Ribblehead is a lesser-known, yet underrated area in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Most people visit Ribblehead to visit the extraordinary Ribblehead Viaduct or to do the Whernside Walk. But, there are plenty of other brilliant things to do in and around Ribblehead. In this guide, we’re going to talk about 15 epic things to do in and near Ribblehead in the Dales.
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Ribblehead is a tiny village with only a small community. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to this village. This sweeping moorland area seems to simply have a train station with a cafe and visitor centre, a pub with accommodation and a railway line passing by. Indeed, there doesn’t seem to be much going on or an awful lot to do in the area.
Sure, the railway line at Ribblehead is the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, which is one of Yorkshire’s finest attractions. Whilst, the area is where you’d usually start the walk to Whernside – the highest peak in Yorkshire. Plus, many start the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge here.
Still, otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much else going on. But, there are actually many other great things to do in Ribblehead and the neighbouring areas. Perhaps, it’s the quality rather than the quantity of activities on offer. Although, the 15 things to do, mentioned in this guide, will surely keep you busy for more than a few days!
FYI – Ribblehead gets its name from being an area of moorland at the head of the River Ribble.
Where Is Ribblehead?
So, exactly where is Ribblehead located? It’s located in Ribble Valley in a dale (upper valley) called Ribblesdale. You’ll find the area in the southwest part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire in the northwest of England. To help you get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map.
Now you know where Ribblehead is located, let’s dive into the 15 best things to do in and around the area.
1. Visit Ribblehead Viaduct
Undoubtedly, the Ribblehead Viaduct (AKA the Batty Moss Viaduct) is a breathtaking section of the Settle-Carlisle railway that crosses Batty Moss – an area of moorlands in Ribblehead. The Ribblehead Viaduct railway is a Grade II heritage-listed structure. Indeed, this section of the Settle to Carlisle railway line is a truly magnificent example of 19th century Victorian engineering, ingenuity and perseverance.
To learn more about the fascinating Ribblehead Viaduct history and everything else you need to know about visiting, make sure to read our guide, which we’ve linked to, below. FYI – here is the Ribblehead Viaduct location.
2. Find the Ribblehead Viaduct Memorial Plaque
Located near the viaduct, nearly underneath it, you’ll find a memorial plaque, honouring the 2,300 men who built it between 1869 and 1874. The plaque also honours the people who helped with the restoration works of the viaduct in 1991.
3. Do the Ribblehead Viaduct Walk
The Ribblehead Viaduct Circular Walk is a great option for exploring more of the railway line. Along this short loop walk (4.5km; 2.8 miles), you’ll enjoy varying vantage points of the magnificent viaduct.
Read more: Ribblehead Viaduct Walk
4. Explore Blea Moor Common
Surrounding the viaduct, at Blea Moor Common, you’ll find delicate remnants of the shanty towns and camps set up for the workers who built Ribblehead Viaduct. Keep an eye out for information boards at the viaduct. There are several monuments to scope out.
5. Complete the Whernside Walk From Ribblehead Viaduct
If you want to summit the highest peak in Yorkshire, you’ll have to walk to Whernside. The circular walk to Whernside from the viaduct is a popular day walk option. The 13.4km (8.3 miles) walk is certainly one of the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales.
6. Chase Force Gill Waterfall (Low Force and High Force)
Force Gill is an epic river stream that can be explored between the Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside. In fact, during the Whernside Walk, you’ll catch sight of Low Force (AKA Ribblehead Waterfall and Force Gill Waterfall), which is an impressive waterfall formed by Force Gill. By going off the beaten track, you can also visit High Force, which is a waterfall higher upstream.
7. Take on The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge
Other than starting at Horton in Ribbesdale, it’s possible to start the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge from Ribblehead. During this gigantic 38km (23.5 miles) hiking challenge, you’ll also summit the well-known and easily recognisable Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough.
8. Go Underground at White Scar Cave
Only a short drive away from Ribblehead, you’ll find White Scar Cave – a famous show cave in the Yorkshire Dales. The underground formations on display are truly mind-boggling. Certainly, make sure to drop in for a visit.
9. More Waterfall Chasing Along the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
Nearby in Ingleton, you’ll find a stunning group of waterfalls known as Ingleton Falls. The well-known Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is one of the most popular walking routes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
10. Gawk at the Norber Erratics
Starting in the nearby village of Austwick, you can explore hundreds of glacial boulders on the southern slope of Ingleborough. Many of the boulders remain precariously stacked, creating unique rock formations.
11. Wander Around Ingleton
Other than visiting Ingleton to do the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, it’s fair enough to simply mooch around the charming village. Read our Ingleton Guide to find out about all of the best things to do in the village.
12. Use Clapham As a Base to See Natural Attractions
13. Photograph or Ride the Steam Excursion
It’s possible to catch a steam train along the Settle to Carlisle railway line along the Ribblehead Viaduct. Click here for more information about this tourist train called the Steam Excursion. Otherwise, train enthusiasts often gather at the viaduct to photograph famous steam trains such as the Flying Scotsman. Click here for the latest information about timetables.
14. Head to the Ribblehead Coffee Shop and Visitor Centre
Located at Ribblehead station, you’ll find a lovely visitor centre and coffee shop. Feel free to head to the cafe for a hot drink or set foot in the visitor centre to learn more about the area and its history.
15. Have a Pint at The Station Inn
The Station Inn is the only Ribblehead pub. So, if you’re keen on a pint or a pub feed after exploring the area, you’ll have no choice but to be stopping in at The Station Inn.
How to Get to Ribblehead
The quickest and easiest way to get to Ribblehead is to drive there yourself.
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.
Of course, it’s possible to get to Ribblehead by using public transport. Simply, catch a train to Ribblehead Station. From Leeds, you can get the Northern Line train heading to Carlisle. In fact, many people get the train from Settle to Ribblehead. We recommend using Trainline to help plan your train.
Where to Park
Where to Stay
Given it’s a tiny village, there isn’t much in the way of Ribblehead accommodation. The most well-known accommodation option in Ribblehead is the famous Station Inn. Otherwise, there are some lesser-known Ribblehead B&Bs such as the Gauber Bunk Barn and Den and the Ashes Farm Bed & Breakfast Holiday Cottages.
If you’re struggling for Ribblehead accommodation, we recommend staying in the nearby village of Ingleton. Because Ingleton is a much bigger village, there are way more accommodation options. Below, we’ll talk about the best budget, mid-range and luxury hotels and other accommodation options in Ingleton.
- Budget – Ingleton Hostel: the best budget option in Ingleton is Ingleton Hostel. Conveniently, the hostel is located near the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail.
- Mid-range – Craven Heifer Ingleton: this exquisite country inn is one of the most affordable private room accommodation options in Ingleton. Additionally, Craven Heifer Ingleton is one of the most highly-rated options in the village.
- Mid-range – The Wheatsheaf Inn: you’ll want to book The Wheatsheaf Inn if you want to stay at the most popular accommodation option in Ingleton. Indeed, this B&B is a superb place to stay.
- Luxury – The Marton Arms: the rustic country inn is located just outside of Ingleton. So, The Marton Arms is the perfect place to stay if you’re after something even more quiet and secluded. You’re also just a stone’s throw away from the amazing Yordas Cave.
FAQs About Ribblehead
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Ribblehead.
Is Ribblehead in Yorkshire?
Is Ribblehead Worth Visiting?
Yes, Ribblehead and the surrounding areas are certainly worth visiting. Now that you’ve read the guide, you’ll know about all of the great things you can do in and around the area.
Which Viaduct Is the Longest in the UK?
The longest viaduct in the UK is the Welland Viaduct in Northamptonshire, which is 1,166 metres long. In contrast, the Ribblehead Viaduct is only around 400 metres long.
Other Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales
- Grassington: Everything You Need to Know About Grassington
- Hawes: The 16 Best Things To Do In Hawes
- Masham: Everything You Need to Know About Masham
- 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 weather: head to the Met Office for the latest forecast. Typically, the area can get a bit cold and windy, so be prepared.
- Another beautiful viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales: visit Smardale Gill Viaduct if you want to see another sensational viaduct in this part of the world.
- Explore other national parks in the northwest of England: there’s much natural beauty to see and experience in the northwest of England. Make sure to check out the North York Moors, Lake District (coming soon) and Peak District national parks.