North Yorkshire

Skipton is a town and the administrative centre in the Craven district of North Yorkshire.

A royal charter was first granted to Skipton Castle to hold a fair in the High Street back in 1203. The town's High Street continues to be filled with stalls on its regular market days and additional Christmas Markets, usually held on two Sundays in December are also a popular attraction.

The medieval castle is just beyond the end of the High Street and Holy Trinity Church. The castle was carefully restored in the years after its eventual ruin in the 1640s by Parliamentarians after Royalists withstood a siege there for three years in the English Civil War. (See more below)

Skipton became a particularly prosperous market town, being well-connected when the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was completed in 1816. It later became served by railway routes from Leeds and Bradford towards north Lancashire and Cumbria. These include the route continuing to the beautifully scenic Settle and Carlisle Line through the nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park.

As a gateway to the National Park with its historic buildings, markets and attractive shops, Skipton has seen its economy turn increasingly to tourism.

Skipton is also the headquarters of the Skipton Building Society. Yorkshire once had building societies in many of its towns, but most were absorbed by larger societies and by banks. The Skipton, however, has stayed true to its roots, dating back to 1853, has grown and continues today as one of the largest building societies in the UK and is a major employer in the town.

 Town features

The town is near to the River Aire.
Skipton is on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Skipton is close to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Skipton has a castle.
Skipton has an old parish church - Holy Trinity Church.
Skipton has a good range of independent shops and holds a traditional market. (Mon Wed Fri Sat)
Skipton has several pubs.
The town offers a choice of inns, bistros, cafes, restaurants and take-aways.
The town has a library.
The town has a Post Office.
Skipton has bank and building society branches.
The town has pharmacies.
There are public toilets in the town.
Skipton has tourist information.
Skipton has a concert hall at Skipton Town Hall.
Places to stay in Skipton include hotel, guest house, inn, holiday home, caravan, camping accommodation.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Islamic, other.
Skipton was formerly in the West Riding of Yorkshire.


Skipton station

Managed by: Northern
Operator/s: Northern -

Northern - Skipton   Station and departure information at Northern website.

Bus travel

The town has a bus station.

Road travel

Skipton can be reached via the (A59) (A65) (A629) A6131 A6069

Places to visit

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Much of the Craven district is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The National Park offers mountain peaks, beautiful river valleys, attractive villages with country inns, ruined abbeys and some of the finest limestone scenery in the UK with limestone pavements, dry valleys, potholes and underground caves. The area offers excellent hiking and walking territory with paths and trails for people of all abilities. It is a centre for potholing and caving, has mountain bike routes and offers plenty of opportunity to study its rich wildlife. For more information see our page dedicated to the Yorkshire Dales.


Malham is a small village in a hill farming community in the Yorkshire Dales National Park which has for many years attracted tourists, walkers and geographers as the location of some of the country's most magnificent limestone scenery. Find out more about Malham.

Bolton Priory

Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
The beautiful setting at Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the most visited monastic sites in Yorkshire. Beside the River Wharfe are the ruins of Bolton Priory, where the nave of the priory church still survives as a parish church. The Augustinian priory was founded in 1154 and continued until the dissolution in 1539. The abbey has been carefully managed by the Devonshire family since 1755 and now has car parking, gift shops, tea rooms, restaurants and facilities for weddings and corporate events. There is an extensive network of footpaths around the estate and one ancient right of way is the 60 stepping stones across the River Wharfe. Other paths lead into the ancient Strid Wood beside the river. Bolton Abbey is 5 miles east-north-east of Skipton (7 miles by road) and 5 miles north-west of Ilkley.

 Find on map
More information at  Bolton Abbey visitor website and at the  Priory Church website.

Skipton Castle

The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire
Skipton Castle is one of England's best restored medieval castles, standing between the town of Skipton and the top of a rocky cliff over the Eller Beck. The castle was first built as a Norman fort at the end of the 11th century, but was replaced in stone and in the early 14th century turned into a formidable stronghold after being granted to the Clifford family by King Edward II. Inside, the castle reveals how it was modified over the centuries, including a charming early Tudor courtyard with a yew tree growing at its centre. The castle was the scene of a Royalist last stand in the north during the English Civil War when it withstood a three-year siege until 1645. After the castle yielded, it was ruined by the Parliamentarians in the winter of 1648-9, but between 1657 and 1658 Lady Anne Clifford saw it carefully restored. The castle is open daily.

 Find on map
Find out more at  Skipton Castle website.

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

Embsay, near Skipton, to Bolton Abbey station
Operates from Embsay, about 1.5 miles from Skipton, to Bolton Abbey station about a mile away from the attractive priory ruins and beauty spot beside the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey. The railway runs trains on most days during the summer and at weekends at other times of year, except January. It also has a range of special weekend events, dining trains and footplate and signal box experience courses. Tank engines are the mainstay of steam operations on the line, but the railway also has a collection of historic diesel locomotives.

More information at the  Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway website.
Find on map:  Embsay Station

Ingleborough Cave

Near Clapham
This show cave about a 1-mile walk from the centre of Clapham village is one of the natural wonders of the Yorkshire Dales which has been attracting visitors over a period of 180 years. Underground tours along concrete paths in floodlit passages reveal a world of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is open daily from mid-February to the end of October. Not to be missed if visiting the cave is Trow Gill, a short walk further up the valley from the cave entrance. The spectacular ravine was carved by the melt waters of the ice age.  Website

Kilnsey Park

Kilnsey Park Estate, off B6160 at Kilnsey
The scenic Kilnsey Park Estate has a cafe, local produce shop and an activity centre centred around its trout farm, offering fly fishing and family fun fishing lakes. It also offers an insight into nature through its trout raceways, reserve of wildflowers, red squirrel enclosure, butterfly gardens and bee observation hive and has farm animals and children's play areas.

More information at the  Kilnsey Park Estate website.
Find on map:  Kilnsey Park

Stump Cross Caverns

On B6265 Hebden Road, near Greenhow Hill
Situated around 5 miles west-south-west of Pateley Bridge, Stump Cross Caverns are show caves with some impressive stalactites and stalagmites among the limestone features reached by steps leading beneath the ground. A cafe with fine views across the nearby hills is also situated at the show cave entrance.  Find on map

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

Civil parish council

Skipton Town Council
Provides some local services in the area.
Link to council website  Skipton Town Council

District authority

Craven District Council

Craven District Council is one of the seven large district authorities within the county of North Yorkshire.

It covers more than 450 square miles of the western area of North Yorkshire with its administrative centre in Skipton.

It has boundaries with the Richmondshire and Harrogate districts of North Yorkshire, the Bradford district of West Yorkshire and with Lancashire and Cumbria, including parts of both counties which were formerly in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Much of the district is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The council is made up of 30 councillors. They are elected for 4-year terms with one-third of the council elected each year in three out of four years.

Link to council website
 Craven District Council

The political composition after the May 2018 election was:
171 Con Ind631 11
The political composition after the May 2019 election is:
151 Con Ind832 1
30 members

County authority

North Yorkshire County Council
Includes Craven 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


-1974: Within the West Riding of Yorkshire.

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