A Guide to Settle, North Yorkshire

A Guide to Settle, North Yorkshire

Settle town in North Yorkshire enjoys a superb setting nestled within some of England's most dramatic countryside. Lying on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the edge of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it extends for 185 square miles and calls to all generations for an escape unlike any other.

The area of Settle straddles the border of North Yorkshire and Lancashire and features unique landscapes etched with limestone escarpments and river valleys. At the centre, the ancient market town of Settle sits below the imposing, mile-long Attermire Scar and is surrounded by a number of characterful villages that each exude their own unique charm. 

Affording visitors with access to a whole array of activities and outdoor pursuits, Settle town provides an idyllic hub from which to discover all there is on offer. Brimming with history and packed with places to shop, eat and relax, it has everything you could need and more for a luxury break – whether you’re planning on staying in the town or visiting from your own perfect pocket of the Settle Area. 

If you are ready to start planning your holiday in Settle, here is our guide filled with everything you need to know. 

The History of Settle

Wherever you are in the Settle Area, evidence of its rich history is never far. From throwbacks to the last Ice Age including the Norber erratics (one of the most impressive groups of glacial erratic boulders in Britain) to Settle town’s listed buildings, thousands of years of history are woven into its very landscapes. In Settle town in particular, an eclectic array of fascinating buildings in various architectural styles overlook a labyrinth of narrow alleys, pretty streets and courtyards. With the majority dating from the 17th to 19th Centuries, many of the buildings were built in the town’s industrial heyday - shaped by farming, quarrying, limestone, textiles, the railway, and more. The townhall is especially attractive and is home to the town’s Tourist Information Centre where you can pick up handy town guides. 

Settle Town

Surrounded by a number of smaller villages, the ancient market town of Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is known as the 'capital' of the Settle Area and draws people from and far wide. Nestled beneath the Attermire Scar limestone escarpment, the town is overlooked by the imposing Castleberg Crag and is encompassed by hugely dramatic scenery that is all but irresistible to outdoor enthusiasts. In the town itself, the streets are lined with historic buildings, many of which are listed, and offer a variety of well-known brands, independent shops and welcoming cafés and eateries. There is also a popular market held every Tuesday that’s been taking place since the 13th Century. Popular events that take place include Settle Flowerpot Festival in July and August, the Settle Folk Gathering in September and the Christmas Markets in December.

Settle to Carlisle Railway

The Settle to Carlisle railway is a world-famous trainline running for 73 miles across the wild and remote Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines, all the way to Carlisle. While you don’t have to travel the whole way, we definitely recommend hopping aboard for a short trip to get a sense of the scale of engineering behind this Victorian masterpiece and to enjoy the incredible scenery. Completed in the 1870s, it was built by over 6,000 navvies who faced extremely gruelling conditions – with hundreds of men losing their lives along the way. To this day, you can still some of the trenches of the former ‘Batty Green’ underneath the viaduct, a wooden village known as the Wild West of England where thousands of railwaymen used to live. Elsewhere, just 10 miles from Settle, the Ribblehead Viaduct is one of the most famous features of the railway – an enormous 24-arch bridge spanning for a quarter of a mile across the Ribble Valley. With an elevation of 165ft, the hugely impressive viaduct was featured in the Harry Potter movies, although unfortunately it doesn’t actually lead to Hogwarts. 

Landscapes and Landmarks

One of the biggest draws of Settle for many is its proximity to unspoilt countryside and proliferation of jaw-dropping natural landmarks. On the outer reaches of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Settle Area is only a stone’s throw from the Forest of Bowland and less than an hour from the Lake District National Park. That said, there is plenty of doorstep exploring to be done, so you won’t need to venture far to enjoy the some of the highlights of Yorkshire

For walkers, it’s a great base for tackling the Three Peaks of Yorkshire: Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Meanwhile, just above Settle town is Castleberg Crag, a limestone cliff that affords stunning views over the area. A few miles east of the town are the incredible Malham Cove, Malham Tarn, and Gordale Scar, and to the north is Stainforth Force. Thundering along the River Ribble, Stainforth features a series of cascades that make up part of the annual salmon run in autumn and provide a year-round beauty spot for picnics and walks. Also a short distance from Settle is Ingleborough Cave, a cavernous show cave first discovered in 1837. Open for visits, the public part of the cave follows a fossil gallery for around 500 metres and is strewn with natural stalagmitic formations.

If you’re feeling inspired to explore, take a look at some of our luxury holiday cottages in Settle here



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