Grassington - A lovely village in Wharfedale. What to do and see, cafes, pubs, restaurants, accommodation, the Festival.

Welcome sign at Grassington, Wharfedale

Grassington is a popular and thriving Yorkshire Dales market town, generally thought to be the centre of Upper Wharfedale. There is a wonderful array of walks in the area and some beautiful picnic spot by the generally languid and calm River Wharfe.

After your walk, you’ll find plenty of places to get refreshed and there’s a wide choice of accommodation should you wish to stay.

In brief

  • Centre of Wharfedale
  • Town with the feel of a village
  • Plenty of places to eat and stay
  • Very popular tourist centre
  • Thriving arts scene with events through the year
  • Range of walks from the town

A bit of history

Although often described by locals as a village, Grassington was granted a Royal Charter for a market and fair in 1282 which bestows market town status. The market was held regularly until about 1860.

Lead mining grew in importance following a change in land in the early 17th century and this saw the town prosper. Grassington’s heyday, however, was during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The opening of the Yorkshire Dales Railway to Threshfield in 1901 brought new visitors, many of whom settled, some finding work in Skipton or in the developing limestone quarries.

Electricity generation

Hydro electric plant, Grassington

Hydro electric plant, Grassington

In 1909, Grassington received its first electricity from a hydroelectric plant at Linton Falls, which continued to run until 1948. Plans to revive the plant through an English Heritage project, using two Archimedean screw turbines to produce 510,000 kilowatt hours per year came to fruition a while ago.

The plant, now operational, sits on the River Wharfe just below the town.

Grassington today

Main Street, Grassington

Main Street, Grassington

Grassington is now seen as the centre of Upper Wharfedale attracting both people to live and to visit. The main part of the town is around the small, old cobbled square. You’ll find a good selection of shops selling food, clothes and gifts, along with small cafes, restaurants and hotels.

There’s a large car park just a short walk from the town centre which also incorporates a Yorkshire Dales National Park Information Centre.

In 2011, Grassington featured in the Channel 4 programme Love Thy Neighbour in which 12 couples compete to win a dream home in the village, with the community deciding who should join them.

Grassington Festival

Grassington Festival is a two-week long annual event usually held in June each year. It includes music, performance and visual arts which are held in a variety of venues around the village. In 2010, for example, it included acts by The Manfreds, Rick Wakeman and The Proclaimers and comedy from Ross Noble.

2011 featured Street Dance classes, the recording of 2 episodes of I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue, acts from the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, The Peatbog Faeries, Leslie Garrett CBE, a sixties double bill with Gerry & The Pacemakers and the Searchers, and much, much more.

More information and the full programme from the Grassington Festival website .

Dickensian Festival

The Dickensian Festival held on three Saturdays in December and attracts visitors from miles around. The town is transported back to the time of Charles Dickens with the square and streets transformed into a traditional market, and the villagers all dressed in Victorian costume.

As well as the traditional country crafts there are dancers, street entertainers and musicians.


There is a large main car park on Hebden Road which incorporates the bus station and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks Information Centre.


Grass Wood

Grass Wood is a large ancient woodland including the Iron-Age fort, Fort Gregory (also known as Gregory’s Fort) just over a mile northwest of Grassington.


Three miles north of Grassington at Kilnsey is the dramatic, glacially carved overhang of Kilnsey Crag. Kilnsey Park offers a range of outdoor attractions from nature trails to fly fishing, together with a restaurant, farm shop and events through the year. Kilnsey also hosts a popular annual agricultural show.

Linton Falls

Near Grassington, Linton Falls is the largest waterfall on the River Wharfe, cascading over limestone bedrock, a feature of the Craven Fault. The Falls are just a short walk through the car park and down a well made path between two drystone walls to the river.

Grassington Park Estate Meadows

A beautiful area of natural meadow land bursting with wild flowers. Set in the grounds of what was the Grassington Hospital, the area has now been designated of Special Scientific Interest for the sheer numbers of wild flowers flourishing in the fields. At it’s very best in July but well worth wandering through at any time.

Where to eat in Grassington

There are plenty of options when choosing where to eat in Grassington, as you’d expect, whether it’s cafes, pubs or restaurants. Here’s a few.


The Retreat Cafe & Tea Rooms
Cobblestones Cafe
Fold Lucy
Cafe Maison

Where to stay in Grassington

When choosing where to stay in Grassington, you’ll be faced with a great range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, from great hotels to award winning guest houses offering bed and breakfast. Here’s a selection.

Pubs & Hotels

Grassington House Hotel
The Foresters Arms

Bed & Breakfast

Grassington Lodge
Yew Tree House
Ashfield House
Springroyd House

Photographs of Grassington

Photos in and around Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. The Main Street, the market square, Linton, Linton Falls and more.

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