Yorkshire Dales Guide to Skipton

The Gateway to the Dales


June 15, 2015 marked the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. William de Forz of Skipton Castle was second on the list of nobles to sign the precious parchment.

Settled by sheep farmers as long ago as the 7th century, Skipton was granted to the de Romille family in 1066.

Their building of a fortress castle led to a regular market being established for local produce and trade, which continues to the present day, whilst seasonal Fairs brought traders into town from further afield.

Skipton is an attractive and bustling market town serving a large rural area. It is in the Aire gap separating the Craven limestone Dales to the north and the pastoral Ribble valley to the west. To the east of Skipton is Ilkley with its famous Moor and the spa town of Harrogate. To the south west lies Haworth in the heart of Brontë Country.

Just outside the National Park boundary, Skipton prides itself on being ‘The Gateway to the Dales’.

From the castle and nearby church the town grew around the market place, expanding along what is now High Street, with inns, yards, and craftsmens' workshops. In 1309 Skipton Castle passed to the Clifford family, and became their main residence for over 300 years. The castle was rebuilt after the Civil War, and much of the present castle dates from the 1650s. It is open to the public, and is well-preserved.

With a long established livestock market, Skipton became an important wool trading centre as roads developed.

The arrival of the Leeds-Liverpool canal in 1770 brought industrial growth to Skipton, with clothmaking becoming a major activity.

Cotton mills became a feature of the Skipton landscape, with paper making, rope-making and corn milling also taking place. A lead works was also established, using supplies from the Grassington area. The arrival of the railway brought increased growth to the town.

Nowadays, Skipton is a thriving shopping and business centre, with an excellent selection of shops, a colourful market 4 days a week, a variety of interesting pubs and eating places, and accommodation of all types.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Skipton Skipton Castle
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  • Keel and Grange Cottage

    Both cottages are situated at Grange Farm and sleep up to 4. Keel and Grange cottage are converted from a barn near the Grange Farmhouse, formerly the vicarage for the 13th century church nearby.

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  • Skipton Park Guest'otel

    A hotel or a guest house? Try the en-suite bed and breakfast accommodation at Skipton and visit the Dales, Leeds, Harrogate, Bradford.

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  • Newton Grange Cottages

    Newton Grange Holiday Cottages are full of character and provide comfortable, well equipped self catering accommodation situated in rolling countryside next to the Leeds Liverpool Canal and near Skipton. There are 6 cottages sleeping between 2 and 6 and offering group accommodation for 27 people.

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  • Barden Bunk Barn

    A superior quality bunk barn sleeping up to 24. Nestled in the shadow of the 12th century ruin of Barden Tower this grade 1 listed barn is ideally located to explore the Dales and is just a stroll along the river to Bolton Abbey.

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  • Low Skibeden B&B

    At Skipton, 'gateway to the Dales', Low Skibeden Farm offers farmhouse bed and breakfast. Explore Yorkshire Dales either walking, cycling, bird watching, fishing or relaxing in Yorkshire villages and pubs.

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  • Bondcroft Farm

    Superb bed and breakfast on a working dairy and sheep farm in the Yorkshire Dales National Park close to Skipton and the Bolton Abbey Estate. All rooms have great views, TV and free wi-fi and there is a comfortable lounge to relax in.

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  • Low Skibeden Cottage

    At Skipton, 'gateway to the Dales', Low Skibeden Farm offers self catering holiday accommodation. Explore Yorkshire Dales either walking, cycling, bird watching, fishing or relaxing in Yorkshire villages and pubs.

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  • Crown Cottage Farm B&B

    Liz and Karl welcome you to stay at Crown Cottage Farm B&B in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. The farm is located in Embsay near the market town of Skipton, and is close to scenic Embsay Reservoir and crag. Set in 5 acres of land, it offers a great base for walking, cycle rides and touring.

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  • Newton Cottage

    Newton Cottage is a wonderfully self-contained and cosy ground floor holiday cottage for 2 people. Great for Yorkshire Dales couples holidays and for those visiting on business in the Skipton area. The cottage has a well equipped kitchen, shower room, spacious double bedroom with arm chairs and TV.

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  • Dalesman Guest House

    A warm welcome awaits you at The Dalesman Guest House situated in Embsay on the outskirts of Skipton within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Embsay is known for its steam railway, reservoir with sailing club and beautiful walks. Skipton is known for its medieval castle, bustling market and colourful canal basin.

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  • Newton Grange Group Stay

    Newton Grange Cottages are situated in a delightful rural setting, near Skipton. These five holiday cottages can accommodate up to 27 people in individual cottages that sleep 2-6 people. A wonderful choice for families, extended families and groups of friends to enjoy a relaxing break in the Yorkshire Dales.

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  • Pickersgill Manor Farm B&B

    This home from home Farmhouse B&B, with fabulous Dales views, lies on the moors between Ilkley and Skipton with Nidderdale and Wharfedale both nearby. Great for couples and friends shortbreaks or family holidays. Ensuite rooms with lots of little extras. Secure bike storage.

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    Activities and Adventure

  • Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

    Bolton Abbey Station has been lovingly re-created in the original Midland Railway style of the 1800s. They very regularly hold events on the railway, such as 'Winter Warmers' rides, Santa train rides, Faulty Towers' dining experience Mothers' Day, cream tea rides and many more.

    Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway Website Map Where to Stay
  • Kilnsey Park

    Kilnsey Park offers fly fishing in spectacular surroundings near Grassington in Wharfedale. 2 lakes are well stocked with hard fighting Rainbow, Blue, Brown and Golden trout from 2lb to 20lb+. There is also a Farm Shop, a Nature Trail, Fun for the Kids and Red Squirrel enclosures.

    Kilnsey Park Website Map Where to Stay
  • Skipton Boat Trips

    Britain's longest inland waterway finally opened in 1816 and remains largely unaltered to this day. On a Pennine Boat Trip you can enjoy the scenery as you travel slowly through the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales.

    Skipton Boat Trips Website Map Where to Stay

    Agricultural Shows

  • Gargrave Show

    Gargrave Show is held in the grounds of Eshton Hall just outside of Gargrave and near Skipton. A great day out for all the family with farm animal, horticulture and handicrafts classes, as well as show jumping, fell running, sheep dog trials and family fun events. Held every year in August

    Gargrave Show Website Map Where to Stay

    Castles, Gardens and Stately Homes

  • Bolton Abbey

    Bolton Abbey is on the banks of the River Wharfe in acres of beautiful countryside. Explore the ruins of the Priory, wander along the woodland nature trails, stroll beside the river, visit the tea rooms and cafes, look around the village shops, or just relax in this romantic location.

    Bolton Abbey Website Map Where to Stay
  • Parcevall Hall Gardens

    Parcevall Hall Gardens are the only large gardens open to the public in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There is year round interest not only for the plantsman, but also for anyone who enjoys peace and tranquility in this natural setting.

    Parcevall Hall Gardens Website Map Where to Stay
  • Skipton Castle

    Skipton Castle is over 900 years old and is one of the best preserved and most complete medieval castles in England, despite enduring a 3 year siege in the Civil War. It is open every day except 3 days over Christmas to the public and to school groups, they hold reconstructions, weddings and other events.

    Skipton Castle Website Map Where to Stay

    Visitor Farms, Wildlife, Walks and Trails

  • Billy Bob's Parlour Diner Play

    Yorkshire Dales Icecream Farm makes a great family day out, near Skipton and Bolton Abbey, with breathtaking scenery, super free wooden play area for children and new undercover play area. There is great food on offer in American style diner with delicious icecream, made on the farm.

    Billy Bob's Parlour Diner Play Website Map Where to Stay
  • Falconry at Coniston Hotel

    One of the finest falconry centres in the north of England at The Coniston Hotel features an amazing array of eagles, owls, hawks, falcons and white-tailed sea eagle. Friendly and knowledgeable instructors help you fly these magnificent birds in the open countryside.

    Falconry at Coniston Hotel Website Map Where to Stay
  • Hesketh Farm Park, Bolton Abbey

    Bring your little ones to enjoy a great family day out at Hesketh Farm Park at Bolton Abbey near Skipton. There are plenty of farm animals to enjoy, pigs to brush, guinea pigs to groom, eggs to gather, tractors and go karts to ride.

    Hesketh Farm Park, Bolton Abbey Website Map Where to Stay
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