Western Yorkshire Dales Discovery Tour
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Hills & moorland
Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the countryside, taking you to key places of interest in a comfortable mini-coach, in small groups and in the company of expert leaders.
The market town of Sedbergh nestles beneath the beautiful dome-shaped Howgill Fells, and is an area steeped in history. From the castles and abbeys that enjoy commanding views of the stunning scenery through to small market towns like Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Hawes – home of Wensleydale cheese – there's plenty to discover in this stunning corner of the Yorkshire Dales. We'll also see the dramatic High Force Waterfall and wander the Pennine Uplands to enjoy every facet of this rural location.
- The small market town of Hawes, famous as the home of Wensleydale cheese
- Optional short strolls of up to 1½ miles
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in a good-quality, comfortable mini-coach with a PA system
- Admission cost for the Abbot Lodge Jersey ice cream visit
Thorns Hall established a foundation in Sedbergh in 1535 and it still retains its historic charm with wood-panelled rooms, fireplaces and a cobbled courtyard outside. It's an amazing house to visit all year round with a lush garden and magnificent hills nearby.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Full board, including an evening meal on arrival to breakfast on departure
• Reception hall
• Two lounges, with wood panelling and open fires
|• Free WiFi in public rooms
• Range of board games and books
• Upstairs dining room
• Formal gardens at the front and side of the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout and the age of Thorns Hall, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. The following is a suggested programme, but your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times or the wishes of the group.
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
The Lowther Valley
We begin the holiday by finding out about the famous Lowther family who, at one time owned land across most of northern England. We'll visit a modern dairy farm to find out about making ice-cream, discover a church with 17th century woodwork and explore a tower built to repel the Border Reivers.
Lady Anne Clifford's legacy - Kirkby Stephen, Brough & Appleby
We learn about Lady Anne Clifford who, at the age of 15 in 1608, inherited land and castles but, being a ‘mere woman’, had to fight for 35 years to claim her inheritance – then spent the rest of her long life restoring her property portfolio. We also follow the route of the Settle-Carlisle Railway through spectacular scenery past Pendragon Castle.
Hawes & Wensleydale (that famouse cheese!)
We will spend time in the attractive market town of Hawes, before driving through Wensleydale to Aysgarth, home of the spectacular Aysgarth Falls. On our return we will visit the lonely and tranquil Semer Water before returning to Hawes where you will be able to taste the famous cheese at the Creamery.
Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
Barnard Castle & Bowes Museum
Today we travel over the Pennines to visit the wonderful market town of Barnard Castle. Explore the independent shops or the ruined castle - or enjoy a leisurely walk. The highlight is a visit to the spectacular Bowes Museum, built in the style of a French chateau.
Dent & Kirkby Lonsdale
The morning is spent in the charming village of Dent where we will find out about the ‘Terrible Knitters of Dent’ and Adam Sedgwick, ‘father of Geology’. We then explore the market town of Kirkby Lonsdale and admire Ruskin’s View. We end the holiday with a visit to the oldest Quaker Meeting House in northern England.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow up to £10 per day for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price).
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Discover the Lakes and Dales
Sedbergh sits at the foot of the Howgill Fells, a peaceful corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The centre of Sedbergh is just a few minutes walk from Thorns Hall. The town has a range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank. Now famed as England’s ‘book town’, Sedbergh has many second-hand book shops and a good range of pubs and cafés. A wider range of facilities are available in the larger town of Kendal, about 10 miles away.
During your visit to Thorns Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Situated near Kendal, about 25 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. Sizergh Castle is a fine medieval house, surrounded by beautiful gardens. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sizergh
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and its topiary displays. Levens Hall is south of Kendal, about 30 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. www.levenshall.co.uk
Settle to Carlisle Railway
Ride England’s most scenic railway through the Yorkshire Dales from Garsdale station, about 10 miles from Sedbergh. Heading south you could cross the famous Ribblehead viaduct and visit Settle, Skipton and Saltaire. Heading north you could head to the small market town of Appleby, or the border city of Carlisle. www.settle-carlisle.co.uk
Hawes & Wensleydale
A 30 minute drive through the Yorkshire Dales will take you to the small town of Hawes. Visit the famous creamery that produces Wensleydale Cheese. You may want to continue through the valley of Wensleydale, well known as the setting for All Creatures Great & Small. www.wensleydale.co.uk
The market town of Kendal, about 20 minutes' drive from Thorns Hall has a good range of specialist shops.The excellent Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry is also worth a visit. www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk
A 40 minute drive will take you to Lake Windermere, gateway to exploring the beautiful scenery of the Lake District National Park. Here you could take a steamer trip on the lake, or visit the visitors centre at Brockhole. www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk or www.brockhole.co.uk
Travel to Sedbergh
Our address is: Thorns Hall, Cautley Road, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5LE
The nearest train station is Oxenholme, the Lake District, on the main line between London and Glasgow. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
HF station transfer - great value!
Our station transfer operates between Oxenholme railway station and Thorns Hall every Saturday and Wednesday (Friday and Monday in the low season). The pickup is at 4.15pm from Oxenholme station. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Oxenholme station by 10.00am. The transfer is only £10 return, but a place must be reserved in advance by calling our Reservations team on 0345 470 7558.
If you can’t meet our station transfer, the 10 mile journey from Oxenholme station to Thorns Hall can be made by taxi. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £23 per journey. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Thorns Hall Manager.
Leave the M6 at junction 37 and follow the A684 for 5 miles to Sedbergh. On reaching Sedbergh follow the road to the right into Finkle Street (avoiding the main street), then almost immediately turn left at a small roundabout into Back Lane. At the next mini-roundabout bear left onto the A683 following signs to Kirkby Stephen. Thorns Hall is a further 100 yards along the road on the left. Look out for our sign. A large car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme - this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Oxenholme station you can complete the journey to Sedbergh using our transfer or by taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4 hours to reach Oxenholme. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Oxenholme takes 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Frances has been an enthusiastic student of English literature since primary school when a Mrs Darling sparked her interest! She has lived a very itinerant life with extended periods in the US and India. She worked as a fundraiser for third world charities for many years and travelled widely with them.
Many years ago, she was involved in running a small theatre and even occasionally appeared on stage. Now she works as a Blue Badge guide, concentrating on literary tours and religious themes. As well as going to the iconic, obvious sites, she tries to include lesser known places and to entertain visitors with stories about the many people who are associated with an area - kings and queens, local legends, artists and writers.
She is also a keen hiker and tries to find routes that will allow her to visit some sort of literary shrine.
Brought up in south-east England, Jill has lived in the West Country, Scotland and, since 1998, Cumbria. She has a real passion for Britain, its history, geology and wildlife and loves sharing that with other people. She loves visiting stately homes and gardens but is also interested in how ordinary people lived in the past. Jill works as a Blue Badge Guide which is the perfect job for combining her wide range of interests with a love of communicating with people.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person