Skipton Area Guide
SPECTACULAR SKIPTON IS A SHOWSTOPPER
In a nutshell:
The market town of Skipton is a fantastic place to live, with a beautiful and vibrant town centre complete with a traditional market, medieval castle and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal running through the heart of the town.
Skipton is home to some of the region’s best schools, offers rail links to Leeds and Bradford and as ‘The Gateway to The Yorkshire Dales’, it’s surrounded by magnificent countryside.
When it comes to homes for sale in Skipton, there’s a huge choice of property types and styles on offer. Within a mile of the town centre, you can find modern town centre apartments, traditional terraces and character cottages, through to homes built throughout the 20th century alongside a range of high-quality new build developments.
As you head further out into Skipton’s surrounding villages and for anyone looking for properties for sale in the Yorkshire Dales, there’s an array of fabulous country homes, rural retreats, barn conversions and farms to choose from.
Surrounding towns and villages:
Skipton is surrounded by smaller towns and villages that all boast the picturesque qualities and charm that are synonymous with the Craven district. Gargrave is a particularly pretty and sought-after town, and Embsay is also well-known thanks to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.
Other popular villages include Draughton, Broughton, Carleton, Bradley, Cononley and Elslack, as well as East and West Marton. As you head towards Keighley, many of the outlying villages have excellent local facilities and rail links.
Unsurprisingly, the Yorkshire Dales is packed full of picture-perfect villages and particularly throughout Upper Wharfedale, Littondale and Malhamdale, which are some of the most sought-after places to live in the North of England.
Skipton is top of the class when it comes to schools! Both Ermysted's Boys Grammar School and Skipton Girls’ High School are two of the best performing state schools in the region. There’s also Craven College, which offers a vast range of further and higher education courses as well as Brooklands, which is a specialist school providing high quality education for pupils with a wide range of complex needs aged between four and 19.
For parents wanting a private education Westville, Moorfield and Ghyll Royd are located in nearby Ilkley. For boarding facilities both Giggleswick and Sedbergh are within easy reach of Skipton.
Skipton railway station has direct links to both Leeds and Bradford, as well as London, Carlisle, Lancaster and Morecambe, and lots of surrounding towns and villages such as Keighley, Settle and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Saltaire.
Skipton is a fabulous shopping destination! The town centre is full of independent shops and well-known chains such as Next and Cotswold Outdoor. Plus, there’s a fantastic market on Skipton’s High Street four days a week where you can buy everything from cheese and meats through to pet products and Yorkshire made blankets, as well as a separate artisan food market on the first and third Sunday of each month in Skipton’s Canal Basin.
There’s also Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi and an M&S Foodhall in the town centre, and the acclaimed Keelham Farm Shop, which sells exceptional local and seasonal products from Yorkshire and beyond, is well worth a visit.
Eating and drinking:
There’s no shortage of proper pubs in Skipton that sit comfortably alongside a mix of quirky and independent bars, tearooms and cafes. There’s also a growing selection of contemporary restaurants including Le Bistro des Amis, Alexander’s and Le Caveau. Pork pie lovers are spoilt for choice, and you’ll see queues at both Stanforth Butchers and Drake & Macefield, which have both been selling award winning pies for several generations. If the smell fish and chips is giving you an appetite, it’s probably coming from one of the two Bizzie Lizzie’s restaurants in the town centre.
However, for that special occasion, The Angel at Hetton, complete with its Michelin Star, is the place to go!
Whether you want to enjoy cycling or walking along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, which runs through the town centre, or disappear off into the Yorkshire Dales, there’s lots to do in Skipton for those that love the great outdoors.
For sports fans, there’s Skipton Golf Club, Skipton Badminton Club, Skipton Tennis Centre, Skipton Rugby Football Club, Craven Gymnastics Club, Skipton Cricket Club, Craven Sailing Club and Craven Leisure Centre which has a large public swimming pool and gym. Aireville Park is just a few minutes walk from Skipton town centre along the canal towpath. It’s a huge open space and benefits from a fabulous new playground, skate park and pump track.
Alternatively, for something more relaxed, you can hire narrow boats in the town centre, hop on a steam train from Embsay to Bolton Abbey, or enjoy a film at the charming Plaza Cinema, which is a traditional, single screen theatre that’s well worth a visit!
Skipton’s claim to fame:
The town has been named as one of the UK’s ‘Best Places to Live’ in The Sunday Times influential guide and in 2020 Skipton was recognised as one of happiest place to live, by property portal Rightmove. The town came second in the league table, just behind St Ives in Cornwall.
Thomas Spencer, the co-founder of Marks & Spencer, was born in Skipton in 1858 and England and Yorkshire cricket legend, Fred Trueman lived in Skipton and has a bronze statue in Skipton’s Canal Basin.
Skipton is also famous for its medieval castle, which is fairly well-known having stood at the top of the High Street since 1090!
Skipton’s best kept secret:
Lots of visitors to Skipton miss the Woodland Trust’s Skipton Castle Woods, which is a rare ancient woodland habitat straight off the high street, behind Skipton Castle. It’s a beautiful and tranquil spot that’s full or surprises and feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.