middleham Castle, home of King Richard III, which boasts the largest mediaeval castle keep in England. Jervaulx Abbey, a ruined Cistercian priory, lies just a few miles from Leyburn, as do many splendid country estates and their gardens, which are open to visitors. Constable Burton Hall Gardens and Thorp Perrow Arboretum are just two such estates, and both have woodland walks and trails, and gardens to delight both the keen gardener and casual visitor alike.
Just outside of Leyburn, the Forbidden Corner is a Victorian ‘folly’ offering a day out with a difference. Waterfalls, labyrinths, a hidden grotto and a variety mystery trails will keep children of all ages entertained at this self-styled ‘strangest place in the world’. The attraction is set in four acres of rolling Tupgill Park, which is well worth a visit in its own right. Here you’ll find a deer park where red deer roam, a fragrant and pretty herb garden and a fish temple. Families visiting here will also want to make a day of it at the Lightwater Valley entertainment complex near Ripon, a one-stop day out with roller coasters, rides and retail, in the shape of the shopping complex. Finally, for lovers of ale, the Theakston’s and the Black Sheep breweries at nearby Masham are not to be missed, with visitor centres, brewery tours and, of course, tastings.
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