What the village of Appletreewick lacks in size, it more than makes up for in charm. Hidden away in Wharfedale, one of the Yorkshire Dales’ longest and most picturesque valleys, it’s essentially a single street, with enchanting views of the Dales towards Simon’s Seat at one end and Thorpe Fell at the other. The stone cottages that line the road date from the 17th and 18th centuries – some even as far back as the 12th century – and there are very few modern properties.
In summer, visitors flock to the River Wharfe, whose banks make prime picnicking and sunbathing territory and whose rocky waters are ripe for swimming. The area is popular with walkers, too, thanks to the relatively even terrain and a variety of walks taking in the area’s hills and fells, as well as challenges such as the craggy peak of Simon’s Seat.
Appletreewick’s proximity to Bolton Abbey is another draw. The ruins of this 12th-century Augustinian monastery are flanked by some 30,000 acres of spectacular countryside, and walkable from Appletreewick. Just be sure to pay a visit to the Craven Arms on the way back into the village. This traditional 16th-century pub is named after William Craven, the village’s most famous son, whose story shares interesting parallels with that of Dick Whittington, the pauper who became Lord Mayor of London.
Celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2017, the village of Carrbridge – part of the Cairngorms National Park – boasts several daims to fame. For one, it became the first of Scotland’s skiing villages when a professional ski school was set up here in the 1950s. It’s still a popular winter skiing destination today, and the snow-dappled forest scenery might be the most enduring image of this village if it weren’t for one particular landmark: Carrbridge’s packhorse bridge.
An ethereal arch of stone that breaches the icy water beneath, the bridge was originally built to enable villagers to carry coffins across the water when the River Dulnain was in spate. It’s now the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands, not to mention the most photographed. In summer, locals and more adventurous tourists use it to dive into the chilly water which snakes below. And for those in search of more organised outdoor pursuits, the Landmark Forest Adventure Park in the south of the village is another popular attraction.
Last but by no means least, Carrbridge has one final string to its bow. Every October the village hall plays host to the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship. The 2017 event will be the 24th year of the competition, which traditionally takes place on – or close to – World Porridge Day.