Within easy reach of Ilkley

There are a number of historic, interesting and beautiful sites to visit in neighbouring towns within easy reach of Ilkley. The following is a list of popular places, taken from The Official Town Guide.

Bolton Abbey

Amid beautiful wooded scenery, the ancient ruins of Bolton Priory overlook a bend in the river in a magnificent position at Bolton Abbey. The parish church, part of the priory buildings, was not destroyed at the Dissolution in 1538 and is still in use. There are some wonderful short walks along the riverside to the Cavendish Pavilion and through the woods to the Strid, where the River Wharfe plunges through a deep and narrow gorge. Several people have attempted to "stride" the gap, missed their footing and drowned in the torrent. The Cavendish has a fine tea room and there is another equally good one in the village.

Bradford's National Museum of Photography, Film and Television:

Bradford has many interesting places to visit but the Museum of Photography is now the most visited museum outside London. The main attraction is the breathtaking sixty foot (18m) Imax screen, the biggest in the world. Pictureville is a luxurious new cinema which has regular shows, including Cinerama. The six floors of galleries house some spectacular exhibits with a chance to operate a TV camera or try out some of the push button working models. Regular exhibitions of photographs are on show. Admission to the museum is free, but there are charges for the Imax and cinema shows.

Embsay Steam Railway

Embsay station is situated two miles (3km) from Skipton off the A65 bypass. Steam trains run on Sundays throughout the year. There are twenty steam locos, a small museum, cafe and gift shop. Special events are held from time to time and diesel trains run on Saturdays in June and December. The line runs from Embsay through to Bolton Abbey, and is an excellent thing to do even in bad weather!
(Enquiries 01756 794727.)

Harewood House

Home of the Earl and Countess of Harewood, the house is open to the public. Built in 1759 by the architect John Carr of York, the fine Georgian residence is a veritable treasure. The interior was designed by Robert Adam and the furniture by Thomas Chippendale, and there are paintings by Turner and El Greco; the gardens were landscaped by Capability Brown. The bird garden is a big attraction and houses 150 species, including penguins, emu, flamingos and toucans. The extensive grounds include a lake and adventure playground.


The parsonage at Haworth was the home of the Brontes for forty years and their writings and tragic family story have turned both their home and the Pennine village into a major tourist attraction. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre was published in 1847. Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights came next, and Anne's The Tennant of Wildfell Hall followed. Branwell died in 1848, while Emily and Anne died soon after (aged thirty and twenty nine). Charlotte went on to publish Shirley and Vilette, but died in pregnancy in 1855, barely thirty-nine years old. The Parsonage Museum is open 10am-5pm April to September, and 11am-4:30pm October to March (01535 642323). One way of reaching Haworth is on the Worth Valley Railway from Keighley, a daily service with steam trains at weekends. At Ingrow station is the Vintage Railway Carriage Museum.

Haworth village information


Cliffe Castle Museum is Bradford's natural history and geology museum - one of the finest geological collections in the north of England - and includes the decor and furnishings of the original hall. Admission free (01535 618230). East Riddlesden Hall is a wonderful old seventeenth-century manor house, owned by the National Trust. The impressive Great Barn houses agricultural implements and, of course, there's a ghost. The hall is open from April to October (01535 607075). The Yorkshire Car Collection is on Grainge Street, opposite the Rugby League ground. There are over seventy vehicles dating from 1894, which form a fascinating collection. Open daily 10am-5pm April to October and weekends through the year. Admission 3.50 pounds (01535 690499).

Other Bradford Attractions

The Industrial Museum is on Moorside Road, Bradford. Here you can see spinning machines and looms of the woollen industry, and see horses at work. The museum has had many awards and is one of the best in the country. Open daily except Mondays, admission is free (01274 631756). Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, between Keighley Road and Manningham Lane, is Bradford's splendid municipal art gallery. Open daily except Mondays, admission is free (01274 493313). The Colour Museum at 82 Grattan Road explores every use of colour, especially in textiles, and includes interactive displays. Open Tuesday to Saturday (01274 390955). Little Germany is part of Bradford where, in the 1830s, German merchants began to settle. By the 1860s and 70s, the wealthy merchants built lavishly ornate buildings. The area between Leeds Road and Church Bank, now known as Little Germany, is an architectural tourist attraction.

City of Bradford information

Otley Market Town

The historic town of Otley is Wharfedale's market town. The main market day is on Friday with additional markets on Tuesday and Saturday. The small cobbled Market Square overflows with stalls down both sides of Kirkgate. There is a variety of specialist shops and many places to eat out. The small museum at Cross Green (Pool Road) is open on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings (461052). Otley Chevin Forest Park stretches up the steep hillside above the town, and provides some excellent walking and superb views. The visitor centre is open weekend afternoons in the summer.

About Otley

Upper Wharfedale

Upper Wharfedale is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and there is no more beautiful stretch of river than that of the Wharfe as it flows by Kettlewell, Grassington, Burnsall and Bolton Abbey. All the villages are worth a visit and, as much of the dale is limestone country, there are some wonderful walks in attractive scenery. Parceval Hall Gardens is near Appletreewick. The gardens are open daily in the summer months and the old hall is a Bradford Diocesan retreat. Stump Cross Caverns is just north of Parceval Hall on the Grassington to Pateley Bridge road, open daily from Easter to October. Admission includes a guided tour.  There is also a cafe, visitor centre and shop.


Sir Titus Salt built his woollen mill in a rural spot by the River Aire. He added an entire village for the workers, providing neat stone cottages, a hospital, shops, almshouses and riverside park. It is an intriguing place to visit today, but the mill now houses the large 1853 Hockney Gallery. Here is a large collection of David Hockney's paintings, drawings, lithographs and photo-collages. There is also a bookshop with art books, poetry and modern literature. Also in Saltaire is the Reed Organ and Harmonium Museum which you will find in Victoria Hall, open daily from 11am to 4pm. The united Reform Church on Victoria Road is a striking building and has been described as the most perfect example of Italianate architecture in the British Isles. On the River Aire there is boating and by the river a Victorian restaurant. The Leeds-Liverpool Canal passes through Saltaire and you can take trips along it between Shipley and Bingley.

Saltaire village information

Skipton Market and Castle

Except for Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, the colourful market is open every day when the whole High Street is filled with stalls. There are some very good cafes and restaurants and it is worth exploring some of the side alleys such as that which leads to Victoria Square or the modern Craven Court shopping arcade. Skipton Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in England and well worth a visit. After Cromwell's army had knocked it about, it was restored by the intrepid Lady Anne Clifford. The yew tree she planted in the central courtyard is still living and there is much of interest to see.

Skipton information

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