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Ribblehead: 15 Awesome Things To Do In Ribblehead

Ribblehead: 15 Awesome Things To Do In Ribblehead

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.

Read our guides about Grassington, Clapham and Ingleton

About Ribblehead

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.

Dan walks near Ribblehead Viaduct on his way to Whernside

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.

A screenshot of where Ribblehead is located

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.

Find out more: Ribblehead Viaduct – Everything You Need to Know About Visiting

Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside

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.

Dan walks towards the Ribblehead Viaduct Memorial Plaque during the Whernside Walk.
Dan approaches the Ribblehead Viaduct memorial plaque

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

Beck and Dan walk by Ribblehead Viaduct

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.

An ifnformation board about Blea Moor Common

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.

Read more: Whernside Walk From Ribblehead Viaduct – The Ultimate Guide

Dan walks to Whernside after passing the Ribblehead Viaduct
Whernside

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.

Dan and Beck at the base of Low Force, formed by Force Gill, seen during the Whernside Walk from Ribblehead
Force Gill – Low Force

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.

Read more: Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge – Everything You Need to Know

Pen-y-ghent
Pen-y-ghent

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.

Read more: White Scar Cave – An Honest Review About the Tour

Dan at White Scar Cave near Ribblehead

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.

Read more: Ingleton Falls (Ingleton Waterfalls Trail) – The Ultimate Guide

Dan and Beck walking by Pecca Falls, which is one of the Ingleton Falls along the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

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.

Read more: Norber Erratics, Austwick – An Epic Walk From A Charming Village

One of the Norber Erratics

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.

Read more: Ingleton Visitor’s Guide – 10 Awesome Things To Do In Ingleton

Dan walks in Ingleton, a bigger village near Ribblehead

12. Use Clapham As a Base to See Natural Attractions

Similarly, Clapham is another pretty village to explore nearby. Although, Clapham is a popular base for exploring nearby natural wonders such as Ingleborough, Gaping Gill and Ingleborough Cave.

Read more: Clapham Yorkshire – The Top 12 Things To Do During A Visit

Clapham

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.

Car Hire

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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.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

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

There is plenty of roadside parking here (Ribblehead Viaduct postcode for parking – Carnforth LA6 3AT) on Blea Moor Road. This parking area is located opposite the Ribblehead Viaduct.

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.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Is Ribblehead in Yorkshire?

Yes.

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

Bonus Tips

  • 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.

For more information about the best walks in the Yorkshire Dales, read our comprehensive Yorkshire Dales National Park Walking and Waterfalls Guides.

Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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