Things to Do

You’ll never run out of things to do in Masham.  We are located on the banks of the river Ure, in the heart of some wonderful scenery, with a thriving and dynamic community that is steeped in interesting history.  

There’s plenty of entertainment on the doorstep for children too – from a ride on the Wensleydale Railway or the Vintage Bus, to a day out at The Forbidden Corner or Lightwater Valley – both only a few miles up the road. A little further afield there are great adventures to be had. For younger children, Studfold Adventure Trail is a short drive over into Nidderdale whilst the high ropes adventure at Arial Extreme provides thrills for older children and adults too! For information on all attractions for children visit the Community office Tourist Information Point.

Visit Masham and there’s always something to do….

There’s lots to explore in our lovely market town with it’s beautiful Georgian Market Place, historic lanes and alleyways, interesting shops, cafes, pubs and historic buildings.
View to Scar House Reservoir
Fields and Church - Bill TetlowIf you are a lover of the outdoors, you will be spoilt for choice with  walks on the doorstep – from easy rambles to more challenging routes offering a glorious landscape of lush dales and pastures, wild moorland, woodland, meandering rivers and a wealth of wildlife.

A handful of walks are available in leaflet form from the Community Office – click here for info. Our location allows great access deeper into Wensleydale, Swaledale and the rest of the Dales National Park. We also border neighbouring Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which covers much of Mashamshire.

Hackfall Woods - Mowbray CastleThe unique landscape of Hackfall Woods, just outside Masham, appears today to be natural woodland – in fact it is very much a landscape moulded by man. This award winning landscape, now restored to its former glory by the Woodland Trust, combines ancient woodland with man-made follies and a dramatic setting – it is free and makes for a great visit just as it did for the likes of Wordsworth and Turner in the past.

Another wonderful place to explore is the Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park just outside Masham in Grewelthorpe. Launched in the Spring of 2005 the Himalayan Garden is home to a wide variety Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Magnolias, Cornus and other Himalayan plants. The spectacular woodland garden shows off the plants to their best advantage in a natural setting. The gardens open annually between April and June. See website for this year’s openings.

If cycling is more your thing, there are some great cycle routes all around us – the organisers of the Tour de France 2014 obviously thought so as Stage One passes right past our door!  Already we’re seeing more cyclists visiting. If you want to find out about the route, get the latest information and check out ideas for your own mini-tour challenges here.

From birdwatching, to climbing, pony trekking, canoeing, fishing, shooting, golf, farm adventures and even a high ropes course, or if you just love the outdoors, there is something for you.

Masham itself is steeped in history and the Community Office has information that explains the town’s main features and historic development.
Masham Town HallEnjoy some wonderful buildings, from the Georgian Market Place to a surprisingly impressive Town Hall which celebrates its centenary in 2013, and College House which is believed to date back to 1158, home to the Prebend of Masham and Peculier Court.

There are interesting follies to explore in Hackfall Woods and around Masham including Druid’s Temple, just outside Masham. Created by William Danby of nearby Swinton Castle 1820, this wonderful folly includes standing stones, a sheltered cave and an altar stone. Its location is stunning and is now enhanced by The Bivouac offering gorgeous rustic woodland shacks, meadow yurts and a camping barn as well as a shop and delightful cafe.

Close by there is bags of history and historic gardens to explore. Jerveaux Abbey, Bolton, Middleham and Richmond Castles to the north and Fountains Abbey, Ripon Cathedral and Newby Hall to the south.  Within easy reach are the gardens of Kiplin Hall, Constable Burton Hall and much more rural heritage can also be found further into Wensleydale and over into Nidderdale.

Masham’s lovely setting has inspired artists and writers for centuries – Turner painted here and it was reportedly one of Lewis Carroll’s favourite spots.
Masham Arts Festival - Art Exhibition in St Marys ChurchThe area continues to inspire with many artists and craftspeople choosing to base themselves here. Masham is home to several galleries including our own Community Office Shop and Gallery. All sell high-quality contemporary art and crafts from established and emerging artists and makers with changing exhibitions of original work throughout the year. We also have two glass studios where some stunning pieces are made and displayed. Alternatively, if you’d like to develop your own creative skills, you can book a workshop at ArtisOn where you can learn a wide variety of crafts including stained glass, blacksmithing, jewellery-making, felt-making, drawing, painting and more.

Having an impressive venue like Masham Town Hall means there is a great programme of events going on too – these include touring exhibitions, music, theatre and cinema.  See What’s On for more information.

Masham has not-to-be-missed treats in the food and drink department!  Famous for our beer, we boast not just one, but two breweries, both making real ales in the traditional way.
Black Sheep Copper - Brew House by Jon VennellThe Black Sheep Brewery and Theakstons Brewery both have excellent visitor centres and brewery tours. See the Museum of brewing and barrel making demonstrations at Theakstons, and the excellent Bistro at Black Sheep.  Both offer their own range of brewery merchandise, and samples of their products are included in the tour ticket.  If you simply want to sample the goods, they both have a bar too! Booking is advisable for tours.

If you’ve not picked up a taste for great beer yet, we think you’re probably not trying hard enough! Never fear though, great food and wine is also an important feature of visiting Masham.

Swinton Park Cookery School  Whether you’re after real ale or fine wine, good pub grub or gourmet dining, mouth-watering cakes or a well-stocked delicatessen, we have it covered.

If you are you are more interested in improving your own gastronomic prowess, then don’t miss the Swinton Park Cookery School. Just a mile outside Masham, The Cookery School runs a busy programme of evening, day, weekend and two day courses with themes ranging from Game to Sushi, from Dinner Parties to Food Foraging. Or, if all you’re after is a really good cup of coffee, you’ll find that in Masham too!