Kirkby Stephen is an ancient market town in the Upper Eden Valley, nestling between the Lake District National Park to the West, the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the South and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding National Beauty to the North East. The area around the town offers fantastic walking country, ranging from a pleasant stroll along the River Eden, to a fell top hike, or long distance themed route – Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, Lady Anne’s Way, Pennine Journey, The Eden Way and the Yoredale Way all pass through or near the town. The nearby Howgill Fells have their own Alfred Wainwright walk book with many routes to explore.
The local countryside is also ideal for cycling, both on and off road, and many walking and cycling routes are available from the Visit Eden website. Horse riding is available from the stables at nearby Ravenstonedale. The local angling association controls some 13 miles of fishing on the River Eden, River Belah and Scandal Beck, for wild brown trout fly fishing. The nearby towns of Brough, 6 miles, Appleby-in-Westmorland, 14 miles, Barnard Castle, 23 miles, and Kendal, 25 miles, offer a wide range of historic sites, market shopping and museums.
Local attractions include:
Stainmore Steam Railway, a volunteer run heritage railway, is based in the old Kirkby Stephen East station, with a museum, a buffet car for snacks and a shop. Steam and diesel trains run on event days.
Settle - Carlisle Railway is one of Britain’s most spectacular railway routes, with 14 tunnels and 20 viaducts, most famously at Dent and Ribblehead. From Kirkby Stephen, there is access to Garsdale, Dent, Ribblehead, Horton in Ribblesdale and Settle to the South, and Appleby, Langwathby, Lazonby, Armthwaite and Carlisle to the North.
Stonetrail Riding Centre, Ravenstonedale, is a BHS riding holiday centre with direct access from the stables gate to some of the best off road riding routes in the UK. They offer daily rides lasting from an hour to a full day.
Ravenstonedale Riverside Golf Club is a picturesque course nestling under the Howgill Fells, specialising in par 3 short holes with character fairways, in a beautiful wooded location.
Church Brough Castle, with its ice-cream parlour and tea rooms, has castle ruins dating back to 1100 and rebuilt in the 17th Century by Lady Anne Clifford, now in the care of English Heritage.
Appleby Castle, a 12th century keep and a mansion house, dates back to Roman times, but is also associated with the Clifford family, most notably Lady Anne, from the 13th century for 400 years.
Appleby Golf Club is a course laid out on Brackenber Moor using the natural contours of the moor, with short heathery rough and bracken to provide a spectacular and challenging course.
High Cup Winery, near Appleby, is Cumbria’s only winery, producing delicious fruit wines such as elderflower and apple, raspberry, rhubarb and damson, all from fruit grown on the farm and in the local area.