Wensleydale Creamery & Museum, Hawes, Yorkshire Dales
Home to the historic white and crumbly Wensleydale cheese, this North Yorkshire creamery is where you can discover its story and heritage and watch real Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese being made.
- Visit the Museum
- Watch cheese being made
- Taste Wensleydale cheese
- Eat in the café
- Enjoy local walks
Discover Wensleydale’s French Heritage
Interestingly, it all started with the French. Back in the 12th century, French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort region arrived in England with William the Conqueror and settled in the Yorkshire Dales. They built a monastery at Fors and later an abbey at Jeraulx in Lower Wensleydale, where the monks made cheese from ewe’s milk (they used mould from local stone to create a blue version). When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th century, local farmers’ wives continued the tradition.
Visit the Wensleydale Creamery
It wasn’t until 1897 when the first creamery was built in Hawes, a lovely market town in the Dales, that Wensleydale cheese-making began on a large scale. Today, Wensleydale is produced using cow’s milk and gets its unique flavour from the limestone pastures where the cows graze on grasses, herbs and wild flowers.
There are regular cheese-making demonstrations and the creamery also has a viewing platform into the general production area. Visit the Cheese Museum to find out more about its unique history and to see old cheese-making equipment. Wensleydale cheese featured in the popular animation series Wallace and Gromit so you can enjoy their videos as you walk around. In fact, the characters were honoured by the creation of a Wallace and Gromit Yorkshire Wensleydale.
Taste Wensleydale Cheese
In the Cheese Shop, sample all the different varieties that are made today. Once you’ve tasted their Premium Yorkshire Wensleydale, try Yorkshire Wensleydale & Ginger – the stem ginger complements the freshness of the cheese, making an unusual and delicious cheese with sweet tasting after notes. The oak-smoked Wensleydale is naturally smoked for 18 hours using oak chips. It produces a cheese with a subtle smoked flavour.
- The Visitor’s Centre has a restaurant and a coffee shop. Eat one of their popular Yorkshire Wensleydale Ploughman’s, or indulge in their famous Wensleydale and Ginger Cheesecake
- Check ahead to see the times of the cheese-making demonstrations
- Looking for a gift? Check out our guide to the Best Gifts For Cheese Lovers
Brew a large pot of Yorkshire tea and then serve it with a slice of rich fruit cake and a generous wedge of Yorkshire Wensleydale (it’s lovely too with a warmed Eccles cake).
Where to Stay
The Priory Bed & Breakfast in Middleham – a beautifully furnished 17th century Priory with views towards the castle. There are 5 contemporary bedrooms with luxury bathrooms. Dog-friendly too.
The Old Town Hall in Redmire – lovely Bed & Breakfast, elegantly furnished and just 4 miles from Aysgarth Falls.
Eastbrook Cottage in Leyburn – a Bed & Breakfast in a pretty cottage offering one room. Dog-friendly and a short walk from the Wensleydale Brewery.
Please check with the Wensleydale Creamery and Museum.