15 Best Things To Do In The Ribble Valley, England

15 Best Things To Do In The Ribble Valley, England

By will

There’s so much to explore in The Ribble Valley, England. From ancient castles to wild nature reserves, this area is packed with unique and exciting activities for everyone to enjoy.

In this article, I’ll be sharing the 15 best things to do in The Ribble Valley. From visiting Clitheroe Castle to exploring the Forest of Bowland, these activities will give you an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a history buff or nature lover, you’ll find something to enjoy here.

So read on to discover the 15 best things to do in The Ribble Valley!

Visit Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe Castle
Photo by David Dixon

Nestled in the heart of Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, Clitheroe Castle is a must-see attraction. It offers stunning views and a fascinating journey through centuries of history. It’s believed to date back to 1066 and to be the oldest surviving structure in the area.

The castle is set atop a hill and boasts incredible panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Inside the castle walls, visitors can explore the ruins of a Norman keep and a former hunting lodge, as well as a museum and a café. The castle is also home to a range of events and activities, such as falconry displays and medieval re-enactments.

With its stunning views, rich history, and array of activities, Clitheroe Castle is a must-see attraction in the Ribble Valley. It is also a great way to explore England’s past.

Explore the Forest of Bowland

Woods near Lower Gill, Forest of Bowland
Photo by Andrew Webster

Meander through the Forest of Bowland’s rolling hills, discovering hidden gems and majestic views.

The Forest of Bowland is located in the Ribble Valley of northern England and is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This area has been designated as such due to its unique landscape, which is characterized by rolling hills and lush green valleys.

The area is filled with a variety of habitats, from heathland to upland, providing a home for countless species of birds, mammals, and insects. It’s also a haven for nature lovers, with plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, and horse riding.

The Forest of Bowland also provides an array of cultural and historic sites. These include the ruins of a medieval castle, abandoned abbeys, and traditional farmhouses. It’s also home to some of the finest views in the area, such as the panorama from Whitendale Hanging Stones.

All of this makes the Forest of Bowland a great place to explore, with something for everyone to enjoy.

Take a Stroll Along the River Ribble

River Ribble
Photo by Ian Greig

Stroll along the winding River Ribble, a stunning waterway in Northern England, and take in the peaceful atmosphere.

From the banks of the river, you can admire the flowing waters and the lush greenery that surrounds the area. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxing walk, whether with friends or alone.

With the calming sound of the river and the breathtaking views, it’s easy to forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The River Ribble also offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, with a variety of fish species living in the waters. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, you’ll be sure to find something to enjoy here.

With its peaceful atmosphere and stunning scenery, a stroll along the River Ribble is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Visit the 17th Century Gawthorpe Hall

Located in the exquisite Ribble Valley, Gawthorpe Hall is a 17th-century manor house that is sure to impress. The house, which is owned by the National Trust, is a stunning example of Jacobean architecture. It is also home to a collection of art and furniture from the period.

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Gawthorpe Hall is also home to the famous Parsonage Library. The library is full of rare books, manuscripts, and documents.

Visiting the house is a great way to learn about England’s rich history. The estate itself is set in lush parkland and is home to a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese, and other birds. Guided tours are available that will take you through the grand rooms of the house and its beautiful gardens. The tours also include stories about the family who lived there.

There is also a tearoom onsite so you can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea after your visit. Gawthorpe Hall is an incredible place to explore and soak up the atmosphere of the past.

Explore the Fence Gate Village

Take a journey to Fence Gate Village and explore its fascinating history, from its ancient cobbled streets to its 18th-century stone buildings.

This quaint village boasts a rich and varied past. It was an important stop for pilgrims traveling to the nearby Whalley Abbey. It was also the site of the infamous Pendle Witch Trials in 1612.

Visit the 17th-century Stansfield Hall, where the trials took place, and learn more about the witch hunts that occurred in the area. The village also features a number of other historical sites.

These include the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a Grade II listed building, and the old Fence Gate Inn, a former coaching inn.

Explore the local shops and eateries, which offer a variety of items from antiques to local produce. Take a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets and admire the 18th-century stone buildings that line the village.

Stop in at the local pub, the Fence Gate Inn, and sample a pint of locally brewed ale as you relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

With its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, Fence Gate Village is a must-visit destination for any traveler visiting the Ribble Valley.

Enjoy a Day at the Whalley Abbey

Immerse yourself in the ancient history of Whalley Abbey, a stunning medieval monastery located in the heart of the Ribble Valley in England.

Founded in the 12th century, this picturesque abbey is a must-see for any traveler to the region.

The abbey has a rich history, with stories of monks, kings, and battles recorded in its walls.

There are plenty of things to do here, from exploring the ruins to taking a guided tour of the abbey’s grounds and discovering its secrets.

Visitors can also enjoy the grounds of the abbey, which include a peaceful lake and lush gardens.

For those looking for a more spiritual experience, there are daily services held in the abbey’s chapel.

Whatever your reason for visiting, you’ll find plenty of things to do at Whalley Abbey and make your visit to the Ribble Valley truly memorable.

Discover the History of the Longridge Heritage Trail

Embark on an exploration of Longridge Heritage Trail and discover the age-old stories and traditions that lie within its walls. The trail winds through the towns and villages of the Ribble Valley, giving visitors the chance to learn about the area’s rich heritage and culture.

From its ancient churches and ruins to its quaint country pubs, there’s plenty to explore. Along the way, visitors can also take part in a range of activities, such as guided walks, bird watching, and even taking a ride on a steam train.

The trail also provides a great opportunity to learn about the area’s local history, with a number of historical sites and monuments available to explore. At the end of the trail, visitors can relax with a picnic by the river or take in some stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a peaceful stroll, the Longridge Heritage Trail has something for everyone.

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Have Fun at the Clitheroe Grand Theatre

Experience the magic of the Clitheroe Grand Theatre and be transported to a world of entertainment! The Clitheroe Grand Theatre is a great way to spend an evening out in the Ribble Valley. It hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, ranging from plays and musicals to stand-up comedy and live music.

The intimate atmosphere of the theatre allows visitors to get up close and personal with the performers, making the experience even more special.

The Clitheroe Grand Theatre also offers a wide range of activities for the whole family to enjoy. From guided tours of the theatre to workshops for budding actors, there’s something for everyone.

The theatre also provides a stunning backdrop for events such as weddings and parties. No matter the occasion, the Clitheroe Grand Theatre is the perfect place to get your theatre fix.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Gisburn Forest

After a night inside the Clitheroe Grand Theatre, why not head outside and explore the great outdoors?

Gisburn Forest in the Ribble Valley offers a range of activities for nature lovers, from walking and cycling trails to horse riding. With plenty of peaceful spots to rest and enjoy the scenery, it’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature and unwind.

The forest is a rich habitat for wildlife, including Roe deer, foxes, badgers and a variety of birds. There’s even a lake, which attracts a range of waterfowl. Enjoy the scenery as you make your way around the trails, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the forest.

You can also stop off at the visitor centre to learn more about the local wildlife and history of the area. With so much to do, Gisburn Forest is the ideal destination to enjoy the great outdoors in the Ribble Valley.

Spend the Day at the Pendle Hill

Take in the breathtaking views of Pendle Hill, one of the most iconic landmarks in the Ribble Valley, and enjoy a day out in stunning England. Located in the borough of Pendle, Pendle Hill stands at 557 meters above sea level and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Its distinctive shape makes it an easily recognizable landmark, and its summit is a popular destination for walkers and hikers. There are a number of routes up the hill, ranging from a short and easy walk to a steep and challenging climb. On a clear day, the views from the top are breathtaking, with the rolling hills of the Lancashire countryside stretching to the horizon.

At the summit, you can explore the ruins of a medieval chapel and two nearby ancient monuments. There is also a visitor centre where you can find out more about the history of Pendle Hill and the surrounding area. Make sure to bring a picnic and spend some time enjoying the peaceful atmosphere before making your way back down the hill.

With its stunning views, fascinating history, and abundance of wildlife, Pendle Hill is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Ribble Valley.

Shop at the Little Town of Longridge

Head to the charming little town of Longridge and explore its unique shops and boutiques. With its cobblestone streets and quaint atmosphere, Longridge is one of the Ribble Valley’s most delightful places.

Shop in the many independent shops, featuring hand-crafted items, unique jewelry, and one-of-a-kind treasures. Stroll down the streets while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere and people-watching. There is something for everyone in this ancient little town.

Also in Longridge is a vibrant farmers’ market, featuring locally-sourced produce, homemade jams, fresh-baked breads, and much more. Pick up a few souvenirs for your next visit or grab a bite to eat from the many food vendors.

Whether you’re looking for something special or just want to browse, Longridge has something for everyone. With its friendly locals and abundance of unique shops, visiting Longridge is a must-do when exploring the Ribble Valley.

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Explore the Lytham St Annes

Explore the coastal beauty of Lytham St Annes, a picturesque seaside town in Lancashire, England.

Located on the Fylde Coast, this charming town is full of attractions and activities to enjoy.

From the iconic pier to its renowned golf course, you’ll find plenty to explore and discover in Lytham St Annes.

Take a stroll along the beachfront and soak in the spectacular views of the Irish Sea.

Or, if you’re an avid golfer, tee off at the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Course, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.

Whether you’re looking for a tranquil day out or an exciting holiday spot, Lytham St Annes is sure to provide.

Visit the Church of St Mary’s

Moving on from my exploration of Lytham St Annes, I now venture to the Church of St Mary’s. It is a 12th-century building located in the Ribble Valley. Even from the outside, the church offers an impressive sight. Its sandstone walls and high tower can be seen from miles away, reminding us of its grandeur.

Inside, the church is even more breathtaking. Its nave and aisle are decorated with intricate designs, and its high ceilings add to the building’s majestic atmosphere. Visitors can explore the church’s many artifacts, including a 12th-century font, a memorial to the fallen of two world wars, and a 17th-century organ. There is also a notable stained glass window, which is believed to have been made by a local artist.

Overall, the Church of St Mary’s in the Ribble Valley offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. Its beauty and rich history are sure to captivate any visitor.

Take a Trip to the Wyresdale Park

Next on my journey of exploration, I venture to Wyresdale Park, a charming estate located in the heart of Lancashire, England.

The grounds are a sight to behold, with a stunning lake, lush gardens, and a variety of trees that provide a canopy of beauty. I could easily spend an entire day wandering the grounds, admiring the wildlife, and taking in the peaceful atmosphere.

The property also boasts a grand house, which has been lovingly restored and is now open to visit. Inside, visitors can explore the grand reception rooms, the library, and the chapel, all of which are steeped in history.

The estate also offers activities such as fishing, clay-pigeon shooting, and falconry, so there’s plenty to do for those looking for a more active experience.

Wyresdale Park is a delightful place to discover and explore, and I’m sure I’ll be back to visit again soon.

Go Birdwatching at the Martin Mere Wetland Centre

After exploring the Wyresdale Park, I’m ready to do some birdwatching at the Martin Mere Wetland Centre. This world-renowned centre is located in the heart of the Ribble Valley and is the perfect place for a birdwatching fan to explore.

The centre is home to over 20,000 different bird species, making it one of the most diverse birdwatching sites in the area. Not only can you observe the magnificent birds, but you can also learn about the different habitats of the birds and the importance of conservation.

The centre also offers a range of activities, from guided walks to interactive displays, to ensure that everyone can get the most out of their visit. You can even take part in a range of workshops, such as photography and sketching, to capture some of the amazing wildlife.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned birdwatcher, you’re sure to find something to enjoy here. The Martin Mere Wetland Centre is not only a great place to go birdwatching, but also a great place to learn more about the local wildlife.

Conclusion

My trip to the Ribble Valley was one of the best trips I’ve ever had. From visiting Clitheroe Castle to exploring the Forest of Bowland, there’s something for everyone.

I loved strolling along the River Ribble and visiting the 17th century Gawthorpe Hall. I also enjoyed exploring the Fence Gate Village and Lytham St Annes, as well as visiting the Church of St Mary’s and taking a trip to the Wyresdale Park.

Birdwatching at the Martin Mere Wetland Centre was definitely a highlight of the trip. My experience in the Ribble Valley was truly unforgettable. I’d highly recommend anyone looking for an engaging and interesting trip to take a few days to explore this beautiful area of England.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.