The pretty market town, Skipton, fondly known as ‘the gateway to the Dales’ is located on the River Aire on the south side of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, in Lower Wharfdale. Skipton is one of the larger towns in North Yorkshire with the current population exceeding 16,000, which increases greatly during peak seasons as many tourists stop in Skipton on the way to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The name Skipton is thought to have originated from a Saxon word for Sheep. Which relates back to the history of Skipton being a major trading point for sheep, wool and other livestock. Today it relies heavily on the tourist industry although farming still plays a large part in the area.
Skipton is notorious for its bustling market which lines the cobbled areas of the high street every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It is popular with both the locals and tourists offering produce such as local meats and fish, vegetables and fruit, traditional sweets and gifts for example.
Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Skipton is home to part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The canal is the longest in the North of England totalling 127 miles. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is an impressive inland waterway that took 46 years to build with the first lock free section to open from Skipton to Bingley in 1773, the remaining canal which consists of 91 locks was opened in 1816 and cost five times the original budget to build. The canal was used heavily during the 19th Century, carrying things like stone, coal and other goods. Today it is a nice location to sit and enjoy an ice cream or to take a stroll, there is even the opportunity to have a ride on the canal boats.
At the top of Skitpton high street you will find one of England’s best preserved medieval castles. Built over 900 years ago in 1090, Skipton Castle has withstood all the elements to enable us to explore the history that it exudes.