Dacre's Guide to Otley
OTLEY OFFERS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
In a nutshell:-
Otley is a traditional, vibrant and bustling market town located on the River Wharfe between Leeds, Harrogate and Bradford, nestling below the famous Chevin.
It’s an extremely popular place to live and is centred around the cobbled market square and clock tower, with a layout that follows medieval street patterns. Otley’s popularity has soared in recent years and it has become a magnet for artists, makers and musicians who bring a hip, bohemian element to the town.
There’s everything from traditional terraces and town centre apartments through to farms and large country homes surrounded by land high above Otley, and in many of the town’s surrounding villages. In addition, there are several relatively small-scale, but highly acclaimed, new homes developments that have been built in recent years.
Surrounding towns and villages:-
There are a host of picturesque and highly sought-after villages surrounding Otley that all have their own unique features including Askwith, Weston, Pool in Wharfedale, Newall, Farnley, Clifton, Lindley and Leathley.
Parents can choose from several good primary schools located around Otley and Prince Henry's Grammar School which was established in 1607, is very popular. Also, a few miles up the road is Menston’s outstanding rated Catholic Voluntary Academy, St. Mary's.
Otley is home to a busy bus station that offers services to Bradford, Harrogate, Ilkley, Keighley, Leeds and Skipton, as well as a regular bus to Menston railway station, which offers direct rail links to Leeds, Bradford and Ilkley. In addition, Leeds Bradford International Airport is just a 10-minute drive away.
Amenities are excellent and include three supermarkets – Waitrose, Asda and Sainsbury’s – along with a host of independent shops, art galleries, several celebrated butchers’ shops and everything in between! In addition, Otley Market takes place every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and there is a regular Farmers’ Market on the last Sunday of each month.
Eating and drinking:-
There’s certainly no shortage of excellent independent tea rooms, cafés and restaurants such as Buon Apps, Westbourne Spice and Milk, to name just a few.
For a relatively small town, Otley also has more than 20 pubs! These range from town centre watering holes to The Roebuck, which sits high above Otley at Newall With Clifton. It’s a steep walk out of town but well worth it for the views and delicious food! Another recent addition is North Bar Social, owned by Leeds city centre’s North Brewing Co.
There are lots of sports clubs including Otley Rugby Club, cricket, squash, a superb golf course and a popular cycling club.
A key landmark is the magnificent Wharfemeadows Park where you can easily while away a leisurely afternoon hiring a rowing boat on the River Wharfe, before feeding the swans and enjoying an ice cream or coffee from the café.
The park is also home to a bowling club, tennis courts, a large and well-equipped play area for kids with public exercise equipment, and you can even watch the river powering Archimedes screws as it comes over the weir. In addition, a local group is exploring the possibility of reopening the park’s former lido!
For anyone feeling more energetic, perched high above Otley are the famous Chevin and Danefield Woods to one side, which both offer fantastic walking trails with magnificent views, and to the north is the Washburn Valley, which again offers splendid countryside and walks that include Swinsty, Fewston and Lindley Wood Reservoirs.
Plus, every May, the town hosts the famous Otley Show, which is the UK’s oldest one day agricultural show spanning more than 200 years. Itis full of attractions, from music to animal displays and children’s entertainment to tractor displays and is not to be missed!
Otley’s claim to fame:-
Renowned cabinetmaker, Thomas Chippendale was born in Otley in 1718, and was a pupil at Prince Henry’s Grammar School. He established his famous cabinet-making firm in London in the mid-eighteenth century and the term ‘Chippendale’ is still regularly used to describe English Rococo style furniture.
Otley’s best kept secret:-
It’s not really a secret, because you can’t miss it, but at its highest point the Chevin reaches approximately 925 ft, and you can climb to the top up a series of pathways and steps from Otley town centre. The area at the top is known locally as ‘Surprise View’ and once you get there, it’s easy to see why!