Why Should You See the Amazing Scenery on Ilkley Moor?

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If you are looking for places around the world that offer natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes, perhaps you can be forgiven if Ilkley Moor in the heart of Yorkshire, England is not at the top of your bucket list. Don’t worry, before we visited Ilkley Moor for the first time in 2010, we had no idea just how gorgeous this location was so you won’t be the first person wondering where on earth we are talking about here!

When you think about attractions around the world that offer stunning landscapes, I am sure many of you may consider places like the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef or even urban landscapes like the New York City skyline.

But when you stumble across a location like Ilkley Moor, it offers something just a little bit different and makes you realize that you don’t have to seek out these top locations in the distant corners of the world. Why not? Because sometimes the most beautiful places are right on your doorstep!

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.

When artist Paul Strand spoke these words about an artist finding beauty anywhere in the world, he reiterated the importance of looking on your doorstep.

ilkley moor yorkshire

“On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at” is an old Yorkshire folk song that is frequently considered to be the anthem of the county. It’s interesting to note that out of the all the stunning countryside throughout Yorkshire, Ilkley Moor was the chosen destination in this anthem. Dating back to the late 19th century, this song pays tribute to what is such a beautiful part of the White Rose county.

Where is Ilkley Moor?

Let’s start by answering the question that most of you are probably asking yourselves…where is Ilkley Moor? So we have established already that it is in Yorkshire, England, but more specifically it is the area of moorland in West Yorkshire along A65 between Ilkley and Keighley. Ilkley Moor is actually part of the ‘larger’ Rombalds Moor which is what you will find if you search for this on Google Maps.

ilkley moor yorkshire england

Depending on how you are traveling around England, I would highly recommend renting a car and taking a road trip through the Yorkshire Dales. Along with the Ilkley Moor you will pass through a myriad of idyllic villages and gorgeous countryside, in addition to experiencing some of the finest country roads in the nation.

yorkshire england

For those that have never driven in the UK, this part of the country is a real test but undoubtedly rewards the brave because I cannot emphasize enough just how beautiful it is.

Distance From Manchester – 50 Miles

Distance From London – 213 Miles

ilkley moor map northern england

The above map shows an overview of Northern England and you can see that Ilkley Moor (or Rombald’s Moor) is located north of both Leeds and Manchester, but easily accessible from both.

If driving does not sound particularly appealing, you can always take the train from Manchester Piccadilly or Leeds to Ilkley and then a local bus. Maybe this adventurous option will be for the backpackers out there but regardless of what transportation you take, the end result is a plethora of beautiful panoramic landscapes.

ilkley moor yorkshire dales england

Miles of Gorgeous Natural Beauty

Discovering the ‘real’ Ilkley Moor is all about parking your vehicle and heading out into the vast countryside to experience everything associated with the Yorkshire Dales. History, natural beauty, and iconic landmarks are all waiting to be uncovered on Ilkley Moor.

ilkley moor yorkshire

With a wide variety of flora and fauna on display, the best way to explore this part of Yorkshire is to take one of the various heritage walks. Easily accessible routes are available and thanks to the Friends of Ilkley Moor website, there are self-guided tours and downloadable maps ready to guide you on your way.

ilkley moor floral beauty

The Cow and Calf Rocks is one of the most popular walks as it leads hikers to a large rock formation consisting of sandstone and millstone grit. If this geological phenomenon is not exciting enough for you, perhaps the iconic Twelve Apostles Stone Circle constructed over 2000 years ago would be a little more intriguing.

ilkley moor walking trails

There are a number of prehistoric landmarks scattered throughout the moorland, so it’s a case of getting out there and hiking around to see what you can stumble across. Sheep are grazing everywhere so be prepared to find a stray sheep while hiking through the moors.

ilkley moor sheep

Take a stroll by one of the creeks that meander through the countryside and take a peek at some of the gorgeous wildflowers that grow in this part of the country.

ilkley moor yorkshire

This really is a rugged, untouched landscape that continues to evolve and really emphasizes the beauty that nature provides us.

ilkley moor yorkshire england

However, the best part about Ilkley Moor has to be the spectacular panoramic views across Yorkshire. On a clear day, you can see miles and miles of breathtaking beauty. Take a moment to sit down and peer across the scenery…trust me not only will you quickly lose the sense of time, but you will gain a much greater appreciation of everything around you.

ilkley moor scenery

What better way to end your day exploring Ilkley Moor than by heading into one of the local pubs in the town of Ilkley and sampling one of the local Yorkshire brews. There is nothing quite like enjoying a fresh ale in an idyllic English pub setting.

ilkley pub


England is so much more than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. In fact, the best of England can be displayed when you head outside of the major cities and start exploring the natural beauty in the ruralities of English finest countryside settings. Yorkshire is the perfect county to represent this stereotype, and Ilkley Moor in particular, is a gorgeous reflection on stunning natural landscapes that are available throughout the country.

ilkley moor

Given that this is only a short drive from a myriad of other Yorkshire attractions, I strongly encourage you to spend at least a couple of days in this part of the country and experience a unique beauty. Ilkley Moor is one of the most iconic areas in the Yorkshire Dales so be sure to add this to your itinerary…you won’t be left disappointed!

Have you visited Yorkshire or specifically Ilkley Moor? What is your idea of ‘stereotypical English countryside’?

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Chris Boothmanhttps://abritandasoutherner.com
Chris Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born near Manchester, England, Chris moved to USA in 2006 where he soon after met his wife and travel partner in crime, Heather. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Chris at [email protected]


    • When I was putting together that post I listened to that same folk song and that gave me some more inspiration for sure 🙂 I am from across the Pennines in Lancashire (Yorkshire’s fiercest rivals in history!), but I certainly love heading over to the White Rose county and exploring the beautiful countryside and all of those rural villages that you can stumble across.

    • LOL, nothing wrong with that at all 🙂 Those Yorkshire sheep are a different breed, but they certainly pose well for cool looking pictures!

  1. A superbly well written piece I didn’t realise just how beautiful Ilkley really is!of course all these photographs have the benefit of being taken in gorgeous weather, who needs to travel far and wide with this sort of panoramic scenery on our doorstep.! Thank you for reminding us of what we take for granted.

  2. We traveled through their way back in the 90’s and I couldn’t believe the beauty! Still one of the prettiest places I’ve been. Been wanting to go back since then – and still enjoy looking at my photos from then.

  3. How gorgeous! You’re right about capturing the stereotype – When I think of “English countryside” your pictures match what comes to mind. So…there’s another British “must see.” We’re going to have to move to England to check off everything on our list! 😉

  4. I am one of those who has never heard of Ilkley Moor before today. It is lovely, such rich yellows and greens. I do agree that the some of the best of England is the countryside.

  5. I’m originally form just over the border in Lancashire (and could easily start a Lancashire v Yorkshire debate!) but I think it’s great that you are sharing the natural beauty of the north of England. So many people who visit the UK only visit London – and so miss out on the hidden treasures of the wide open green spaces and a good old fashioned country pub!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Likewise Vicki…I am actually from near Bury, Lancashire! Where in Lancs are you from? One of my goals whenever we travel back home to England to visit my family, is to show Heather as much ‘off the beaten path’ locations rather than just mainstream London as most tourists unfortunately only see. If I am then able to share these experiences via our blog, well hopefully a few others will think twice about just booking a trip to the capital and perhaps they will venture out and see the beauty the rest of the country has to offer!

  6. It’s so lovely to read about ‘off the road places’, and I think you are so right when you say there is more to England than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. I think the same about Australia, it is so much more than the Opera House and Harbour Bridge! Gorgeous pics!

  7. Agree beauty is everywhere. I think we all have the opportunity to visit a great place located close to where we live. With the Internet and social media, it should not be difficult to find those great places. I really like the place you have presented here. Open, wide places are a favorite of mine. I also like when the natural side of Europe is presented.

  8. I agree! You need to leave London to see how beautiful the English countryside is. Great photos – I’ve never heard of it but will now add it to my Yorkshire road trip I want to do one day. My son really wants to see Hadrian’s wall because he’s a Roman history buff.

  9. Oh my gosh, your photos!!! I love that deep green and the pink sky. It’s like something out of a fairytale. I’ve never heard of this magical place, but it’s calling my name.

  10. Enjoyed the article – over the holidays I was in West Yorkshire myself, visiting my inlaws in Halifax (husband is a native of Berwick-upon-Tweed but when his mum remarried she moved to Yorkshire). We took a walk one day from Illingworth Moor up to near Haworth (to Oxenhope to be exact) – it was a foggy day and the mist on the moors was absolutely spooky! I love the Dales and I kind of enjoy the fact not too many American tourists can be found there – keep it pristine :-p!

    And there is nothing better than bangers and mash and a pint of cider after a good walk in brisk weather!


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