Now, exploring Nidderdale was not originally going to be on the itinerary. Due to my poor organisational skills, and the August Bank Holiday Weekend, one of the only hotels still with vacancies was Talbot House in Pateley Bridge.
Before making our way to the town from Hawes, I just had to see another of the castles in the Dales. Middleham Castle is a grand ruin in the small town of – you guessed it – Middleham. It’s a 12th Century stone castle, a few 100 metres away from some evidence of a Saxon motte and baily castle, and has some striking similarities to Bolton Castle.
By visiting Middleham Castle, we followed in the footsteps of Richard III, who lived there on and off from 1465 to his death. We spent a solid 45 minutes exploring the nooks and crannies of the medieval walls. It was the first day of glorious sunshine we’d had on our trip. If we’d brought sandwiches with us, we would have sat in the picnic area and had lunch.
Alas, we didn’t, so we went for another circular walk listed in Short Walks in the Yorkshire Dales, through fields and farmland. Again we escaped cattle and sheep, until we reached a lake, where we could see the castle in the distance. There we stopped for a snack, and were promptly joined by 50 or so hungry ducks, sniffing for lunch. Have I mentioned that I love birds? Well, I do, and I thoroughly enjoyed the company, even if they were just greedy.
Then, we swapped exploring the Yorkshire Dales, for exploring Nidderdale. We arrived in Pateley Bridge in the mid afternoon, and after checking in, changed to go for a walk around the town. The weather was brilliant – mid 20s and sunshine – so I put on my first dress all week! We strolled up and down the high street, decorated in Union Flag bunting, and discovered some of the more beautiful corners of the town, like the square and the Dr Who Police Box. Pateley Bridge is home to the oldest sweet shop in England, potentially the world, so that is worth a visit. Plus, if you find the old train station platform and follow the road along the river, you will find a little surprise!
Talbot House is particularly quaint. By day, it’s a teashop (which we unfortunately didn’t get to try) and by night a B&B. We ended up staying in one of the larger rooms, at a high cost on Bank Holiday Saturday. But it was lovely – filled with lots of additions such as a huge TV, DVDs and a sofa to watch womens’ football on! The staff were truly friendly and welcoming. They also had two labradors, and we all know how great dog people are.
We decided on fish and chips again (because why not) and me being me, thought we would be able to grab some drinks and chocolate from the Co-op first. I was wrong. At 7pm on a Saturday in Pateley Bridge, everything closes and I was horrified!
Thankfully, there’s a restaurant called The Willow which managed to squeeze us in, despite being busy. The menu has changed since we were there, but the staff were fantastic, and the restaurant was beautifully presented, plus we actually got to eat that night. 10/10!
The next morning, we visited The Coldstones Cut on route to Grassington. What’s The Coldstones Cut? you’re probably thinking. I was thinking exactly the same, but I trusted Dan and his research. I was not disappointed. It’s one of the coolest things you can do when exploring Nidderdale.
A ginormous art installation, The Coldstones Cut stands proudly in the Yorkshire countryside, overlooking a working quarry. I don’t think I can accurately describe the setting, so I’ll simply share a picture. It’s 100% worth the diversion.
Previously: Attractions, tears and a hangover in Aysgarth.
Next (and final) stop: Grassington – luxury and a delicious lunch!
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