Ilkley is a pretty little town within commuting distance of Bradford and Leeds. It is located 30km from Leeds and 25 km from Bradford. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is not too far away to the north-west but you don’t need to go there if you want to spend a few hours hiking in beautiful countryside. Ilkley has all you need.
To get there, you can get a fast train from Leeds, popular with the commuters, or a bus from Bradford. The bus will take you on a winding path and take about an hour but you will see more of the region that way. I got thoroughly lost on the bus. Ikley is dominated by the ikley Moors to the south. When I took the bus, I was so disoriented I thought the moors were to the north and take it was the Yorkshire Dales!
Ilkley & Bradford
Ikley is part of the Bradford Metropolitan District Council and shares the Bradford post code. It is also very hilly. These are the only 2 things that Ilkley has in common with the grim industrial town of Bradford, so next time you hear Bradford and ikley together in the same sentence, don’t discount this beautiful little town. It has lots to speak for itself. In fact, it attracts a lot of tourists.
There are the moors already mentioned which attract many walkers and ramblers for the day. Visit the tourist information centre or grab yourself a map to choose one of the many paths crisscrossing the moors. Don’t forget your camera as well to immortalise the stunning views that will open up in front of you as you gain in altitude. You’ll need to be fit enough to negotiate the slopes of the moors.
If breaking out into a sweat is not for you, there’s still plenty to do within the town centre itself. Ilkley has a high proportion of independent shop owners and many cafés and restaurants, including the famous Bettys tea room. There is a Victorian arcade that has been converted into a shopping centre.
Surrounding towns and villages
If you tire of Ilkley or you have already been there, there are many picturesque villages nearby. Skipton is probably the most well-known and is found to the west, along the A65. Shipley is to the south on the way to Bradford, while Middleton and Denton are close nearby.
There are many upmarket and beautiful properties in Ilkley – property prices reflect this too! A significant proportion of the population is made up of pensioners and you’ll find several nursing homes there. I wouldn’t mind retiring there but would have trouble negotiating the steep slopes in my old age and the ice in winter will turn them treacherous!
All in all, Ilkley is very similar to Harrogate, albeit smaller.