Dales Countryside Museum

Station Yard Hawes North Yorkshire DL8 3NT

The single best place in the Yorkshire Dales to get to grips with the region's history and culture is the heritage museum housed in the former train station in Hawes, itself the largest town and tourist centre in Wensleydale. Galleries in the old station and converted goods sheds expound upon anything from the life of a lead-miner – every bit as grim as you'd expect – to the early days of steam, while typical summer-holiday events include quilting sessions, Victorian kitchen days and archeological activities. Dressing up is pretty much expected if you're a kid, and there's enough hands-on stuff to keep most families happy for an hour or two. The museum also doubles as the local tourist information centre, and tickets are available for nearby Gayle Mill, half a mile from town (you have to walk, but it's a nice route). There are daily guided tours in season around this restored Victorian sawmill, while on the first Sunday of each month you get the full treatment as the original water-powered turbines and clanking machinery are coaxed back into action.

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