What better place to enjoy a cold, crisp winter’s day than enjoying the local offerings available at Skipton market along with a variety of wonderful, quaint shops and a historic castle located in the heart of the town.
We decided to spend some time in this town with hope of experiencing the local festivities, our only disappointment was finding out that we missed the infamous market that was supposed to have been scheduled but instead only offered a small scattering of stalls.
The market is the pinnacle of Skipton and given that it only runs a couple of days each week, it is imperative that you do sufficient research prior to heading to Yorkshire because there is a vast difference between a market day and one where you just have the local shops to wander!
Our day in Skipton began with the drive to this town which in itself is a great experience given that you are driving though many of the local hamlets and villages once you head off the M65 and through Colne to the smaller winding roads. There are so many wonderfully named towns that you visit such as Earby and others that are just lacking in activity but delightfully shaped in architecture and heritage.
Once you approach the town of Skipton, you venture along the local railway lines which allows locals and tourists the option to visit nearby Bolton Abbey via a winding train journey that takes in the beautiful countryside.
There really is one major car park in Skipton and this is located behind the local town hall and near Marks and Spencer’s. Parking here isn’t particularly cheap, expect to pay in the region of 3-5 pounds if you are wanting to experience the town for the full day. This is also a great spot to park if you want to experience Skipton Castle.
Although we didn’t take a tour of this castle, we did read some literature which provided a great insight even if you don’t walk on the grounds of the historic feature. Over 900 years old, Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England and is well worth a visit at any season of the year. Despite the price of parking, there really is plenty of things to do in this town to spend a full day, though our experience here was cut short given our desire to explore further parts of Yorkshire.
As mentioned earlier, the pinnacle of Skipton is the wonderfully acclaimed market, where locals offer their products for tourists who travel from locations afar to be a part of this experience. I have been fortunate enough to visit Skipton Market on several occasions growing up so can attest to the fact that this is one of the better ones around in England.
Market Days are usually scheduled from 9am – 5pm on the following days (exceptions being the Christmas markets which are generally held on the first two Sundays in December):
Clothing, confectionary and ‘bits and bobs’ are popular items that seem to sell great on a market even though they may seem trivial. Our sole purchase was some delicious local yogurt covered bananas which were reasonably priced for a decent sized bag. The market runs all the way down one side of the street and then on the other side of the road, market stalls are dotted running parallel to the local shops.
Craven Court which is beautifully designed especially at this time of the year when there is a gorgeous, decorated Christmas tree in the heart of the shopping area and plenty of other decorations lining the shops and upstairs.
The local shops are certainly not to be ignored and there is a gorgeous indoor area that is worth wandering down especially if you want to get out of the chilly weather for a few minutes.
Skipton offers plenty in terms of cuisine options. The famous Stanforth Butchers provide world-renowned pork pies that have won many awards over the years for their delectable taste. There are a myriad of flavours available and all are reasonably priced meaning that anyone visiting the region must sample one of these!
Local bakeries offer shoppers the option to take in a quick snack or you could always venture into a local pub for some excellent pub grub whilst sipping down a local ale if that tickles your taste buds! Our choice of the local Fish and Chips from Bizzies directly in front of the town’s Marks & Spencer’s establishment was certainly a good option in our opinion.
- There is plenty of things to do in Skipton but it is well advised to visit here on a market day.
- Plan to visit here for a full day or at least half a day because you can spend several hours taking in the local market, shops and then sample the historic town hall or Skipton Castle.
- There is ample parking to the rear of Skipton Town Hall and directly behind the local M&S food store.
- Parking is expensive especially if you are only planning on staying for a hour or so. It works out cheaper to stay longer in terms of the price per hour.
- Beware that on the market days and especially Christmas market days, the town centre is heaving with tourists and locals.
- Be prepared for the hustle and bustle. This can be a benefit though because you are able to experience the wonderful atmosphere.