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Hawes - So much more than just the Highest Market Town in England

Written by Sally Sims on

A view over Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales

A magical market town in England’s fair Isle, Hawes is perched 850ft above sea level. The air might be thin but the cheese is full fat. Home to the famous Wensleydale cheese, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Yorkshire Dales with plenty of places to visit, shops to shop in and eateries to eat at. 

Of unsurmountable Wallace and Gromit fame, Wensleydale cheese has been celebrated in Hawes and beyond for centuries (whey before Nick Park discovered modelling clay). If you’re a fan of the creamy, crumbly white delectable flavour then take a tour around the creamery where you can watch the cheese being made, enjoy a sampling or three and take your very own truckle home.

In the old railway station yard, in amongst the town, you will find the Dales Countryside Museum. Here you are offered an opportunity to learn a wealth of interesting facts about the Yorkshire Dales and the lives and industries of people past and present. If you’re on a museum roll, then stop by at Hawes Ropemaker to watch how it’s made and learn about the history of rope; you might even be tempted to buy your iguana or four legged companion a new lead whilst you’re there!

When you’re all museumed out, perhaps a trip out to see Hardraw Force will blow the culture away. It is part of the heritage of Hawes; a natural wonder falling as the highest single drop waterfall in England. You will not be disappointed with the impressive water flow. Walkways aid you to explore around the area, including one that takes you behind the fall, a deafening and magical experience. If it’s a nice day then why not take a picnic, if it’s raining, be prepared for soggy sandwiches. 

Folk come from all over to visit the weekly farmers auction mart, and it's the place to be if you’re on the lookout for a new ewe. But, if you’re only in the mood for quirky gifts and boutique shopping then Hawes can provide there too. There are a variety of interesting shops, restaurants and galleries to browse as you meander along the maze of cobbled streets.

If you are in the area on the second Sunday of September then be warned there will be brass all around! The annual Hardraw Scar brass band festival takes place in the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn bringing competitive bands from afar so find a spot to enjoy the music.

So in brief and whether it’s history, heritage, shopping (livestock or otherwise) or walking that you’re after, you will be sure to find it in Hawes. It’s not only the highest market town in England but an excellent place to visit for good walking and adventurous exploring all over the Yorkshire Dales and even further afield along the Pennine Way.

Sally Sims

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