Things to do in Ilkley

Polly Checkland Harding

Ilkely in West Yorkshire has been a settlement since the Roman era. Close to both Bradford and Saltaire, the picturesque spa town gives you easy access to the moors for walking, but its vibrant cultural life is not to be underestimated. The area is particularly well known for the annual Ilkley Literature Festival, which attracts crowds from all over the UK and big hitters on the literary scene. Dive into the local activities such as Ilkley Lido, a Grade II listed outdoor pool that’s one of the most scenic swims you can find in Yorkshire, or try the small but perfectly formed tapas plates at La Casita, which make a delicious lunch or dinner.

Alternatively, head for one of Ilkey’s double Michelin Star offerings, The Box Tree. This exceptional restaurant has been serving acclaimed food since the 1960s, and yet continues to keep things exciting and fresh in the present day. For more of our top things to do in Ilkley, read on.

Our top picks

Ilkley Lido

Ilkley Lido, Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ - Visit now

Ilkley Lido is a grade II listed outdoor pool, with a stunning view of the surrounding moors. The complex also includes an indoor pool, tennis courts and a bowling green.

Ilkley Lido
Ilkley Lido. Image courtesy of James Smith/ Only By Land.

Ilkley Manor House

Ilkley Manor House, Castle Yard, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9DT - Visit now

Visit the collection of Roman artefacts in one of the oldest buildings in Yorkshire, or host a particularly special occasion at Ilkley Manor House.

Ilkley Manor House
Image courtesy of Ilkley Manor House.

La Casita Tapas Bar

La Casita Tapas Bar, The Victorian Arcade
, Ilkley , West Yorkshire, LS29 9DY - Visit now

Find small and perfectly formed plates that give you an authentic flavour of Spain at La Casita in Ilkley.

Visit Leeds

The Box Tree Restaurant

The Box Tree Restaurant, 35-37 Church St, Ilkley, LS29 9DR - Visit now

The Box Tree has been a vital step in many top chef’s careers, and with two Michelin stars to its name you can expect a meal to remember.

The Box Tree Restaurant

Ilkley Cinema

Ilkley Cinema, 46a Leeds Road,, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8DP - Visit now

See documentaries, art films and contemporary indie flicks from both British and foreign production houses, at Ilkley’s homely cinema.

Visit Leeds

Grove Bookshop

Grove Bookshop, 10 The Grove, Ilkley, LS29 9EG - Visit now

After over 40 years of bringing best seller titles and hidden gems to the community, Grove Bookshop has firmly established itself as an integral part of Ilkley’s cultural scene.

Grove bookshop
Grove Bookshop

Kings Hall and Winter Gardens

Kings Hall and Winter Gardens, Station Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8HB - Visit now

Ilkley’s much loved Kings Hall is a traditional theatre which regularly hosts musical, spoken word, comedy and festival performances while the adjacent glass roofed Winter Garden is a totally unique space for events and drinks receptions.

Visit Leeds

Where to go in Bradford

Salts Mill
Hockney 1853 Gallery

For a David Hockney fan, this is the place to be. Visit this lesser known gem for access to the beautiful collections of legendary David Hockney.

Tinker Gallery

Ilkley’s contemporary art gallery, set up by artist Joanne Tinker, is a studio space in combination with a gallery.

Ilkley Playhouse

The Playhouse has a well established season of productions, also used as a venue for events, including the popular Ilkley Literature Festival.

Tourist Attraction
Victoria Hall

Saltaire’s Victoria Hall is a beautiful 15th century Italian inspired building first opened to the public in 1871.

Bar or Pub
SALT Beer Factory

SALT Beer Factory, named after the village of Saltaire where they first began, pride themselves making delicious craft beer for those who love it.

Tapestry Arts

Tapestry Arts is a live-music venue and bar, arts complex and theatre all rolled into one.

Paratha Box

The flaky, buttery flatbread of Partha Box has opened in Bradford – to the joy of all those local.


Japanese sushi meets Brazilian Grill in a fantastic melding of cuisine. This gem in Bradford is not only quirky in concept but delicious in execution.

Bagshaw Museum

‘Eclectic’ is the name of the game at the Bagshaw Museum in Batley. Their collections are varied but not lacking in quality.

Bolling Hall

Tucked away in a quiet, leafy garden, Bolling Hall Museum is full-to-the-brim with the history of its residing families.

Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

Cartwright Hall is Bradford’s civic art gallery and offers an exciting programme of contemporary exhibitions, with four permanent galleries.

Bradford Visitor Guides

Art Galleries in Bradford

Bradford has given us giants of the visual art world such as David Hockney and Ian Beesley, check out our guide of art galleries to find the best places to experience art in the city.

Science and Media Museum
Museums in Bradford

As a northern city with a culturally rich past, Take some time to explore the weird, wonderful and wacky variety of museums in Bradford.

The Alhambra
Theatres in Bradford

As the birthplace of J.B. Priestly and the home of the Alhambra, the city's longstanding thespian tradition ensures there are no lack of theatres in Bradford.

Music Venues in Bradford

Bradford has a reputation for intimate gigs and rowdy rock nights, we've rounded up the best places to see both in our guide of music venues in Bradford.

Bradford Cathedral
Walks in Bradford

A round-up of the best walks in Bradford, including the city centre, its parks, and around key attractions by Creative Tourist.

Society Manchester
Spotlight on

Beer Gardens in Manchester & Salford

Make the most of the sun in one of Manchester's many top-notch beer gardens.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.