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Things to do in Grassington, North Yorkshire

Market Day in Grassington © Julien King

Grassington is a small market town known as the capital of Upper Wharfedale. Situated on the banks of the River Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it is a scenic beauty spot which warmly welcomes visitors.

The village received its royal charter in 1282 and until 1860 was a regular centre for markets and fairs. In the past its economy was dependent on lead mining in the 18th century, limestone quarrying and in more recent years, tourism.

Between 1909 and 1948 Grassington had its electricity supplied from a hydroelectric plant at nearby Linton Falls and there are plans to reintroduce it.

Modern Day Grassington

Grassington is one of the pearls in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Narrow cobbled streets lead down to the river and over the ancient bridge. The village is always bedecked with summer colour, making it well worth a visit.

Local village social life is centred on the Devonshire Institute, formerly a Mechanics Institute, built in 1855. It has a main hall with a stage for plays and pantomimes. Badminton, bowling, snooker, ballet dancing, handbell ringers, sewing classes and horticultural meetings all keep the hall (and villagers!) pretty busy.

Old stone built miners' cottages and interesting local shops are arranged around the small cobbled town square. There is a fine choice of family-owned businesses to meet the needs of most visitors including some excellent food and craft shops.

Cafés, restaurants and the several local pubs full of character all provide good home-cooked food to suit all budgets and tastes. There is a Tourist Information Centre on Hebden Road.

Grassington hosts a number of local festivals including the Dickensian Festival just before Christmas when everyone dons Victorian costume and the streets are alive with street music and craft demonstrations.

The summer Grassington Festival is a two week extravaganza of arts and music and in the past has had such celebrities as Toyah Wilcox and Jo Brand as entertainers.

Things to Do in Grassington

Grassington is in an area known for its scenic country walks, mountain biking and rock climbing. Nearby Wharfedale is perfect for gentle strolls through the woodland or challenging hikes across the fells. The Dales Way runs through Grassington passing old churches and priories.

Other nearby attractions include Kilnsey Crag, a glacial formation and rocky overhang. Grass Woods is less than a mile away and has the remains of an Iron Age fort, known as Gregory's Fort.

Kinsey Park and Trout Farm has an excellent lake for fly fishing enthusiasts and there is a children's playground there.

The nearby Stump Cross Caverns have some amazing rock formations for those willing to explore the underground caves.

The Folk Museum in Grassington is particularly interesting as it is full of exhibits which were donated by the townspeople to show what life was like for their families in the past. It occupies two 18th century miners' cottages in the village square and has a large fireplace with a beehive oven in the dairy.

Further afield, Grassington is fifteen minutes drive from the market town and church at Skipton and 30 minutes from Harrogate and Haworth home of the Bronte sisters, where you can visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum, for an insight into the place and objects that inspired their works. Historic Bolton Abbey is just nine miles away.

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Images of Grassington

Market Day in Grassington © Julien King

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