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Things to do in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire

Pateley Bridge is situated in the centre of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the perfect place to experience the Yorkshire Dales.

High Street
High Street © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade / Kelvin Smith

You can experience how life used to be in the Dales by visiting the Nidderdale Museum, and see how it is today by strolling up and down the steep picturesque High Street.

Pateley Bridge is great for a relaxing holiday or day out, with many quaint tea shops, galleries and restaurants to visit.

View of Pateley Bridge
View of Pateley Bridge © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade / David Tolcher

Things to Do in Pateley Bridge

Nidderdale Museum

The Nidderdale Museum is the best place to learn all about Pateley Bridge of the past, and find out what life was like in the Dales years ago.

The Museum is run and staffed by volunteers from the Nidderdale Museum Society and is situated in the old Pateley Bridge Union Workhouse building on King Street.

The Museum has 11 rooms crammed with artefacts and information about different aspects of past life in Pateley Bridge and the Yorkshire Dales including: A cobbler's shop, a Victorian parlour, a historic courthouse and a Victorian schoolroom.

Weatherhead Butchers
Weatherhead Butchers © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade / Kelvin Smith

Nidderdale AONB

Pateley Bridge is the capital of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the town is surrounded by many beautiful views. It is often called Little Switzerland due to the lovely scenery in Nidderdale.

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks
Brimham Rocks © rob glover via flickr

High Street
High Street © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade

The amazing natural rock formations at Brimham Rocks have something for everyone!

You can explore the fantastic rocks which were formed during the last ice age, and perhaps spot the wild animals, birds and rare plants that are there.

Kids can scramble between the lower rocks, Mums and Dads can enjoy the fantastic views, and those with energy to spare can even have climbing tuition on the rocks!

There are walks and cycle trails, guided walks, climbing classes, kid's adventure packs, yoga classes, orienteering and geocaching… a fantastic place to enjoy the great outdoors.


Oldest Sweetshop in the World

The Oldest Sweetshop in England (situated on the High Street) was awarded the record of the Oldest Sweetshop in the World by the Guinness World Records in 2014.

Oldest Sweet Shop In The World
Oldest Sweet Shop In The World © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade

The shop has been trading since 1827 and is located in a building dated 1661.

As you'd expect, inside the shop you'll find jars of all the favourite sweets that you remember from your childhood (measured using old-fashioned scales of course)!

Nidderdale Way

The Nidderdale Way is a 53-mile circular walking trail through the glorious scenery of the Yorkshire Dales along the Nidderdale Glen.

People usually start and end the walk in Pateley Bridge, as this is the largest town on the walk and so has the greatest choice of shops, accommodation and transport connections.

Nidderdale Owl
Nidderdale Owl © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade / Kelvin Smith

The trail can easily be fitted into a long weekend of walking and can be split into 4 single day sections.

The walk is not particularly arduous, as it keeps mainly to the river banks and dalesides with just a few higher sections (with their rewarding views).

You will of course need a decent pair of walking boots, a map and a set of waterproofs.

High Street
High Street © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade

If you follow the whole of the Nidderdale Way you'll see most of the major attractions of the area in just one long weekend: Pateley Bridge, Ramsgill, Gouthwaite Reservoir, Middlesmoor, Brimham Rocks, Ripley Castle and of course the River Nidd itself.

Stump Cross Caverns

The Stumps Cross Caverns were discovered by miners in 1860 whilst looking for lead seams to mine.

They didn't find any lead but they did find the fascinating natural caverns that you can explore today.

Stump Cross Caverns
Stump Cross Caverns © Richard via Flickr

Shopping in Pateley Bridge

You'll find many independent shops on the High Street - two award-winning butchers, a glass maker's shop where you can watch the glass-blowers at work, and of course the oldest sweet shop in the World!

Pateley Bridge Bakery
Pateley Bridge Bakery © roy via flickr

There are many pubs, cafes, galleries and restaurants for you to try, so you won't be short of places to browse, eat and drink whilst you are visiting the town.

Things for Kids To Do in Pateley Bridge

The Pateley Bridge Recreation Ground is at the bottom of the High Street, just by the River Nidd, and is a great place for kids to let off steam. It's just across the road from the Showground Car Park.

Moonrise At Brimham Rocks
Moonrise At Brimham Rocks © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade / Kelvin Smith

There's loads of grass to run around on, with swings, a climbing frame, slides and a zip wire.

Also, there's a football area, bowling green, basketball court and even a bandstand!

In Pateley Bridge, kids, of course, will love the oldest sweetshop in the world, the Stump Cross Caverns and Brimham Rocks.

High Street
High Street © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade

Events in Pateley Bridge

Each September, the Nidderdale Agricultural Show is held in Bewerley Park in Pateley Bridge.

It's also known as the "Pateley Show" and is a great celebration of all things agricultural in the Yorkshire Dales.

You can sample produce, get up close to livestock and have a chance to purchase crafts that are produced in the area. It's a great family day out.

Kings Courtyard
Kings Courtyard © Nidderdale Chamber of Trade

In recent years Yorkshire has become a popular place to watch road cycling - there are races scheduled to travel through Pateley Bridge or neighbouring towns each year, and they're always a great spectacle.

Check the UCI and UK cycling websites for dates, to see if there is a race coinciding with your visit.

Places to Visit near Pateley Bridge

Thruscross Reservoir

Just south of Pateley Bridge you'll find the beautiful Thruscross Reservoir, which is a favourite haunt of walkers, anglers, canoeists and wildlife.

Thruscross Dam
Thruscross Dam © Tom Blackwell via Flickr

The reservoir was created in 1966 and involved the flooding of the hamlet of West End (there is another hamlet close by also called West End that was not flooded).

You can see the remains of a flax mill at the edge of the reservoir, and when the level of the water is extremely low you can see the unusual sight of the original West End village emerging from the water!

On certain weekends and evenings, Yorkshire Water release water from the Thruscross Reservoir, so that canoeists can navigate along the four reservoirs in the Washburn Valley.

You can check on the Washburn Facebook page to see when the water will be released (depending on water levels in the Reservoir of course). 

Gouthwaite Reservoir
Gouthwaite Reservoir © Jim Leach via Flickr

Gouthwaite Reservoir

This is a beautiful, quiet, unspoilt reservoir, perfect for bird watching and walking, whilst admiring the views.

You can walk from Pateley Bridge to Gouthwaite Reservoir in about an hour by following the path on the east side of the river Nidd (this is part of the Nidderdale Way).

People have reported seeing rare birds wading in the mudflats at the Ramsgill end of the Reservoir.

Ripley Castle

Just 7 miles from Pateley Bridge you'll find Ripley Castle, set in its beautiful gardens and parkland.

You can explore the gardens all year round, and in the summer you can take a guided tour of the castle.

The 1 pm tour each day is aimed at children aged 5-16, and tells the most exciting stories of the Ingilby family ancestors, and includes the odd ghost!

Ripley Castle
Ripley Castle © Terry Madeley via Flickr

The tea room is open all year round and provides snacks and seasonal meals. Children and four-legged friends are welcome in the tea room!

If you're looking for more information about Pateley Bridge and the Nidderdale area, take a look at this visitor's guide from the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade: https://www.nidderdale.co.uk/

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