Yorkshire Dales & Johnny Baghdad’s Café
For those in the know, cycling out from Masham is one of the best starting places for a ride anywhere in the United Kingdom – absolutely yes! Tucked away on the edge of Nidderdale and the famed Yorkshire Dales National Park, this small market town has played host to the Tour de France and the UCI World Road Cycling Championships.
Oh, and before we forget – it's also home to one of the best cafés for cyclists in the U.K. too – the legendary coffee and cake haunt known locally as Johnny Baghdad’s Café, where you can sit in a kaleidoscope of colourful and quaint Knick knacks from travels around the world by the owners, and taste some of the most wholesome meals available, catering for all comers, including Vegan and Celiac. On a weekend, the café is filled with Yorkshire cyclists!
The best base for a U.K. cycling vacation
The historic market town of Masham nestles quietly on the edge of the Yorkshire hills, providing the perfect gateway to the best cycling routes. There’s a superb selection of hotels close by, for all budgets, including the 5-star Grantley Hall Hotel and Swinton Park Hotel. Swinton Park was recently included in a TV series about the best hotels in the world! Add to all of this, that only a scenic 30-minute cycle ride away, you’ve got the historic cathedral city of Ripon, with the recently refurbished Ripon Inn, and the choice for where to stay and base your cycling vacation increases.
Riding the best cycling routes in England
Okay guys let’s get to the facts, because we need to speed things up and get out cycling – Stickman style! The cycling routes from Masham are legendary and take in some of the most challenging road cycling climbs in the country. Riding from the market square and Johnny Baghdad’s Café, you can head into Wensleydale and take on the Buttertubs and Grinton Bank, both used by the 2014 Tour de France. Alternatively, you can sweep along the rolling valley of Coverdale and climb to Pen Hill, before descending alongside the famous racehorse gallops at Middleham, passing King Richard III’s home at Middleham Castle before heading onto Wensleydale and Swaledale.
For a real challenge, the way to ride is to drop from Wensleydale to West Burton, before climbing over and into Wharfdale, then tackling the 25% gradient of Park Rash as you head back to Masham via Coverdale, for a well earnt coffee and après-cycling celebratory meal at Johnny Baghdad’s Café, and a piece of post-ride cake!
The Important Stuff
Here at Stickman, we want to encourage you to travel and to explore this big wide beautiful world, and to base yourself in the global village of adventure. That’s why we’ll help you to plan your own Stickman cycling celebration here in the Yorkshire Dales. We can’t book you a table at Johnny Baghdad’s Café, but we can tell you which hotels to take a look at, and the nearest airport and train stations too.
· Grantley Hall, 5-star country hall, luxury hotel and wellness retreat, nestled on the edge of Nidderdale and close to both Ripon and Masham. Endless superb cycling routes direct from the hotel.
· Swinton Park Hotel & Estate, based in the opulent Swinton Castle, historic home to the Earl of Swinton, on the edge of Masham and the Dales National Park.
· Ripon Inn, a 3-star recently refurbished hotel on the edge of the historic cathedral city of Ripon, with direct cycling routes into the Dales National Park from the door.
Airports & Trains
Leeds-Bradford Airport is less than an hour from Ripon and Masham. Nearby, the main East Coast mainline trains between London and Scotland, stop at Northallerton, a mere 20-minute taxi ride away.
Places of Interest
You’ve got a wealth of history nearby, including Fountains Abbey World Heritage Site, Jervaulx Abbey, Middleham Castle, Castle Bolton, Ripon Cathedral, Studley Royal World Heritage Site and Deer Park, and the spectacular scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park to Explore.