CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today CLICK HERE

The latest chapter in Skipton’s story tells of festivals, events and boosts to tourism

PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 February 2015 | UPDATED: 20:09 31 August 2018

The Leeds-Liverpool canal with Holy Trinity Church beyond.

The Leeds-Liverpool canal with Holy Trinity Church beyond.

Archant

The Gateway to the Dales has so much to offer

War Memorial and High Street. SkiptonWar Memorial and High Street. Skipton

For Mary Arber, childhood visits to Skipton were magical experiences. ‘I thought it was like something out of a story book,’ she said. ‘It took two buses to get there from Shipley so it seemed really far away and when you got there it had the castle and the cobbles and it was always so exciting for me.’

And although she now lives and works in the town, Skipton has lost none of its magic. ‘It still has all those attributes that make it seem like a story book town but it’s real. There’s a genuine community, it’s the market town for the area and I really do love the place.’ Mary is now the manager of Skipton’s town partnership which helps to fund events and boost trade and tourism around the town.

The group part funds festivals and events including the Yuletide festival, Sheep Day and the Christmas lights as well as providing planters and sign posts around the town centre.

The town partnership was created after a vote in 2009 to create a Skipton Business Improvement District – an area where businesses pay a levy which is used to benefit the town. The BIDs second five year term began last year and it now also supports the work of Judy Probst – ‘the smiliest and loveliest person in town,’ according to Mary. Judy is the town council ambassador and, along with a team of volunteers, works to welcome people to Skipton.

Skipton Castle.Skipton Castle.

‘Judy is a really key part of what we are trying to do in Skipton,’ Mary said. ‘She and her team are on hand when people arrive here to point them in the right direction. It helps visitors but it also gives the town something extra special.

‘Last year was a bumper year for visitor numbers in Skipton, largely because of the Tour de France, and we are doing our best to build on that. We’ll be a holding Skipton’s first criterium cycling event on the Thursday night before Sheep Day in July and there are lots of other events and festivals throughout the year.’

But you don’t have to visit when the town is festival mode to enjoy yourself here. Mary added: ‘Quieter days can give you a better sense of the town’s secret corners. It’s a beautiful little town with lots of hidden ginnels, squares and cobbled corners.’

Canal Wharf.Canal Wharf.

Make sure these are on your itinerary when you visit Skipton

1 Get on your bike. Nowhere is better suited to competitive cycling than Yorkshire – it has the climbs, the sprint sections, the rolling, winding lanes and big, big views to distract you from the burning in your legs. The Tour de Yorkshire might not be passing through Skipton (it’ll rattle past just down the road in Silsden) but last year’s big ride did make the most of the town. You don’t have to be Bradley Wiggins to appreciate what’s on offer though, saddle up and explore the countryside by pedal power. There are scores of routes to follow or you could try to tag along when the Skipton Cycling Club pass by.

2 Appreciate the history. The most obvious sign of Skipton’s history is the 11th century castle but there’s much more to the town’s past. Skipton has long been the major trading centre in the Craven area and the town’s importance to the sheep and wool trades is honoured in its name which translates into Anglo Saxon as ‘Sheep Town’. The Industrial Revolution brought another boom to the town as mills and canals popped up all over the place. At the opening of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in 1773, the wonderfully named Leeds Intelligencer reported that “the bells were set ringing at Skipton; there were also bonfires, illuminations, and other demonstrations of joy”. The narrow streets and cobbled lanes are evocative of an earlier age and many buildings have retained the olde worlde charm.

3 Feast on festivals. This month sees the annual Skipton Music Festival which is a great chance to see how much talent there is in the town. A fixture on the calendar since the 1920s, the festival has given thousands of young performers the chance to compete in music and drama categories. This year’s event runs from March 16-21. Other festivals in Skipton this year include the Beacons and Fake music festivals in August, the beer festival at Ermysted’s Grammar School in May and the sixth puppet festival in October. Launched in 2005, it’s an eclectic mix of all puppets great and small with events and performances around the town.

Need to know

Where it is: Skipton stands on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales close to the junction of the A59 and A629. If you have a sat nav, BD23 1RT should take you to the town centre. The town’s railway station is a short walk from the centre and has regular services Leeds, Bradford and towns on the west of the Pennines.

Where to park: There are pay and display car parks around the town centre and some on-street parking is available.

Don’t miss: The market. Traders have gathered in Skipton High Street for hundreds of years and people still come from miles around to enjoy the atmosphere and grab a bargain. Head there on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday to sample it for yourself.

Find out more: Skipton Tourist Information Centre in the Town Hall, 01756 79280 or go to welcometoskipton.com.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Yorkshire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Yorkshire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Yorkshire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 00:00

Depending on wwho you ask, Hebden Bridge is a place for artists, commuters and hippies. Walkers also love this market town for its proximity to some fine West Yorskhire countryside.

Read more
Hebden Bridge
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bizarre shapes and many different sizes of rock make this as fascinating for walkers as it is for climbers

Read more
Pateley Bridge
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

We talk to the woman charged with keeping the National Railway Museum on track

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

In recent years, Harrogate has suffered from shop closures like any other town. It’s fighting back with various initiatives designed to bring in shoppers, tourists and businesses, reports Tony Greenway

Read more
Harrogate
Friday, November 2, 2018

The time is right to claim the South Pennines as England’s first regional park, say campaigners

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

The Yorkshire Dales market town of Settle has much to offer at the turn of the season, as Tony Greenway discovers

Read more
Settle Autumn
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Is Doncaster soaring in the slipstream of success created by its award-winning airport?

Read more
Doncaster Sheffield
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Thousands of people come through Ingleton every year to tackle the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks, but there are plenty of other walking options available in the area.

Read more
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Explore an historic North Yorkshire town and its countryside with some guidance from Richard Darn.

Read more
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A grand upland walk without too much effort

Read more

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Property Search