Skipton’s not exactly well known for its food scene. At a push, people tend to know there’s a curry house or two that’ll knock your socks off – more on that later. But, it may come as a surprise that there are some truly excellent restaurants and cafés for you to sample during your stay in Skipton, including French bistros, stylish tapas bars, a corking couple of chippies, an American diner, and a pirate-themed restaurant that’ll plunder any hopes you have for a healthy stay in Skipton.
Places to eat in Skipton
If you’re planning a trip to Skipton Castle, one of our must-see activities in Skipton, and you’re wondering where you can grab a bite to eat afterwards, Alexander’s is a stone’s throw away and ranks among the best restaurants in Skipton. It’s got style in abundance, and when the sun’s out, the heated terrace overlooking the canal and the secret garden are both perfect for some al fresco dining or drinking. Speaking of drinks, the cocktails and atmosphere of Alexander’s could have easily placed it among our Skipton nightlife recommendations, however, the food is even better, which is why we’re waxing lyrical about this eateries extensive menu of delicious small plates. The panko monkfish is a delight, and don’t even get us started on the duck sausage roll.
When it comes to countryside pubs, you’d be hard pressed to find one better than The Tempest Arms. The ivy covered inn has welcomed visitors to the Yorkshire Dales since the 17th century. It’s not in Skipton; it stands as the gateway to the hamlet of Elslack, however, it’s less than a ten-minute drive from our Skipton North (Gargrave) hotel and well worth making the trip for the best steak suet pudding that’ll ever enter your face. The portion is huge, the flavour is there in all the right places, and oh the gravy is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.
A more central recommendation would be Le Bistro des Amis. It’s a lovely French restaurant just off the High Street on Jerry Croft, opposite Skipton Town Hall and The Craven Museum. It blends a laid back atmosphere with stellar service and some exquisite eating. The menu is made up of French classics, British favourites, and brilliant concoctions that blur the lines between the elegance of European cuisine and good proper Yorkshire eating. It means you can enjoy perfectly-cooked pork medallions with a plate of roast potatoes, and follow it up with either the most delicate pear tart, or a seriously good sticky toffee pudding.
In Skipton we’re blessed with another, arguably even better French restaurant called Le Caveau which you’ll find on the High Street, housed in the subterranean 16th-century former prison vaults. It’s small, the cellar setting is quirky, and booking is essential, but you’ll realise it’s all worth it when you begin your meal. The food is fantastic, and the service is exceptional. If you’re looking for an intimate restaurant for a special occasion or anniversary then Le Caveau deserves to be up there at the top of your list of options.
Time to throw a curveball into the mix. Calico Jack is a pirate themed Tex-Mex restaurant bar on Water Street. It sounds a bit ridiculous, and, to be honest, it is, but we can’t help but go back for their brilliant combination of mighty, meaty mains and kaleidoscopically coloured cocktails. The fajitas are a firm favourite. We can say with considerable certainty you won’t leave Calico Jacks feeling hungry. Poseidon would struggle with some of these portions, particularly the Jolly Roger combo – pay a visit and take it on for yourself.
If you find yourself craving a curry during your stay in Skipton, Aagrah is arguably the most popular option. It’s a large restaurant so you shouldn’t have a problem getting a table, the curries are good, and you don’t open more than ten branches around Yorkshire without knowing a thing or two about a vindaloo. Giving Aagrah serious competition is Musafir over on Keighley Road. The curries are quite simply some of the best we’ve had, portions are properly big, the restaurant overlooks the canal, and the naans are lovely.
To round things off, sometimes you can’t beat a portion of fish and chips, especially the ones from Bizzie Lizzie’s. There are two chippies to choose from, one on Swadford Street overlooking the waterway, and one next to the main High Street car park. Sample the goods from this family-run fish and chip shop and you’ll see why it’s won so many awards.
Cafés in Skipton
Ice cream, ‘shakes, sundaes, American pancakes, waffles, pies, tarts, breakfasts, wings, nachos, hot dogs, burgers, fries, slaw, bacon grits, skillet hash, pulled pork, ribs, bagels, steaks, chilli, buttermilk chicken, and yet more ice cream. Billy Bob’s Ice Cream Parlour is basically heaven. It’s a 1950s American diner with all the attention to detail. There’s even a yellow school bus inside! The food is authentic and absolutely incredible. Before you ask, no it has nothing to do with one Billy Bob Thornton – surely his dairy allergy would get in the way of running an ice cream parlour, even one as delicious as this. If you want to pay a visit, the parlour is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, about halfway in between Skipton and Bolton Abbey, one of our top recommended activities in Skipton.
Billy Bob’s is a tough act to follow, but the Two Sisters Bar and Kitchen on Mill Bridge is more than capable. It’s an excellent, quirky cafe with some of the best homemade daytime eating available in Skipton. Spread across two floors, there’s usually plenty of seating to go around. The chaotic collection of upcycled furniture gives Two Sisters bags full of character. It’s fully licensed, they have a good selection of beers, wines and spirits – especially gin – and on Wednesdays it packs out for the pub quiz, which is one of the best in Skipton.
If you fancy something a little less bric-a-brac, Filmore & Union on the High Street is a clean cut café with contemporary decor, an airy atmosphere, lofty prices, but delicious food and drink. We’d argue you do get what you pay for; the afternoon tea is an absolute delight. They source only the finest ingredients, and you can taste the difference. The all day menu offers something for everyone, ranging from posh full English breakfasts to brilliant burgers. It’s a particularly excellent option for anyone with dietary restrictions, as they cater for gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan visitors.
Keelham Farm Shop is famous in these parts. You’ll struggle to find a more passionate bunch of people when it comes to high quality, local, seasonal produce. They work with more than 400 producers and farmers from right here in the region to give their customers only the best of the best. The on site butchery has been voted into the top three butchers in the UK every single year it’s been open, and between them the team boasts more than 200 years’ experience. On top of that, you can buy fresh pies, fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread, cheeses, jams, preserves, beers, ciders, wines, flowers, and plenty more for you to take home. However, if you want to eat something during your stay, the Keelham Kitchen cooks up a quite incredible menu of food from scratch. Forget your full English breakfasts, go for a full Yorkshire, or better yet, the Yorkshire Farmer’s Breakfast – there’s no better way to start the day.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for somewhere to satisfy your sweet tooth, heads over to Craven Court Shopping Centre where you’ll find The Cake’Ole. It’s a treasure trove of tantalising treats, including fully loaded hot chocolates, homemade cakes, ice creams, and milkshakes. The decor is like something from Alice in Wonderland, and the cakes could have come straight from Mary Berry’s dreams. The staff are super friendly, the prices are good, and they do a lovely cup of tea.