Things to do in Saltaire and Ilkley

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

On opposite sides of the Moorland, two towns have been charming people with their intriguing and alternative tourist scenes. We’ve compiled a list of highlights, to give you an idea of just some of the things to do in Saltaire and Ilkley.

Ilkely has been a settlement since the Roman era. 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 Literature Festival, which attracts crowds from all over the UK and big hitters on the literary scene. Saltaire is unique in that the whole village was constructed at the same time as Salts Mill. It started as an idealistic Victorian dream, where workers in the mill would have access to decent housing and nature. Nowadays, it is still just as picturesque, but the industry and Victorian lifestyle has been swapped for art galleries, independent shops and craft beer.

The area has many cultural offerings aside from scenic walking. You can visit Bingley Gallery, enjoy an independent film at Ilkley Cinema or check out some live comedy and music at the Kings Hall. For more live music we recommend The Live Room, this renowned and well established roots music club attracts crowds from all over Yorkshire and often puts on big names from roots and folk circuits.

Dive into the local activities with Ilkley Lido, this grade II listed outdoor pool is one of the most scenic swims you can find in Yorkshire. There’s also plenty of opportunity to flex that creative muscle. Salt Pots ceramics are currently bringing the joy of pot painting to your home with their pottery to go kits.

During your visit you’ll find plenty of delicious dining experiences. We particularly recommend the authentic and homely Indian cooking at Rajshahi just outside Saltaire. They are a popular favourite of the locals and hold the best all you can eat sunday buffet in the area. For something lighter, the small but perfectly formed tapas plates at La Casita in Ilkley make a delicious lunch or dinner. You can also try out one of Ilkey’s double Michelin Star offerings, The box tree. This exceptional restaurant has been serving excellent food since the 1960’s and yet, continues to keep things exciting and fresh.

Find all this and more in our guide of things to do in Saltaire and Ilkley.

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