We certainly ticked a few of my must-visit soon places off our list this summer. Aysgarth Falls near Leyburn, in North Yorkshire, is one of those places that we’ve almost visited but never quite made it. It was actually much better than I was expecting and it’s a great way to see waterfalls without almost breaking your neck on slippy rocks (it’s perfect for families but it’s not accessible for wheelchairs or pushchairs).
Aysgarth Falls Review
There are two main car parks at Aysgarth Falls. There is a pay and display car park mid-way down a hill at the Falls Coffee House and Gift shop. I decided last minute to park here as I’d had enough of driving. I think we paid £5. There is then a relatively short walk down to the river but do be warned that it is very steep. There were, however, plenty of parking spaces even when we left at around 11 am.
The second car park is at the Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre. This fills up really quick and when we walked through the car park later on in the morning there were numerous cars driving around looking for spaces. Parking here is £2.50 for two hours or £4.50 all day.
We set off looking for the falls not really sure where we were going. It turns out there are three sections of falls that you can see. There are the lower, middle and upper falls, the three stepped waterfalls have been a tourist attraction for over 200 years. They even appeared in the Hollywood movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. From where we were parked we crossed the bridge and headed left (this would be right from the visitor centre car park). This takes you to the upper falls.
The path from the bridge to the upper falls is relatively short but like the other two viewing points it is not accessible. Although beautiful we felt that the upper falls were the least impressive of the three. It is worth walking to look at them though. The falls are at their most dramatic after heavy rain and we hadn’t had much rain before we visited.
We were then a bit confused as to how you view the middle and lower falls. After a bit of a look on google earth, we decided to head for the visitor centre where there was a signpost for the middle and lower falls. It felt a bit strange heading away from the river but going up via the visitor centre takes you away from the narrow road running alongside some of the river.
There are toilets at the visitor centre, we had purchased drinks at the cafe we had parked at and used the facilities there so we headed on past the centre and followed the signs to the falls. The centre also has a cafe and a shop and there are displays about the area.
You then follow a path through pretty woodland and everything is well marked with wooden signs. You need to take a right turn down to the middle falls, there is a signpost for this. There is then a number of steps down to the waterfalls.
There is a viewing platform at the bottom of the steps for the middle falls. The falls here are further away than the upper falls and you can’t get anywhere near the water here. These are the highest of the falls at Aysgarth.
You then need to walk back up the steps and rejoin the path down to the lower falls. This walk is much longer than the other two sets of falls. There is a kissing gate further down the path. You want to follow the sign for “Viewpoint Lower Falls”. This then takes you to a good viewpoint but again you are still some distance from the falls.
If you carry on along this path it then opens up and you are right next to the lower falls. These were our favourite falls by far and we spent a long time here next to the water’s edge. There is a large expanse of rock you can walk along and you can see odd round holes in the rock where the water has spun the holes into the rock over many hundreds of years.
The falls here are smaller than the middle falls but there are many along the river. It is a really beautiful spot and it is a perfect place to stop for a picnic. Overall we spent around 2 hours exploring the upper, middle and lower falls.
If you want to extend your walk there is a circular walk that takes you via Castle Bolton. This walk takes around 3 hours to complete and there are many websites with directions for this walk.
Aysgarth Falls FAQ & Further Information
Address: Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre, Aysgarth, Leyburn DL8 3TH, North Yorkshire
Category – Great Outdoors – Walk – Outdoors – Suitable for all ages.
What are the ticket prices?
The falls are free to visit. There is a small charge to park.
What are the main facilities and things to do?
Picturesque three stepped waterfalls over a short walk near Leyburn in North Yorkshire. There are toilets and a cafe.
When are they open?
The falls are open all year round. The visitor centre is closed in January and only open at weekends from November to March.
Is there food available?
There is a cafe serving hot and cold food and drinks. Plus other cafes nearby
Is there parking?
There is parking, there is a charge of around £5 to park.
Are they dog friendly?
Dogs are welcome on a lead.
Are they accessible?
The paths although flat in places are not accessible as there are many parts where you can’t take a wheelchair or a pushchair.