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Malhamdale North Yorkshire BD23 4DA

We say

Probably the most popular hiking destination in the Dales, the small village of Malham often seems over-run in summer and school holidays when even the out-sized visitors' car park buckles at the seams. But it's an unmissable destination – if you've never seen Malham Cove or Gordale Scar, you definitely should – and the tiny village has its own charms, especially if you can stay the night and see the place bright and early. A babbling river runs through the heart of the village, which is no more than a cluster of houses and farms, a few bed-and-breakfasts and two inns, the walker-friendly Buck Inn and the more upmarket Lister Arms. You'll have to pay for parking at the National Park Centre car park on the outskirts – there's rarely anywhere in the village – and in any case this is the best place to find out about local walks and excursions. Two annual events worth catching are the Malham Safari (spring bank holiday), when an exotic animal trail is set around the village, and the Malham Show (August bank holiday Saturday), a century-old country fair that's one of the biggest in the Dales. One final enticement – best-selling travel-writer Bill Bryson called this neck of the woods home for many years, and even managed not to be rude about it.

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National Park Visitor Centre April–Oct daily 10am–5pm, Nov–March Fri–Sun 10am–4pm.

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