Skipton Castle and Bolton Priory are two of the top attractions for anyone coming to stay in Skipton. Of course, you don’t actually have to stay in Skipton. You could make your way to the Yorkshire Dales and explore God’s Own Country at your leisure. That said, if you do plan to stick around, this guide is here to give you information about the top attractions in the area, as well as a couple of indoor alternatives if the weather is playing havoc.
Activities in Skipton
It’s not often you find a medieval castle in quite as good condition as Skipton Castle. The famous fortress was built in 1090 by Robert de Romille, the Norman baron, and so far has stood the test of time for more than 900 years. It benefits from being fortified by the cliffs that surround the castle, creating a formidable defensive structure. During the Civil War, Skipton Castle withstood a three-year siege and became the only Royalist stronghold in the north up until a surrender was negotiated in 1645. You can find out all about the castle’s horrible history and bloody past by paying a visit; It is now a tourist attraction full of fascinating information, and one of the best days out in Skipton.
Fans of historic buildings may also want to pay a visit to Bolton Priory in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s a twenty-minute drive from our Skipton North (Gargrave) hotel, but it’s worth the mileage to see the ruins of this beautiful church and to explore the surrounding countryside. Bolton Abbey has 30,000 acres of stunning scenery, as well as more than 80 miles of footpaths. There’s a cafe, toilets and disabled access. The stepping stones provide plenty of fun for kids and the fleet footed, while the river banks are perfect for a picnic if the sun’s out and the weather’s warm.
For those days when the weather isn’t playing ball, sometimes you just can’t beat a trip to the silver screen. We don’t have any major cinema chains in Skipton, however, you can still catch all the latest blockbusters at the Plaza Cinema. Incredibly, Skipton used to have four cinemas. The Plaza is the last to survive. It’s had an incredible run; it was first built in 1873, and was converted into a cinema in 1912. With more than 100 years of films beneath its belt, naturally, it’s showing signs of age in places. Nevertheless, it’s still a great place to catch a movie, and tickets are cheap. A fun fact; back in the day, anyone caught making too much noise would feel the wrath of The Plaza’s secret weapon – a boxing glove attached to one end of a very long pole, designed for long-distance jabbing.
Alternatively, you can try your hand at ten-pin bowling. The Matrix Superbowl is next to the train station. It offers eight lanes of bowling, both English and American pool tables, snooker, an arcade, and a playzone for kids. The prices are reasonable, but there’s always some kind of offer on, so check the website before you visit and you could save even more.
Skipton Town Hall
Last of all is Skipton Town Hall. You’ll likely walk past this ornate building on the High Street at some point during your stay. It dates back to 1862 and now houses the Craven Museum & Gallery, as well as the Concert Hall, one of our favourite Skipton entertainment venues. The museum and gallery are currently closed for refurbishment but once they reopen you can find a wonderful collection of artefacts, including – incredibly – one of four copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio on display in the world.