Masham (pronounced Massam) is a charming market town in North Yorkshire. Sure, there are plenty of things to see in the breathtaking town itself. But, there are also loads of natural and historical attractions to see nearby in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
So, whether you’re spending the day discovering the town or using it as a base to explore nearby areas, this guide will cover all of the necessary details to help you plan your trip to Masham.
Read about the awesome pubs in Masham
Table of Contents
Why Visit Masham in North Yorkshire
Simply put, Masham is a gorgeous town to visit in Yorkshire. It’s a place that leaves a strong impression as it’s bustling with character. The marketplace, AKA the Masham Market Square, is one of the biggest in England. Lined by quaint Georgian properties, the cobble-stoned square exudes a delightfully historic vibe.
The town is also an artistic and cultural hub of Yorkshire. Indeed, it’s a hive of artists and craftspeople while its pub culture and breweries are well-known. On top of that, the local community are super friendly and welcoming.
Masham is also the North Yorkshire gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The town is actually located on the north-eastern edge of the Nidderdale AONB, which falls in the Yorkshire Dales. Indeed, just a stone throw’s away from Masham, there are numerous attractions to discover – both natural wonders and historical places.
So, let’s dive in. We’ll start by looking at a map of the town to help you get your bearings.
Most Popular Accommodation in Masham
Kings Head Hotel by Chef & Brewer Collection is the most popular accommodation in Masham. Overlooking the Market Square, this country inn is set within a charming Georgian building, built in the second half of the 18th century.
Masham is located in Yorkshire in the northwest of England. Specifically, the market town is located in Lower Wensleydale and borders the eastern edge of Nidderdale AONB, which is in the Yorkshire Dales.
Masham’s Main Attractions and Highlights
Without further ado, let’s look at all of the best things to do in Masham. We’ll start by looking at the best things to do and see in Masham Market Square.
We’ll then talk about Masham’s two famous breweries, its awesome pubs and its best restaurants and eateries. After that, we’ll look at all of the nearby attractions in the Nidderdale AONB. Finally, we’ll look at the best accommodation in town as well as some other details to help you plan your trip.
Masham Market Square
First things first, you’ll need to wander around the impressive market square. Located in the heart of Masham, the Georgian-era buildings surrounding the square create a historical atmosphere. Truth be told, you don’t even need to visit anywhere specifically. Simply aimlessly walking around the square is as good a plan as any.
Of course, if you want some specific things to see – you’ll need to visit Masham’s Lost Cemetery. Interestingly, in 1988 and 1989, the remains of 58 skeletons, dating back to 679–1011AD were discovered buried in the area. Since then, the skeletons have been moved to Masham Churchyard. Don’t worry, you don’t have to visit the actual churchyard. You can simply visit the Lost Cemetery, marked by a blue plaque out the front of the Masham Community Office, near the town hall.
When it comes to Masham shops to scope out, there is definitely a strong arts and crafts flavour. The town has a thriving community of artists, authors and craftspeople. Some of the best shops to visit to experience the cultural vibe include Masham Gallery, Masham Flock (located inside the Community Office), The Curious Merchant and Albion – Craft Silver Smith & Lapiderist.
Of course, you may not be into arts and crafts. You may just be pining for a pint! After all, Masham is known as the home of Yorkshire brewing. So, let’s look at the town’s two famous breweries.
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Masham is home to two family-run breweries – Theakstons Brewery and The Black Sheep Brewery. Interestingly, the breweries are actually run by members of the same family (The Theakstons). After a family feud, The Black Sheep Brewery was established by Paul Theakston in 1991.
It’s possible to do tours at both breweries. Personally, Beck and I did the Theakston Brewery Tour and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Whether you do a brewery tour or not, you’re welcome to head to either brewery and enjoy a drink at their respective bars. At the Theakstons Brewery Visitor Centre, you can have a drink at the bar called The Black Bull in Paradise. Whilst at the Black Sheep Brewery, you can head to the hilariously named The Black Sheep Bistro and Baa…r.
Whatever your exact plans, you should definitely head to at least one Masham Brewery to try one of their locally brewed ales!
Masham has a fantastic pub culture. Other than the bars at the breweries, you’ll find four excellent pubs in and around the market square. These pubs include the Kings Head Hotel, The White Bear, The Bay Horse and The Bruce Arms. All of these pubs have an exceptional ambience and decor. And, they all serve locally brewed ales and spirits and serve delicious meals using locally sourced ingredients.
Stay at The Bay Horse
The comfortable en-suite rooms at The Bay Horse include all the necessary amenities and facilities such as tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries and smart televisions
Other than the excellent food on offer at the pubs, Masham is home to some amazing restaurants and eateries. Below, we’ve handpicked the best of the best when it comes to food and drink in Masham (excluding pubs and market food stalls).
- Best Restaurant: Where’s That Smoke (formerly Masham’s well-known Vennell’s Restaurant)
- Best Takeaway: Harry’s Traditional Fish and Chips and The Lunchbox
- Best Team Room: Bordar House Teas
- Best Cafe: Johnny Baghdad’s Cafe on the Square
FYI – please head to the establishment’s respective websites for the latest details about opening times and menus.
Explore Nidderdale AONB From Masham
Of course, you may be using Masham as a base to explore the Nidderdale AONB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Below, we’ve listed some of the best attractions to visit in Nidderdale.
- Hackfall Woods
- Druid’s Temple
- Brimham Rocks
- Stump Cross Caverns
- How Stean Gorge
- Fewston Reservoir
- Swinsty Reservoir
- Swinton Estate
There are several annual events held in Masham which are well-known in the north of England. The two most well-known events include the Masham Sheep Fair and the Masham Steam Engine and Fair Organ Rally. Otherwise, there are several Masham beer festivals run by various breweries and pubs. Additionally, the Masham market runs twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Best Activities For Children
There are tonnes of great things to do with kids in and around Masham. Below, we’ll list the best family-friendly activities
- Wensleydale Railway or the Vintage Bus: take a ride on these historical modes of transport.
- Thorp Perrow: check out the Arboretum and Bird of Prey Centre.
- Lightwater Valley or the Studfold Adventure Trail: visit an adventure park.
- The Forbidden Corner: why not visit the strangest place in the world?!
- How Stean Gorge: enjoy adventure activities such as canoeing, abseiling, rock climbing and high wiring (How Stean Gorge via Ferrata).
Accommodation in Masham, North Yorkshire
There are plenty of excellent accommodation options in Masham. Admittedly, most people simply stay at one of the Masham pubs as they all offer cosy and comfortable rooms. Otherwise, Masham has its fair share of lovely cottages and B&Bs. Below, we’ll look at all of the accommodation options, so that you can find something that suits your preference.
Masham Pubs With Rooms
Although the Kings Head Hotel is the most popular pub accommodation option, it’s fair to say that all of the Masham pubs offer a fantastic stay. As a reminder, we’ve listed all of the four Masham pubs below, which all offer exceptional accommodation.
Stay at the Black Swan Inn
If there is no availability for rooms in pubs in Masham, then head to the nearby Black Swan Inn (FYI – they do a mean Sunday Roast)
Masham Hotels, Cottages and B&Bs
If you don’t fancy staying at a pub in Masham, then don’t worry, as there are plenty of nice hotels, cottages, holiday homes and B&Bs to choose from as well. Below, we’ve listed the best places to stay in Masham that aren’t rooms in pubs.
Swinton Estate: Swinton Park Hotel
Of course, a special mention has to go to Swinton Park Hotel on Swinton Estate near Masham. Also known as the Swinton Estate Hotel and the Swinton Estate Castle, the Swinton Park Hotel is perhaps the most special accommodation option near Masham. Beautifully set next to the Swinton Estate’s Deer Park and Parkland and Gardens, the Swinton Park Hotel enjoys a gorgeous natural ambience.
The four-star luxurious castle hotel is also a Grade II listed heritage building. So, as expected, the hotel itself and its rooms are opulent, grand and immaculate.
The Swinton Park Hotel offers bedrooms and suites in the form of double and twin rooms, with standard, classic, superior and deluxe options. Otherwise, the hotel also offers gorgeous self-catering country houses.
Stay at Swinton Park Hotel
Swinton Park Hotel is an incredible luxury castle hotel, offering immaculate rooms and an incredible experience
Another amazing accommodation option at Swinton Estate is staying at the Swinton Bivouac. The yurts and tree lodges at Swinton Bivouac are some of the most unique places you can stay near Masham. Indeed, staying at Swinton Bivouac ensures an unforgettable glamping experience.
Stay at Swinton Park Bivouac
For an unforgettable glamping experience near Masham, you’ll want to stay at one of the yurts or treehouses at Swinton Bivouac
How to Get to Masham
The most convenient way to get to Masham is to drive there yourself. You’ll find loads of parking in the market square that’s donation-based.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
Unfortunately, there is no train station at Masham. The nearest train stations are in Northallerton and Thirsk. From these train stations, you could get a taxi to the town. Otherwise, there are several bus routes that stop at Masham.
Depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you may want to use a combination of Trainline and Google Maps to help plan your journey.
Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.
Where Next After Masham?
Yorkshire Dales National Park
What to Pack
If you’re travelling from afar, these travel accessories will make your journey a more pleasant one.
Anker Portable Power Bank
Keep your phone, laptop and other accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker Portable Power Bank. We wouldn’t travel without this high-quality portable charger.
Sea to Summit DryLite Towel
The Sea to Summit DryLite Towel is the best quick-dry microfibre towel. This compact, lightweight and super-absorbent towel is perfect for travel.
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
Having an EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter is one of the best accessories to travel with, especially if you’re travelling to multiple continents during your trip.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly yet high-quality noise-cancelling headphones for travel, then look no further than the Anker Soundcore Space Q45.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite travel gear, camera gear and hiking gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Masham.
Where Is Masham in Yorkshire?
It’s located in Lower Wensleydale in North Yorkshire on the northeast edge of Nidderdale AONB.
What Is Masham Known For?
It’s known as the home of Yorkshire brewing as it’s home to two family-run breweries. The town is also famous for its events, especially the annual sheep fair (so, naturally, it’s also known for its wool).
Does Masham Have a Market?
Yes, the market runs every Wednesday and Saturday with most activity taking place from 10am–2pm. The Sunday Market runs every second Sunday of the month from April to October.
What Is Masham Wool?
Wool that is made in the town! This type of wool has a nice soft feel and is suitable for spinning and felting.
Is Masham Worth Visiting?
Yes, absolutely. Beck and I love visiting this place for its relaxed ambience and historic vibe. Every visit feels special and we’re always tempted to re-visit. Certainly, we highly recommend visiting!
Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales
These are other awesome villages and towns to see in the Yorkshire Dales.
- Grassington: Everything You Need to Know About Grassington
- Hawes: The 16 Best Things To Do In Hawes
- Ingleton: 10 Awesome Things To Do In Ingleton
- Buckden: The 5 Best Things To Do In Buckden, Yorkshire
- Keld: The 5 Best Things To Do in Keld, North Yorkshire
- Clapham: The Top 13 Things To Do During A Visit to Clapham, Yorkshire
- Ribblehead: 15 Awesome Things To Do In Ribblehead
- Masham Tourist Information Centre (AKA the Community Office) and Ripon Tourist Information Centre: feel free to head to these places if you require more information once you’re already there.
- Other worthwhile nearby towns to visit: Pateley Bridge, Harrogate and Ripon.
- Go from Masham to Wensleydale: after exploring the town, we recommend heading deeper into Wensleydale to see other lovely towns and attractions. Read our Hawes Visitor’s Guide for more information about the best things to do in Wensleydale.
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