The town has some beautiful traditional historic B&Bs inns and Grade listed holiday cottages ideally close to top walking spots in the Yorkshire Dales like the Howgills. Arrive in Kirkby Stephen via the heritage Settle-Carlisle Railway which offers regular steam train journeys and runs through the heart of the Dales before stopping at Kirkby Stephen. Great tearooms, real ale inns and cosy cafes are all plentiful.
Things to Do in Kirkby Stephen
A ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town, Kirkby Stephen in the Upper Eden Valley is a superb walking, fishing and cycling holiday base, serving as a gateway into the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines. Acclaimed for its pretty gardens, the town is a regular ‘Cumbria in Bloom’ award winner and is a railway station stop along the Settle-Carlisle Railway. Kirkby Stephen station along the steam railway line is just 1.5 miles outside the town centre. Four nature reserves are within a 5 mile radius of the market town. Take a tour of the Kirkby Stephen East Heritage Centre at the old station to see a host of vintage trains, carriages and railway memorabilia.
The town centre contains a host of independent art galleries, specialist food shops and great craft centres. Don’t miss the Kirkby Stephen Monday market for a range of local produce and crafts. This ancient market town first received its market charter in 1353! Spectacular heritage sites nearby include one of the great border castles Brough Castle and famous Victorian beauty spot Ewbank Scar is accessible locally. Gentle scenic walks feature in the town’s pretty parks and along the beautiful River Eden.
Walks Around Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen walks can be as challenging or gentle as you like. Choose from stunning riverside walks along the River Eden or opt for longer walks along Wainwright’s favourite trail the Coast to Coast Trail which passes right through the town. Stroll along the Poetry Path, a two mile circular walking trail taking in twelve poems hand carved into stone along the walking route either side of the River Eden.
Railway walks feature in the area along local disused railway lines like The Northern Viaduct Round, once the site of the Stainmore Railway and today a stunning walkway with beautiful views of classic railway viaducts. Nature lovers won’t want to miss a tour around site of Special Scientific Interest Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve with views of a classic viaduct and historic lime kilns. Further walking trails passing through and around Kirkby Stephen including the Lady Anne’s Way, another Wainwright favourite – The Pennine Journey long distance walk, the Eden Way and the Yoredale Way.
Cycle Trails around Kirkby Stephen
Great cycling trails around the town include the Walney to Wear (W2W) trail, another coast to coast route, as well as the Cumbria Way and the Pennine Cycleway which both pass through Kirkby Stephen making the town a hugely popular spot for cycling holidays. Spurs of nearby trails also branch towards Kirkby Stephen like the spur from the Eden Valley Circular Cycle Route. Cycle hire is widely available in the town centre.