Why Skipton and Wharfedale are great places to live
PUBLISHED: 10:02 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:49 25 August 2020
Walks, culture, food and drink - the best things about life in Wharfedale
Described by The Durrell’s Callum Woodhouse in our September issue as ‘very similar to Corfu in just how beautiful it is… just with added rain’, Skipton and Wharfedale are home to some of the most stunning scenery in the county. Starting its journey near Hubberholme, the River Wharfe cuts through lush, green valleys demarcated with dry stone walls and magnificent limestone outcrops and waterfalls on its way to Bolton Abbey, Ilkley, Otley and eventually Tadcaster. With historic inns peppering the route, the valley has always been popular with tourists. The larger village of Grassington with its vibrant arts scene and outstanding rated secondary school is a popular choice for families, as is the thriving market town of Skipton, celebrated as the official ‘Gateway to the Dales’.
Bag a Property
With available housing stock often in short supply in rural Wharfedale, property prices can be high, making nearby Skipton with its fabulous amenities an attractive alternative. Family sized accommodation close to Skipton’s top performing schools starts at £300K.
Relocating to Wharfedale invariably requires access to a car – and for the parents of teenagers, the willingness to become a taxi service. Skipton on the other hand is well served with a regular rail service to Leeds and a daily, direct service to London. Equidistant from the A1M, M1 and M6, Skipton is perfect for commuters.
Walkers, runners and cyclists will love exploring the breath-taking hills and valleys of Wharfedale. Free to download circular routes can be found at where2walk.co.uk, along with details of the ‘Dales 30’, shorthand for all the Yorkshire Dales peaks over 2000m. For walking therapy intermingled with shopping and a glass of something chilled, then Grassington and Skipton are great choices. Combine a river walk to the awesome Linton Falls, before circling back to Grassington’s thriving village Square for a locally brewed beer or G&T in the sun. Explore Skipton is from its wide tree lined high street; starting at the top next to the immaculately preserved Skipton Castle you can wander through the town’s large market before peeling off into the side streets to discover independent boutiques and pavement cafés and bars.
The highlights of Wharfedale include the glorious Hedgerow in Threshfield where you can sip coffee amongst the freshly cut blooms, plants and gifts. Kilnsey Park Estate offers a different artisan food experience, bringing together a nature reserve inclusive of alpacas and a red squirrel sanctuary with some of the best fresh water fishing lakes in the country. Catch your own or visit the shop or café to try its award winning smoked and fresh rainbow trout. Artists and independents to look out for in Grassington include the Wishbone Gallery, Stripey Badger Bookshop, Ragdoll Interiors and Burnt Rock. Robert Bunney and Helen Midgley, established in 1965 and 1970 respectively, also lay claim to influencing five decades of country style. If you’re collector of vinyl, Skipton’s Sound Bar does just that - records to browse and a place for refreshment.
See our guide to the best places to buy records in Yorkshire here
Developed from a 16th century theatre, Skipton’s Craven Court arcade with its enclosed glass ceiling is home to 28 shops. The likes of FatFace, Joules and Hawkshead nestle in amongst several independents, including Present Planners toy shop, the Sweet Emporium and Out of the ORDinary. Overlooking the canal on Coach Street, From the Source sells a beautiful selection of Fairtrade clothes, bags, jewellery and crafts direct from the producers.
Café & Cocktails
With the new emphasis on al fresco dining, preferably with patio heaters on standby, Grassington House Hotel is a favoured spot in Wharfedale. It has even invested in The Pod, a unique, covered outdoor enclosure, perfect for shielding family groups. Alexander’s grand café in Skipton also presents an idyllic inside-outside drinking and dining experience for cautious customers, with heated, covered terraces overlooking the Leeds Liverpool canal.
Look out for Grassington and Wharfedale on Channel 5’s new series, All Creatures Great and Small