Cliffe Castle Museum

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor
Cliffe Castle Museum
Image courtesy of Stephen Craven / Cliffe Castle museum, Keighley.

Cliffe Castle in Keighley was the home of Victorian millionaire and textiles manufacturer, Henry Isaac Butterfield. The house was a shrine of international art and french decoration. Rooms which dripped with decadence and lavish furnishings hosted many great social gatherings featuring  contemporaries of the Butterfield’s including the Roosevelts of America and members of the court of Napoleon III. The lavish house and grounds eventually became a museum, designed to be free for the people of the district, and opened its doors to the public in the 1960.

witness the sheer excess of art, artefacts and Victorian extravagance

The museum has expanded over the years to go beyond being a place where the general public can witness the sheer excess of art, artefacts and Victorian extravagance. You can now visit the Natural History, Molecules to Minerals as well as the Airedale galleries. In the Airedale gallery, you can explore the geological layout of the area. Learn how the land was formed after the last Ice Age and how the carboniferous coal measures that fuelled the North’s industrial revolution came to be. In Molecules to Minerals you can learn about the appearance of different rocks and minerals and how we differentiate between them as well as some of their uses. The Natural History gallery is a firm favourite for visitors of all ages. With dioramas, skeletons and models of a vast selection of birds, mammals and insects. Explore the evolution of a specific species and get up close with creatures who are rarely seen in the wild.

Surrounding the museum is Cliffe Castle park, a beautiful public garden. With Victorian ornamental rockwork, marble fountains and a very popular children’s play area, it is perfect for a quiet stroll while you muse over the contents of the Museum as well as providing space for the children to blow off some steam. After a full day out exploring the museum and gardens, you can call into the Pavillion Cafe for some well earned refreshments.

They also have an excellent virtual tour, in which you can happily click through the exhibits, learning and satisfying that sense of curiosity from the comfort of your own home.

Spring Gardens LaneKeighleyBD20 6LQ View map
Telephone: 01535 618231 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Wednesday11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Friday11:00am - 3:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Cliffe Castle Museum

Ian Humphreys
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Pixies at The Piece Hall

Legendary American rock band Pixies are bringing their unmistakable and era-defining sound to The Piece Hall.

from £47.50
A still from Now, Voyager featuring Charlotte Vale played by Bette Davis.
Now, Voyager at Cottage Road Cinema

Bette Davis stars as a wealthy young woman who escapes her domineering mother in this classic melodrama selected to show as part of Classics at the Cottage this June.

from £7.00

Where to go near Cliffe Castle Museum

The Brontë Parsonage, Haworth from outside
Brontë Parsonage Museum

The Brontë Parsonage Museum celebrates the lives of the world’s most famous literary family, beautifully preserving the Brontës’ family home.

The Bingley Gallery

The Bingley Gallery is a hidden haven of local art work and changing exhibitions, lead by visual artist David Starley.

Grove bookshop
Grove Bookshop

Grove Bookshop has been an integral part of Ilkely town centre for decades, feeding the town’s enthusiasm for literature.

The Box Tree Restaurant

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.

Tinker Gallery

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

Ilkley Library

Ilkley Library is one of the older institutions in the town. They regularly host literary events as well as bringing books and services to the community.

Ilkley Manor House
Ilkley Manor House

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

Bed & Breakfast
The Crescent Inn

The Crescent Inn is a comfortable and cosy, pub style bed and breakfast that takes pride in championing local goods.

The Riverside Hotel

A superb, picturesque riverside setting, en suite rooms, bar and restaurant, The Riverside Hotel makes an excellent base for exploring the moors.

Ilkley Playhouse

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

Culture Guides