Our Family Holiday 2020: North Yorkshire, Darley

With many of us resigned to the fact that we won't be able to head abroad this summer due to the pandemic causing travel havoc, most of us are booking staycations. 

The UK is surrounded by many beautiful, historic and fascinating places that we all should be choosing to go on staycations. One of our favourite places to book a staycation is in the Yorkshire Dales. The panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, beautiful waterfalls, heritage and sheep - what more could you want.

We booked a cottage in the village of Darley in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire. It is not an area we have been to before but it was so good to disconnect, walk in the hills, dip our feet in fresh cold water and just take a breath. We all couldn't wait to get away so we packed the car and got on the road straightaway. Despite the bumper to bumper traffic we arrived at the cottage in good time to get all settled and organise our week ahead. 

The self-catered cottage included a family room, a double room and a single room which is ideal for a family of six.  My daughter was really happy with her single room because it had a dressing table with a huge mirror, my parents enjoyed their en-suite family room with a double bed and single bed. However we pulled the short straw and got the double room that could barely squeeze in a double bed. The downstairs was more than ample for us with a good size kitchen and dining room, a washing machine, a dishwasher and the cottage was surrounded by beautiful gardens that both our daughter and puppy loved.

Exploring Yorkshire

Mother Shipton's was the first place on our list to explore. However due to the social distancing measures all admissions needed to be booked online in advance. The time slot sessions were for pre-booked car admissions only that allowed us 2.5 hours to explore the attraction.

Mother Shipton’s is beloved landmark in Knaresborough and one of the oldest tourist attractions in England, opening back in 1630! With a picturesque mile-long walk along the River Nidd you will make so many discoveries and learn so much about Mother Shipton. It was a great day out for all the family and Winston loved the walk and all the attention from other visitors. An intriguing and quirky place that children will love. 

We then headed to Pateley Bridge a place full of tranquil charms that is nestled in the heart of Nidderdale. With friendly residents, cafes, bakeries and the cutest little shops you will feel so welcomed. If you do ever find yourself in this adorable village then you must go and visit Kendall's Butchers that was full of fresh meat, cooked ham and delicious pies. Every visit they would send us away with cooked meat for the puppy which was so kind. 

Just across the road is The Oldest Sweet Shop in England which is a truly magical and memorable experience. With row upon row of glass jars filled with handmade traditional sweets weighed out by the quarter of a pound into old fashioned scales. Smell the aroma of sweets as you marvel at the old building dating back to the 1600's with its original features, fixtures and fittings.

Rock climbing at Brimham Rocks

As we were in Nidderdale we knew that there Brimham Rocks was one place that we really wanted to visit. We had seen some amazing photos online and knew that our little rock climber would love to adventure to a place like this. There is no entrance fee but you do pay for parking. As you would expect from the National Trust they were very clean and tidy, apart from some dog poo near the entrance that my daughter just HAD to step in. 

We decided to go on a little mystery tour that led us to find Harmby Waterfall tucked away next to a bungalow surrounded by beautiful gardens and rose bushes. The path quickly descends into the woods of Harmby Gill before crossing the stream a wooden gate gives closer access to the waterfall. It was a great find. 

We were half way through the week and we were all feeling refreshed. But it was time for more adventures. The Druid's Temple located near Leighton Reservoir with the surrounding moorland and landscape was perfect for our next adventure. Within the woodland there are a number of other standing stones, and the site is of particular appeal to walkers, families and bird watchers. We discovered this place a couple of years ago by chance and ever since there it has become a favourite place to stop for a cup of tea and slice of cake. 

A picturesque riverside village 

With such beautiful weather that we decided pack a picnic and to go the Strid at Bolton Abbey. But that was booking online too. We thought as it was a woodland walk we wouldn't need to but they were charging £10 for two hours that were not transferrable between the Bolton Estate car parks! I refused to pay that! Last year was £6 and could be transfer them between the car parks. 

We then decided to go further afield and came across a cute little village of Burnsall situated on the banks of the River Wharfe. This picturesque riverside village in Lower Wharfedale downstream of Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. Situated by an ancient packhorse bridge crossing a bend in the meandering River Wharfe, the village makes an excellent location for exploring the unspoiled countryside. Perfect place to eat ice cream! We ended our day at The Hoffman Lime Kiln a wonderful place to discover the industrial heritage along the self guided tour. We made a cup of tea in their car park before setting off on the walk, but afterwards I managed to get behind the wheel in my parents huge car to practise parking.

The weather is always unpredictable and changed to bright and sunny to doom and gloomy. But that never stops us and fwe came across Hackfall Wood a beautiful landscape open to all near Masham, with lakes, waterfalls, follies and paths to explore stretching along the banks of the River Ure. There is something about the wild splendour of Hackfall Woods that simply inspires creativity. It really made us feel like an explorer discovering a lost civilisation. My daughter said she felt like Dora the Explorer.

It was our last day and there was gorgeous sunshine. One last trip to Pateley Bridge then to Heben Suspension Bridge over River Wharfe. A very nice and peaceful walk along the side of the river. The view around the bridge are simply breath taking, with plenty of wildlife and trees surrounding making it the perfect place to picnic. After an hour or so splashing around it was time to make a move.

Our last stop high on Ilkley Moor was the Cow and Calf Rocks which are a large rock formation consisting of an outcrop and boulders. The rocks are made of millstone grit, a variety of sandstone, and are so named because one is large, with the smaller one sitting close to it, like a cow and calf. According to local legend, the Calf was split from the Cow when the giant Rombald was fleeing an enemy, and stamped on the rock as he leapt across the valley. The enemy, it is rumoured, was his angry wife. But who knows? It is a pretty exciting story to tell the little lady who couldn't wait to go rock climbing with her Daddy. 

So there you have it! All the details to our little staycation in North Yorkshire. It was so good to disconnect from the world take some time for ourselves, relax and not worry about everything around us. We have created some of the best memories that we will cherish forever. 


  1. What a beautiful place to stay with stunning scenery, the waterfall is gorgeous. I would loved to visit the Oldest Sweet Shop!

  2. Looks like you all are having a lot of fun and the views are breath taking ! we love stayconning too xx kind regards pati robins

  3. I love North Yorkshire. We visited Brinham rocks last year. Fantastic place

  4. Looks like a beautiful place to visit. If we could drive I would definitely go!

  5. We didn't even manage to go on a staycacation after our holidays were cancelled. Everything was either booked up or crazy expensive. So we ended up doing a week of day trips around Edinburgh instead.

  6. Sounds like you had a lovely staycation and what a beautiful destination - it goes to show what a stunning place the UK is and what fantastic holidays we can have here

    laura x