Skipton is a beautiful market town located in North Yorkshire, England. Its immense culture, history and independent shops make it a great place for a short getaway.
Something that I really love about these small towns is the fact that you find everything in one place, generally in the town centre; however, you’ll also discover that Skipton is surrounded by other incredible attractions and places like the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Before visiting it, I asked myself, “What is there to do in Skipton?” As I had only heard of its castle before, and I didn’t see many activities or things to do on TripAdvisor and other websites.
Regardless, I decided to go on a day trip to Skipton, and I must admit it surprised me.
So, let’s dive into the best things to do in Skipton.
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Things to do in Skipton town centre
1. Visit Skipton Castle
Skipton Castle is one of my favourite castles in North Yorkshire. The castle is well preserved and accessible as it’s just a footstep from the town centre.
Although you need to pay an entry fee, it’s completely worth it because the castle has many rooms to wander around, and it’s truly beautiful.
As you enter, you’ll see the main part of the castle, which takes you to a small patio. From there, you can start your tour anywhere, but I found it easier to walk from the left side to the right side of the castle.
You can explore the Banqueting Hall, the Kitchen, the Bedchamber and the Privy, and last but not least, you can climb from the Dungeon to the top floor of the Watch Tower.
Some rooms are pretty empty, but you can still imagine how life was inside, especially when you get to the kitchen. However, something that I recommend you do is to keep an eye on the windows if you love getting a view – you can see the castle woods as well as another perspective of the castle.
Not only is the castle a great place to explore, but to have some food too. You can stop by the cafe or enjoy your packed lunch in the green area next to St. John’s Chapel.
Admission fees (2023)
Children (5-17): £7.50
Over 65s: £10.20
📍 Address: The Bailey, Skipton BD23 1AW
2. Walk on Skipton Castle Woods
Straight off the high street, Skipton Castle Woods is a great place to connect with nature and exercise.
There’s no right or wrong on where to start your walk, but depending on how difficult you want your walk to be, you must choose between River Valley Route (easy), Upper Paths Extension (medium) and Earl of Thanet Trail (difficult).
I love walking from the canal to Skipton Castle Woods as it’s a very relaxing and picturesque walk. But on every walk, you have the chance to spot wildlife – from squirrels climbing in the trees and little birds singing to deer.
In addition to this, you’ll find two pieces of natural sculpture – The Spirit of the Medieval Huntress and The Stalking Horse, which became very famous thanks to social media.
📍 Address: Skipton BD23 1AW
3. Explore Leeds and Liverpool Canal
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is one of the oldest canals in Northern England. As you can guess from the name, the canal connects the vibrant cities of Leeds and Liverpool. The channel is 127 miles and offers great activities like walking, boating, wildlife watching and much more.
One of its stops is Skipton! The canal area is relaxing and beautiful to explore, and you can do it in different ways – by foot, bike or boat. If you want a different experience, you must go on a boat trip.
These boat trips offer afternoon tea/fish and chips/roast dinner while you enjoy the canal views for two hours.
4. Go to Skipton Market
If you love supporting local and independent businesses, there’s no better place than Skipton Market. This outdoor market happens three days a week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) in the town centre where stalls are set up along each side of the High Street.
Here you’ll find anything from different types of local cheese and fresh vegetables to beautiful handmade crafts and clothes.
Interestingly, this market has been operating since medieval times thanks to a Royal Charter from King John that granted consent to the lord of Skipton Castle to hold a fair in the High Street.
In the past, the market was mainly a place for trading animals, and this explains why the town is called Skipton (it means “Sheep Town”).
📍 Address: High St, Skipton BD23 1JX
5. Check out Craven Museum & Gallery
If you love museums or you want to do something in Skipton on a rainy day, you can check out Craven Museum and Gallery located in Skipton Town Hall.
The museum was founded in 1928 by local collectors, and as you can imagine, there are plenty of interesting objects inside.
In January 2018, the council was given a National Lottery grant to carry out the Stories & Treasures of Street & Dale project to redevelop the museum. Over these three years, the museum has been restructured and packed with over 6,000 objects!
📍 Address: High St, Skipton BD23 1AH
6. Shop at Craven Court Shopping Centre
Craven Court Shopping Centre, located just off the town centre, is a unique shopping centre. Before transforming into a shopping centre, this building was a beautiful 16th-century theatre.
The court has over 25 shops, from well-known brands to small quaint independent shops and cafes, to enjoy a light bite or a hot drink.
It’s a great place to buy something unique and different from high street retailers.
7. Visit High Corn Mill
High Corn Mill is a hidden gem in Skipton because not many people don’t know about it. I almost missed it during my visit.
Set along the beautiful Leeds Liverpool canal, the mill is a historical building that has become an office complex and retail. Inside you can find incredible independent local shops and businesses.
📍 Address: Chapel Hill, Skipton, BD23 1NL
8. Experience Sheep Day
If you’re up for attending a traditional event, you must check out Sheep Day, Skipton’s annual celebration, which is held in late June. During this day, you can expect lots of sheep related activities – from sheep dancing to racing.
It’s a fantastic event for all ages, especially kids!
Things to do near Skipton
9. Spend the day at Bolton Abbey
Not very far from Skipton, Bolton Abbey is the perfect day out in Yorkshire. The abbey is located in the middle of the beautiful countryside, where you can walk over 80 miles of footpaths.
The best thing to do is to explore and contemplate the Priory Church and its ruins near the stunning riverside.
However, there are plenty of outdoor activities for all ages; you can challenge yourself to walk through the stepping stones, take pictures of the fantastic wildlife, find the impressive Laund Oak over 600 years old, and much more.
📍 Address: Bolton Abbey, Skipton, BD23 6AL
10. Relax at Kilnsey Park
19 minutes drive from Skipton, inside the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll find Kilnsey Park. It’s ideal for a day trip as there are activities for all ages – fishing, visiting the friendly alpacas on the farm, riding through the hills and valleys or stopping by Café by the Lake to try their famous pink fish and chips.
Although you must pay different fees for each activity, it’s definitely worth visiting.
📍 Address: Kilnsey Park, Kilnsey, Skipton BD23 5PS
11. Visit Parcevall Hall Gardens
Parcevall Hall Gardens is a hidden gem at the heart of Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales and only a 25-minute drive from Skipton.
Inside the garden, there are plants from all over the world – including the Himalayas – and there’s nothing better than a walk in the woodlands and surroundings.
Although the gardens are open to all visitors, The Hall isn’t as it’s used by the Diocese of West Yorkshire and The Dales as a retreat house.
It’s also interesting to hear that Its idyllic location has become a popular spot for TV and film companies, so British BBC programmes like “Escape to the Country” have featured in Parcevall Hall Gardens.
📍 Address: Skyreholme, Skipton BD23 6DE
12. Discover the lovely village of Haworth
Haworth is a small but charming village which is very well-known for being home to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which commemorates the Bronte Sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne, who were locals.
Apart from visiting this must-see museum, you’ll also want to check out Haworth’s Main Street, Central Park and St Michael and All Angel’s Church.
Visiting Haworth won’t take you more than half-day, so you can visit another nearby town too.
Where to eat in Skipton
The Three Sheep Tea House & Kitchen. This cute cafe is perfect for a delicious breakfast or lunch. Both times I visited it, I enjoyed the food, and the staff were friendly. I highly recommend their delicious cakes (especially the vanilla buttercream one) and their sandwiches.
Le Caveau. This bistro is one of the best in Skipton. Although food prices are more expensive than in other pubs or restaurants, it’s worth the money. They serve anything from scallops and lamb to vegetarian dishes. Their lunch and evening set menu has plenty of choices and works out cheaper.
Where to stay in Skipton
There are plenty of accommodations in Skipton to choose from; however, these are the best two places to stay near Skipton town centre.
Located only 10 minutes from the historical Skipton Castle and a range of independent shops, The Woolly Sheep Inn is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to stay central and loves trying the local food.
The hotel offers 12 lovely rooms with all the amenities you need. Each room is equipped with comfortable bedding and pillows, an ensuite bathroom with complimentary toiletries, flat-screen TV, and coffee and tea facilities.
The food at The Wolly Sheep Inn is exceptional! They have a menu with mouth-watering dishes made with local produce. Here you’ll enjoy anything from traditional fish and chips to steak pie and delicious sticky toffee pudding.
If you want a unique experience, The Bailey Bed and Breakfast is perfect for you.
It’s located just a short walk from Skipton town centre, and it’s surrounded by an ample green space that makes you feel like you’re in the countryside.
The rooms are beautifully decorated and equipped with comfortable bedding, a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, WiFi, and a tea and coffee maker. Some of the rooms come with a kitchenette.
The Shepherd’s Hut is one of my favourite accommodation options at The Bailey Bed and Breakfast. The hut is well equipped with all the essentials you need; it’s cosy and a perfect romantic escape for anyone that loves being immersed in nature with a touch of luxury!
Frequently asked questions about things to do in Skipton, Yorkshire
What’s Skipton famous for?
Skipton is well-known for being the perfect getaway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but also for its rich history and plentiful green spaces.
What to do in Skipton when it’s raining?
Rainy days in Skipton aren’t unusual, especially during winter and early spring. Therefore, it’s good to have a plan B. Here are some indoor activities to do in Skipton:
– Visit Skipton Castle.
– Window shop at Craven Court Shopping Centre.
– Have an afternoon tea.
– Discover the Craven Museum and Gallery.
Is Skipton Castle free?
No, there is an entrance fee of £11.20 for adults and £7.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 17. Children under the age of 5 can enter Skipton Castle for free.
So, is Skipton worth visiting?
Yes, Skipton is worth a visit, and it’s truly a lovely place for a day trip or a short stay.
Also, staying in Skipton gives you a chance to explore other beautiful nearby towns like Ilkley, Grassington and Haworth, as well as the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
If you have questions about things to do in Skipton, reach me at cristina[at]mylittleworldoftravelling.com or on Instagram. I’m always happy to help.
P.S. If you’re looking to explore Northern England a bit more, make sure to check my blog on 12 Amazing Places to Visit in North England.
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Top things to check before visiting Skipton
- Coming from outside the UK? Book cheap flights to the UK with Skyscanner.
- Get your train tickets with Trainline.
- Book the best accommodation for you with Booking.com
- Discover incredible activities you can do in Northern England in this guide.
- Book travel insurance for your trip; this is a must for any trip!