Western Yorkshire Dales Discovery Tour
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Hills & moorland
Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the countryside. These are sightseeing tours by minibus, visiting places not normally reached by a full-sized coach. Small groups and friendly leaders make this a great way to enjoy Britain at its best.
The historic market town of Sedbergh nestles beneath the beautiful dome-shaped Howgill Fells. Thorns Hall, an oak-panelled 400-year-old manor house with a colourful history, is on the edge of the town of Sedbergh and ideally situated to explore the Howgills, Yorkshire Dales, Moors and the Eden Valley. This is an area rich in tradition and history, filled with castles and abbeys as well as spectacular and unspoilt scenery.
- The small market town of Hawes, famous as the home of Wensleydale cheese
Great reasons to join us
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, plus five full-day mini-coach tours, with plenty of stops at places of interest and short walks of up to 1½ miles
- Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the history and landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales from your knowlegeable leader
- Accommodation: small and friendly manor house at the foot of the Howgill Fells
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together and relax together
Dating from 1535, the small manor house of Thorns Hall retains its historic charm with wood-panelled public rooms, fireplaces and a cobbled courtyard outside.
Thorns Hall has 25 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the cottages across the courtyard.
Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available at no extra charge.
You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £10 extra per person per night.
If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.
A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.
All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board, with all meals included between evening meal on arrival to breakfast on departure.
There is a welcoming reception hall plus two cosy lounges, with wood panelling and open fires, one of which also contains the bar. Free WiFi is available in the public rooms. There is also a range of board games and books. Upstairs, the dining room is light and airy with exposed wooden beams.
At the front and side of the house is a formal garden which makes a pleasant spot to relax after your walks or activities.
All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.
Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.
Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.
Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).
The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.
All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk about local wildlife from a visiting speaker or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.
Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.
Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.
Due to the layout and the age of Thorns Hall, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility.
Arrival & car parking facilities
- 2 disabled bays in the cobbled courtyard, 20 yards from the rear entrance
- There is parking available for 24 cars in the main car park. The car park is lit during the hours of darkness
- The car park surface is gravel and the entrance to the house is via gravel path, which is 25 yards long (to the main entrance)
- It is possible to load and unload cars directly at the rear entrance and assistance can be provided with luggage
Main entrance & reception
- The main entrance has 7 steps, each step is 20cm high, 150cm wide with hand rails. The main entrance has double doors, 128cm wide by 168cm high
- A second door leads into the entrance hall. This door is 92cm wide by 204cm high
- The rear entrance has double doors, 197cm high by 153cm wide. There is an interior door of 202cm high by 88cm wide. There are 4 steps into the entrance hall, each step being between 16-22cm high
- The entrance hall measures 6.1m x 6.2m and has parquet flooring.
- The hall is well lit by wall lights and a large window
- There is no actual reception desk as the manager's office is situated off the entrance hall
Public areas - hall, stairs, landing, corridors etc
- The main staircase leads off from the entrance hall
- The staircase is U-shaped and consists of three sets of stairs. The first set of stairs has 6 steps to a landing of 1.2m x 1.1m. The second set of stairs has 5 steps to a landing of 1.2m x 1.1m. The final set of stairs has 6 steps to the main landing of 2.4m x 3.5m
- The stairs are 28cm deep, 16cm high and 120cm wide
- There is a handrail on the left hand side up the entire staircase
- The staircase is well lit. All stairs and corridors are carpeted
Public areas - sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc
- The main lounge and bar are on the ground floor. The bar is entered from the entrance hall through a wooden fire door, which is 75cm wide
- The lounge is through another wooden fire door (75cm wide) and a single step of 13cm high, 60cm high.
- The size of the lounge is approx 20 x 10 ft.
- The lounge / bar area is well lit, it has a short-pile carpet and the furniture is easily movable
- There is a public toilet on the ground floor off the main lounge
- Access is via 4 steps. Each step is 23cm high, 30cm deep and 99cm wide. There is a handrail on the right for the first three steps and a fire door (73cm wide) on the
- top of the steps
- The size of the toilet is 1m x 1.6m, with free space of 1m x 0.9m. Toilet seat height is 51cm
- The hand basin is 80cm high and it is rounded at the front
- The entrance door to the public toilets is 74cm wide and the cubicle door width is 75cm.
Restaurant / dining room
- The dining room is on the second floor
- From the first floor landing there are two flights of stairs. The first flight of stairs has 7 steps, each step being 15cm high, 25cm deep and 100cm wide
- There is a handrail on the right hand side
- At the top of the stairs is a glass fire door, 88cm wide. A second fire door leads to 2 more steps, each step is 17cm high, 28cm deep and 82cm wide
- The final stairs are 92cm wide, 26cm deep and 17cm high. Handrail on the left
- The dining room has round tables, with 4 legs. The tables are 74cm high
- The chairs are straight backed with no arms and the seat is 49cm high
- The room seats 38. The approx room size is 35ft x 20ft
- Special diets catered for, but should be advised pre or on arrival
- Assistance is always available, if required
Bedrooms & sleeping areas
- There are 11 bedrooms in the main house and 13 bedrooms in the annexe in the courtyard
- None of the rooms has been specifically designed for wheelchair users
- Most of the rooms are en-suite. The en-suite rooms have a shower, no baths available
Room 22 (annexe bedroom)
- Room 22 can be accessed straight from the courtyard without any steps
- Access is from the courtyard, the door is 90cm wide
- There are 2 beds, which are 50cm high, but can be raised on request. There is a clear space of minimum 68cm between the furniture and the beds.
- Duvet bedding and the floor is carpeted.
- The shower room is 180cm x 160cm and has a 76cm wide door
- The free floor space is 100cm x 120cm
- The shower is semi-circular and 66cm in diameter, its door opens 40cm wide
- There is a 30cm lip into the shower
- Pedestal hand basin is 78cm high and the toilet seat is 40cm high
- Flooring is non-slip
Grounds and gardens
- Large walled garden with a mixture of shrubs, flower beds and mature trees
- There is a gravel footpath around the whole garden. Seating available
- Uncovered pond and parts of the garden are unlit at night
- 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.
Friday/Saturday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. This is the first occasion when everyone meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.
Saturday/Sunday: 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 will 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.
Sunday/Monday: In the Footsteps of Lady Anne Clifford
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.
Tuesday: Discover Wensleydale
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.
Monday/Wednesday: Free day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House.
Wednesday/Thursday: The North Pennines
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.
Thursday/Friday: Exploring Westmorland
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.
Friday/Saturday: 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 £80 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.
Steve has been leading Natural World and Walking holidays for HF Holidays for over 26 years. His main interests include wildlife, astronomy and geology, and he manages a small nature reserve in Lancaster. Steve is also a keen natural history photographer and his photos have been published in the BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Guardian, and local publications.
Steve has led numerous tours from our Worldwide Journeys range including holidays in the Caribbean, New Zealand, Canada, South America, South Africa and Asia, as well as many of our European destinations.
A dedicated traveller, Phil researches all his holidays with enthusiasm and dedication. He has trekked all over the world for cancer and childrens' charities and has a love of the countryside born out of his childhood within the boundaries of the North Yorkshire National Park. History has always been a fascination for him. As a guide Phil hopes the guests on his tours will leave having had a pleasurable and memorable experience and been part of a happy team that really did “discover”.
|Date & Rating||Customer Review||HF Holidays says|
13 Nov 2016, 8:27 a.m.
No review provided
Very good company, efficient and well organised. I think H.F excels where choice of holidays is concerned.
8 Jun 2016, 7:29 p.m.
No review provided
Well organised in every respect and totally enjoyable.
2 Jun 2014, 5:06 p.m.
Well balanced programme
28 May 2014, 3:43 p.m.
This was my first experience of HF, and I was most impressed with all aspects
of the organization, especially the choice of holiday experiences, and the easy
and efficient system of making a booking.
Thanks to very good service from all the staff at Sedbergh, our tour leader
Dates & Prices
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|14 Apr 2017||SDHCR - Discovery Tour - Sedbergh||3||£355.00||£355.00||Book Now|
|14 Apr 2017||SDHCR - Discovery Tour - Sedbergh||7||£805.00||£705.00||Book Now|
|17 Apr 2017||SDHCR - Discovery Tour - Sedbergh||4||£465.00||£465.00||Book Now|
|29 Jul 2017||SDHCR - Discovery Tour - Sedbergh||4||£505.00||£505.00||Book Now|
|29 Jul 2017||SDHCR - Discovery Tour - Sedbergh||7||£855.00||£780.00||Book Now|
|2 Aug 2017||SDHCR - Discovery Tour - Sedbergh||3||£365.00||£365.00||Book Now|
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