North Yorkshire

Selby is a Yorkshire market town and the largest town and administrative centre of the wider Selby district of North Yorkshire.

Selby is 8 miles east of Sherburn in Elmet, 10 miles north-west of Goole, 11 miles south-east of Tadcaster, 12 miles south of York (14.5 miles by road), 20 miles east of Leeds and 30 miles west of Hull.

The River Ouse, which runs along the north-east edge of the town has played an important role in its growth, as has its historic abbey.

Both Romans and Vikings used the River Ouse which flows through Selby between York and the Humber estuary, but the town's rise to prominence came after the Norman invasion of 1066. Selby is considered by historians to be the likely birthplace in 1068 of Henry, the fourth son of King William I (William the Conqueror), who became King Henry I in 1100. In 1069 the Benedictine monastery was founded in Selby and the abbey church still survives in the town, as outlined in more detail below.

Market Place The town, with its market, developed around the abbey.

On April 11, 1644 the town was the scene of the English Civil War Battle of Selby as Parliamentary forces gained control of the town and its routes to York and Hull through a defensive ring of barricades and flooded fields. From Selby they were able to continue their advance towards York, the King's main centre in the north.

Selby later became an important port on the River Ouse with associated industries including boatbuilding, rope-making, flour milling and many others. For a period in the late 18th century it became an exceptionally busy port after it became the junction of the navigable River Ouse and the then-new Selby Canal, a by-pass of the meandering tidal lower section of the River Aire and thus carrying much of the boat traffic of the industrial West Riding of Yorkshire. Further canal building, however, was to later see that traffic going to Goole rather than Selby.

The area around Selby includes much agricultural land, but from 1976 and 2004, the town was the centre of the Selby coalfield, which produced coal from underground seams, mostly to feed nearby coal-fired power stations

In recent years there has been considerable new housing development around Selby. A by-pass around the town opened in 2004, relieving the town of congestion which had existed for many years around its road swing bridge over the River Ouse, which had operated as a toll bridge until 1991. A new leisure centre was opened in Scott Road in the town in 2015 featuring a pool, climbing, indoor skiing and bowling among its many facilities. There are also plans in the town to restore its medieval Abbot's Staith building into a new development which may include a museum.

Town features

Gowthorpe The main shopping street in the town is Gowthorpe, which runs into The Crescent, providing a broad selection of goods from a mixture of local and national traders as well as a department store. Nearby is the Market Cross Shopping Centre, a modern development of small shops featuring some traditional traders, including a greengrocer and butcher's shop. There are also shops around Micklegate. There are supermarkets at the edge of the town centre and an out-of-town Three Lakes Retail Park.

Micklegate A market is held each Monday at the Market Place, Gowthorpe and also in Micklegate offering a whole range of fresh food, clothing, household and other goods. There are also larger regional markets on bank holidays and a Saturday Christmas Market early in December. The town also has a Farmers' and Craft Market on the third Saturday of each month, except January, and a Farmers' Market on the first Wednesday of each month, except January.

Selby Post Office is in Gowthorpe.

Selby has pharmacies.

There are banks in Selby town centre.

Although Selby has seen a number of pub closures in recent years, there is still a selection of pubs around the town centre.

The town has a varied selection of places to eat ranging from cafes and coffee shops, to restaurants, takeaways and pub food.

Selby Library Selby Library, run by North Yorkshire County Council, is in Micklegate.
Find opening times at this  NYCC Selby Library webpage.

There are public conveniences at the pavilion in Selby Park and a 20p entry toilet at Station Road, opposite the bus stands.

Swing bridge The navigable River Ouse runs at the north-east edge of the town, crossed by rail and road swing bridges.

The 5.5 mile long Selby Canal between Selby and Haddlesley was built between 1775 and 1778 to link the Aire and Calder Navigation and the River Ouse, bypassing the lower tidal section of the Aire. The canal had an important influence in Selby's economy over the next 50 years until a new larger canal was built from Knottingley to Goole.
Find out more about the Selby Canal at the  Canal & River Trust - Selby Canal website.

Selby Park is a small park situated near to the town centre, between Selby Abbey and the railway station with a play area, bowls green, mini golf, bandstand and pavilion, which is open April to October.

There are several schools and a college in Selby.

Places of worship: Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, United Reformed, other.

The church of Selby Abbey can trace its history back nearly 1,000 years and many English kings visited the abbey over its lifetime. It is a rare survivor as an abbey church, which was built at a Benedictine monastery founded in 1069. The church was begun around the start of the 12th century, but has seen many changes over its years. The church was restored after a major fire in 1340 and there were further alterations in the 15th century. Selby was apparently treated favourably by King Henry VIII at the time of the monastery's Dissolution surrender in December 1539 and the church was left intact. There has however been considerable damage and restoration since that time, including the collapse of its central tower in 1690 which also destroyed the south transept. The tower was rebuilt in around 1701 by a local builder in the style of the time. In the mid-19th century there was substantial restoration of the church, but the abbey was extensively damaged by a fire in 1906. A complete restoration took place in the following years, followed by the rebuilding of the south transept, which was consecrated in 1912. Today the abbey church of St Mary and St Germain continues to be an active parish church at the centre of its local community.
More information at the  Selby Abbey website.


Selby Town FC play at the Flaxley Road Ground, at Richard Street off Scott Road, Selby. Official website

Selby RUFC play rugby union at Sandhill Lane, off Leeds Road, Selby.

Selby Warriors ARLFC have men's, women's and junior rugby league teams at Foxhill Lane, Brayton, Selby.

Selby Cricket Club is based at Sandhill Lane, off Leeds Road, Selby.


Selby Town Hall
York Street
A variety of music, comedy and theatre is staged at Selby Town Hall  Website

Places to visit

Skipwith Common

Situated four mile north-east of Selby, Skipwith Common is a National Nature Reserve and Special Area of Conservation as one of a few remaining areas of lowland heath in northern England. The common features a 270 hectare ancient landscape including a huge variety of plants and animals and small signs of around 4,000 years of human impact, such as bronze and iron age burial mounds. Skipwith Common is managed by the landowner, the Escrick Park Estate, in partnership with Natural England and is supported by a Friends group.

Information at  Friends of Skipwith Common website and  Escrick Park Estate website.

Yorkshire Air Museum

Halifax Way, Elvington, near York
The Yorkshire Air Museum is at the former RAF Elvington, about 3 miles south-west of York. During World War II it was an RAF Bomber Command Station used by Allied bomber crews, including Frence Air Force squadrons. The museum now situated there has a huge range of exhibits taking visitors from the earliest pioneers of aviation, including Yorkshireman George Cayley, through both World Wars and the Cold War era. More than 60 aircraft and flight-related vehicles are on show at the airfield. The museum is also the location of the Allied Air Forces Memorial, commemorating all allied airmen and women.
More details at the  Yorkshire Air Museum website.


Selby is just over 14 miles south of Yorkshire's principal city by road and is in easy reach by train, bus or car. Find out more about the historic city on our York page.



Station Road
Between 1871 and 1983, Selby was a station on the East Coast Mainline, but this was diverted away from the town in 1983 to avoid potential subsidence in the Selby coalfield, but there are still trains southbound to London and via the diverted route northbound to York.

Eastbound platform:
Hull Trains to Hull or via Hull to Beverley
Transpennine Express to Hull
Northern to Hull or via Hull to Beverley and Bridlington

West, North or Southbound platforms:
Hull Trains via Doncaster to London Kings's Cross
TransPennine Express via Leeds and Huddersfield to Manchester Piccadilly
Northern to York
Northern via Leeds and Bradford Interchange to Halifax

Train details from December 15, 2019. Services may serve intermediate stations in addition to those mentioned.

Station managed by TransPennine Express.

 Northern - Selby Station and departure information at Northern website.

Bus services

Regular buses operate from bus stands in Station Road, near to the railway station, to Doncaster, Goole, Leeds, Pontefract, York and more local destinations including Hemingbrough, Thorpe Willoughby and Drax. Most of the buses also stop in Gowthorpe, the main shopping street in Selby.

Road travel

The A19 runs through Selby town centre, linking the town to York 14.5 miles to the north and also running south-south-westwards to the (M62) 8 miles away and towards Doncaster 21 miles away. The A63 forms an eastern by-pass around Selby, and runs westward from the by-pass towards Leeds while joining the A19 northwards with the A63 continuing eastward towards Howden and via a stretch of the (M62) towards Hull. From the town centre, Leeds Road is now the A1238, which connects to the A63. The A1041 Bawtry Road runs to the south-south-east of the town towards Snaith. The B1223 runs from Selby towards Cawood and Tadcaster.

The HS2 effect

Our new study has assessed cities and major towns throughout the Yorkshire region for the benefits HS2 will bring in travelling from Yorkshire to London when the proposed section between the Midlands and Leeds is complete in 2033. The line is also planned to link to existing lines to Sheffield and York. Each city or town has been given one of three simple ratings based on convenience and time saved over existing services.
White elephant: Takes the same time or longer than an existing service* or saves less than 10 minutes while now causing a change of trains. (* or HS2 completed to Manchester).
Coffee break: Saves 10 to 45 minutes. Time for a cup of coffee at your destination rather than on the train?
City slicker: Saves 45 minutes or more on existing service getting you to that all-important London meeting in good time.

We've been fairly generous to HS2 in making the assessment. Where a change of trains is now needed, we have assumed that you are on the fastest train to the station where you change to HS2, that it arrives on time, you have 10 minutes to change to the HS2 platform and an HS2 train is waiting to depart at that time. No assessment is made of additional journey costs possible in connecting to or travelling on HS2. The assessment is made on journeys from Yorkshire to London with again no account taken of any convenience or inconvenience in arrival at London Euston rather than London King's Cross station. Further details about our study can be found on The HS2 Effect page.


Even the fastest trains offering a perfect connection to HS2 at either Leeds or York will shave only 6 or 7 minutes off the current fastest journey times with the added effort of a change of trains. At most times the HS2 journey would take longer than the existing service.

Emergency services

North Yorkshire Police  North Yorkshire Police website.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Town council

Selby Town Council
Selby Town Council is based at the Town Hall, York Street, and is in charge of the Town Hall, Selby Cemetery, allotments and some play areas. It manages a community centre for the Selby Community Trust and is also responsible for community woodland and a farmhouse and issues grants to local organisations. The council is made up of 18 councillors elected across four wards. A town mayor and deputy mayor are elected by the council each year.
 Selby Town Council website.

District authority

Selby District Council

The southernmost district of North Yorkshire is centred on Selby and also includes the towns of Tadcaster and Sherburn-in-Elmet and many villages.

The district is a mostly rural area and has boundaries with the City of York unitary authority, the East Riding of Yorkshire unitary authority, the Doncaster district of South Yorkshire, Wakefield and Leeds districts of West Yorkshire and its shortest border with the North Yorkshire district of Harrogate.

The council is made up of 31 councillors who are elected each four years across 19 wards. There are between one and three councillors per ward.

Link to  Selby District Council website.

The political composition of the council after the May 2019 election was:

1684YP  3
31 members YP = Yorkshire Party

County authority

North Yorkshire County Council
Includes the Selby district and six other non-unitary districts of North Yorkshire.
 North Yorkshire County Council website.

Police and Crime Commissioner

Police and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and City of York.
 Police and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

Fire Authority

The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was previously governed by the North Yorkshire Combined Fire Authority made up of elected members from across the broad areas of North Yorkshire and City of York councils which it serves. Following a ministerial announcement in June 2018 the governance of the fire service was transferred to the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire from 15 November 2018.
Further information at the  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.
 Police and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

Ceremonial county

North Yorkshire


1894-1974: Selby Urban District also Selby Rural District in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
1974-present: Within Selby district of the county of North Yorkshire.

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