Perhaps because of the traces of shimmering silver and lead ore running through its rivers, Allendale means ‘Valley of the Shining Water’ in Celtic. Twice crowned Village of the Year for All England, this pretty, stone-built village in the heart of the Allen Valleys may be small in size, but it is big in personality.
Allendale’s vibrant community is renowned for throwing a party. Most famous is the Tar Barle, a unique New Year celebration. This festival of fire dates back to 1858 and has attracted onlookers from far and wide, including celebrated English poet, Philip Larkin.
The May fair is a chance to enjoy traditional village fete activities and sample the produce from local farms and traders. In late summer the valley’s rich musical heritage is celebrated with the two-day Allen Valleys Folk Festival, which attracts some of the top folk acts from all over the UK.
Try a pint of Allendale real ale from the town’s own brewery, tuck into generous sandwiches and homemade pies at the Allendale Butchers or call into one of the traditional village pubs which sit around the village square.
This countryside of contrasts attracts walkers, cyclists and horse riders. For a scenic walk, head out around the River Allen East on routes taking in moorland, waterfalls and wildlife. See too the remains of Allendale’s industrial heritage of lead and silver extraction. Serious walkers throng to Allendale to take part in its annual Allendale Challenge – a 25-mile endurance circuit around the valley.