There are plenty of interesting sites nearby for those interested in history generally and in particular the history of the area.
Museums, country houses and heritage sites
- Bolton Abbey (3 miles) – where you can visit the ruins of the historic Priory, have a relaxing picnic by the riverside, or enjoy a walk through beautiful woods and moorland. There are also regular events.
- Skipton Castle (4 miles) – Over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England. Visitors can explore the history rich castle, which withstood a three year seige during the English Civil War. You can also experience what is was like centuries ago through seeing the Banqueting Hall, Bedchamber and Privy.
- East Riddlesden Hall (5 miles) – a 17th century manor house with intimate gardens owned by the National Trust. The Hall was home of the 17th century cloth merchant James Murgatroyd and today the house’s friendly room guides bring the house to life.
- Bronte Parsonage Museum (11 miles) – Located in nearby Haworth, the Bronte Parsonage Museum covers the lives of the literary Bronte family, as well as hosting events and exhibitions.
- Ilkley Toy Museum (4 miles) – The museum displays dolls, dolls houses, teddy bears, tin plate toys, lead figures and a selection of games together with wooden and paper toys. Dating from 350BC to the present day the exhibits also include a 1940’s English working model fairground. Other exhibits include toys which date from the 1950’s and 1960’s, including popular television characters, “proper cars with rubber tyres”, Cowboys and Indians and miniature toy soldiers.
- Ilkley Manor House (4 miles) – one of Ilkley’s oldest buildings, the Manor House has been converted into an attractive museum and art gallery. The Manor House also stands on the remains of the Roman Fort of Olicana. Although only a short section of the old Romon defensive walls remains exposed at the back of the building, Roman artefacts from the fort and surrounding area are on permanent display inside as well as information on Ilkley’s development as a spar town.
- Piece Hall, Halifax (18 miles) – is a Grade I listed building which was built in 1779 as a cloth hall for handloom weavers to sell the woollen cloth “pieces” they had produced. It was reopened in 2017 after a £19 million restoration project.
- Saltaire World Heritage Site (12 miles) – built by the Titus Salt for his workforce, in December 2001, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Saltaire is not a monument. People live here – so it is open all the time!
- Royal Armouries (19 miles) – you could either drive, or catch the train from Ilkley, to Leeds and visit The Nation Museum of Arms and Armour, which is open daily with free admission. At the museum in Leeds, there are over 8,500 objects in five galleries: War, Tournament, Oriental, Self-defence, and Hunting. The museum is located at Clarence Dock, only a short distance from the centre of Leeds.
- Harewood House (17 miles) – one of the Treasure Houses of England. The house was built in the 18th century, and has art collections to rival the finest in the land. There are exhibitions of contemporary art, an award-winning educational department, renowned Bird Garden and over 100 acres of exquisite gardens for visitors to explore and enjoy.
- Kirkstall Abbey (18 miles) – Explore one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain. Set in wonderful parkland along the banks of the River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey boast historic architecture amid a haven of wildlife and greenery.
- Fountains Abbey (19 miles) – Cistercian abbey, elegant Georgian water garden and medieval deer park. For centuries people have been drawn to this inspiring place. From humble beginnings the magnificent abbey was established by devout monks seeking a simpler existence. The atmospheric ruins that remain are a window into a way of life which shaped the medieval world. One-of-a-kind, this special place is now recognised as a World Heritage Site.
- Ripon Cathedral (27 miles) – is a beautiful, ancient church with a history reaching back to the 7th Century. It is a mother church for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales and home for the cathedra (throne) of the Bishop of Leeds. The present church contains several architectural styles. The transepts (the ‘arms’ of a cross-shaped church) date from the late 1100s, and show a mixture of rounded Norman arches and later pointed Gothic arches. The west front (1220s) is a splendid example of the Early English Gothic style.
For the railway enthusiast
- Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway (3 miles) – experience an old fashioned railway journey on this restored line. The Railway is a volunteer-run and allows you to travel between Embsay station, built in 1888 and the award-winning station at Bolton Abbey.
- Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (5 miles) – is a standard gauge branch line which runs 5-miles up the Worth Valley to Oxenhope. Other stations on the Line are at Ingrow, Damems, Oakworth (location of the film ‘The Railway Children’) and Haworth (the former home of the Bronte family). The Railway is perhaps most famous for its role in the 1970 film version of Edith Nesbit’s story The Railway Children. The decision to recreate the atmosphere of a 1950s branch line has been hugely popular, not least with film makers and TV producers. Over the years, the Railway has appeared in many TV and film productions including Yanks, Sherlock Holmes, Last of the Summer Wine, Treasure Hunt, Sons and Lovers, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Poirot, Born and Bred, The Royal, Where The Heart Is, A Touch Of Frost, Songs Of Praise, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
- The Settle-Carlisle Railway (5 miles – connect from Skipton) – Running through some of the most attractive scenery in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells, the Settle-Carlisle railway is world famous for its Victorian architecture, huge stone viaducts, long tunnels and remote wayside station buildings. It is not a preserved heritage railway – it is part of the UK rail network.